Chapter 1: A Blight Unbearable
Dorian was accustomed to being a pariah. Even amongst the nobility of Tevinter his opinions weren’t popular ones. He’d never owned a slave, never participated in blood magic… never slept with a woman. Aside from his sexuality, he had kept his thoughts largely to himself, knowing that that would put a further chasm between him and his peers. It was of little import if he became an undesirable amongst the Inquisition. He had come here to stop his countrymen from further spoiling the world not to braid hair with quaint southerners.
That that wasn’t what happened shocked him perhaps as much as the masses of the faithful. Oh, there were those who kept a watchful eye on him, hardly surprising when it turned out they were not only fighting a Tevinter cult but one led by a Blighted magister. What was surprising was the amount of welcome he’d received.
The Herald, from nearly the beginning, has been practically chummy, even flirtatious - which just proved her to be a woman of good taste. ‘There’s no one I’d rather be stuck in time with, present or future.’
In another lifetime the flirtations he offered to the young Free Marcher would be heated with desire. In this one they were merely banter between two people who were - against all odds- becoming quite close. That she dragged Dorian and Bull into the field more often than any other of her companions hadn’t been lost on anyone, least of all the gossips of Skyhold.
It set the tongues to wagging that Dorian often shared her tent, and sometimes even her bed. What none of them were likely to guess is that it wasn’t the least bit sexual between them. Perhaps once the Inquisitor had believed such a thing possible, for that he had some modicum of regret; but that had passed in a tavern in The Hinterlands when she’d discovered the reason he’d fled Tevinter. Evelyn had every right to have hurt feelings, Dorian wouldn’t have blamed her in the least; instead she’d commented on how he’d caught Bull’s eye and they’d discussed the merits of Qunari physiology over far too many glasses of foul southern wine.
Their bond - as Dorian often thought of - was formed not of desire but of fear. The rest of the Inquisition had read the reports of the ‘dark future’; but they alone had witnessed it. So when the nightmares gripped the young woman in terror he could not help but offer her whatever solace she found wrapped in his arms. That he, himself, slept better with her warmth curled beside him was something he’d confessed to her and her alone.
“You’re torturing him, Dorian.” Evelyn pushed her bedroll closer to his.
“I am not sure who you mean. Perhaps the young Commander? Do you believe he has developed a taste for aberrance?”
“You’re not aberrant, Lord Pavus,” she sneered, dodging the pillow he tossed at her head. “Also I’m not sure our Commander has a taste for anything but a well ordered army.”
Dorian chuckled at that as he nestled himself under the thick furs of their joined bedrolls.
“I’m referring to Bull.”
“Oh.” Dorian sighed as she snuggled close to him absorbing her warmth greedily as she wrapped her arms around his waist. For such a small woman she was practically a heater though she complained about the weather as much as he. That, or far more likely, his refined northern blood wouldn't let him acclimate to the freezing climbs of Ferelden.
“Didn’t he mention something about conquering ? I couldn’t quite hear you two drifted so far behind…”
He groaned, rolling his eyes despite the fact she couldn’t see him from where her cold nose was buried against his hairless chest - something she’d remarked upon the first time they’d cuddled like this. “What a marvelous notch he could put in his bedpost.”
“Don’t tell me you aren’t tempted. ” she wheedled.
“Tempted? Perhaps when I am exceedingly drunk. But it is a temptation bourne of a spectacular dearth of choices.”
“There are many men that share your inclinations, it isn’t shameful as it is in the Imperium.” She said, her eyelashes brushing against his flesh as she snuggled into him, any closer and they might have to extract them surgically; not that he truly minded.
“Oh yes,” Dorian groaned, “they share my inclinations as well as the southern fear of Magisters: blood mages, seducers of virgins. I’ve only just gotten them to stop blessing themselves whenever I walk past.”
“Suit yourself, Bull is spectacular.”
“Have you?” he said, pulling back to try and catch her eye and being rewarded with the sight of her red hair against his copper skin.
She burst out laughing. “No, no I have not.”
“And why not? If he is so spectacular? ”
He almost regretted the question when he felt the tension fill her body, heard the sigh of regret break loose from her chest. “Because for me, it is impossible.”
Dorian wanted to push, wanted to pry out the sadness he heard in his friend’s voice but he knew whatever was their was too deep and painful to touch right now. So he let it lie and told her stories of the wonders of Minrathous until he felt her breathing slow and her body go lax.
Bull took the first watch, letting Blackwall have their shared tent to himself. Standing with his back to the fire so as not to ruin the night vision in his one good eye, he watched their sentries farther afield. He was surprised when he heard the soft cries in the darkness. More nightmares. Then, moments later the soft rustle of the canvas tents, by the lightness and quickness of the gait it was Evelyn.
He hadn’t mentioned them to her. He’d long ago learned not to let the humans (elves and dwarves) know just how good his sense of hearing (and smell) was compared to their own. Still, he’d been surprised to hear her cry out. Usually she slept through the night when Dorian shared her tent.
“Hey boss,” he said, turning back towards the fire where she was huddled close for warmth.
“Guess it is my turn for watch.” she said, not looking at him. She was hunched over, leaning into the warmth of the fire. The golden light from the flames dancing across her skin serving only to highlight the shadows beneath her eyes, the tension around her mouth as she ground her teeth.
Shit. Must’ve been a bad one.
“Not tired, maybe you should get some more rest.” he offered, hopeful that the young woman might get more than a few hours tonight.
He knew what the soldiers of the Inquisition saw when they looked at her… a prophet, practically Andraste reborn and no matter how much he knew she privately believed otherwise she let them think that; perhaps because it was advantageous to garner allies or perhaps because in the back of her mind she wondered ‘what if?’ .
The Iron Bull? Well, he saw a young apostate who’d lost everything in her life - twice. Once when the Templars had dragged her away to the Circle and another when the family she'd made there turned on one another and began an unwinnable war. He saw a woman who stared into the abyss and held against it because it was the right fucking thing to do; and it was breaking her.
He dropped down onto the log next to her, stretching out his bad knee.
“Wanna talk about it?” he said, checking her shoulder with his, happy when he saw the ghost of a smile tug at her lips.
He didn’t miss the way she leaned toward the heat of him but he didn't comment. Bull reached around her and plucked the saddle blanket, still folded, off the end of the log before draping it around her shoulders. If he conveniently left his arm around her, well, she didn’t complain.
She shook her head, staring as sparks flew upward from the flames.
“You and Dorian-” he began before she cut him off.
“Not what you think it is.”
“Oh,” Bull chuckled, “It is exactly what I think it is. I’m probably the only one who’s got it right.”
She tossed her mane of red hair, free from its perpetual braids, off her shoulder. Damn, she was gorgeous but then again he’d always had a thing for redheads. They were rare amongst Qunari. But, amongst the humans they’d bought into that whole fiery redhead crap - as if the colour of your hair made a damn bit of difference in your personality. Not that he believed that. But, if you grew up hearing it maybe you were a bit more inclined to behave that way, or have people perceive you that way. Certainly the ones who'd shared his bed were a bit more interesting.
“So,” she pinned him with her green eyes, “What do you think you know?”
That’s what he liked about Evelyn, he was easily more than twice her size and she wasn’t intimidated in the least. “That it isn’t about sex.” he enunciated, letting the words fall between them and turn into silence, punctuated by the crackling of the flames. What he didn't add was that she probably wanted it to be. He would've told Evelyn she was barking up the wrong tree, or whatever the human expression was, but he didn't really feel that was his place.
She stared at him for a long while her eyes scanning over the planes of his face. He considered kissing her, drinking the sorrow from her lips. But then, her eyes became soft, a forgotten pain suddenly filling them. “I saw you die.”
When she didn’t continue he said, “Yeah, I know.”
“I see it again. Tonight… every night. Every soldier who swears fealty to the Inquisition, every agent who joins our cause, every friend I make… I see their bodies pile up in that blighted throne room. They stand between me and Corypheus and it isn’t enough to stop him… to stop that future. If I could give my life to end it-” the words choked off in her throat and Bull couldn’t stop himself from pulling her into his lap.
He was shocked how gratefully she came, letting him hold her and brush away the tears with the rough pad of his thumb. She may stand firm against the darkness but that didn't make it easy. She was so damn young, maybe twenty five and most of that spent sheltered away. She’d accepted him - accepted them all. They were a ragtag bunch of misfits but they were hers, all sworn to her side. Anyone of them would gladly lift the burden from her shoulders if it were possible. As it was, all Bull could do was try to be her shield. That Blackwall had once said something similar to him over too many pints of ale - his voice dripping with romantic notions of courtly love - was not lost on him.
After a long time in silence she moved to get up, but he held on. “I’m probably crushing your leg, Bull.”
“You humans weigh nothing at all, don’t worry about me. Stay.”
He helped her back into a comfortable position, an old Qunari lullabye coming to his lips unbidden. It wasn’t long before sleep took her again. Just as she went boneless in his arms he heard the canvas flap rustle again, the Tevinter mage coming to join them by the fire.
“Is she…?” Dorian whispered, taking the vacated spot next to him on the log.
“I was worried when I awoke to find her missing. Do you intend to hold her all night?”
Bull stopped himself from shrugging as she wriggled in his arms. “You got a better idea?”
“A moment?” Dorian said, flashing a cheeky smile before leaving. He returned from his tent a moment later with his staff and leviatated her right out of his arms.
“That’s impressive.” Bull said, rubbing the slight tingle of magic lingering on his arms.
He held the tent flap back while Dorian maneuvered her back onto her sleeping roll. As he headed back to his position near the fire he heard Dorian’s voice call, “Well, are you coming?”
Chapter 2: Blackest Nights
Watching Bull and Dorian dance around each other was amusing, and exhausting and considering she had this week in the ‘when will Bull finally fuck Dorian?’ pool it was about time she put her foot up their backside.
“So?” Sera whispered conspiratorially, leaning across the table with her tankard clutched in one hand. They’d taken positions at their favorite table, the one just outside Sera’s bedroom, to plan. The little elf had lost her bet in the pool ages ago, “I thought men were supposed to be all about shagging each other?’ It hadn’t taken much - a 70/30 split - to convince Sera to help her win the pot.
“I bribed the tavern girls and the stable hands last week. No one is going to be warming Bull’s bed for some time.”
“Oh yeah, nice one. He’s already moaning about how Skyhold’s suddenly turned into a chantry,” she sniggered before taking a long swallow off her tankard.
“But Bull’s not the problem, not really. He’d have bedded Dorian ages ago if Dorian had just said ‘yes’.”
“Well half that’s your fault, all touched lady Herald. Most nights one or the other’s warming your bed ain’t they?”
“Right.” Evelyn sighed, picking at imaginary dirt under her fingers, “Which is exactly why I’m going into the field, without either of them.”
“What? You aren’t gonna stick around for your victory?”
Sera sneered at that.
“I’m hoping that he will be sufficiently annoyed to drink the bottle of wine we found out in the oasis that I’m leaving for him. If not, I need you to annoy him until he takes shelter. A little drink and me out of the way and I’m hoping he gives into his more base nature.”
“Well I’m hoping they fuck like rabbits!” Sera said, a little too loudly drawing eyes from the nearby tables.
“Just make sure if you piss him off royally that he knows you won’t be here. Otherwise he won’t come to the tavern and all of this will be for nothing.”
“Sure, sure. “ She winked, “I got this.”
The Fallow Mire was as miserable as its name might imply. Evelyn slipped on the algae that gathered near the shoreline, if it could be called a shore when the earth that squelched beneath her feet was barely solid enough to hold her weight. She threw a fireball into the face of one of the endless undead before shoving her staff blade through the jaw of one that had broken past Blackwall and Cole and shambled within her reach.
“Unharmed?” Solas asked, leaning tiredly on his staff as the last creature crumbled from its glacier form, leaving nothing but ripples behind.
“Relatively,” Evelyn growled as trudged the few steps into the water, cutting the diseased flesh from the floating body before returning, tucking the disgusting sample in her hip pouch.
The rain had long since soaked everything and, unaccustomed as she was to southern weather, left a chill that ran to her very bones. She pushed the cowl off her face, forcing the tendrils of red hair that had escape her braid out of her eyes. She peered through the mist, trying to judge their distance remaining to the keep.
Solas followed her gaze as Blackwall and Cole returned from the water. “We should go back to camp and rest for the night. We will be of no use to them exhausted.”
“My men are prisoners,” Evelyn gritted, suddenly hostile. The entire journey Solas had been hovering, telling her to hold back when all she wanted to do was cut her way there and save her people. She wanted to soothe the fear her unremembered nightmares left with blood.
“I don’t like it much either,” Blackwall said, sheathing his sword as he came to stand beside her, “but I think Solas gives good council.”
“Your energy is low, da’len. I can sense it.”
“Fine.” Evelyn spat.
“Are you angry with me for speaking the truth?”
“I said, ‘fine’. Let it be.” She turned her back on the keep, trudging back toward the camp they’d left behind several hours before.
“ It burns. The smell of smoke all around her. Bodies upon bodies. ‘Abominations! Kill them!’ She hears in the dark. Dead and dying.” Cole muttered in a dreamy voice before snapping back from the memories in her mind. “You couldn’t save them,” he soothed, “They chose to fight, to die. Nothing you said would have stopped it.”
“Please Cole,” she begged, not looking at the spirit boy behind her, “not now.”
“I’m sorry, I did it wrong.”
“Leave her be, Cole.” Solas called to the boy, “Not all pains are so easily cured.”
It took them just shy of an hour to return to camp, although were it not for her sense of time instilled by the rigidity of the Circle she would hardly be able to tell without a glimmer of sunlight. They spoke little as they moved about, Cole occasionally murmuring to Solas in Elvhen before falling to silence again. She welcomed it, let it wrap around her.
The scouts had managed to slaughter a tusket and field dress it earlier in the day so there was a hearty stew. She ate hastily, knowing she needed the strength but the warm meal tasted like ashes in her mouth when she thought of her lost people, for they were her lost people.
They’d named her The Herald of Andraste, and while the mantle felt too big and heavy on the shoulders of a sheltered Circle mage, she tried to be worthy of it - even if she didn’t believe it. The faith of her followers was like a sword, a power she could wield against the armies of Corypheus; but if she was not careful it could destroy her just as easily.
Tomorrow, tomorrow they would rescue the scouts.
She did not sleep that night.
Chapter 3: Touch Me with Fire
The Iron Bull watched as Dorian swept into the tavern, his foul mood rolling off of him like the frost clouds Solas conjured. The tavern was half empty tonight, no doubt due to the spectacularly foul mood he’d been projecting from his spot behind the fireplace. Even Krem had abandoned him an hour ago levelling him with a look, “Seriously Chief, you need to get laid.”
“I know Krem,” he growled between gritted teeth.
Dorian looked around the sparse tables, strangling a half-empty bottle by the neck before his eyes landing on Bull and the empty corner he was occupying. He waltzed over, taking up the seat right across from him. Looking him right in the eye, Dorian said, “Get spectacularly drunk with me.”
Bull wasn’t entirely sure that was a question but, by way of answer, he plucked the bottle from Dorian’s hand and took a long draw from it before returning it to its owner. It was strong stuff and they drank it in surly silence until it was empty.
It wasn’t until Bull replaced it by putting a bottle of fine Tevinter brandy on his tab that either of them loosened up enough to talk.
“I can’t believe,” Dorian muttered, pouring himself another glass, “that she left us here, sitting on our thumbs. She took Blackwall, Blackwall!”
“You seem pretty broken up about it for a guy who isn’t even fucking her.”
“Don’t say that aloud,” Dorian quieted him, a little too vociferously, “You’ll ruin my reputation as the dreaded magister who is corrupting our dear Inquisitor.”
“Is that your reputation?” Bull said, watching as Dorian finished yet another glass. He was impressed - he could drink most humans (elves and dwarves) under the table but Dorian was holding his own.
Bull shrugged, he wasn’t much interested in gossip. It had very little practical value and his own observations were often much more reliable.
“Well, what is then?”
“Well, I figure some people think you’re screwing her but no more than think I am, or Sera, or Blackwall… good money is on Cullen I think.”
Dorian snorted into his glass, which was oddly cute. “I thought you were supposed to be some all-seeing Ben Hassrath spy. You think Cullen is her type? Good thing you aren’t in the Qun anymore or they’d oust you for losing your touch.”
Bull was surprised to find that Dorian’s drunken mention of him being Tal-Vashoth didn’t have the sting he thought it would. But telling him he was losing his touch, now that hurt. “Alright, big guy, then who is?”
“Apart from well dressed Tevinters?”
“Yes, apart from you.” Bull rolled his eyes before adding, “She knows, right? You aren’t stringing her along?”
“Oh yes, yes mother Bull. She knows, has known for sometime.” He said, tipping back another long swallow of his drink. “She merely finds me irresistable, as anyone of good taste would.”
It was Bull’s turn to snort.
“I’m not? It’s not like you’ve made it any secret you’d like me to… what do you call it? ‘Ride the Bull’?”
“Doesn’t mean you’re irresistible… I’m not exactly trying to resist.”
Dorian stood, wavering only slightly on his feet which was damn impressive considering how much alcohol he’d put down in the last hour, crossed the two steps and straddled Bull’s lap. One of his hands found itself with a handful of altus backside, the other steadying Dorian by gripping his thigh. “Why don’t we make a challenge of it? See who is right?” The mage paused only for a minute, perhaps waiting for Bull to withdraw consent before his head dipped, lips soft and pliant against Bull’s.
He groaned into Dorian’s mouth, pulling their bodies closer together with a roughness bourne of drink and need.
Dorian pulled back with a chuckle, “You’re losing already.”
“Seems to me, either way I win.”
Dorian laughed again, the vibrations running down his body and straight to Bull’s cock.
“Maybe we should take this somewhere more private?” Bull asked, indicating his room above the tavern with a jerk of his head. Dorian happily agreed.
