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Holding Fire

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"I had a great deal of time on my hands for a couple of years, if you must know," Dorian said, a little bit snippily. "I studied things. I don't see why everyone is so concerned. I saw the Imperial ambassador to the Inquisition explode into a swarm of wasps last Tuesday. Sera tried to put part of her in a bottle. And we've all politely agreed not to talk about whatever it is that Solas does. But oh, no, we're going to perform the whole Dorian-is-probably-an-abomination drama again. Well, by all means. Don't let me stop you."

"You turned," Adaar said, "into a fucking dragon."

It was good that she said it, because someone should, and to be honest the Bull was feeling a bit beyond actual words at that exact moment.

"A small dragon," Dorian said, as though this was somehow relevant. He was quite a small dragon, it was true—he stared down at them now, but most of that height was the arch of his neck, the curve of it covered in shimmering black and gold scales. "A small dragon! Who saved your life!"

"A dragon," Adaar repeated. "People don't shapeshift into dragons. It's not a thing that fucking well happens."

"Well, clearly it is."

"Uh," the Bull said.

Both Adaar and the dragon that was Dorian looked across at him as one.

"Put away your boner, Bull," Adaar said, uncharacteristically scathing. "For five minutes. Or take it somewhere else. I'm trying to be angry."

The Bull closed his mouth again.

Dorian, the dragon, snorted.

Smoke curled from his nostrils, drifting lazily in the sun, rising above the hills of Crestwood, the ruined towers, the drifts of flowers.

The Bull felt slightly faint, and also like he needed to hit something.

"Uh, yeah," he said. "'Scuse me."



"Goodness," Dorian said, ducking through the doorway to the room that was currently serving as the Bull's, "you aren't masturbating furiously. I'm a little surprised. Slightly insulted, actually."

The dragon smell still clung to Dorian—swept over the Bull, sank into him. Dorian was also wearing a very limited amount of clothing, which was probably what happened when you turned into a dragon without planning ahead.

The Bull swallowed hard.

"I figured you might want to help with that. Let me show you some respect."

Dorian laughed. Smiled a pleased little smile at the Bull's expression, at the way the Bull had left it deliberately open, made sure Dorian could see—all of it. "Should I turn back into a dragon for you to rub your cock against? Do you fancy taming the wild, is that it? If I'd known this was all it took for you to drop your concerns about magic then I'd have shown you sooner."

"You smell right," the Bull said, not sure if that even made sense, but Dorian's smile broadened like he thought it did. The dragon thing, the bit that always sang in his blood, was singing now—nothing frightening about it, except in the way deadly things always were. And Dorian had been one of those deadly things already.

Here it was: Dorian had always had that talent for really getting to the Bull, making him want shit—making him let go of himself, just a bit, just enough. Dorian kneeling above him that first night, sinking down onto his dick, now, Bull, you're going to do exactly as I say.

So much for conquest. Sometimes it felt pretty good to be wrong about something.

They'd done that later, of course, with Dorian screaming into the pillow, don't you dare stop again, the Bull's laughter, his hand firm between Dorian's shoulder blades, think that's my call to make, don't you? The hot pressure of Dorian's closed thighs around his dick.

They'd done kind of a lot of stuff.

Doing anything at all while Dorian smelled like a dragon was a new one, though.

The Bull reached for him, and thrilled at how easily Dorian came to him, letting the Bull's arms close around him. Letting the Bull bury his face against Dorian's neck.

"I fancy," the Bull said, "getting you in my lap, and getting my great big hand around both of our dicks, and letting you feel just how into you I am."


"You are the guy I'm fucking more nights than not, right? You think I'm not into you?"

"I think," Dorian said, "that you're more into dragons."

"Hey, let's not make this a competition," the Bull said, because the only other option was more confessional and awkward. "You're damn hot. And you smell—uh—shit, you smell good. You're still kind of dragon-y—shit, that's hot."

"Do you know," Dorian said, confidential, "I can still smell you the way the dragon can?"

The Bull shuddered. Couldn't help it.

Dorian smiled again, and let the Bull sit himself down on the edge of the bed, kicking off his pants.

Climbed into the Bull's lap. Bent his head for a kiss, guiding the Bull into it with a hand firm on one of his horns.

His mouth was hot and soft and tasted of smoke, and he made the most delighted noises against the Bull's lips as the Bull pressed their dicks together—as he touched them both with long slow strokes.



Breakfast, the Inquisitor's little group already all gathered around one of the long tables in the mess hall. The Bull, who'd slept badly and would probably have dreamt some very creative dreams if that was a thing he did at all, resolutely didn't yawn—just dropped himself heavily into the last space within the limits of the circle, which happened to be a little bit too small and also right next to Dorian.

