“Definitely not as nice as our room in Griffon Wing Keep,” Dorian announced at last. “The drapes are hideous and I’d suggest several area rugs. The floor is so cold I may as well be walking around outside barefoot.”
“We’re not planning to be here long, and you have to admit it’s better than the Tower camp would be,” Theo countered. “And besides, you have a distinct advantage in that you can warm or cool yourself wherever you go. If anyone here should be complaining, it’s me. I have to suffer.”
“If by suffer you mean snuggle into my warm, inviting arms, I should think you like suffering.” Dorian had lit the fire, and Theo stood with his back to it, warming himself. He shrugged out of his leather coat and his nimble fingers worked the buckles of his armor almost without a thought: such a change from a year ago when he’d had to start getting used to wearing it. Dorian lay on his side, resting his head in his hand. He let the heat of his mana flow through him while he watched.
Theo had a terrible habit of leaving his clothing all over the floor whenever he disrobed, and it didn’t matter if they were in Skyhold, a tent in the Hinterlands, or here in Suledin Keep in Emprise du Lion. Dorian wasn’t much better about that himself, but at least he had the excuse of having grown up with slaves and servants following him about. Dorian watched in amusement as he worked at the buckles down his boots and then kicked them off. “You leave a trail of destruction everywhere you go. You know that, right?” Dorian asked him, and as if on cue, Theo’s cheeks reddened. “If you’re not slaying dragons and tearing down regimes, you’re leaving your clothing everywhere for me to trip over.”
“If you’re tripping over my clothing, it means I’m not wearing it. I’d think you wouldn’t be complaining about that fact,” Theo shot back with a cheeky smile. He stretched his arms overhead and leaned back slightly, his back cracking. Dorian winced, but his eyes widened. “What?” Theo asked, furrowing his brow in worry. He started to drop his arms.
“No, no,” Dorian told him. “Keep stretching.”
Theo raised an eyebrow, but did as Dorian asked. Dorian nodded his approval. When Theo stretched like that, just about to pull his wool overshirt off, the hem of his undershirt lifted up and skimmed his torso; there was the slightest teasing glimpse of his torso between his shirt hem and the waistband of his breeches, and Dorian was content to stare, to use his (active) imagination. He was intimately familiar with Theo’s body, but that teasing band of light skin caught and held his gaze. The hem of his shirts moved ever so slightly in time with his breathing.
“Dor?” Dorian flicked his gaze up to Theo’s eyes. “My arms are getting sore.”
Dorian chuckled. “By all means, take that top layer off and give your poor arms a break.” He watched as Theo pulled off the heavier top shirt. His lighter undershirt slid up, up, up his torso, showing the lean muscle of his stomach; the indent of his navel; the light scar that wrapped from his side down just under his ribs, and the purple and green bruise forming after being thrown down by a demon when closing a Fade rift earlier. Dorian absorbed it, memorized it, traced every curve and line with his eyes.
Theo slipped the sleeves off and yanked his shirt over his head. His hair stuck up in places and he dropped the shirt on the floor. Then he grinned at Dorian and kicked it over toward the bed before stretching his arms overhead once more to pull off his undershirt. Dorian hopped off the bed and padded across the chilly stone floor. He rested his hands on Theo’s hips, just over the band of his breeches, feeling his smooth skin with his fingertips. Theo dropped his arms, and the hem of his shirt grazed Dorian’s wrists. “What are you--” he began, and Dorian caught his lips in a deep kiss.
Theo leaned back against the wall beside the hearth and wrapped his arms around Dorian’s neck. “Maybe this room isn’t so bad,” Dorian murmured before catching Theo’s lip lightly between his teeth. He pulled back again and returned to his spot on the bed. “I just had to get that little itch out of my system,” he explained. “Keep going, if you would?” He smiled and batted his eyelashes, and Theo shook his head and laughed softly.
He cleared his throat and shook his hair back into place. It was his turn to bat his eyes as he languidly raised his arms overhead, showing off that gap of fabric that sparked Dorian’s imagination so. He caught the hem in his strong fingers and worked his shirt up over his chest and then turned so he was facing the wall. He inched his shirt up over his back, showing off the ripple of his back and shoulder muscles and Dorian’s breath caught in his throat. Maker, the man was a sight when he did this.
Theo dropped his shirt on the floor beside him, and turned to glance at Dorian over his shoulder. He bit his lower lip lightly as he caught Dorian’s gaze. The firelight glowed along the planes of his back and shoulders and glimmered in his eyes. “You were right,” Theo said after a moment. “This place is freezing.” He turned around, laughing, and joined Dorian on the bed. “Hold me. Warm me up,” he said, snuggling close to Dorian and his warmth.
Dorian pulled Theo in close and pulsed the slightest warming spell toward him. His lips grazed Theo’s jaw. “You could always put your shirts back on, if you’re that chilled,” he suggested. “Then I could watch you take them off again.”
Theo laughed again and pushed away from Dorian. “Really? Really? All the things we’ve done… and the… erm… places we’ve done them, and you want to watch me do another striptease?”
“It’s not like you’re going to take your time disrobing when we decide to skinny dip in the Pools of the Sun tomorrow afternoon,” Dorian said. “All that snow? You won’t be able to wait to get into the warm water.”
“Sounds like you have tomorrow planned. Wait, isn’t that dragon territory?”
“We’ll just have to be careful,” Dorian told him. “I love you, Amatus , but I’d far rather take a clandestine dip with you in some long-hidden hot springs than fight a dragon.”
“I like the way you think.”
“I know you do.” Dorian nudged him. “Once more?” he asked hopefully, using a small force spell to levitate Theo’s shirts. He put a little extra push into it and both garments hit Theo full-on in the face. “Because you love me?”
“Because I love you,” Theo said with another chuckle as he he slipped his shirts back on, and sauntered over to the fire, stretching out his arms overhead and showing the barest glimpse of his torso.