“You call this a bedroom?” Dorian groaned as he took in the half crumbled ceiling, piles of wood and stone which had likely once been the roof now lumped in a corner to make way for a spectacular monstrosity of a bed. The only thing it had going for it was it was massive. “Why is there an ax buried in your bedpost?”
“Do you really care?’ Bull asked, hands coming to span either side of Dorian’s hips and waist as he closed the gap between them.
“No, not really.” he muttered, leaning into Bull’s touch as he found the sensitive spot at the base of Dorian’s neck and nipped at it earning The Bull a rather wanton moan.
Bull’s hands were huge and clever and as they roamed over Dorian’s body he found himself lost in a storm of pleasure with the only thing tethering him - the solidity of Bull’s chest at his back. One massive hand dipped between his thighs to cup him through his trousers, Dorian gasped, rocking into the touch before being spun to face the massive Qunari who claimed his mouth like a Maker-cursed invasion. Dorian surrendered entirely, no doubt shaming his entire country.
Bull guided him with gentle touches across the rubble-strewn room until Dorian’s thighs were bumping up against the bed. It took only a little encouragement to send him over backward.
“Your bedsheets are hideous; like hand-me-downs from a third rate Orlesian brothel.”
The Qunari was suddenly over him, around him, caging him in with the sheer size of him. “You come here to decorate or what?”
Dorian snorted in derision. “If I were, I would scarcely know where to begin.”
“Shut up, ‘vint.” Bull growled, a massive hand undoing the buckle by his shoulder.
“Make me,” Dorian challenged, rocking his hips up to grind against Bull.
Bull’s lips crashed into his with a passionate groan, claiming his mouth with a ferocity that made Dorian gasp with want. Pressing his advantage, Bull slipped his tongue into Dorian’s mouth. Dorian couldn’t help but think how talented Bull was with his tongue - not that he’d ever admit it. Maker but it had been far too long and Bull was far too good. The mage wrapped his legs around Bull’s waist, it was awkward, like riding a horse that was too large; only Dorian was beneath, overpowered and slowly losing his mind to the tidal force of his arousal.
Perhaps Bull sensed him losing control, or perhaps Bull was himself becoming overwhelmed because he suddenly stood, looming tall over Dorian, blocking the moonlight coming in through the damaged roof. Bull divested himself of his harness before sinking to his knees in the space between Dorian’s legs, nudging them open a little further with one massive, scarred shoulder. With the large belt Bull wore, Dorian would’ve imagined the man of have a paunch but as Iron Bull dropped the leather to the floor Dorian was surprised to find the man was surprisingly fit; if not chiseled - than toned.
Dorian looked down his body at the Qunari, and was suddenly struck with how absolutely spectacular he looked; his lips kiss swollen, and his eyes glittering with banked arousal. Fasta vas, Evelyn was right. He could lose himself in the feelings this man awakened in him. Which was... well...
“Like what you see?” Bull teased, grinning at him.
“I very much like having a qunari on his knees.”
Bull laughed, “Ooh, good one!”
Then all thoughts left Dorian’s head as Bull plucked his trouser lacings open and freed his cock. The sudden sensation of being encased in the heat of Bull’s mouth - far warmer than he remembered a mouth feeling - had him rocking off the bed like some blushing virgin. Dorian dug his fingers into the bedsheet, forcing air through gritted teeth while he tried to get ahold of himself. Bull’s hand found a way beneath his robes, splayed across his chest, rubbing soothing circles even as his clever tongue tried to drive Dorian over the edge. Dorian knew it had been sometime since his last partner but he never remembered anyone doing that before.
“Bull,” Dorian gasped, fighting against the tide of his orgasm. “Bull!” he shouted this time.
Bull pulled back with a loud ‘pop’ as Dorian’s cock fell from his mouth.
“I want-” Dorian mewled, hitching his hips suggestively.
Dorian sat up, narrowing his eyes at Bull before sliding off the bed into his lap. Pinned between his massive chest and the frame made the altus terribly aroused but he was determined not to going begging for Bull's affections. He wanted the beast as wrecked as he was.
Dorian’s mouth attacked Bull’s exposed flesh, biting and sucking little paths anywhere he could reach, rocking his hips occasionally to earn a moan from the Qunari beneath him. Dorian lost himself in the pleasure of Bull’s body, the taste of him, the feel of his tongue as Bull guided Dorian’s head back to plunder his mouth. Half naked as he was from Bull releasing many of the clasps of his robes he couldn’t help but lean into the warmth of every touch.
Suddenly, the Qunari lifted them both, Dorian’s legs immediately circling Bull’s waist as the remainder of his robes sagged lasciviously. His naked cock trapped against the heated flesh of Bull’s belly, his leggings around his thighs. The massive beast held Dorian easily, like no more than a rag doll as he opened the remaining buckles, some were merely decorative while others fell away suddenly exposing skin that Bull caressed and marked with his tongue and teeth. He was even able to pull off Dorian’s boots and socks, dropping them to the floor, all without losing his hold.
Even as the man shifted him around, stripping him, Dorian explored Bull’s body with his hands, cataloging him like he might a magical treatise. Each moan was a victory marked in Dorian’s mind. When Dorian finally had the courage to run his fingers over the skin at the base of Bull’s horns he could feel the shiver of pleasure that ran through the arms holding him.
He did it again.
This time Bull dropped them both to the bed, kneeling above Dorian while he was still wrapped around the Qunari’s waist. Dorian continued, varying pressure, sometimes using the edge of his nails gently against the flesh. It seemed Bull loved every touch, soaking them in until he was panting hot breaths against Dorian’s neck, his horns tipped down on either side of Dorian’s shoulders, effectively pinning him to the bed.
“Can you feel that?” Dorian asked as he ran his hands up the hard, rough edges of Bull’s horns.
“Not really,” Bull groaned against his flesh even as Dorian’s hands returned to the more sensitive flesh around the base. “It’s dull, feels good when they’re pulled on though. That,” he said as Dorian circled both his hands around Bull’s horns, yanking on them even as the sides of his palms brushed the responsive flesh, “feels incredible.”
Bull lifted his head, hitching them up further on the bed. Dorian didn’t let go, using Bull’s horn as leverage even as it earned him another groan of pleasure.
“You act,” Dorian murmured even as his teeth nipped at the side of Bull’s neck, “like no one has ever touched you there.”
“Oh, I’ve had my horns played with. It’s been awhile, though. Non-Qunari tend to avoid the horns or they think they’re like my cock and I can feel every little brush.”
Which gave Dorian a thought, he released one side of Bull’s horns and worked his hand between them, palming Iron Bull’s erection through his hideous breeches.
“Fuck,” Bull gasped even as Dorian joined him with curses of his own.
“ Venhedis! Must everything about you be so monstrously oversized ?”
“Hey now,” Bull teased, releasing a nipple in order to speak, “I figured that was half the thrill for you. Don’t worry big guy, I won’t make you take it all.”
“Like hell you won’t.” Dorian spat, grinning when Bull’s eyebrows shot up in a ridiculous look of surprise.
Bull set Dorian back down on the bed, surprisingly gentle as he moved the mage into the position he desired; splayed out on his belly with all of his backside at Bull’s mercy.
“Yeah,” Bull growled in pleasure, “you look so fucking good like that.” Bull took the time to appreciate the man sprawled beneath him - he was glorious and he knew it; especially like this, mussed and undone with pleasure as Bull trailed kisses all over the exposed flesh.
When Bull’s mouth finally, finally reached Dorian’s ass he was nearly lost. His hips rocking against the comforter to get some delicious friction where he needed it. Bull - damn him - saw this and curled his arm under Dorian’s belly, putting enough gap between him and the sheets to thwart Dorian’s efforts.
The mage was about to curse Bull and all his ancestors, was drawing breath to do just that when the delicious heat of Bull’s tongue swirled over the pucker of flesh between his cheeks; all thought immediately chased from his mind as he dissolved into needy little gasps, hips pushing back to ride the rough angles of Bull’s face even as the Qunari spread him open and impaled him on that wicked tongue.
“Please…” Dorian was babbling, begging as he hovered on the edge of pleasure, “Andraste’s sainted ass, Bull! Fuck me!”
The Iron Bull laughed, his hot breath pulsing against Dorian’s backside. With a parting nip Bull got off his knees and joined Dorian on the bed, fishing something out of the table nearby.
He felt the slick familiar warmth of oil slide between his cheeks, the room filling with a delightful musky smell that he would not have associated with the larger man. Dorian focused on relaxing his body, breathing deeply as Bull plunged one rough finger into him, fucking him slowly and avoiding his prostate so as not to push him too far too fast.
“Damn you’re gorgeous.” Bull murmured against his shoulder blade, “All spread open, ready to take me inside you.”
Dorian groaned, the words sending lightning dancing through his body and straight to his cock.
As Bull slipped another finger inside his willing body he nipped another mark into Dorian’s flesh, sucking it until it was an angry shade of purple. With his free hand he gathered up the mages wrists, circling them both easily and stretching them above his head, pinning the mage down. Dorian couldn’t help himself but test the strength in those hands; an unbidden grunt of pleasure escaped him when Bull didn’t budge.
“Do you think,” Dorian growled, trying to add the proper amount of haughtiness, “that you could kindly get on with it before I sober up entirely?”
“Think you’re ready?”
“Yes,” Dorian gritted out, “very much so.”
There was a moment of Dorian just breathing, staying relaxed until he felt the blunt head of Bull’s cock begin to stretch him open and then stretch him more and more until he was panting with the delicious agony of it. The man above him paused, giving Dorian time to adjust which was very considerate and not something the mage was at all interested in. “Having second thoughts up there?” Dorian taunted.
“Just giving you a minute.”
“Yes, well, minute is over.”
Bull chuckled, his hands splaying over Dorian’s hips and holding him in place. Bull pushed into him slowly, agonizingly slowly and yet relentless like the oncoming tide. Dorian wanted, no needed every bit of him. Even as Bull filled him past the point of comfort Dorian wanted more, hungry in a way no desire demon had ever been able to summon within him.
“Fuck, Dorian,” Bull muttered above him. Perhaps it was Dorian’s own ego but Bull sounded shattered.
“More,” Dorian urged, later he might mock himself for how his great wit was reduced to single syllables. “Need more.”
“Yeah, I got you.” Bull scooped him up from the bed, holding him up on his hands and knees which was nice, easier but not as deep. He wanted to feel Bull in his soul - which was trite and pathetic and not at all what this was supposed to be about. Dorian pushed that thought away focusing on the one thing he really needed which was to be utterly and thoroughly taken.
“Bull-” Dorian bit out, suddenly agitated and needful at being deprived of his prize.
“Want more of you.”
Bull huffed a sigh, Dorian could feel it, well, everywhere.
“Bull-” Dorian groaned, more agitated.
“Alright,” Bull relented, “I got it. You’re terribly pushy for a man with a cock up his ass.”
“And you’re terribly stubborn for a man with his cock in my ass.”
Bull was laughing, chuckling even as he manhandled Dorian around until Bull was laying back on the bed and Dorian kneeling above staring down into that grinning face all without losing that delicious length inside him. On top like this, Dorian had the control which he very much liked; he immediately used that control to sink down the entire length of Bull’s cock until he was panting and sweating and teetering on the knife edge of ‘yes that’ and ‘too much’ .
Dorian didn’t speak much Qunlat, but what he did know was almost entirely vulgarity. Not generally helpful unless you had a qunari in your bed muttering about ‘Koslun’s hairy ass’ as you were riding him without mercy.
“Dorian,” Bull gasped as they found a rhythm together, barely rocking their bodies together and apart, “so fucking good, so tight.”
The mage’s belly fluttered happily at Bull’s words of praise, soaking them in greedily as he rode the man beneath him, the girth of his cock pressing relentlessly against the sensitive bundle of nerves within him. Dorian managed to unscrew his eyes for a moment, dropping his chin to his chest so he could look at Bull who was watching him. Oh, he was moaning and looked utterly wrecked but his one eye was staring not just at Dorian but through him. In that moment Dorian felt like his soul was laid bare.
That realisation came suddenly with another on its heels, he was very very close.
Dorian grabbed one of Bull’s rough hands from where it cradled his hips and guided it to his cock, the other bracing himself against Bull’s chest as he shifted the angle, losing the rhythm in the process.
Dorian grunted his frustration even as Bull continued fucking up into him, keeping the pace and sending him headlong into the most intense orgasm he could remember having. Dorian cried out, throwing his head back as he keened through wave after wave until he was boneless, utterly spent.
Bull held him close, still inside him but also maddeningly hard.
“Why did you stop?” Dorian muttered against the flesh of Bull’s shoulder.
Dorian felt one of Bull’s big hands in his hair - which at any other time might earn him a death sentence. “Not gonna hurt you,” Bull growled, clearly vexed. Dorian felt a part of him shrink, not wanting Bull’s displeasure while another part balked at such feelings.
Dorian managed to lift his head enough to look into Bull’s eyes, there was tenderness there - concern. Oh! Bull wasn't upset with him but for him. Dorian had no idea what to do which such a thing, but he did know what to do with the cock still inside him.
“Fuck me, Bull. I want it. And you shan’t hurt me.”
Bull’s eyes looked him over for a long time, probably deducing something out of the way he breathed. “You got a watchword?”
“Alright.” he said with a quirk of his lips. They rolled together until Dorian was beneath, Bull grabbing his wrists and pinning them above him to the bed.
Bull started gently at first but it wasn’t long before - at Dorian’s insistence - he was slamming into the mage with abandon. It felt so good, even though he’d just spent himself Dorian found that he was climbing towards another release. He’d always liked it rough but had never had a more than quick dalliances let alone someone willing to pin him down and fuck him sideways. Yet, Bull was doing just that, as if he’d plucked Dorian’s innermost desires from his very mind.
Dorian was gasping and moaning, not caring who heard as a fire built at first in his belly and then spread through his limbs. His cock was still soft against him but he didn’t need to stroke himself, he was already on the precipice.
“Don’t you dare stop,” Dorian gritted through his teeth as he felt Bull’s pace quicken toward his own release.
“Yeah, that’s fucking right.” Bull growled before sinking his teeth into the flesh at Dorian’s shoulder.
The spike of pain sent him tumbling over the edge, desire flaring up inside him as he cried out; Bull following behind with a roar. Dorian wasn’t sure how long he drifted in the aftermath of his own orgasm but when he came back around the first thing he sensed was the smell of carbon.
“Is something burning?” Dorian muttered to the wall of chest hovering just above him.
Bull shifted, leaning back enough so he could see. He burst out laughing.
“I think you set my curtains on fire.”
Dorian leaned up on his elbow, casting an ice spell to extinguish the smoldering fabric. “They deserved it, hideous things.”
“Guess you did come to redecorate,” Bull sniggered.
Chapter 4: My First Breath
This has become a labour of love. I wrote most of this chapter on my smart phone while making sure a closed store didn't get robbed. Thank you to everyone for all the kind words!
The tavern was crowded tonight but as Evelyn came in from the light flurry of snow, stamping the half frozen mud off her boots and the coin she’d won off Varric jingling heavily at her hip, she felt relieved to be home. Suddenly there was a bit of room at every table for The Herald, she nodded and waved back to those beckoning her but headed for her favorite spot, as she rounded the fireplace Iron Bull kicked the chair he’d been resting his feet on toward her and she sunk gratefully onto it’s worn surface. She couldn’t help the sigh that escaped her throat.
“Rough trip, boss?” Bull asked, peering over his tankard.
She groaned by way of answer, letting her exhaustion peek through on her face.
“You poor thing!” Dorian cried, taking one look at her bedraggled state as he returned to his chair likely from fetching another round from Cabot.
“Why is it,” she grunted, pulling off her boots to free her frozen feet, “that everywhere I go lately is cold, wet and full of shamblers?”
“Joys of your southern climate?” he said before sweeping off his stool and back toward the bar, “I’ll bring you something warm.”
“If you’d brought me along I could’ve warmed you.” Iron Bull said, plucking her feet from the ground and placing them in his lap, his massive hands curling around her icy toes. There was a moment when they felt on fire before the heat sank fully into her body, a shiver breaking loose from her aching bones.
“Couldn’t,” she mumbled, head tipping back in pleasure as Bull’s thumbs dug into her arches, “Blackwall was looking for some Warden-y stuff and with the rumors of plague I needed our best healer. As much as I adore you-” she said to Dorian as he returned and pressed a mug of mulled cider into her aching hands.
“Of course you do,” he winked, “what’s not to adore?”
“-You’re not our best healer by a giant’s throw. So, of course I took Solas.”
“So who’d you share a tent with?” Bull asked. If she didn’t know any better she might suspect he was jealous, but of course he wasn’t because despite the flirting both he and Dorian tossed her way she knew -hell, half of Skyhold knew- that they were now rather happily intimate with one another. Maker but she’d missed them, she’d been gone nearly three weeks clearing out the swamp; but, it was all done now and no need to ever go back.
“Ostensibly Cole, though I didn’t see him at night at all. I suspect the boy doesn’t sleep. Solas and I nearly got into it. I’m surprised there aren’t scars.”
“Yes, well,” Dorian said, his feet finding their way next to hers in Bull’s lap their warmth radiating into hers where they brushed together, “I imagine he deserved it.”
Evelyn smiled, but admitted, “Not truly, I was pushing myself too hard to get our people back and he saw it.”
“You’ve got to take care of yourself, boss.” Iron Bull reproved.
“Yes mother.” Evelyn groaned, nudging his shoulder, “For not having a grown up with one you do a fair imitation.”
Bull dug his thumb a little too roughly into the arch of her foot. Evelyn stuck her tongue out at him, earning her an odd little wink. Letting her eyes drift closed, Dorian filled her in on the latest gossip. If she let her mind wander she might imagine a private fireplace and her, Dorian and Bull curled together with far less clothes.