"Of course it's theoretically impossible," Dorian was saying, although he took a moment to shoot the Bull a secretive little smile and to drop the last of his bacon onto the Bull's plate, because he really was a pretty sweet guy if you didn't pay attention to the words. "A lot of things are theoretically impossible. Time travel is theoretically impossible, and look how that went. All it means is that the theory needs work."

"Time travel isn't the best example if you're going for making me feel better," Adaar said. Somehow she managed to produce an aura of playing with knives even when no knives were visible on her person.

Dorian sighed dramatically. "Always people doubt my brilliance."

"Hah," Varric said.

"A dragon," Dorian said, "is an animal. Are you following so far? No? I can speak even more slowly if you like. It has all the usual pieces, bones and muscles and so forth. It can be understood. And if it can be understood—"

"Which it can't," Adaar said.

"Which it can—thank you kindly. If it can be understood, it can be reproduced."

"Pretty sure that doesn't work on magical shit."

Dorian pointed his fork at her in a very definitely accusatory way. "I am magical. It is magical. I fail to see the problem. Or are you a magical theory expert now? Wanting to have sex with Vivienne doesn't qualify you to comment on my habits. Almost everyone who appreciates women wants to have sex with Vivienne, and almost none of them understand a damn thing she says when she starts talking about magical theory, because she is, as much as it pains me to say it, extremely good at her field."

"I bet she'd tell you it was impossible," Adaar said.

"Conveniently," Dorian said, "she isn't here, because she's representing the Inquisition at that very fancy party to which it was mysteriously impossible for me to obtain an invitation. Also, I must remind you again: I did it, which rather negates any theoretical arguments."

He was elbowing the Bull in the side a little bit as he talked, getting animated as he got warmed up, but the Bull found he didn't really mind.

The dragon smell was gone, but the memory of it ghosted in the Bull's nostrils on every other inhale, keeping the background thrum of arousal going deep in his gut.

"You know what the worst part of this is?" Varric said, turning to the Bull. "I can't even write this in a book. I've done dragons turning into people already. They'll just call me a hack. Copying myself. Hah! If reality can get away with repeating itself, why can't I?"

"Because reality is a hack, Varric," Dorian said, leaning around the Bull to flash him a bright smile.

"He's having too much fun," Varric said, still looking at the Bull.

Maybe there was something a bit knowing in there. So what?

"He's not the only one," the Bull said.

"What, not worried about demons?"

The Bull laughed. "Nope."

"That's very interesting, from the man who thought I was possessed the first time I accidentally set something on fire in his bed," Dorian said.

"Holy shit," Varric said. "What happened to don't help the Dwarf, Bull?"

"Six months of tolerable sex," Dorian said, with a very, very slightly breathy intonation on tolerable, just for the Bull, who was the only one who would catch it. "Excuse me, I think I was busy with an argument. Sorry, sorry. Where were we?"

The Bull grinned at Varric, ignoring the resumed intense exchange between Dorian and Adaar on his other side. "Passion. Told you."

Tolerable. Aww, Dorian.



"The dragon thing," the Bull said.

"Of course you'd want to talk about the dragon thing," Dorian said, broke off on a groan. "Of course you would—right now—ah, there, yes—"

"The dragon thing," the Bull said. Grasped at Dorian's hips, body going hot at the way Dorian laughed when he knocked the Bull's hands away. "Fuck me after again."

"You want my cock in you," Dorian said, "when I smell like a dragon. Is that it, Bull? You want to pretend that a dragon is fucking you? Lie on your front and just feel it? Or are you going to fight me? A little of both?"

He flexed his hips, body shifting around the Bull's dick, dragging and squeezing.

The Bull moaned.

"I thought so," Dorian said. His smile was sly, even though his thighs were trembling slightly from the strain of straddling the Bull.

"I want you to fuck me," the Bull said. "You. Just dragon-y."

Dorian bent forward to study his face, the Bull's dick slipping almost out of him, so that he had to push back a little again, chasing after the feeling. He was still smiling. His eyes were looking very dark, very like they belonged to someone who could also be a dragon.

"How dragon-y?" he asked.

"Uh," the Bull said.

Dorian, hands scrabbling at the Bull's chest as he shifted himself again, head bowed between his shoulders, laughed, the sound blending interestingly with a moan, open-mouthed. His mouth hung open for a moment after, that kind of soft O of arousal that always made the Bull want more, more more. "Oh," he said, as though he really had just understood something, and, "hmm, really?"