‘Andraste preserve me.’ she prayed, pushing those thoughts from her mind. In another lifetime, when she’d only been the rebellious mage in a Circle of sedate rule-followers turned apostate she may have happily fallen into these men’s arms - or Bull’s arms which she would’ve gladly shared with the polished mage. That life was over, now she was The Inquisitor and The Herald of Andraste and if there’s one thing a young religious figure didn’t do was have a scandalous sexual relationship with not one but two foreigners.
“Evie..?” Dorian called, his nickname for her drawing her out of her thoughts.
“A bit tired?”
“Lost in thought.”
Dorian gave an offended little gasp. “Is the latest gossip not interesting enough?”
“The only gossip I’m interested in is the one you aren’t telling me about. Varric says the kitchen staff and the stable boys are beside themselves because Bull has only had one man warming his bed since I left.”
“Don’t think I don’t know that that is exactly what you had in mind when you left me alone with excellent wine.”
“Was it excellent?” Evelyn teased, “I see you didn’t save any for me.”
“You’re lucky that there’s a single drop of alcohol left in Skyhold, such was the need to soothe my broken heart.”
“You are broken hearted that I left you here instead of taking you to the plague infested swamp? You’re such a romantic.”
Bull burst out laughing, earning him a glare from Dorian. “She’s got you there ‘vint. Oof!” he grunted as Dorian rather forcefully added his feet to Bull’s lap. Good-natured as ever Bull began peeling off the mage’s shoes.
They talked and drank and as the chill worked its way out of her bones she became more and more exhausted, the weeks afield without comforts and with little rest had worked their way deeper than she first though.
She wasn’t sure when she drifted off or for how long but she snapped suddenly awake when Bull lifted her into his arms. It was a testament to her exhaustion that she allowed herself to be carried across Skyhold and tucked into bed like a child.
“Evie?” Dorian’s voice was soft, carding her hair back from her face - did she remember him brushing it? “Would you like us to stay?”
She nodded by way of answer, lacking the strength or will to speak.
She drifted off again and it wasn’t until she was being moved, rolled a little to make room for Bull that she came around again. She curled up against him where he was on his back, propped up on pillows and blankets so his horns cleared the headboard, Dorian on his other side mirroring her. She reached across Bull’s chest until she found Dorian’s hand, gripping it desperately.
“Don’t leave.” she whispered, suddenly vulnerable with these men in her bed.
“Never amata, never.”
Bull’s hand settled on the small of her back and she drifted peacefully off to sleep.
She dreamed of sex and of the horrors of Redcliffe - the reality of the men in her bed blending with the darkest of her fears in a way that made her startle awake with a gasp. She held herself very still, not wanting to wake Dorian or Bull - not wanting to explain the mixture of fear and arousal which rode her body like demon possession.
When she was sure neither had awoken she slipped from the bed and out the balcony doors, shutting them quickly behind her. The cold of the mountain air slashed through her like daggers and she was instantly shivering yet still gulping down heaving breaths of the frigid air letting the pain of the cold rid her of the last tendrils of the nightmare.
When she slipped back inside Bull wasn’t in the bed.
“You alright?” the qunari's deep voice asked from her side, startling her.
“Maker’s puckered arse, Bull!” she hissed, still having enough control not to scream at him and wake the mage.
He shrugged, stepping back and settling himself in her desk chair. Unable to deny herself the comfort of his presence she followed him, even as the temptation of her arousal and the emotions swirling through her were too much. She stopped just a few steps shy of curling up in his arms, not trusting herself.
“You ever think of taking those potions the healer makes for you?” Bull asked.
She shook her head, arms crossing under her breasts as she failed to meet his eye. “Not waking is worse.”
Bull nodded offering his hand to her, when she took it he pulled her into his arms in a loose embrace.
“You got a lot on your shoulders, boss. Wish there was some way I could carry some of it.” He looked up at her, eyes to eye, and she believed him; it made her belly tremor painfully reminding her of the primal needs still flooding her, demanding to be filled.
She brought her fingers up, tracing the line of his cheekbones, his jaw before circling his eye patch. “May I?” she whispered, voice breaking.
She lifted the piece of leather and metal, suppressing the gasp that rose in her throat at the mass of scars. “Do you regret it?” she asked, brushing the pad of her thumb along the rough skin.
“No. Miss it, maybe. But Krem is worth and eye or two.”
She leaned in, pressing her lips to the scars. She wanted to drag her lips down to his mouth, to feel the rough stubble of his jaw but the wiser part of her brain held her back even as her heart pounded hard in her chest encouraging her to just do it. Cross the last few inches and taste him.
“I should go, boss.”
She pulled back as if struck, stumbling away as Bull rose. “I-I’m sorry Bull.”
“Nothing to be sorry about, but we might be heading that way.”
She nodded, eyes falling on Dorian where he was curled up in her bed. She was hit with guilt so strong it felt like a punch.
He paused at the top of the step. “Get some sleep, Evelyn.”
When he was gone, the heavy wooden door shutting behind him, Evelyn stumbled to the bed, hating her fickle heart.
She spent days avoiding Dorian and Bull which was not easy in Skyhold when a question would get you pointed in her direction. Of course everyone knew when her and her advisors were meeting by the guards stationed near Josephine’s office and a rather insistent and put out mage might decide to lay in wait for the recently flighty Inquisitor.
“You’re an idiot,” Dorian said as she stepped out of the hallway leading to the war room.
Josephine and Leliana were still within making plans for certain visiting dignitaries but Cullen took one look at the ‘Vint and had the good sense to scurry past.
“Why,” she sighed, “pray tell this time?”
The Altus stood with his hip cocked, looking at her expectantly.
“What have you done that you’re avoiding me?”
Guilt was becoming a familiar feeling whenever her thoughts strayed to Dorian or his lover. His lover, not yours. Defensive, she spoke, “Why couldn’t it be something you’ve done?”
Dorian merely laughed. “Because you’re far too forgiving, if it were something I’d done we would have had it out by now.”
She shrugged, blustering her way past him and across the main hall to her own bedroom. That Dorian was following her was obvious even though he didn’t scream her name like a jilted lover. Finally inside her room - well, the Inquisitor’s room as it could hardly be described as hers when Josephine and Vivienne had picked out every bit of it - she froze with her back still to the mage.
“Please, leave me alone Dorian.” she begged, feeling far too fragile and overwhelmed as she hugged herself; overwhelmed by her feelings for the mage in her room and the qunari in her keep and absolutely at her wits end with her own heart.
She thought she’d feel triumphant when Bull and Dorian finally got together. She didn’t. She was jealous, of Bull and of Dorian. She was an utter shit and of course she couldn’t admit that.
Dorian’s hands on her shoulders pulled her from her thoughts as he drew her from behind into a hug.
“You’re an absolute idiot.” he murmured into her hair, “Whatever it is I will forgive you - you know that.”
“I don’t deserve your forgiveness, or your friendship.” she sobbed, suddenly losing herself to the tide of her emotions.
Dorian spun her in his arms, pulling her tear stained face to his shoulder where she lost herself in racking rib-aching sobs.
“Whatever it is, it cannot be this bad.”
“I almost kissed Bull - with you right there in my bed. I’m an awful person - you’re my friend.” She broke down again, guilt rising in her and all the more remorseful because Dorian was still comforting her.
“All this,” Dorian soothed, “over almost a kiss?”
She shook her head, stumbling back until her knees hit her bed and she collapsed onto the mattress on her arse. “You don’t understand. I would have kissed him. He stopped me because he’s loyal to you, loyal like I should have fucking been!”
“I must have been a spectacular kind of idiot not to see it before- you like Bull.”
She felt the heat rise to her cheeks and she couldn’t even look at Dorian as he pulled her up off the bed and back into his arms.
“So what was your great plan?” he asked, tenderly, “Contrive to have Bull and I be together so that I might protect you from him?
“No!” Evelyn cried, grasping Dorian’s hands in hers. “Not that!”
“Then what is going on? You might need to spell it out for me, my dear.”
She reached up, running her fingers over his perfect mustache, smoothing it the way she’d seen him do a thousand times. “I love you.” The words were out before she realised she was about to say them. Maker’s arse but she was too vulnerable. “Dorian I-“
His lips were on hers, hot - blindingly so and utterly chaste; yet she fell into his arms like some swooning virgin. He pulled away far too soon.
“I love you too.” Dorian responded, “But I’m not sure it is the kind of love you wish it to be.”
That, of course, she knew and she wouldn’t change, not for the world. “I know.” She buried her face in his shoulder, winding her arms around his waist.
“Amata,” he breathed, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and holding her close. “how do you feel about Bull?”
“I don’t know…” she muttered.
“Come here.” Dorian guided her to the bed until they were both perched on the edge, sitting facing one another. He held her hands. “Do you want to fuck Bull?”
“Yes,” she blushed, “but it’s more than that.”
“You want his love.”
She nodded, not meeting Dorian’s eyes. “Why do I suddenly turn into a blushing virgin when it comes to that damned qunari?”
“I think he has that effect on people,” Dorian chuckled, drawing her gaze.
“But I want you to be happy and Bull does that,” she continued before Dorian could contradict her, “don’t deny it.”
Dorian sighed, “What we have, it isn’t… serious.”
“Liar. Maybe you wish it wasn’t but it is. I refuse-“ she spoke louder when Dorian tried to interject, “Refuse to let you step aside. Besides,” her thumbs fiddled nervously with his, “I’m the Herald of Andraste… whatever that means… I can’t. Duty-“
“Duty can shove itself.” Dorian growled.
“You sound like Sera.”
“You carry the entire world on your shoulders, you deserve happiness, even if that happiness is scandalous.” They fell to silence. After many minutes Dorian continued, “If this were Par Vollen, Bull would just take us both to his bed.”
Her eyes snapped back to his from where they’d wandered off. “If this were Par Vollen… they don’t even have relationships in Qunadar.”
Dorian shrugged, “The point stands, we could share. There aren’t many people in the world I’d share with but, it might work.”
“Sounds like trouble,” she groaned, flopping back onto the bed so she didn’t have to look him in the eyes, burying her face in her hands. She was imagining… the three of them naked. Her belly fluttered, the sensation rough with anxiety as it mixed with arousal.
“I like trouble.” She could hear the smile in Dorian’s voice even if she couldn’t see it as he sprawled out next to her. “If you’re going to be scandalous, might as well give them a scandal to remember.”
“I’m going to put Josephine in an early grave.” She heaved a sigh, releasing the anxiety that had ridden her the last several days only for it to be immediately exchanged with nervousness.
“So, how shall we got about seducing Bull?”
“I’m fairly certain we could just ask him. He tends to appreciate directness.”
“No, no, no.” Dorian admonished, “That won’t do. I never get to play matchmaker.”
“Encouraging your boyfriend to sleep with your best friend could hardly be called ‘matchmaking’ in the traditional sense.”
Dorian wrinkled his nose, “Not my boyfriend.”
“Someone is in denial.”
“Fine.” Dorian relented, “Have it your way.” He tugged her up from the bed.
“Where are we going?” Evelyn asked.
“To Bull, before you lose your nerve.”
Dorian half dragged her up the battlements near The Herald’s Rest, mercifully not taking her through it. When they reached the top he let himself inside manhandling her until she was sitting on his bed. She sat there motionless, shocked to be in Bull’s bedroom at all let alone in his absence, as Dorian lit a fire in the grate.
“What?! No! I am not waiting in Bull’s bedroom alone.”
Dorian stopped by the door, pinning her with an exasperated look. “Would you rather walk through the tavern to fetch him?”
“No! I’d rather go back to my chambers.”
“Just, wait here. Or do I need to seal the doors?” Dorian challenged. Damn him, without her staff - which she’d conveniently forgotten in her room - she probably wouldn’t be able to blast through a barrier without bringing half the tower down around her ears.
“Fine.” She huffed.
It seemed like an eternity of waiting before she heard Bull’s voice on the steps.
“...kinky! I like it.”
“Oh will you kindly just-“ there was muffled sounds outside the door and then a heavy thump against it making it rattle in its frame. “Iron Bull!” Dorian gasped from just the other side of the wood.
The handle rattled before swinging open, Bull and Dorian spilling into the room. Her heart leapt into her throat where it was currently doing an imitation of a stampede of halla.
The Iron Bull, a man she had always known to have something to say was utterly speechless as Dorian joined her standing near the end of his bed. As the silence stretched she found herself wishing that the floor would open up and swallow her into the Fade.
Dorian, for his part, was standing by her side, his hand at the small of her back, grinning like a mad man. When Bull finally, finally broke the silence he growled, “Dorian, what is this?”
“We’ve established that she’s not avoiding me. She’s avoiding you. So fix it. Or I will.”
Dorian gave her a little nudge, she stumbled a few steps before catching her feet in the middle space between the two men. Bull was still glaring at Dorian over her shoulder, ignoring her entirely - she didn’t like that at all. Crossing the final few steps she poked Bull in the ribs, gaining his attention.
“Dorian and I have been talking,” she confessed.
“So I gathered.”
“I told him about the other night.”
"Not much to tell," he said, not breaking her gaze.
"Yeah, well, not if I'd had my way..."
Bull’s eyebrow shot up before looking to Dorian for confirmation.
Evelyn gave an indignant huff. Bull wisely returned his attention to her. “I like you. And he likes you.”
“Well I-“ Dorian interjected, receiving a scathing glare.
“Dorian, shut it.” Evelyn spat before turning back to Bull. Maker, had he ever been so huge? She pulled in a steadying breath before continuing, “we thought… we thought we could share.” Bull quirked an eyebrow - did they always move so much? - but remained quiet. “That is, if you are even interested… would want…” Bull’s warm hand covering the side of her face stilled her words which had become more of a babble.
“Done?” Bull asked.
“What do you think, Dorian?”
“Oh,” the mage gave a little start, clearly having been lost in thought, “I approve.”
“Alright,” Bull ushered her toward the bed, “everyone sit. We’re gonna talk about this.”
“Must we?” Dorian sighed, “I approve. She approves. What is there to talk about?” Despite his words he plucked the chair from the corner and set it down next to the bed before settling into it backwards, his arms slung across the back.
“Like your intentions?” Bull asked, “This a one time fuck which - hey, I’m all down for - or something more?”
Evelyn couldn’t quite meet his eye, focusing rather on the tips of his horns as she breathed, “More.”
“Venhedis … more, I suppose.”
Bull nodded to himself, as if he’d had something confirmed. “This something we keep to ourselves-“
“As if,” Dorian cut in, “there’s a discrete bone in your body?”
“Stop.” Evelyn asked, there was too much talking and she was quickly losing her nerve.
“Hey,” Bull soothed, placing a steadying hand on her thigh as Dorian joined them on the bed; straddling her from behind and wrapping her in a warm embrace.
“Amata.” He whispered in her ear. “Relax my dear, relax.”
“I want this. I want this more than I’ve ever wanted anything and I don't care who knows.” Her hands were shaking, she tried to still them. “I don’t even know if I should want this. I’m The Herald, the people expect-”
“Forgive me, boss, but who cares?”
“What do you want, Bull?” she asked, finally looking him in the eye - her fingers running over his face but this time she was allowed which was a mercy.
The Iron Bull was silent for a long time before he finally reached over and pulled her into a searing kiss. It was everything she’d imagined and yet nothing like she’d imagined. She’d expected to be conquered, utterly overwhelmed - and she was. But, not because Bull pinned her down and demanded it of her. If anything, he was maddeningly gentle in the way his lips slid across hers, asking for permission to enter - not forcing it.
She cried out, the sound muffled between them as he went to pull away, her lips following in desperation. Some part of her mind screaming that if he stopped she would wake up and all of this would be a dream. She crawled across his lap, settling astride him. His arms wrapped around her, hands splayed across her back as they drew apart, gasping. Evelyn immediately trailing her mouth over his chin, down his neck, losing herself in the smell and taste of him.
“Well,” Dorian cleared his throat, “not that this isn’t lovely to watch.” His voice was far more heated than she expected which drew her gaze to the mage beside her. “But, I think I shall leave you two alone.”
“I want-” she reached out blindly, his hand catching hers.
“I know, my dear, and sometime we shall have it; see if we can overwhelm The Iron Bull with our combined beauty. But this time,” he stood, sweeping closer until his mouth was perched above her ear, “this time I think you should enjoy his singular attentions.”
“Dorian,” she squeezed his hand where they were still connected, “are you sure this is alright?” Even as she said it, as her gaze fell on Bull she wasn’t sure she could walk away.
“More than alright, amata. The sight of you two together-” he sighed, his breath full of emotion.
“It feels like home.” Evelyn finished, her face flushing with embarrassment when she realised what she'd said.
“Yes,” suddenly straightening, Dorian seemed to shake off the spell of their combined emotions. “And with all the saccharine confessions over I think I shall go light something on fire.”
Chapter 5: Cadence of My Heart
Thank you all you wonderful people for your kudos, bookmarks and of course comments. They keep me writing late into the night. I've finished plotting the whole arch and there's some angst to come but nothing you brave people can't handle. And, because I'm a sucker, I promise a happy ending!
I have reposted this chapter with some minor edits for prose and pacing.
Bull and Evelyn watched Dorian leave with a mixture of sadness and excitement. When the door closed behind the mage Evelyn found herself overcome with nervousness. She nudged his jaw with her forehead, burying her face in his neck as soon as he titled it back. Groaning she said, “Why do you make me feel like an inexperienced virgin again?”
Bull chuckled, the sound warm in her ear and where it reverberated through her body. “Don’t worry, boss. I’ve got you.”
“Please don’t call me that, not here.”
“Alright,” Bull soothed, one hand combing into her hair, nails dragging along the scalp. The rough pads of his fingers sent a thrilling frisson down her spine. “Evelyn then.”
The way he spoke her name, so full of promise, made her gasp - her hips rocking down onto the solidity of his legs. “I want this,” Evelyn whispered, not much trusting her voice, “but only if it could be something - something real. I don’t want to be like one of your serving girls.”
He growled, rolling them both until she was pinned beneath him. “This - is nothing like that. But I need to know, Evelyn, you up for this?” he squeezed her wrists where they were pinned to the bed.
She moaned, biting her lip as the pain mixed with her arousal, sharpening it. She couldn’t help but lean into the sensation.
“Hell yes,” Bull nodded, his voice rough and breathy with arousal.
“Please,” Evelyn cried, the grasping - aching need in her belly demanding to be filled in a way that made her want to claw at it.
“Evelyn, look at me.”
She cracked her eyes open, looking into his storm grey pupil.
“Tell me what you want.”
“I want you inside me…” When Bull didn’t react, merely watching, waiting for more she continued, “I want it rough. I like - pain but I also like it tender too, sometimes. I want - I need to get out of my head.”
Bull nodded, the hand not pinning her to the bed gentle at her hip. “That, I can do. Do you know what a watchword is?”
She shook her head.
“A word, something you wouldn’t say during sex - one or two syllables - and if you say it I stop and figure out what’s wrong. Choose one or, I can.”
She considered for a moment before choosing. “Ostwick.”
“If you can’t say it then you tap three times - on me or the bed.”
She nodded, biting her lip.
“You’re wound up real tight.” The hand at her hip slipped underneath her, cradling her pelvis. “Let’s get you relaxed first.” His hands caressed her for a long time, blunt fingers ghosting over her skin. Before he pulled back, releasing her to kneel. She watched him from under her lashes as he undid his harness, dropping it in the chair Dorian left nearby, and his knee brace quickly followed.
“I swear I’m not a virgin,” she babbled.
“You think I think that? I don’t. But it wouldn’t be a bad thing if you were, we’d just go about this a little differently.” he soothed, drawing her up to him, his fingers nimbly working off her outercoat.
As she shucked off the leather her lips found his again, desperately claiming where his were more passive. He let her take from his mouth, her hands finding purchase on his shoulders as she tried to get him to do anything . But, he seemed content to move at his own pace.. She tried to push ahead but every time he would slow her, soothe her with hands, mouth and words until she couldn’t help but be pliant in his arms, floating on an ocean of pleasure that Bull built within her.
“This time,” he said, “we’re gonna go gentle. I can’t say I know what your southern circles are really like - hell I don’t know what any circles are really like - but I doubt they’re conducive to a night of good sex.”
She shook her head, then gasped as he tugged her tunic over her head revealing her breasts, still bound. His fingers returned, finding their way to her neck and jaw, easing some tension loose.
“Want to tell me about it?” he asked against her skin as he dragged his lips across her shoulders.
She shrugged, leaning into the sensation. “There’s nothing much to tell. It was against the rules - everything was against the rules. Most good First Enchanters looked the other way if it wasn’t with a Templar but that didn’t mean you flaunted it, especially not with the rumors out of Kirkwall. So we apprentices and mages did it fast, up against walls, always worried you’d get caught - that the person you were kissing would tell and you’d end up in trouble or worse.”
“Shit.” Bul growled, “Glad you’re free of that life now. I can’t say I know what will or should happen with the mages but people like you and Dorian don’t deserve that.”
Her forehead found his shoulder, feeling more safe in his embrace than she had in an age. She wriggled one hand free enough to pull the pins from her hair, freeing the mass of braids and carding her hands through the locks. At some point Bull started helping, gently unwinding the strands, fingers massaging her scalp whenever they weren’t doing something else.
“So,” she purred, changing the subject, “I hear you like redheads.”
Caught off guard Bull laughed, laughed so hard they tumbled backward together until she was sprawled on top of him. She began exploring him, mapping every scar with her mouth, her fingertips. It was the middle of the afternoon and she’d be content to spend the day here, learning his body as he clearly knew hers.
He crossed his arms under his head, letting her have her way. Sometimes she’d pause on a particularly deep one, looking at him for an explanation. “Arrow.” he’d grunt, voice deep and rough with pleasure. “Fog warrior.” “Mace.” “‘Vint.”
Over and over he’d tell her of his scars and she’d move on until she reached the wide band of his pants. These were a dark blue rather than the awful striped yellow ones, she wondered if he’d gotten these to please Dorian. Evelyn’s eyes found his, waiting for permission.
“Yeah,” he croaked, “go on.”
She went down to his feet first, peeling off his boots, then socks. His feet were pale compared to his chest. It had never occurred to her that the soft grey of his skin was a tan. His feet looked strangely vulnerable. She kissed the tender skin on the top before moving upward, pushing up his pantaloons until they were bunched around his knees.
There were less scars here but what surprised her was that he was utterly hairless, even her legs had a soft fuzz of red but his were bare. Abandoning the mystery of Bull’s hairlessness she straddled his lower half, hands smoothing flat-palmed over his thighs until her fingers gripped the laces of his breeches.
She hadn’t palmed him but she could see the outline of him. She’d knew he’d be big - Maker everyone knew he was big - but what she’d pictured wasn’t that massive. Her mouth went dry, fingers shaking and she was suddenly very glad that Bull had chosen slow.
Watching Evelyn explore his body was its own sort of exquisite torture. Despite his active sex life, watching a woman or man find themselves amidst the storm of sexual arousal was thrilling. Even half naked in bed she was inquisitive, needing to learn every bit of him as if he were one of Dorian’s books. He’d sensed in her what he’d sensed in the other mage - a profound loneliness - one he knew he could ease if they would let him.
He watched as she explored, still wearing her leggings and boots, breasts still bound. The long spill of her red hair tickled his skin, adding sensation to the pleasure of her fingertips. She went slowly skimming her fingertips over his scars sometimes kissing them like a benediction. Her breath was warm against his flesh and he was half hard even with her gentle ministrations.
When she paused at his waistband his body shot through with a heat. He couldn’t remember when he’d first discovered his desire for control, perhaps in the bed of a Tamassran. Still, the power of it never diminished, he never tired of it when his lover let him control, let him hurt for pleasure’s sake, let him command. That she looked to him in this moment for permission was - delightful.
Bull encouraged her to continue, hoping she’d free his cock, heavy with arousal. Instead she went to his feet, then his calves before straddling his shins and with shaking hands reaching for his laces. He caught up her wrists when he saw her hands shake, drawing her back to his chest as he sat forward. He wanted - no, he needed - her to feel safe, to feel at ease. Another he might let explore, might push them to their boundaries. What he wanted with Evelyn and Dorian ran deeper, a feeling he’d never indulged before because of his loyalty to the Qun. He would build upon this, not just giving her what she desired, but what was essential for her.
“My turn.” Bull couldn’t help but smile as she released an anxious breath. She went happily in his arms, letting him roll her until she was on her back. Bull slid to the floor, freeing her feet and kissing them as she did to him, then slowly he eased the leathers off her legs. Finally, he undid the knot of the breast band, pulling the ends out from beneath her, letting the cotton drag along her sensitive skin until he was holding all of it. He resisted the urge to bury his face in it, his superior sense of smell giving him the full measure of it even at this distance: she smelled of sweet sweat, of bath oils, leather and the sharp but subtle scent of magic.
He let the band fall atop her other clothes as ran his hands over her sides, her flank, letting her sink into his touch before cupping the globes of her breasts. She was pale here, paler than he would have thought and the dark splay of her red hair on that fair skin was glorious. He couldn’t help but pluck a long curl off the bed and trail the ends over her flesh.
At first, he avoided the dark thatch of curls between her legs letting his hands and mouth wander, tongue flicking out at sensitive areas that made her squirm and moan; her eyes watching him, heavy lidded. Finally when her body was taunt and languid, her hips giving little involuntary jerks he hooked her knees over his horns, opening her for his mouth.
“Bull-” Evelyn gasped even as the flood of scent from between her legs enveloped him like a drug. He stretched one hand out, splaying it over her belly, the other circling her thigh, easing her open for him.
The first taste of her was incredible and very nearly overwhelming, the brine of her changed in a way that he could only assume was a result of her magic. She cried out above him, hands clutching his fingers where they lay on her abdomen, thighs bearing down on his horns as he circled the hard nub at her apex as it throbbed against his tongue.
“Bull, I need-” her words cut off by another moan. He knew what she needed, even if she couldn’t voice it.
Sliding forward, he buried himself in her, breathing her incredible scent. His tongue found her hole slick and spasming with want. He lapped at the edges, teasing the nerves there even as his thumb explored the nest of red curly hair, rubbing her clit with achingly slow circles.
He was hard and straining against his loosened breeches now, the little mewling sounds she made as he licked her making his hips rock with a painful desire he would not give in to yet. He freed her thigh to bring his hand down to where his mouth had been, sliding one blunt finger into her, crooking it until she gasped. He used the hand on her belly to press down, to give the finger inside her more purchase in the slick heat until Evelyn was rocking mindlessly, squeezing his horns with her thighs in a way that had him grunting into her cunt.
The sounds she made as he opened her, sliding in one finger and than another, turned to sobs of pleasure. He could tell by the flutter of her muscles she was getting close to release. Bull kept his pace steady despite his desire to push her to the edge, to taste the changing flavors of her as she came. She would soon enough, there was no need to rush.
At some point he became aware of her whispering his name, chanting it like they did to their god, so softly that were he not qunari he certainly wouldn’t have heard it. The sound of his name, not just ‘Bull’ but ‘Iron Bull’ falling endlessly from her lips made the fire of his own need flare and it took not an inconsiderable amount of self control to keep from rising up and burying himself in her.
Between one breath and the other he felt it, the muscles inside her bearing down hard on his three fingers, her back arching against his horns as she rode the wave of it. He followed with his mouth, lapping hungrily at the taste of her as she flooded him with her release, easing her through one crest, then another before backing off.
As she lay boneless in his bed he freed her legs, plucking the elfroot salve her kept on his nightstand for the abrasions on her thighs. He warmed it, warning her before he spread it but she hardly reacted; lost in her own pleasure.
He moved her slowly to one side until he could join her, hold her in his arms. She wasn’t unconscious but she wasn’t quite conscious either - drifting with satisfaction, a sleepy smile tugging at her lips. Bull loved watching his lovers in this moment even as his own desire tugged achingly at him he ignored it, there would be time for that. Like this she looked young, younger than her twenty seven years and certainly younger than the world has made her. He had watched her be forged into a weapon to save the world. Only now with the Inquisitor cast aside and the woman curled up against him did he wonder if it was worth it.
The Qun had taught him to forsake all selfishness in service of the greater good. Only, he’d abandoned that life on a hilltop when he called a retreat, and with that the certainty that any sacrifice was acceptable in the service of duty. For the first time in his life he chose, not because of what was expected of him but because of what he wanted and it was frightening.
Evelyn shifted against him drawing him from his thoughts; her hand reaching out to palm his cock.
“You’re incredible,” she murmured, even as her fingers opened his laces, dipping inside.
“Hey,” Bull said, rolling on his side so he could look into her eyes, “slow down, let me look at you.”
She mewed in dissatisfaction when his hand over his breeches stilled hers within.
“How’re you feeling?’
“Good. Amazing. I thought sex felt good before but…”
Rolling them a little further until he was poised above her, covering her without touching her he grinned. She had to remove her hand as they’d tumbled and now she used both of them to ease his breeches down off his hips.
“Bull please,” she begged, her voice still slurred with the after effects of her orgasm, “I want you inside me. I need to feel you.”
He growled, the unslaked lust inside him that had banked as they lay together roared to life with her words. He kissed her, lips slotting across hers with a fervor to match the ache inside him. That she arched into him as he nipped at her lips heighten his desire all the more until he felt near bursting with it, like a waterskien overful.
“I want to bite you,” he growled against her lips as he pulled away.
“Yes,” she hissed, tilting her head to expose the vulnerable skin of her neck and shoulder.
He worried the skin, gently at first until her hands wrapped around his horns, pulling his head until his teeth were sunk deep into her flesh. Evelyn’s hips rocked as he sucked a dark angry bruise. Any worry that her desires may not match his own lost in that moment as she came again - a small crest of pleasure compared to before - with nothing more than his teeth.
He shucked off his breeches, returning to her quickly, his knuckles brushing the mark on her skin as he knelt between her thighs. Slipping an arm beneath her hips, he lifted her, angling her toward him as she held her own breasts, caressing them and the red marks on her flesh no doubt left by his stubble.
“Fuck,” he grunted, batting her hands away with his free one to take over. He cupped and squeezed the soft mounds as she rocked against him, spreading her slick over his cock.
“Bull,” she cried, urging him with her body, “I can’t wait any more.”
He gave in, releasing her breast to grab himself and ease into her. She was incredibly tight, but wet like a waterfall and she parted for him slowly, gradually. He watched her, his eye looking into hers as he pushed in. He saw the moment when pleasure gave way to pain. He paused; this pain, unlike the kind they’d dabbled in was not the kind all his lovers enjoyed and he would not give it if she didn’t wish to take it.
“More,” she whispered, her voice hoarse - wrecked.
“Tell me your safeword,” he demanded; hand cupping her face, thumb brushing her lower lip.
“Don’t fucking hesitate to use it, got it?”
She nodded, eyes wide with sincerity.
He pushed in faster than before, but still achingly slowly until he was buried to the hilt in her. “Amazing,” he worshipped against her temple, damp with sweat, “so fucking beautiful, Evelyn.” He could feel her muscles fluttering around him, close to another release from the pain/pleasure of his size. “Breathe for a moment, alright?” he said as she shifted in his arms. With his words she settled, letting him have his way. “Good girl.”
As her body adjusted he petted her, hands running over the silk of her skin, lips covering the tight bud of her nipples. When he could stand to remain still no longer he slowly rocked them together.
Koslun’s ass but she was ready, matching the rhythm of his hips with her own. That she was a novice was clear but she made up for it with eagerness and a natural desire to submit to his will. It wasn’t long before he was holding her down beneath him, his hips snapping short little jabs inside her and still she begged for more. She hissed with pleasure when his fingers dug into her hips. Cried out happily when he bit another mark into her other shoulder.
Bull gathered up her wrists as he had before, pinning her down rougher than he had originally intended. She moaned, tugging against the bonds of his hands, rocking in a wild, mindlessness as she found herself unable to loosen the hold.
"Come inside me," she demanded.
Evelyn rode him from beneath her pace become frantic, lost in her own release as she came again, her teeth sinking into his forearm as she screamed through the orgasm ripping through her.
He’d been hovering on the edge, holding himself back for some time; the sound of her fierce broken cry shot through him and brought his own release to the fore. It slammed into him without mercy, frisson shooting down his spine and through his balls. He spent himself inside her, barely maintaining enough presence of mind to not collapse on her.
He needn’t have worried. As soon as she came back to herself she was pulling him down, making him give her his weight.
“Don’t move,” she urged as she snuggled into him. And he didn’t.
Chapter 6: Through Blinding Mist
Sorry this one is so short! I've truly gotten the DA:I bug as I'm writing three fics at once!
Dorian wasn’t too happy to be dragged along to Crestwood.
“Once again,” Dorian moaned, “I get to experience the joys of the south.”
He shook the rivulets of water out of his hair, feeling less like a powerful altus and more like a waterlogged nug.
“I’m with Dorian on this,” Evelyn said, planting her staff in the loamy earth to free her hands so that she could wring the length of her braid out before tucking it under her hood. “If they insist on living in places that rain constantly then The Inquisition, or at least the Inquisitor, can’t help them.”
Bull chuckled stopping beside them on the apex of the hill. Below them they could finally see the forward camp and in it the familiar sight of Scout Harding barking orders. “Not sure that’s how it works, boss.”
“If we’re starting a mutiny,” Varric said from behind them, his legs taking him longer to reach the top of the hill, “then I vote we only go to cities from now on. Leave the wilderness to Chuckles and Hero.”
It seemed that all at once they saw it: the light in the center of a massive lake. Steam rose up from the water like eerie green tendrils from the maw of a beast.
“Well, shit.” Varric muttered.
“Can I retire?” Evelyn groaned.
“Um,” Dorian warned, clearly seeing what the others did not as he began drawing his mana around him, “I believe our people are about to be attacked.”
“I got it!” Bull shouted, hoisting his battleaxe over his shoulder; the bloodstone edge glittering in the eerie light.
Dorian slid down the hill beside him, putting some distance between himself and the others so that they could not be pinned down easily. The slope was treacherous, damp from the rain but he managed to reach the bottom with only a modicum of soil clinging to his trousers.
Behind him he heard Evelyn whoop with excitement, the sound drawing a smile to his lips. Despite their grumbling about the weather she had been in a better mood than he’d seen her of late. That she’d happily left their horses behind at the last camp in favor of traversing the perilous landscape on foot was the only sign that her night with Bull had been as vigorous as his own. Still, in the quiet moments of their travels a smile tugged at her lips and he was happy for her.
For his own part he’d expected jealousy but that seemingly wasn’t the case. Perhaps it was because he was sharing Bull with a woman or perhaps it was because he cared for the Free Marcher. He would see her happy and if her mood was any indication she was, blindingly so.
Even now as they dodged the shambling onslaught of possessed corpses she giggled her way through a fire spell, conjuring a wall of flame before bending in two with laughter.
“It’s not funny!” Varric called out, brushing off the soil from where the hill had given way sending the dwarf tumbling.
“Do you mind?” Dorian called back as her wall of flame extinguished and another wave of shamblers beset the camp. “We are getting our arses pounded down here! Do you think you could assist?”
“Sorry!” she giggled, “Sorry!”
Dorian whirled back to the fight only to find Bull staring at him, laughter dancing in his eyes.
“Do not,” the altus warned suddenly realizing the implication of his words, “say anything.”
It seemed the qunari could not help himself even as he whirled to take on the two shamblers that came upon him he called out, “With such a lovely ass, who can blame them?”
“Festis bei umo canavarum.” Dorian cursed.