Apparently having achieved whatever he'd set out to do with the restless movements of his hips, of his hands, he rolled his weight back, onto his heels. Clenched idly around the Bull's dick without bothering to move, his own dick hard and damp and entirely ignored, as though it just wasn't very important.

The Bull was starting to feel like Dorian's dick was pretty important, all dragon-related images aside. Dorian's dick inside him, specifically—mouth or ass, just—

"Really?" he asked. Kind of dazed.

"You actually would like to fuck me," Dorian said, "but as a dragon."

"You weren't meant to know that."

"Yes I very much was. You weren't trying to hide it, which comes to the same thing. I know you and your plays at openness. Oh, yes, the very picture of—of—honesty—ah—"

The Bull's turn to laugh, a bit sheepish. "Uh—yeah. If you're not gonna make it weird."

"Make it weird," Dorian said, very solemnly for someone who was on the verge of shivering with arousal, his fingertips skittering on the Bull's stomach. "You're asking to have sex with a dragon. Who happens to be me."

And then, aroused or not, he laughed so hard, sprawled helplessly across the Bull's stomach, that it took them a full half hour to actually get back to fucking.

It turned out he was perfectly willing to put his dick in both the Bull's mouth and his ass, in turn, with a pause in between—to clean up, and then to kiss until Dorian was hard again, the Bull's hands buried in Dorian's disheveled hair.



"It is impossible," Adaar said. "I got a letter back from Skyhold. You can't turn into a dragon."

"Must I demonstrate again?" Dorian asked. "Are we really still doing this?"

"Oh, come on, Dorian," the Bull said, feeling like he should be more concerned but unable to actually connect to the feeling. "Show us again."

Adaar gave him a withering look.

"You have to be a dragon to begin with," Adaar said. "Morrigan was very, very clear. She sent a diagram, and also a rude note."

Dorian waved a dismissive hand. "Do I appear to be a dragon? If I was a dragon, would I really have been able to spend so much time looking human? I'm flattered by your belief in my abilities, but all the same, the idea is ludicrous."

"And true," Adaar said.

Dorian raised his eyes to the feathery clouds. "Supposing it were true, how long should I expect to wait before you skin me?"

"Shit," the Bull said. "It's true."

"For fuck's sake," Adaar said. "I'm not going to skin you. We skin the ones that, I don't know, rampage across the countryside stealing people's cows. You don't steal cows, do you?"

"You should know better," Dorian said, ignoring the bit about the cows and looking across at the Bull with a raised eyebrow—and with a hint of concern around the eyes, well-suppressed. "Don't they tell you about the Altus bloodlines? Honestly."

"They tell us," the Bull said, "that the lines are so much of a mess it doesn't mean shit any more."

Dorian's lips twitched into a smile. "Oh, but I'm the distillation of everything my family ever dreamt of. Didn't you know?"

The Bull's brain tried in vain to come up with a series of profanities to accurately convey exactly how scared and turned on he was by that look and came up with nothing except the buzzing white noise he'd usually associate with a really damn good orgasm.

"Good to know," he said. "Uh, hey, Adaar, Dorian's a dragon. We done?"

Adaar made a noise of profound disgust that would have put Cassandra to shame. "Yes, fine, I'm leaving, I don't want to hear anything about this ever again. That means avoid the scouts so I don't have to read the report, please."



"And this is fine with you," Dorian said. His hands were restless, fingers twisting his rings back and forth in quick uneasy movements. "Oh, yes, kill the shit out of dragons, and all that. One might become a little bit uneasy."

"Hey," the Bull said. "Hey, it's about control. You remember that bit. Order out of chaos. What bit of you is chaos?"

"Well, good," Dorian said. His hands relaxed, all at once. "I know that. I just needed to be sure you knew it. Especially if you still want me to fuck you. As an actual dragon, which I am."

"Shit," the Bull said. "I thought you didn't seem bothered enough about me liking dragons better than you."

"Do you?"

"Uh—no. But that's not the point."

"Bull," Dorian said, very deliberately, "do you need to sit down?"

"Maybe," the Bull said.



Down the slope away from the fortress, one of the ruined towers made a sheltered circle, the broken walls still high, blocking them from outside view.

The Bull sank down onto the ground within its limits, worn paving-stones disappearing under soil and grass. It felt better to sit. Meant he didn't have to show how unsteady on his feet he'd gotten. Dorian already knew, of course. But that wasn't the point, somehow.

"Would you like to look at me?" Dorian asked, in the same tone he would use to offer to touch himself for the Bull's pleasure.