“Don’t let Bull get a rise out of you,” Evelyn said as she approached his side, the last of the beasts having been felled. “It only encourages him.”
Bull joined them as well, leaning hard on his axe as he caught his wind. Clearly he wasn’t breathless enough as he managed, “I love getting him roused.”
Dorian groaned in time with Evelyn.
“Bull,” Evelyn purred stepping into the circle of Bull’s arms. “I promise you the most spectacular blow job tonight if you quit teasing my altus. It affects his focus.”
“Deal,” Bull growled, pulling her into a kiss. Didn’t stop him from landing a swat on Dorian’s backside.
“Maker’s puckered asshole,” Varric swore.
The three turned to face him as he stared, slack jawed.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.” the dwarf groaned, “Seriously Tiny, Sparkler and The Herald?”
“What can I say?” Bull shrugged, putting her back on her feet.
“I couldn’t write this shit,” the dwarf muttered to himself, shouldering Bianca.
“Come on, let’s check in with Scout Harding.” Evelyn said, pushing them in the direction of the camp still a stone’s throw away.
“Does that mean I at least get a tent to myself?” Varric called to them, running to catch up.
They were in her quarters, well, their quarters as she was now calling it. They spent most nights together, far more than Dorian spent in his own room, surely, and it showed it. Three chairs now flanked the fireplace, one of them with a lower back to accommodate Bull’s horns and an oversized armor stand had made its way next to one of the windows, even now holding Bull’s spare harness. A table, the one they were currently sitting at had been shoved into a corner so that they might dine without the gossips of Skyhold tittering around them. The Inquisitor had even mused about getting a larger bed. That she’d made room for them in her life so easily had warmed his heart and with the three of them sharing a bed and tent he woke up warm every morning for this first time since coming to this frozen land.
Dorian and Bull had been doing most of the talking this evening, Evelyn’s nose buried in reams of missives delivered just before dinner had been sent up from the kitchens but Dorian didn’t much mind.
Evelyn sighed, the sound draped in weariness as she set the papers aside, downing the last of her wine. Dorian happily refilled it.
“How goes the planning to siege Adamant?” the altus asked.
“Slow, Maker, but I never knew there was so much to war. I much prefer uncontrolled destruction.”
“No doubt,” Dorian smiled, extending his hand in an invitation.
She knew exactly what he meant, shoving back her chair she rounded the table to sit in his lap, her feet going happily into Bull’s where he plucked off her boots and began rubbing her feet. She nestled down with comfortable familiarity, burying her face in his neck.
“You aren’t going to like it,” she moaned even as Bull’s thumb worked its way into her arch.
“Oh, do tell?” Dorian joked, “It’s been at least two days since we had a proper spat.”
She punched his shoulder, not looking up from her resting place. “Be serious.”
“Alright,” he said, sitting up and pulling her forward so he could look her in the eye, “go ahead.”
Her eyes darted to Bull, clearly nervous at his reaction as well. Bull, who never shifted from his perpetual state of cheer. Well, that wasn’t good.
“I want you,” she said addressing Bull, “and The Chargers with Cullen’s men securing the battlements. I’m taking Blackwall and Cassandra into the fortress, hopefully between the two of them we can talk some of the Grey Wardens down.”
“And I want you with The Chargers,” she said to Dorian, “they need someone who can cast a halfway decent barrier.”
“Evelyn-,” Dorian warned.
“Those are perfectly decent reasons, and absolute crap. What is the real reason you aren’t taking either of us?”
She shook her head, a rueful smile tugging at her lips. “When did you learn to read me so well.”
“No offense, Ev,” Bull interrupted, “but you’re pretty shit at lying. For what it is worth, I’m with Dorian. If I get a say as your lover-”
“Of course you do. Just doesn’t mean I can or will agree.” She sucked in a deep breath before continuing, “I worry. Sometimes it- it affects my focus. This isn’t some skirmish with shamblers, I need all the control I can muster.”
“Amata,” Dorian breathed, fingers wrapping around her chin tilting her head back so he could look into her eyes. “I would prefer that it were Bull and I guarding your back-”
“I know. But I can’t. I can’t be worried about both your safety and see to my own.”
He sighed, hauling her close their foreheads tipping together. “Very well,” he knew better than to argue, her mind was made up, “but if you come back with so much as a scratch I’m lighting Blackwall’s beard on fire.”
“That’s nicer,” Bull added, “then what I’ll do to him.”
Chapter 7: Only Abyss
“That’s eight!” shouted Krem as another hunger demon crumpled to the ground in front of him.
The pride demon Dorian had been fighting fell as the energy barrage finally took it down. “Does this count as more than one?” he asked as Bull jogged over.
“No, ‘cause I helped.”
“Swinging a hunk of metal at its feet can hardly be considered ‘helping’.” Dorian retorted.
“Hey, give me some credit.” Bull smirked, “I at least hit his shins.”
Dorian waved him off grinning as the rest of the Chargers made their way over.
“Where to from here, Chief?” Krem asked as Skinner and Dalish looked around for loot and Stitches examined a bleeding wound on Grim’s head.
“Cullen wants us to clear up the battlements so the ladders can get a foothold,” Bull grunted, “then work our way to the central chamber. Something about a ritual.”
Krem nodded, smiling.
“And may I take this time to point out, Krem.” Bull grumbled, staring down the young soporati, “We are ass deep in demons.”
“Good eye, Chief!”
Bull hauled his lieutenant over by his tunic, lifting him off the ground until they saw eyes to eye. “When I agreed to take this job, Krem, didn’t you say something about there not being ‘too many demons’.”
“Uh,” the young man said, looking down at his dangling feet, “I may have Chief.”
“Put him down, Bull.” a familiar voice cried over the din of battle. Bull spun, dropping Krem; he saw her a moment before Dorian did. “Ev!” he shouted.
“Evie!” Dorian cried.
“There’s my guys.” she grinned, running up to them and embracing them both. Dorian didn’t even mind the gore that rubbed off on him. “How goes it? Cullen sent us this way to clear the battlements but I see you two have it under control.”
“Was there ever any doubt?” Bull purred, grabbing a handful of her ass, earning him a startled yelp.
She swatted him away playfully asking, “Have you seen Hawke? Trying to find him and Stroud.”
Dorian shook his head as Bull said, “No boss. Haven’t seen ‘im.”
“Alright, I should get going.”
Dorian slipped an arm around her waist, hauling her back for a hug before handing her to Bull who lifted her easily in his arms as one might a bride and kissed her, completely oblivious to the chaos around them.
“Inquisitor,” Cassandra shouted about the din, “we must continue.”
Bull set her down, giving her backside a playful smack.
“Hey Blackwall,” the qunari shouted as her team turned away.
“I got it,” he replied, “I’ll eat my guts if she’s not back in once peace.”
Bull led his men the other direction, clearing demons and aiding Inquisition soldiers. One by one his men got injured and he sent them back down the ladders toward the healers until only Dorian, Krem and the Bull were left fighting back to back as they advanced to the central chamber.
Just as they neared it the archdemon flew over head.
“Maker’s mercy!” Dorian cried, “I don’t think we should try to fight that!”
A rumble from deep in Bull’s chest had him following the taller man’s line of vision: Evelyn weaving her way along the outer battlements toward the blasted dragon.
“Vishante kaffas!” Dorian yelled as the three of the sprinted into action, following the path of the beast. They wove around clusters of soldiers engaged with demons, barrelling along the ancient walls to try and join her.
As they rounded a corner Dorian caught glimpses of a mage battle along a ruined bridge, Clarel and the venatori mage slinging spells at one another before the archdemon swooped in again plucking Clarel from the battlefield and chewing on her before spitting her back onto the stones.
“Bull-” Dorian warned.
“I see them,” he replied pausing only long enough to search for a way down before barrelling ahead once more. Dorian was fast on his heels, flinging the occasional spell to deter any demons who gave chase. They made it to an ancient wall overlooking the bridge as Evelyn and her company spilled out below. Close, far too close the archdemon crawled down the wall, slinking over Clarel and after the Inquisitor.
“Chief,” Krem called out from further along, “stairs here.”
They darted towards the young man even as Dorian sensed the release of Clarel’s spell. He froze. Time seemed to slow as he turned back to the bridge, already collapsing. For a moment he thought the Inquisitor would clear the collapsing rubble until she turned to save a fallen comrade.
“Evelyn!” Dorian cried, his voice harsh in his own ears.
Beneath was a flash of eerie green and then nothing. Silence cut through him in the wake of her spell. They’d all fallen. Evelyn had fallen.
“Dorian?’ Bull’s voice seemed so distant as his world narrow to that singular point of focus. “Dorian, what happened?”
“Evelyn…” he croaked, “she’s gone.”
Bull’s hand pulled him away, breaking his line of sight from the crumbled edge of the bridge. “Dorian, c’mon big guy.” He tugged again and pulled Dorian into his arms. “What did you see?” Bull asked, the warmth of his breath curling against Dorian’s ear.
“She’s dead, Bull.” he said, voice breaking.
“Chief!” Krem warned as several demons caught up to them.
Bull lifted Dorian up, flinging him over a wide shoulder before turning to the beasts.
“Put me down!” the altus cried, batting away tears, “I can fight!”
“Not gonna do something rash on me, big guy?” Bull shouted as his ax landed in the face of a hunger demon.
“Not unless you define ‘rash’ as sending these bloody creatures back to the fade!”
Bull whirled, slicing a demon clean in half as Krem engaged another, sliding Dorian from his shoulder at the end of the turn. Dorian stumbled to his feet, planting his staff to catch himself. “Stay with me, ok?” Bull asked. The unvoiced, ‘I can’t lose you too.’ hanging in the air and settling over Dorian’s heart.
“We need to secure the rift in the main chamber.”
“Without the Inquisitor-” Krem began, then quickly shut up.
“Who knows,” Dorian dared hope, “Maybe she found a way. She has a habit of performing miracles, our Evelyn.” Even to his own ears his voice sounded hollow, unconvinced.
They sliced their way through demons and possessed wardens alike, the ancient stones turning slick with gore and blood until Dorian’s grief was transformed into a boiling rage. From the blood dripping off Bull’s ax Dorian could tell he was doing little better. There would be time, later, to grieve.
As they approached the central chamber Cullen was there, dozens of soldiers facing the massive rift.
“I’ve set up guards,” the Commander informed them as they approached, turning to walk together in stride, “and I’ve sent for Solas.”
“So it’s true?” Krem said, voicing Dorian’s hidden thoughts. “The Inquisitor?”
“Reports from the battlements says she opened a rift… and fell into it.”
“Shit.” Bull cursed.
“She’s been in the Fade before… she came out of it at Haven-” Dorian said, his mind stuttering into action with the new information.
“Are you saying,” Cullen asked, “that she might be- might not be-”
“Fasta vass!” Dorian cried, “I don’t know . To be in the Fade physically. Even if she survived the fall such a thing would be monstrously dangerous and as a mage- the demons alone-”
Bull growled at the mention of demons.
“But there’s hope?” Cullen asked.
Dorian nodded, unable to voice the idea for fear it would take root in his chest. Cullen marched off, shouting orders, informing the men to look at what came out of the rift before stabbing it. Bull ushered him into a corner where they could see the eerie green tear, turning over a chest to sit upon it. Dorian couldn’t help but pace restlessly as Bull and Krem set about cleaning their weapons in silence. It was long hours spent waiting, the occasional fear demon slithering out of the rift before being promptly slaughtered. Every pop and hiss of the monstrosity made him jump and the pacing had exhausted his body.
Bull finished cleaning his blade and set it aside. He slipped to the ground, his back propped against a wall as kept his vigil. Night turned to day and night once more. At some point Dorian fell asleep in the circle of Bull’s arms only to awake screaming as nightmares claimed him.
For a long time his lover wouldn’t release him explaining only with, “Don’t leave, kadan.”
Whatever ‘kadan’ meant, Bull said it with a desperation that Dorian could not deny and so he stayed and when the needs of his body demanded he move he did not leave the qunari’s line of sight. Despite the tumult of his nightmares he tried to rest when he could but they both refused when one by one members of the inner circle tried to coax them away.
Bull didn’t sleep even as two days turned into three. Lost in their grief they cleaved to each other and jumped every time a maker-cursed demon fell from the rift.
Krem did not leave, somehow knowing that Iron Bull, despite his seemingly calm demeanor was anything but. His one eye shone too bright with days of exhaustion; his jovial demeanor crushed into silence under the weight of his pain. One by one the Chargers were released from the healers and they found them and quietly joined them in their vigil until the corner of the central chamber was filled with Bull’s men standing in a somber honor guard.
As night fell again Cullen and Leliana as well as what was left of the inner circle joined them, arranging themselves with their backs to the rift. After a long silence Cullen spoke first, “We have to consider the possibility that the Inquisitor is lost.”
“If she is lost,” Leliana snapped, her voice harder than Dorian had ever heard it, “then we are all dead. We do not have the manpower to secure every rift indefinitely, let alone this one.”
“No,” Bull muttered, not looking at them his voice so low that Dorian wasn’t sure anyone heard but him.
“We must find another way to seal the rifts,” Solas offered.
“Oh?” Dorian bit out, “And how do you propose we do that? There is no precedent for this, all the research in the world might not be enough and while we try to patch the holes in the Veil Corypheus will run roughshod over all of Thedas!”
“Are you saying we should give up?” Cullen grimaced, grinding his teeth.
“No, I’m not.”
“No.” Bull spoke, enunciating the words, “I won’t leave her.”
“Nor I.” Dorian added.
“I think-” Krem spoke up, “I speak for the Chargers when I say we will guard this son of a bitch until Her Worship returns or the world ends.” Nods from the Chargers backed him up.
Cullen sighed, “Bull, see sense-”
“He mourns,” Solas interrupted, “as do we all.”
“It isn’t time to mourn yet,” Dorian snapped, staring at the crackling rift, “she… she isn’t….” The tear flared to life once more, ignored by those gathered as the soldiers tended to the creatures tumbling out of it. Dorian saw the recognisable shape of a dwarf and his heart stuttered. He drifted away from the argument, stumbling towards the rift despite their protests, pushing his way into the mass of soldiers as a cry of, “Get the Commander!” rose over those assembled.
As he broke through the last row to see Varric, Cassandra and Blackwall crouched on the ground the rift flared to life once more and Hawke then the Inquisitor tumbled free. He nearly grabbed for her even as she spun to seal the rift behind her.
Once it snapped shut Dorian pulled her into his embrace as a cheer rose up among the men. Iron Bull was there lifting them into the air and crushing them both into his chest.
“I’m sorry,” Evelyn grunted, “if I gave you a fright. Least I wasn’t gone too long, right? Maker, but you two look a mess.”
“Amata,” Dorian gasped through the tears pouring down his face, “You’ve been missing for two days!”
“Three.” Bull corrected, still holding them dangling in the air.
“I-” Evelyn stuttered, “It can’t be, I was only gone a few hours.”
“You were decidedly not .” Dorian growled, “Bull, darling, could you put us down? You’re ruffling me.”
Bull lowered them to the ground, but stood close even as a Warden pushed his way through demanding the attention of the Inquisitor. They let her address the crowd, encouraging the wardens to stay and slay demons despite their foibles. Dorian hardly listened, standing the the center of the Chargers which had appointed themselves guard. After her speech she left it to her Council to set matters in motion, stopping only briefly to assure them personally she was alive before all three of them were ushered towards the healers.
“It’s been three days,” she growled at Bull as they sat down amongst the healer's tents, “and you haven’t let anyone tend to your wounds?”
“Yeah, well,” he shrugged, “it was a rough couple of days.”
Chapter 8: Let Chaos Be Undone
Ah my lovelies! Thank you for your patience in awaiting the next chapter. There was a death in the family which turned my plans for this chapter into something altogether different than what was planned. I think it is even, dare I say, better than the original.
They watched the sunrise over Adamant fortress from the battlements now free of demons, or rather, Evelyn did. Her eyes tracked the progress of the sun as it made the horizon bloody before bursting over the edge of the flats with light and warmth. Unlike her loves, Evelyn was still awake, wrapped in Dorian’s arms who in turn was held in Bull’s. Her thoughts were long, swirling things, mourning Stroud and the soldiers they’d lost. Below somewhere it was someone’s job to identify the dead as their bodies were dragged from the rubble. It weighed, the burden of command feeling heavier than it had ever before.
It was Dorian stirring behind her that pulled her from her reverie as he pressed a kiss to her cheekbone. “Have you slept?” he asked, his voice rough with long needed rest.
She shook her head, shifting as her backside fell asleep again. Yet, despite the stones beneath them she wouldn’t move for all the world.
“Amata,” he sighed, the worry edging his voice.
“I’ve gone longer without sleep. Like I said, to me I was only in the Fade for a few hours.”
His long tanned fingers stroked over hers before tangling them together, squeezing lightly. “What was it like?”
“Horrifying.” She reveled in his touch, letting it ground her as he trailed fond kisses on her cheeks and fiddled with her hair like an affectionate older brother. “The Nightmare demon-” she began, trying to make sense of the memories, “it taunted me constantly with losing you both, with failing. Over and over fade forms made me watch you two die. I saw Bull fall to possession and kill you. I saw you do the same. Everytime I couldn’t stop it. I watched Corypheus’ army sweep over Thedas like a heavy wind and I was utterly powerless.”
“It wasn’t real,” Dorian soothed. Silence settled over them for long moments as she listened to the sounds of the people below. They’d moved closer and were now clearing out the bailey directly beneath them. “I worry,” Dorian spoke, “that my countrymen will see this as a challenge, try to walk in the Fade themselves. Can’t leave such ‘glory’ to a Southern mage, no matter how adorable.”
She smiled, the unfamiliar feeling tugging her lips. “You’re probably right, I’m not sure how I keep it quiet though. Hundreds of soldiers saw me come out of that rift.”
“Speculation is a great deal different than confirmation. No doubt those back home will chalk it up to your growing legend.”
She saw the messengers peeling along the battlements, one of Cullen’s men. Easing herself from Dorian’s arms she met the man halfway, not wanting to wake Bull.
“Inquisitor,” he saluted. “The Commander would like to know when you’d like to make for Griffon Wing Keep.”
Despite the prospect of waking Bull, a night’s sleep in the keep with something more than a bedroll sounded divine. There might even be the opportunity to wash some of the dirt and demon ichor off. “Have the horses saddled, we will ride shortly.”
Evelyn rode at the head of the army, for all her companions arrayed amongst the soldiers she was alone at the apex. Bull rode with the Chargers and Dorian with the mages. She was flanked on either side by her honor guard, soldiers who’d distinguished themselves enough to be bestowed the honor. It struck her as odd how these men vied for the position when a mere year before they’d been ready to see her executed for the Divine’s death. Ah, how time made fools of us all.
Around midday her and her companions broke from the body of the army, they turned north to return directly to Skyhold but she would be taking a longer path to deal with fade rifts and Inquisition on their return journey. As they were shifting supplies and breaking from their noon meal she sought out Bull. They’d had little time to speak since the night before which she regretted. He was amongst his men, saying his farewells as the Chargers prepared to return to the keep.
“Actually,” she interrupted, jogging up next to him, “I was hoping the Chargers would come with us. There’s rumors of darkspawn and some sort of beasts that need clearing out. Based on the reports I could use a little more manpower and after Adamant I’d like the company.”
“‘Course, your worship,” Krem said, bringing his hand to his chest in what she’d come to recognise as a Tevene salute.
As Krem turned to start barking orders she caught him by the sleeve. “Bull,” she smiled up at her lover, “can I borrow the Lieutenant for a moment?”
At that both men’s eyes made an attempt to crawl into their hairline which earned them both a laugh.
“Sure thing, boss.” he smiled, giving her backside a secretive little pat when she went to turn away.
She drew the young man away from the group and prying ears. “I heard,” she began when they were far enough away, “what you and the Chargers did when it was thought I was lost. I wanted to- that is to say-”
“Your worship, I know I speak for us all when I say we’d follow you into the Void.”
“Thank you. I hope it won’t come to that.” She brushed the tears from her eyes as the emotion of what she was about to say welled up in her. “Krem, if I don’t survive this, please take care of Bull and- and Dorian if he lets you. Maker knows those two would get themselves into remarkable amounts of trouble if someone wasn’t looking out for them.”
Krem’s hand clasped her shoulder, squeezing gently. “You’ll survive this. I know it.”
Their eyes met, his full of the confidence of the faithful and hers shadowed with doubt.
“Yes you will,” a familiar refined voice said as Dorian swept up next to her. “Amata,” he breathed against her hairline, pulling her close.
The unexpected embrace made something in her chest shatter and suddenly she was sobbing silently into his tunic trying to hide her tears from those gathered around her. She needn’t have worried, however, Krem blocked her from prying eyes as if it was the most common thing in the world. She didn’t know if Krem caught Bull’s eye or it was his Ben Hassrath intuition but suddenly he was there too. He wrapped his arms around the both of them forming the third side of their triangle. Much like a triangle they were strongest together.
When the tears finally wrung themselves free she looked up to find the Chargers surrounding them backs facing the Inquisitor and her lovers as they stared daggers at anyone with prying eyes.
The sun was beginning to fall behind the horizon when the smudge of the keep appeared in the distance. They made good time across the Wastes arriving at the fortress as the moon started to rise. Having the Chargers beside her had been nothing short of a boon for her mood as they laughed and sang raucous, rowdy songs the entire journey.
The fort was ready for them when they arrived, a storage room had been turned into a private area for Dorian, herself and Bull to share for the night. While it wasn’t the lap of luxury the extra blankets they laid down to soften the floor were welcome for her exhausted bones.
She stayed amongst them for dinner, Bull pushing a bowl of something hot into her’s and Dorian’s hand before producing a pouch and sprinkling something over them both.
“This is delicious!” Dorian declared around a full mouth, for once forgetting his manners. “What in the Maker’s name did you put in it?” He asked Bull, eyeing him suspiciously before teasing, “No herbs to make me compliant to your wicked desires I hope?”
Bull laughed, full bodied and carefree and the sound settled in her chest, a ball of warmth against the desert’s cold. “Like I’d need it. They’re spices I picked up back in Val Royeaux a while back.”
“Aww,” Krem ribbed Bull in the side, “Chief’s got feelings. Never brings me anything nice.”
“I’m not sleeping with you, Krem.”
“‘Cept that one time… I wake up and the Chief’s cuddling me like a teddy bear.”
“It was cold, Krem.” Bull grunted, the familiar banter tumbling from him, “I was sharing my warmth.”
“If you wore a shirt, Chief, you wouldn’t be so cold. I swear, the entire time we were in Emprise you could have cut glass with his nipples.”
Evelyn finished her dinner and set it aside, listening to them tease and share stories. They drank a toast to the honored dead, a tradition she always stayed for; when it was done she made her excuses letting Dorian and Bull know that she was going to bed and to enjoy the company. Truth was her thoughts were dark and she didn’t want to put that on the men who’d already suffered thinking she was dead.
She didn’t know what she would have done if the situation had been reversed.
Evelyn undressed quickly and washed in the basin of cool water, pulling on Dorian’s shirt that she had stolen near the beginning of their relationship and had taken to wearing every night. Sometimes, like tonight, he would surprise her by pressing the scented oil he favored into the collar. She pulled it close and breathed his scent.
It wasn’t quite the same without Bull’s scent mingled with it but it still made something ease in her chest.
She jumped, startled when the door opened, settling when she saw Bull’s horns ease between the wooden frame.
“I thought you’d stay with the Chargers for a few more drinks.”
Bull shook his head, uncharacteristically quiet. “Need you,” he choked out, not meeting her eyes.
“Bull…” she soothed, stepping up to him though he did not immediately wrap her in an embrace. She always felt so small next to him, yet he was gentle with her always.
She watched as his hands flexed, struggling with some inner turmoil.
“I need you to hit me,” he confessed, looking at her now.
Her breath caught ragged in her throat at the emotion there: the pain, the fear and the grief swirling in his blue grey eye.
“Bull…” she wanted to kiss away the pain there, not hit him.
“What does ‘kadan’-”
“Please.” he asked again, more firmly. That made her gut clench. Bull was always about his lovers: her and Dorian; he’d never - not once - asked for something for himself.
“Of course.” She swallowed past the lump in her throat.
He strode past her - undoing his harness as he went - as leaned against the far wall, palms pressed into the stone. “There’s a rod at the bottom of my pack, wrapped in leather.” he instructed.
She found it, her hands trembling as she held it. She wasn’t frightened, but, perhaps nervous. This thing between them had always left Bull in control, though she supposed to some extent he still was.
“Hit me, kadan.” he growled, waiting for her.
She swung it fairly hard - she’d seen the blows he took in practice, the vibrations racing up her arms as it made contact.
“Mm,” he grunted, “Harder. Again.”
She did. Each blow she landed he’d take and she waited for him to be ready. Over and over they smacked onto his flesh leaving deep red marks that would likely bruise by morning. Her arms were trembling with exertion when he finally gasped, “Thank you.”
She dropped the rod, letting it roll away on the floor as she went to him and pressed kiss after kiss into the burning skin of his back. He turned suddenly, pulling her into a bruising kiss, mouth slotting against her desperately. Desire flared to life inside her belly, roaring with the demand to touch him, to feel him. After so much death she needed the ache he left on her skin to feel alive.
She cried into his mouth as he picked her up, her legs grappling for purchase on his wide hips. He’d never kissed her like this, control snapping raw and needy. He drank comfort from her mouth, licking into her like a man about to break.
“Evelyn,” he growled into her ear, “I want to be inside you. I need to feel your warmth around me.”
“Yes,” she consented, rocking her hips against him even as his words made the folds of her sex burst with slick.
A snarl built low in his chest as he tried to speak. “You’ll have to tie me… I don’t- I don’t want to hurt you.”
“No.” she snapped. “I want it rough. I can take it- I can-”
He slammed her up against the wall, the force of it knocking the breath out of her.
“Your watchword.” he demanded even as he grasped her wrists, pining them to the wall above her head.
“Ostwick.” she answered.
“Do not hesitate.” he bit out before his head fell to her shoulder, his teeth sinking into her flesh. His fingers ghosted over her hip, pulling the fabric of Dorian's shirt up and over her hips. He moaned when he found her without her small-clothes.
She felt him undo the laces of his trousers with his free hand, the blunt edge of his cock pressing insistently at her channel. She was desperately wet but without easing her open with his fingers it still burned as he stretched her open. The pain in her belly was delicious, invigorating. “More,” she begged, “I need all of you.”
He grunted in pleasure as he sunk his shaft all the way inside of her, giving her only a moment to adjust before setting a grueling pace. The hand that didn’t have her pinned to the wall gripped her hip, pressing bruises into the flesh there.
“Yes,” she hissed as he slammed into her.
They fucked, raw hearts bleeding into each other, healing each others wounds. At some point he freed her wrists and she wound her arms around his neck. He cradled her head from the stones behind her as the rough strokes of his cock within her brought her closer and closer to her release.
It built within her higher than she’d ever gone before, grief pushing back the pleasure until it was a living thing bound inside. She felt her magic go wild, the cool feel of a barrier snapping into place but she had no time to question it as Bull pushed her over the edge with a desperate cry, his roar drowning out the world as he spilled inside her.
When she came back to herself she was on the ground, still in Bull’s arms as he held her. Her lover, for his part was still buried within her, gripping her close. His chest puffed out in great heaving breaths.
The barrier popped, disbursing, leaving the room in a sudden unnatural chill. She cracked an eye to see frost melting down the walls.
“Fasta vas,” Dorian breathed from the doorway, clearly the source of the barrier. “You two are… magnificent.” Then after a moment added, “I think I might be jealous.”
Bull groaned, sitting up, his hand stretching out toward the altus. “Join us.”
Dorian didn’t actually expect to walk in on Evelyn pinned to the wall with Bull fucking her so roughly has was surprised the mortar didn’t shake loose on their hands, but it was a spectacular sight. He barely had time to recover when he felt the drag against his skin that warned him she was losing control on her magic. He threw a barrier, enough to keep her from knocking down walls and the let the energy fizzle, frost crawling up the walls as the two collapsed.
Bull cradled her as they went down, ever the protector.
He took a moment to enjoy the scene: Evelyn still wearing his shirt though it was mussed and wrinkled and likely covered in fluids and Bull was still wearing his hideous pants and boots as he held her. Dorian had never seen anything more beautiful, unable as he was to see him and Bull in such a fashion.
“Fasta vas,” he croaked, leaning hard against the wood at his back and just as hard. “You two are… magnificent. I think I might be jealous.”
Bull growled, his gaze predatory as he leaned up, a hand reaching out toward him. “Join us.”
“You can’t possibly be serious,” Dorian said, voice haughtier than he intended even as he sauntered over to them. “Your stamina isn’t that good.” He knelt at Bull’s feet, undoing the laces and pulling his boots free before helping the man out of the pants. He considered ‘accidently’ lighting them on fire as a favor to good taste before deciding better of it and chucking them in the corner.
“Wanna bet?” Bull asked, baring his teeth. The qunari shifted, leaving the Inquisitor in a sweaty well-fucked stupor at his hip. If she minded, she didn’t react her green eyes merely watching the banter.
My, he was in a mood.
“What have you done to Evelyn?”
“The same thing I’m gonna do to you. If you can handle it.”
Dorian couldn’t stop his jaw from dropping. Bull was definitely in a fit… aggressive, predatory… His cock throbbed in response. If Dorian hadn’t been so cursedly turned on he might have slapped Bull for the knowing glint in his eye, as it was all he could do was breathe, “Yes.”
Bull growled his approval. “Strip, unless you want me to rip your pretty clothes off.”
Now that bore thinking upon at a later date but for the moment Dorian did as he said. The second his smallclothes hit the floor Bull was on him, tackling him to the ground with a hunter’s fierceness. Save for the hands that held him close to keep him from landing on the rough stone and guided him to the large swathe of bedding Dorian might have thought Bull had entirely lost control.
The feel of Bull’s strength had always been a turn on but the rough grasp of his fingers digging into hips, the drag of his slightly inhuman nails and his teeth as they sunk into the back of Dorian’s shoulder was mind shattering in its intensity. Dorian whimpered as Bull pulled back, licking the mark. “Mine.” he whispered, hot and filthy into Dorian’s ear.
“Yes,” Dorian hissed, “Vehendis, yes.” The altus couldn’t help the needy hitch of his pelvis if he tried. Pinned on his belly as he was, he was utterly at Bull’s mercy and his body sung with the knowledge.
Oh, Bull would be insufferable come morning but in this moment he didn’t care. Once, he’d been teased with the notion of being conquered. Now, he was gagging for it.
“Bull,” Dorian demanded, writhing with need, “fuck me.”
A hard swat landed on his backside, knocking the wind out of him. “Ask nicely, vint,” he growled into Dorian’s ear, teeth scraping along his sensitive neck.
“You monster,” Dorian hissed.
Bull grabbed him by the hair, yanking his head back until his spine bowed. He gasped in pleasure, moaning.
“Please,” Dorian cried, his voice full of need, “please Bull, fuck me.”
Bull grabbed the oil Evelyn handed him, slicking himself and dribbling some more down the valley of his arse before pushing into him in one long inexorable slide. If Dorian hadn’t been fucked nearly nightly by the Bull for the last several months the qunari my have torn him open. As it was Dorian keened as Bull seated himself fully, panting, stretched and completely blissed out with the frissons of pleasure rocketing down his spine.
He cracked one golden eye open at Evelyn’s grunt of pleasure. She was watching them, her eyes blown with desire as she fingered herself. Bull must have seen it too because he made a desperate sound in his throat.
She looked gorgeous in the moonlight: her pale skin mottled with Bull’s marks, her lips kiss swollen. Her eyes locked with Dorian’s, intense in their gaze as Bull began to move inside him. Bull’s hand in his hair and the other barred across his shoulders had him pinned down facing her, forcing him to watch her watch them. Dorian had never considered voyeurism a pleasure he would enjoy but he was starting to rethink that.
Bull was rough, wild, claiming him like he was a stolen prize and Dorian soaked it in. The cock inside him slamming into him over and over as a fire built in his belly and suffused through his limbs. He was close, so close and yet he was suspended on the edge of his own release.
The hard slap of skin on skin and their grunts filled the room as Bull took more, demanded more and Dorian gave him everything happily.
“Please, Bull,” Dorian sobbed, “I need- I need to touch myself. I can’t-”
“You can, kadan. Come for me, just like this. Come for me with my cock up your ass.”
Dorian groaned with pleasure, the words sparking through him like magic.
“Dorian,” Evelyn breathed. She’d moved closer, the scent of her sex mingling with theirs in a way that felt utterly right. Ridiculous, she was a woman and despite a certain curiosity Dorian was quite sure that wasn’t his thing. Yet as she slid close, fingers combing gently through his hair he felt joy bubble up in his chest.
Dorian saw Bull’s hand close around her throat, squeezing gently. Her eyes flashed to his, challenging before very deliberately dropping in submission.
“Mine.” Bull growled.
“Yours,” she whispered earning a rough cry of pleasure from the qunari.
“Mine.” Bull repeated, nipping at his neck.
“Yours,” Dorian gasped, the words sending the spiraling edge of his release to a knife edge, “I’m all yours, amatus.”
“Kadan.” Bull bit into the tender flesh of his neck.
The sharp prick of Bull’s teeth sent the world crashing down around him, upending itself before righting dizzily as he cried out. Wave after wave of pleasure breaking from him as he spilled messily, demanding as much as Bull could give.
“Archon.” Dorian grunted as the pleasure receded quickly, pain flaring up inside him that was far far too much.
Bull stilled within him, hands suddenly soft where a moment they hand been rough. “So good,” he whispered gently into Dorian’s hair, kissing and petting.
Dorian had never used his watchword, had never expected to and yet Bull didn’t seem upset; he seemed proud, if anything.
“So good kadan,” he soothed again, slipping his still rock-hard cock out slowly. Dorian hissed at the spike of pain mingling with the pleasure of his orgasm.
“I can-” Dorian offered, weakly still dizzy from his release.
“Oh please,” Evelyn purred, “allow me.”
Bull’s laugh shook through his chest, filling the corners of the room as he smacked her ass playfully. “Vixen.”
“Beast.” she tossed back.
The Bull stood, stretching the thick cords of muscles before going to the basin and washing the blanket of sweat and fluids off of him. Dorian watched appreciatively even as his stomach churned in the uncertain aftermath of using his watchword.
“You ok, Dori?” Evelyn asked, curling up on his chest.
He nodded. He may not have been if not for Bull’s, frankly, incredible self control.
Bull came back bringing the half full basin with him. Something unspoken passed between Bull and Evelyn and she scootched back, letting Bull roll him this way and that. The cool cloth felt incredible on his overheated skin and he moaned as his muscle turned to liquid beneath the Bull’s gentle ministrations.
Distantly he was aware of Bull praising him. “I took you right to the edge,” he said as he swiped the cloth over the bruises at Dorian’s neck, “And you took it all. Both of you. You two are spectacular.” The rough edge of Bull’s thumb tugging at Dorian’s kiss swollen lips. “How did I get so lucky?”
The tenderness in Bull’s voice was enough to bring tears prickling to his eyes. Utter foolishness which would never have happened if he wasn’t so raw from the incredible sex he’d just had.
“Yes, well,” Dorian said, trying for playful, “we are rather spectacular, aren’t we darling?” He turned to Evelyn - grinning - only to see tears collecting in her eyes as well.