"Yeah," the Bull said. "Please."

"That's unusually polite of you," Dorian said. "Are you feeling alright?"

He crouched in front of the Bull, and the look on his face was genuinely searching.

"Yeah," the Bull said. "Fuck, Dorian—"

"Mm," Dorian said, and leant forward to kiss him, very deep and very slow. When he sat back again his lips were distractingly damp, his cheeks a bit flushed. "I suppose I should take my clothes off first this time, shouldn't I? Two shows in one. Aren't you lucky."

"Looks that way," the Bull said. Took a deep breath. "Gonna make it good?"

Dorian laughed. "Oh, no, I thought I'd try being mediocre for once."

His hand lingered at his throat, fingertips pressed to the bare skin above his sternum, waiting for the Bull's attention to settle before they moved to the first of the ties on his armour. Deft little movements on the fastenings. The slow loosening, Dorian revealed in pieces. Leather skin peeled off, the fabric of his undertunic slipping down across his hip.

Naked, Dorian stood before him. Smiled. A natural pause, left for a watchword or a request.

And in the Bull's silence, Dorian sighed deeply, and closed his eyes.

Began to change.



Dorian's body was both solid and sinuous, a great bulk and a smooth curve. His scales shaded lighter towards the claws, his feet gleaming. Gold striped along his back, curled around his neck. His wings, folded close to his body, were boned in black and webbed in gold.

When he took a step towards the Bull, his claws clicked neatly on the stones.

"You can touch," he said. "Don't tell me you're shy."

"Great respect," the Bull said. Drew a deep breath, tasted the dragon-feeling of Dorian on his tongue from his closeness alone.

Reached out his hand.

Dorian leant his great head into the touch. His breath was hot against the Bull's forearm, his scales very dry, completely smooth when the Bull drew his hand with the grain of them, dragging roughly on the backstroke. He dug his nails in a little bit, very very lightly, experimenting, and Dorian's skin shivered visibly, the movement made powerful by the heaviness of it, the size of him.

"Ah—" Dorian said.


"Not exactly." Another huff of hot breath. "Carefully, if you please."

"Want to come here?" the Bull asked. "Over me?"

A low rumble that must be laughter. "If you wanted to see my cock, you could just ask."

"I was getting there," the Bull said. It came out more defensive than he'd hoped.

He could feel every single beat of his heart right there in his own dick, and was it the dragon, or was it— nah, it was definitely Dorian. All the parts of Dorian.

If he slouched back where he sat, Dorian could stand above him. If he steadied himself with a hand on the curve of Dorian's knee, he could reach up between Dorian's great legs and feel—feel—the flat wet tip of something that must be Dorian's dick, the way the scales parted around it—the way that his fingers sank slowly into Dorian on either side.

Dorian's claws scraped against the stone, curling sharply.

His dick shifted against the Bull's hand, pushing outward in little jolts as the Bull touched it until it pushed the Bull's fingers free from Dorian's body, and it was the Bull who shivered then, leaned his heated face against Dorian's flank, dragged his fingers slowly back and forth over unfamiliar ridges. Something new to learn, something beyond everything he'd imagined.

"You're going to come before we've done much of anything, aren't you," Dorian said.

The Bull closed his eyes, considered the slightly painful tightness between his legs. "Yeah," he said. "Could happen."

"I know you will," Dorian said. He settled back, foot to the Bull's shoulder so that the Bull was forced slowly, slowly down onto his back. He breathed in. Breathed out smoke. "I can smell it."

"Smug asshole," the Bull said.

"Yes," Dorian agreed. "You might want to take your clothes off at least. An idea."

"Aw, you want to see me naked," the Bull said. Curled his fingers around Dorian's dick by way of experiment, and got another of those great shudders from Dorian.

It wasn't too big, not like he'd thought it might be—not much bigger than some Qunari, but oddly shaped, fascinating. He had a sudden overwhelming image of Dorian sliding that dick into him in increments, giving him time to feel exactly all the unfamiliar ways it stretched him, and was for a moment completely unable to move, riding out the crest of arousal that really did push a bit too close to orgasm. To be honest, Dorian really was right—the fact that he was touching Dorian's dick while Dorian was a dragon was getting him there in itself.

"Bull," Dorian said, staring down at him with his great intense dragon-eyes, "I've wanted to see you naked approximately twice an hour since the first day I met you. It's hardly a special occasion."

"Now you tell me," the Bull muttered, betrayed by the flip of his stomach.

"You knew," Dorian said.

"That's not—ugh. You don't say that crap."

"Clearly," Dorian said, in the same tone he'd used to carefully and inaccurately describe his shapeshifting abilities, "I do."