“I love you, Dorian.” she breathed, crawling across to place a chaste kiss on his lips. His heart stuttered madly in his ears so loud he almost missed it when she turned to Bull, kneeling next to him. His arms circled her automatically, long fingers trailing over her backside. “Bull?” she whispered, tilting her face to him.
Ever the gentleman Bull dropped his head so she could place a soft, delicate kiss to his lips.
“I love you, The Iron Bull.”
The whimper that escaped Bull’s chest was so sweet, so broken that Dorian found the tears falling from his eyes before he could bat them away.
“I love you too, kadan.” he answered, his voice cracking on the last word.
“Bull… Evelyn…” Dorian whispered, feeling selfish for interrupting their intimacy but needing to say what was in his heart before this moment passed. He sat up, taking Bull’s offered hand as he knelt with them, arms circling around one another until they were pressed close.
Dorian freed himself of the impromtu hug to press a palm flat against the wild beating in Evelyn’s breast. “Amata,” he declared, the endearment turning soft and serious on his lips. He took his other hand and pressed it to Bull’s chest. “Amatus.”
Bull growled possessively, “Kadan.”
“You must know,” Dorian said to them both, “that I am yours, utterly.”
“And I am yours,” Evelyn whispered, grabbing his hand to presses kisses along his knuckles.
“Sataareth kadan hass-toh issala ebasit. Asit tal-eb.” Bull murmured in his mother tongue.
“I am yours,” he interrupted, holding them close, “for as long as you’ll have me.”
Translation of the Qunlat: I will do what I must for those I love. This is how it must be.
Dorian could not find Evelyn, one would think in the fortress of Skyhold finding their dear leader would be as simple as asking about a bit, but no. They had returned slowly from the Wastes, clearing out vermin during the day and spending the nights curled together in passion or comfort.
It had been idyllic; which was utterly ridiculous because it was a desert .
Of course the moment they’d returned she’d been set upon by Leliana and Josephine. It seemed their mountainside fortress had been invaded upon by nobles, mostly Orlesian nobles. He would never get used to having people in masks lurk about.
The mage sighed, missing his hide away in the library as he divested himself of yet another would-be paramour. The haughty nobleman stomping off as he made it very, very clear he wouldn’t be warming the man’s bed now or in the future.
“Bull!” Dorian called, drawing his lover’s attention at precisely the right time for Krem to land a blow with his shield. The big man stumbled back, catching himself before shaking it off.
“Not a problem, Krem de la Creme. I should know better than to let pretty boys distract me, no matter how attractive.”
Dorian grinned at the compliment, leaning on the railing as Krem and Grim squared off. His lover crossed through the mud and leaned next to him, all smiles despite the landed blow. Seeing Dorian’s face fall into worry he asked, “Something on your mind?”
“Yeah,” the qunari said, mouth pulling back into a filthy grin, “me too.”
“Not like that ,” Dorian hissed, “you brute.”
“You like it.” Bull teased, picking his hand up from the railing and kissing it tenderly which was- well-
“Have you seen her?” Dorian asked, voice rough with the emotion that squeezed his chest.
“Nah, not in a while. Saw her with Josie earlier and a whole horde of Orlesians.”
Dorian sighed unable to hold back the agitation in his body.
“Inquisitor! Please!” Josephine’s accent was thick with distress, the sound drawing their attention. Before he could even think to move Bull was vaulting himself over the fencing, leaving Dorian to trail behind.
When they made it to the top of the stairs leading into the main hall they had to squeeze themselves through the press of bodies even as the muffled voices within because more clear.
“She’s accepted the duel,” the Orlesian ambassador was saying plaintively, his hands flailing about like a pair of one winged birds, “under the law they must fight.”
“I’m afraid Compte Declave is quite right,” Vivienne weighed in from her position between Evelyn and the small group of Orlesians. He and Bull worked their way around until they were standing at Evelyn’s back, guarding her encase this disagreement turned bloody. Maker , but he wished he had his staff, nearly all the Orlesians were wearing at least ceremonial blades.
“Ah,” a masked chevalier spat, hands looming over the pommel of his sword, “here comes the beast now. Too much of a coward to fight your own battles you send your woman to do it for you?”
Despite the man’s open hostility Bull seemed unmoved, tilting his head toward Evelyn and asked, “What’s going on, Boss?”
Boss. Not kadan. So maybe he was a bit worried.
Josephine sighed, directing them to the side while Evelyn stared the man down.
“It would seem,” the ambassador explained, “that Bull may or may not have had carnal relations with this man’s sister at some point.”
“And?” Dorian encouraged, uncertain how that turned into this.
“He claimed, rather loudly, that such an encounter was not consensual.”
Nearly in tandem Dorian and Bull hissed in anger. He chanced a look at his lover only to find Bull staring the man down.
“The Inquisitor called him a liar,” she continued, “and he challenged her to a duel… to the death.
“She accepted?” Dorian asked as his stomach roiled.
Josephine nodded. “It is worse than that, as a duel must be fought with matched weapons and the chevalier is not a mage... she must fight with a blade.”
“She can,” Vivienne interjected, strolling into their group, “choose someone to fight in her stead since she is of a higher social standing than the challenger. Ambassador?” She called to the man and he jogged to them quickly. “Wouldn’t you agree that the Herald has the Right of Proxy in this case.”
“We would, Madame de Fer,” he began cautiously, obvious pained at the turn of events, “within certain limits.”
Josephine sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose against a headache. “What would those be Compte?”
The man gave a deep, elaborate bow of apology before continuing. “It is a duel to the death, thus any man who fights in her stead must be entirely willing. It would be our preference that such a proxy be involved in the crime in question.” The man levelled Bull with meaningful gaze.
“Oh, I’d be happy to fight him.” Bull growled.
“I will allow no proxy,” Evelyn’s voice rose above the din. “Madame de Fer? I believe as the challenged I get to chose the weapons.”
Vivienne cleared her throat, stepping away from the group and matching her voice to the Inquisitor’s, “That is true.”
“Chevalier Markham,” she said, drawing his attention back from where he whispered amongst his friends, “I choose glaives .”
“Chevalier,” the Orlesian ambassador stepped closer to them, addressing the knight, “do you agree?”
Josephine spoke to those assembled, “The bout will be at dawn, as is tradition. Until then combatants must be sequestered.”
Evelyn nodded, stepping back from the aggressive position she’d taken. Turning to her ambassador but speaking loud enough that the crowd shushed to hear her she said, “Give him every courtesy. He will be treated with respect .”
She swept out of the room then, Dorian tight on her heels as his fear turned to painful rage.
“Are you mad?” he hissed when they were along in her chambers, lightning crackling along his skin in distress.
He heard Bull’s lopsided gait as he came in behind them, shutting and bolting the chamber.
“Kadan,” Bull growled, his voice echoing oddly in the chamber.
Dorian spun, fuming, “Don’t you ‘kadan’ me.” But Bull had eyes only for Evelyn, watching her as she stood at the windows looking out on the mountainside.
“Oh,” he gasped as Bull swept past him, trailing a gentling had over his hip.
“Kadan, ” Bull repeated, this time standing right behind her. “I won’t allow you to fight for my honor.”
“‘Allow’?” she sneered, “Please don’t condescend to me, Bull.”
“It’s my fight.” he snarled, hands gentle as they curled over Evelyn’s shoulders.
Dorian leaned next to her, against the freezing glass despite the shiver it sent through him. “I’m in agreement, let Bull duel.”
“You think I want to fight him?” Evelyn said, the eyes that darted to Dorian were filled with anguish. Dorian reach out, fingers smoothing the hair back from her face. “Maker’s mercy, I have enough blood on my hands.”
“Because we are about to go to Halamshiral to save the Celene. Chevalier Markham is the Empress’ champion. Regardless of the law, if I make Bull my Champion I will be seen as weak at best and a murderer at worst. Markham is a knight born and raised to their idea of honour. He will never back down from the duel. If I but Bull in my stead he will fight and he will die and I will never be free of the whispers that it was effectively a slaughter.”
“She has a point,” Dorian admitted, grudgingly. Bull was staring out into the sunlight, teeth grinding in distress.
“And if you fall?” Bull said, voicing the fear none of them wanted to say.
“I won’t.” Evelyn stated, determined.
The morning dawned bloody, crimson and purple, as the solemn crowds gathered in the bailey. The practice ring would be their battleground.
Bull leaned on the familiar wooden railing, watching as the crowds gathered. The Chargers had taken up positions at his back, no doubt ready to rush in and save the Inquisitor at his command or hers.
“I do not like this,” Cassandra said from his elbow, voicing his own fears.
Harritt stepped forward with the glaives, magicless staffs with blades atop. The had been forged specially for this, two weapons identical in everyway.
“Are we certain,” the chevalier asked as he preened under the attention of several Orlesian woman, “that those are not mages’ staffs?”
“You go to far,” Vivienne admonished, stepping ringside with the ambassador to Orlais. “It is one thing to make a challenge over a matter of honour, but another entirely to accuse the Inquisitor of cheating.”
“Madame de Fer,” he greeted giving a flourishing bow, “You’ll forgive me for any offense this might cause given your familiarity to the parties but, a woman who could lay with such a beast has no honour.”
Bull growled, gripping the railing tightly.
“Nothing to say, beast?” Markham spat. “My sister will never out live the shame you’ve wrought her.”
“Then that shame,” Dorian drawled as he took his place at Bull’s side, “was entirely of her making. Bull is many things but a rapist is not one of them.”
“As if the world of a magister means anything?”
“Enough,” Evelyn said, regal as a queen as she vaulted over the railing. “Choose any mage hereabouts to test the staffs and be done with it.”
Markham nodded to a hooded man in the crowd who stepped forward, his gloved hands running over the wood before declaring, “They are as they seem.”
The hooded man stepped forward, handing over the weapon before retreating out of the pen and Markham entering in his place.
The ambassador stepped forward, speaking to those assembled. “It is time. Inquisitor, chevalier, the fight is to the death. Begin.”
They squared off, bodies circling slowly. Bull couldn’t help the swelling of pride in his chest as she tested his defenses, feeling out his technique.
The knight was slow, lunging with the glaive as it is were a spear as Evelyn twirled away from every attempt. She was an excellent fighter, her time in the field only smoothing out her skills but single combat was very different from the style she’d been engaged in and Bull couldn’t help the fear that clutched his chest when the knight cast the weapon aside and ducked under her guard.
Dorian gasped, cleaving to his arm and Bull resisted the temptation to hide the mage’s face in his chest.
The Inquisitor and the chevalier went sprawling to the dirt, his attempt to get his chainmail hands around her throat unsuccessful as she pulled off his helmet and punched him in the face. Evelyn rolled out of his grasp as he stumbled, picking up the staff and preparing it for his next assault.
Slamming down his heavy boot, Markham split his own staff in two and lifted the bladed side out of the dirt. They dodged and wove, Markham using the broken staff as a sword while she moved with the weapon with a familiar grace.
In the end it was his own armor that brought him down, the metal slipping in the early morning mud and sliding onto his ass. It would have been amusing if it hadn't been so serious. Evelyn pressed her advantage and brought the blade to his throat.
“Yield,” she demanded.
“I will not.” Markham glared, spitting at her feet.
“Y-yield,” she said again, her voice suddenly going weak. Bull focused his hearing, listening until he could make out the beat of her heart amongst the gathered crowd. It thudded wildly, heavily just as the smell of burning flesh reached his nose.
She dropped the staff, going to her knees as she cradled her hands.
Markham went to grab the abandoned weapon even as Bull launched himself into the ring, tackling the chevalier.
“Bull!” Vivienne gasped.
“Poison,” he growled, ignoring the slash of pain in his belly.
Her eyes darted to the Inquisitor, widening when she saw. “Ambassador!” she called even as she slipped into the ring.
“I declare this fight over by dishonour. Have the chevalier in chains until it is investigated.”
Bull rolled off the man and let Cullen’s people drag him off as he protested his innocence. Grunting as he went back down in pain.
The staff blade was buried in his stomach.
“Bull!” Dorian cried out, helping him lay back. “I need a healer!”
Bull rolled his head to the side, trying to see Evelyn. “Dorian, is she alright?”
“I don’t know,” he grunted, ripping off a measure of cloth from his robes and pressing it into the wound.
“I don’t know!” he screamed, ignoring the tears pouring down his face.
“Stay with me, Bull,” the altus sobbed as Bull struggled for consciousness.
“I can’t lose you both.”
My sincerest apology to Dorian who I keep torturing. I promise him a happy ending.
Chapter 11: Our Lady Shall Weep
“Sparkler,” Varric sighed, his voice cutting through the fog of fear and exhaustion as he took the other chair.
Dorian shot a glance over his shoulder to see if the sound had awoken his lovers. But no, of course not. They laid on the bed, side by side, still and sallow in the deep sleep. Bull rested through his wounds naturally. But Evelyn was utterly still in the deepest rest that only a mage could induce.
At first it had been a flurry, Dorian pacing in a corner as Solas tended to Evelyn with four or five healers and Stitches had been pulled in to oversee Bull. Evelyn was in far worst shape, the adrenaline of the duel spreading the poison all over her body before they’d even noticed. If Bull hadn’t- If he’d not-
Bull was a hero.
A hero who might not live.
Stitches seemed to think he would. But, he’d said with a reservation Dorian rarely associated with the healer, gut wounds were difficult to predict.
As for Evelyn, it had spread to her heart. The toxin stopping the muscle twice in those early hours and shocked back to life. Solas had stayed with her the first night. As she seemed to stabilize he set a rotation of mages to monitor her with sight and spells. They’d gone now, shooed away to give Dorian some peace as she was steadily improving.
“How are they?” the dwarf asked, setting a heavy bottle of something strong on the table next to him.
“Solas says they are convalescent. I-I was never very good at the healing school.”
Varric nodded, picking at his nails.
Dorian picked up the bottle and opened it, taking a long drink from the neck. “Angel of mercy,” he sighed, sinking into his chair and favoring Varric with a crooked smile. It was weak and didn’t reach his eyes but Varric returned it.
“Shit Sparkler, I can’t even imagine…”
“Please Varric, don’t.” Dorian took another healthy pull off the bottle, a fine strong antivan brandy, and relished as it dulled the world.
“You should eat something,” he ventured, “sleep. Maker something. Killing yourself isn’t going to make them heal any faster.”
“When do you leave for Halamshiral?” he asked, gently, changing the subject.
“The ball… thing is at the end of next month. We’re hoping… Shit, I’m hoping she’ll be up and around by then. Pretty sure the world would have gone to the Void by now if it wasn’t for her. She’s been out of it for one week and everyone is scrambling trying to pick up the pieces.” He sighed heavily, leaning back into the chair and closing his eyes. “She made it look so easy.”
“Altus?” a familiar voice said from the stairs. My he was popular tonight. Though in truth he always happy to see the young man.
“I’ll um…” Varric said, already rising, “leave you be.”
Dorian stood and hugged him. Venhedis he was emotional. Varric seemed to understand, hugging and patting Dorian’s back. As the dwarf left he nodded solemnly to the men gathered on the stairs.
Krem loomed by the railing, other shadows lurking just beneath.
“Come in, all of you,” Dorian said, already pushing back the chairs that flanked the fireplace to make room for them. It seemed that the Chargers had appointed themselves his unofficial nanny, checking in on him in the past few days.
Dorian retreated to the corner behind the desk, staring out into the blinding sunlight as he tuned out the sounds of Krem giving Bull his daily update. It seemed to give the young man some comfort and Dorian felt some responsibility for them in Bull’s congenial absence.
Something poked him in the shoulder.
Dorian turned to find Grim there, lurking with a plate held out for him: grapes, cheese, a bit of salted meat. The scent wafted up to his nose making him both simultaneously nauseous and hungry.
“Hm.” Grim grunted, holding out the tray.
“No,” Dorian said, turning away, “no thank you.”
“Hm,” he grunted more emphatically, poking Dorian’s shoulder once more with the edge of the metal plate.
“I would take it if I were you,” Skinner said as she leaned against the fireplace, picking dirt from her nails with the point of her dagger, “he’s not going to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Dorian sighed, taking the plate from the man.
“Hm,” he grunted again, staring meaningfully at the plate until Dorian popped a grape in his mouth. Seemingly contented the man moved off, making plates and handing them out.
Once he’d eaten the grape he’d found his was, indeed, hungry. He finished the fruit and cheese but left the meat. Setting the plate on the desk he turned back to the window, finding comfort as the Chargers took turns talking to Bull and Evelyn, telling them stories.
After a fashion he realised that Krem was standing next to him, helping keep his silent vigil.
Dorian turned, blinking at the Soporati who favoured him with a soft smile.
“You really love him, don’t you?”
Well, right to the point, then. Dorian cleared his throat against the surge of emotion before responding. “I love them both.”
Krem nodded solemnly. “I suspect the feeling is mutual, not that the Chief gets all touchy feely. Still, you can see it.”
“And what is it you see, Cremisius?”
“Ah,” he sighed, rubbing the back of his neck, “little things mostly. How he’s only got eyes for you when you’re in the room. How he perks up whenever Her Worship is near. He doesn’t flirt anymore, even when you and the Inquisitor are out in the field and you can tell he’s lonely. Like no one else is good enough. Like he can’t stand the-”
A sob broke loose from Dorian’s throat and he realised he was crying, tears flooding down his face.
“Shit, Dorian. I’m sorry.”
“No,” he waved the young man’s concern away, batting the moisture from his face. Maker he must look a fright. “It’s alright. I just didn’t realise.”
They stood there like that, two men side by side, offering what comfort they could as day crept by.
“Sir,” a messenger said, clearing his throat, “message from Lady Nightingale. Your presence is requested in the War Room.”
Dorian sighed, not wanting to leave. Not that it was doing either of them any good.
“We’ll stay,” Krem said, clasping his shoulder.
Dorian nodded. He didn’t want to be seen in public the way he was but there was little for it, Leliana wouldn’t wait.