"Alright. You're definitely not just trying to fuck me up."


"You're smirking," the Bull said. "Right now. I just can't see it."

"Oh, it's there." Dorian rumbled another laugh. The fact that he did it with his huge heavy teeth a thumb from the Bull's throat was hot, but not helpful. "Think of it as a challenge. Isn't learning how to read a person fun?"

"Let a guy get undressed, would you?"

Dorian let him. Watched him. He could always be intense when he was fucking, flipped back and forth between the breathtaking and the ludicrous with amazing dexterity—but this, now, all of Dorian's huge body curling its attention around him—yeah, it was something.

"Shit," the Bull breathed, when he was done. Spread himself out on his back, breathing unevenly. "Never felt small like this before."

"You shock me," Dorian said, but real soft. Sweet. Weird, coming from this body. Good. "No second thoughts?"

"Like shit," the Bull said, and lost his breath to a stuttered moan as Dorian settled over him.

"Next time," Dorian said, "we should fight." Teeth again. The slight scrape of them against the side of his neck. Suggestion. "I can show you how it feels when you pin me properly. Helpless in your grasp, was it?"

And his weight shifted, a very deliberate movement. A smooth drag of scales. Fuck, Fuck, all that power and heat, the promise of fire, the balance of it—

Dorian's power had always done it for him. And then there was this.

He couldn't even come up with a stupid joke. It was just him and his unsteady muscles and the overwhelming force of Dorian, body and shitty amazing personality—

Dorian's dick rubbed against the Bull's thigh. Slid along the crease of it, pressed against the Bull's balls. A grinding movement, weight behind it, Dorian shifting, finding the right angle—sliding his dick along the length of the Bull's, back and forth, back and forth, an end in itself, and fuck if he didn't want Dorian to spill across his stomach.

"I," the Bull said. "Shit—Dorian—"

Dorian breathed a careful curl of smoke across the Bull's neck.

"Yes," he said. "Oh, yes."



A long and varied afternoon, which became a night, covering several bodies and more than one location. That always meant it was a good one. The different bodies just usually didn't belong to one person. I've never tried changing half way, Dorian had mused, and then gone right ahead and done it, because of course he would.

It'd worked out pretty great

Dorian was completely human-shaped when the Bull woke up, stretched out on his stomach on the bed without any concern about the way the sheets barely covered him. Considering how he bitched about the cold, it was always a surprise. Something to do with the Qunari furnace next to me, Bull, I'm sure I don't know what—

The Bull ached. Strain in the muscles of his thighs, his lower back. The residual feeling between his legs that meant he'd been really thoroughly fucked.

"It's not morning," Dorian mumbled from beside him, reaching out to pat the first part of the Bull he could find without looking, which happened to be the Bull's stomach. "Go back to sleep."

"Hey, Dorian," the Bull said, stretching out his arm for Dorian to crawl into, "did you know you're a dragon?"

"I've heard a rumour," Dorian said. "I've also heard that somebody got so excited about the fact that I barely had to touch him to make him come. The way these stories spread certainly is something, isn't it?"

"Huh. I seem to remember he wasn't the only one."

Dorian made a vague sleepy noise of agreement.

"You know what," the Bull said. "Think I'm in love."

Dorian patted him vaguely again, this time on the chest. "I'm sure you are," he said. "I'm very lovable. Your favourite terrible ale."

And then he did a good impression of falling asleep again, even if he never did quite get the breathing pattern right.



Evening in Crestwood, their horses laden with the remnants of a couple of weeks in the field. Pretty sky, all pink and peach, and there was Dorian, bathed in the warm light, falling back to ride beside the Bull.

"I know what you meant," he said. "That night."

"Exactly what I said. It's cool, don't worry about it."

"Hmm," Dorian said. "Yes. Well, for what it's worth, you're my favourite terrible ale too."

The Bull looked across at him, sidelong. "Did anyone ever tell you you're impossible?"

"Oh, yes. Blame Tevinter, I suppose. Even if it did also make me a dragon."

And he spurred his horse on, climbing back up along the line until he could lean across and talk to Adaar, the two of them conspirators again.

"Hey, Varric," the Bull said. "Think I'm fucked. Put that in the book you can't write."

"You're both useless," Varric said. "Don't talk to me again unless you've got something for me."

The Bull laughed. "Drinks tonight good enough?"

"I'll take it," Varric said. "That and a spy story."

"Deal," the Bull said, and settled himself back into the twin reflexive habits of cataloging his surroundings and enjoying the curve of Dorian's spine.