He was surprised when he entered the Great Hall how empty it was, no throngs of people just a few servants and every member of the Inquisitor’s Inner Circle. They’d gathered, forming a wall on either side of his path to the War Room.
“Dorian,” Blackwall stepped forward, embracing him heartily. “We’ve all been summoned but we thought… we thought you should go first.”
“Festis bei umo canavarum ,” he hissed as he tried to swallow down more tears.
One by one they fell in behind him as he passed offering silent comfort in a silent procession to the War Room. Evelyn’s advisors were waiting there, as well as Solas. Josephine’s eyes grew wide at the line of them as they entered but she didn’t comment.
Blackwall and Cassandra flanked him, standing close as if he would fall over. As he swayed on his feet, he was grateful for it; the two days sleep he’d missed in silent vigil seeming to rush at him now.
Leliana gestured to Solas and he stepped forward.
“They are improving. I suspect The Iron Bull will wake up within the next day or so, he is lucky he received no poison. Though I suspect it will be sometime before he is once more himself.
“As for Evelyn, I believe she will heal given time…”
It was nothing Dorian hadn’t heard from the elf personally but he listened quietly, soothed by the relief that rippled through the room.
“...concerned about her heart. There’s no way to know if the damage caused by the poison will be permanent until she awakens.”
“She’s gonna be alright, though?” Sera asked, her face blotchy from crying.
“Yes, I believe so.”
She gave a tearful, if hopeful, smile before turning her eyes to Dorian. He tried to return it but felt the tug of his lips fell far short.
“As for the issue of the Chevalier,” Leliana spoke, drawing the eyes in the room to her. “There is no proof he knew of or was complicit in the poisoning of the Inquisitor.”
“Surely,” Cullen growled, “we cannot just let him go?”
“We cannot just imprison him indefinitely.” Josephine snapped back, it had the air of an argument they’d had for some time.
“No,” Leliana said, “he will remain, for now. My people continue to dig but it doesn’t seem likely he was involved.”
“But he had motive…” Cullen growled.
“As does half of Thedas,” Leliana rejoined, “anyone who wishes to do the Inquisition harm could have used the opportunity to poison the glaives .”
“What of the mage?” Dorian asked, softly.
Leliana sighed, “...if he is a mage… he has disappeared. No doubt he was the agent of the poison. The gloves he used were found discarded outside the gates.”
“We can at least hold the Chevalier until the Empress’ ball. If we have no proof by then…”
Dorian sighed, unaccountably weary. “Is that all?” he asked, his voice felt hollow.
“For now,” Leliana said, her eyes soft when she looked at him. “Get some rest, Dorian.”
He let Cassandra guide him back, his fatigue settling through him as she helped him up the stairs.
“Shit,” he heard Krem, as if from a distance and then suddenly the young man had slung Dorian’s arm over his shoulder and he was being guided into a chair.
He wasn’t sure how long he drifted, bordering the edges of consciousness before gentle hands removed his boots and outer clothes leaving him in the soften linen shirt and leggings he wore beneath. His eyes fluttered open when he was laid down on something soft, the scent of Bull and Evelyn familiar as he buried his face in it.
The Chargers had spread out the bedroll they’d shared in the field just days before. He groaned into it, breathing in the memories shamelessly.
“You need anything?” Krem asked, hand warm on his shoulder.
The man was an absolute treasure. Bull would have to give him a raise.
“Stay,” Dorian croaked, reaching out for him and squeezing his wrist. “All of you. Stay?” He tried to raise his eyes, to find the others but he was just too tired. He laid his head back down and let sleep claim him.
Bull woke to pain. Blindly. Slicing through his gut. His eyes snapped open, preparing to fight only to flop back, his horns scraping a new furrow in the headboard.
He breathed through it, past it. Focusing his mind to somewhere where there wasn’t discomfort. Finally the agony subsided and he sat himself up despite the protests of his mind.
He could feel the fatigue dragging at him, out for more than a day then. Evelyn was next to him, laying on her back in a way that screamed magic and not sleep. He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her forehead, dry and feverish.
In the darkness he could just make out a mound of bodies near the fireplace, now burned down to only embers. Rocky’s snore was unmistakable as was Skinner’s. A smile tugged at his lips as he realized his boys as spent the night on the floor, watching over him.
Grim stepped out of the shadows near the windows, catching his eye. His movements were telegraphed, an attempt not to startle him.
“Grim,” Bull said, nodding at the man.
He jerked his head to the pile with another grunt.
Bull got up slowly, testing the weakness in his limbs before trying to stand. When he felt good enough he stumbled to the chair. Grim refilled the fireplace and it wasn’t long before flames were licking greedily at the new wood casting a golden light over the pile of his boys.
Dorian was there, in the middle of his Chargers, head pillowed on Dalish’s stomach, Skinner wrapped around his back in comfort. It made emotion swell in his chest, to know they’d been there for Dorian when he couldn’t.
As if called by his thoughts the mage’s eye cracked open and, seeing Bull, he smiled. It was a thing of beauty, of painful edges and hope. Dorian extricated himself from the sprawl of limbs and crept across the room, setting at his feet. Bull cradled his head as he pressed it against his thigh. Now that his vigil was over Grim took the spot Dorian had abandoned, curling up amongst the pile of sleeping bodies.
“You alright, kadan ?” he rumbled softly.
“Andraste’s tits! I should be asking you that.” he hissed, arms wrapping around Bull’s leg. “You shouldn’t be out of bed.”
“Yeah, well. You should be in it.”
The mage shook his head, fingers slipping beneath the hem of his pants and curling around the bare flesh of his calf. “Didn’t want to hurt you or Evelyn.”
“How is she?” Bull asked, fearing the answer.
Dorian wailed and he gathered the mage up into his lap, letting him lean on his uninjured side as he cried. “It was so bad, Bull. You were both… Her heart stopped. Twice. Solas says she will be alright but… she may not be the same, not as strong…”
Dorian’s arms wound around his neck, clinging as the fears of the last few days freed themselves in wracking sobs. It was a long time before he settled, before gentle tear-filled kisses chased them away.
“Come to bed,” Bull coaxed between one kiss and the next. “Come to bed.”
Dorian let himself be led, trying to take some of Bull’s weight as they stumbled back across the room. Bull coaxed him in first, putting the mage away from his wound and closer to Evelyn.
“Sleep now,” he said, kissing Dorian’s forehead. And he did.
Evelyn’s road to recovery was longer, more treacherous.
The Chargers were ecstatic to see him up and moving, and they took turns minding him. They accompanied him on his daily walks, first short but then longer until Solas said he might return to sparring. Dorian was not pleased at that but said little.
The altus was… distant. During the daylight he buried himself in books, or weapons training and no amount of gentleness or demanding pulled him from the tasks he set for himself. But at night, at night he was a different man - needy, emotional - as if the shadows brought him back to himself.
They made love in front of the fireplace, two broken souls missing their other part as she drifted through the Fade just feet away.
After a week Solas lifted the sleeping geis. They did not rest that night, chairs pulled to her beside as they watched over her in silent vigil. Near midday, after she was released from the spell, she opened her eyes.
They were the bright green of spring grass as she took them both in and favoring them with a gentle smile. Dorian laughed and cried as he wiggled into bed next to her, careful of her bandaged hands. She let herself be held, giving comfort as much as taking.
Her eyes met Bull’s, full of questions but for now, for now this was enough. Bull joined them, holding them both and he knew they’d be ok.
Chapter 12: Heart of the World
“Andraste’s sainted tits!” Evelyn hissed as she kicked off her boots on the balcony, welcoming the cold that leached into her aching feet as she leaned on the balustrade overlooking Halamshiral’s formal gardens. She peeled off her gloves, they would scar but what did it really matter when one of them glowed? The healing burns were the only lasting effect of the attempt on her life, that, and the occasional flutter in her chest. An arrhythmia that would be with her for the rest of her days.
She looked behind her, considering diving back into the crowds to find her men but that would require more diplomacy and pretending not to hear the pointed remarks about magisters and oxmen . No thank you. They could fend for themselves.
“There you are,” Dorian said, sweeping in breathless. He took in the long line of her body, sagging with weariness and leaned next to her, his hand coming to settle on the small of her back. “Are you alright?”
She knew what he meant, his eyes still tinged with worry from watching her and Bull come close to death. She wished she knew how to chase that worry away. “It was a long night, that’s all.”
He nodded, shoulder bumping hers as he offered silent comfort.
A stringed quartet began playing from below. “Dance with me, amata ?”
He favoured her with one of his crooked grins.
“How could I say no to such a dashing man?” she smiled, sighing as he pulled her into his arms.
At some point as they spun in slow circles she became aware of Bull leaning in the doorway watching them with a happy glitter in his eye. She tripped, stumbled of the moves. If not for Dorian’s skill they likely would have gone sprawling across the marble.
“May I cut in?” Bull asked, his voice a purr in her chest as he gave a courtly bow.
“No!” she giggled, pulling Dorian away into another spin.
Bull watched them, laughter tugging at his face as they moved around him until finally she relented, spinning the altus into his arms. Bull swept the man up easily, the two moving together with a grace she could never manage. She returned to the railing, jumping up to sit on it as she watched the men she loved dance until they were gasping.
“You’d be a delight at the Tevinter courts, amatus!” Dorian declared, leaning heavily on Bull’s strong arm.
“I’ve been, after a while the saddle gets too heavy.”
That made her snort as they joined her by the railing. She swung her legs over, leaning back into the warmth and strength of Dorian's chest as Dorian was held, in turn, by Bull.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Bull said.
She sighed, the sound full of sadness. “I wanted to fight a duel with half of the nobility. The things they say-”
“No,” Dorian said firmly, his face bleached white as she turned in his arms, “no more duels.”
“Dorian,” she reached out, her anchor flaring against the skin of his face as she cupped it.
“Promise me, amata . Promise me no more duels. I can’t watch you throw yourself into unnecessary danger. I can’t-” his voice broke, his face curling into her shoulder as he breathed her in. “I can’t watch you go where I can’t follow. If you fall, we all fall.” he finished, voice wavering.
“I promise,” she whispered, pulling him close to spread kisses on his forehead, his cheeks.
“Does it bother you,” he said against her cheek, stubble biting into her skin, “what they say?”
“That I’m the whore of an oxman and a magister?”
She regretted the wince she felt through his embrace.
“No. Not on my behalf, anyways. I don’t expect them to understand what we are to each other.”
There was silence for a long time, enjoying the solace of each other’s company. Josie would find them when it was time to leave, until then she fully intended to hide from the bevy of admirers and detractors alike.
There was something she needed to ask, something she’d needed to say for some time. “What-” she began, her voice breaking on the word. She sighed and began again, “What will happen to us when this is over?”
“Us, as in the Inquisition or…?”
“Us, as in you, Bull and I.”
“Ah,” he said, pulling her close. He mulled over the question which didn’t entirely put her at ease though she supposed it was better than a flippant answer. “I have thoughts about that, but what are yours?”
“Coward,” she teased, settling against his shoulder. “I’m not sure I’ll survive this. I’m not sure I’m supposed to.”
Bull growled his displeasure but didn’t interrupt.
“Don’t-” Dorian warned, his voice clenching with emotion, “I won’t allow it.”
She patted his arm, leaving that fight for another day. “But if I do live I don’t want- I want to retire. It’s strange, I spent nearly two decades locked in that circle but now the world feels too big, too vast; too many problems laid at my feet. I want-” she choked, emotion welling up in her, “I want to put it down. I don’t want anymore lives in my hands.”
Bull startled her as he spoke, his arms wrapping tightly around them both, the knuckles of one of his hands swiping the tears away she hadn’t even noticed. “It’s alright kadan ,” he soothed.
She nuzzled into his hand, not sure she believed him. “What do you want, Bull?”
“Tough question,” he mused, “guess I could see it going a couple of ways assuming we all live: One, we go back to our lives, me with the Chargers, Dorian to start a political crusade in Tevinter and you-”
“Back to the Circle when the Divine reforms them?”
“I won’t allow it.” Dorian snapped.
“Me either.” Bull agreed, “Suppose you could come with the Chargers or marry Dorian and give his family a heart attack.”
“Oh!” Dorian exclaimed, “think of our children, gorgeous little things running about.”
Evelyn knew he was teasing but the mental image filled her with a longing that knocked the breath out of her.
“And we could have lovers. Share the sexiest men in the Imperium. Think of the scandal…”
“Two,” Bull continued, “we could all stay in the Inquisition. Me and the Chargers finding work here and there.”
“Or three,” she took over, spinning out the half formed fantasy before her nerves silenced her voice. “I retire. We have a pack of gorgeous children, some are half-qunari. Buy a house on the Orlais-Tevinter border with enough room for the Chargers and live a rowdy, crazy, wonderful happily ever after?”
The silence seemed to wind on for a long time before Dorian’s fingers found her chin, tilting her face up to meet his. His brown eyes swam with unshed tears, a cocky half smile pulling at his lips. “You want to have a family?”
Her breath whooshed out of her at the question. Truth was she hadn’t thought about it, really thought about it. It had always been a childish dream, a fantasy. Circle mages didn’t get to have families or children, they didn’t even get to fall in love. Yet now that she knew these men she was certain she didn’t want to give them up. She wanted the fantasy. Her eyes darted to Bull’s grey one, his face swimming as tears spilled down her face.
“Yes,” she answered finally, “more than anything.”
Dorian nodded, his voice rumbling in her ear, “I do, amata . Let us have the most scandalous union this side of Thedas.”
“Probably in all of Thedas.” she answered.
“Half-qunari children are pretty rare,” Bull mused. “Not that I’d mind trying for ‘em.”
“Then it’s settled,” Dorian pronounced, “after this we’ll settle down for a life of domesticated bliss…”
Bull sniggered, the sound rumbling through his lovers.
“Er- or something like it.”
Dorian watched as Evelyn paced the room in barely contained rage. He’d never seen her this worked up but he supposed it had been coming for a while. After Halamshiral she’d smoothed tensions, put Celene in power with Briala to back her. True love. Evelyn was a sucker for it.
That had meant that more Orlesians had come just in time for her to deal with the Chevalier. Leliana never did find any proof linking him to the poison, the mage having whispered in his ear about her cheating to goad him into questioning the weapons thus putting them in the hands of the real culprit. Celene had given him over to the Inquisition’s justice and Evelyn, in turn, had banished him.
She had Bull and Dorian at her side when she’d judged him, something that set the gossip’s tongues wagging even more.
Dorian watched as the rumors, increasing in their boldness, wore at her composure.
“I can’t believe ,” she hissed, dragging her travel pack out and shoving clothes into it, “they sent a box for me to judge. A box! As if Celene has no respect for me. For the Inquisition.”
“I don’t think she meant it that way,” Dorian tried to soothe from the safety of not being in arms reach.
Her hair crackled with electricity.
“Evelyn,” he warned.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself.
“What are you doing?” he said, looking at her travel pack.
He knew she'd been crazed by the enforced rest and the prolonged tensions with the nobles but she was not ready to go back into the field. He didn't care what Solas said. He didn't care that she was training every day.
“I need to kill something.” she growled.
“Gah!” he sighed, exasperated and throwing his hands into the air. “You sound like Bull!”
“Maybe that’s why you love us?” she smirked. “Come with me.”
Dorian looked her over, truly looked. She was healthy, probably healthier than she'd been since Adamant. But she was frustrated too, had indulged the combined nannying of the Chargers and her lovers for far longer than she was likely comfortable with. He knew that glint in her eye, if she didn't kill something out there she was likely to strangle someone in here. Then Josephine would never let them hear the end of it.
He caved. “As if I’d let you out of my sight.” He pulled his pack out of the little room they used for storage, grabbing Bull’s as well.
He batted her hands away, dumping out the hastily packed bag and folding her clothes back into it carefully.
“So,” he ventured, “what shall we kill?”
She looked at him, her eyes shining with the lust for adventure. “A dragon.”
Chapter 13: Rise on Burning Wings
Well this chapter was supposed to have some plot... and then it didn't. Enjoy your porn people!
Varric agreed to keep their destination secret. Almost since the moment they’d received word of a dragon beyond the westernmost camp in the Hinterlands Bull had been begging to go slay it. The look of pure joy on Bull’s face as they left the camp, not towards Redcliffe as they told him but toward the winged beast, filled her heart with a lightness she’d missed.
He grinned madly as the yellow skinned monster swooped overheard, whooping with a childish sort of glee. “Oh, would you look at that! That is magnificent !” he roared, pinning first Dorian and then herself with a look that said he was going to fuck them tonight until they couldn’t walk.
His gurgle of laughter and they descended into the valley, cutting through dragonlings as they went put a smile on their faces, even Varric couldn’t help but shake his head as a grin twisted the corners of his lips. For all he grumbled about being the “fourth wheel” he didn’t seem to mind the flirtatious looks they passed around him. Certainly having a tent to himself was a bonus.
When they passed under the stone arch, finding where the dragon had finally landed, they spread out while Bull dived in. Dorian kept their barriers replenished while casting fire spells at the beast’s face. Evelyn dodging around its fireballs to cast lightning spells that crackled the air.
She never got tired of watching Dorian cast, though this time she kept her eyes focused on their target, he moved with a predatory feline grace that she wished she could mimic.
It was a hearty beast, majestic in its way. They pummelled it mercilessly, Varric landing a bolt in its eye as it wailed. It launched itself skyward, knocking them over with the downdraft of its wings.
They waited for it to return, to swoop over their heads as it had done before.
“There!” Dorian shouted, pointing to the cliffs above as it screamed in fury, drawing its mates and offspring down from the hills.
The group left most of the dragonlings there, ducking out before they could see their targets, and made their way up the steep hill. Bull took point, cutting through the creatures blocking their path until they spilled their way into a crowded nest.
“Spread out!” Evelyn called, fade stepping past the creature until her back was against the rounded stone wall.
She saw Varric crawling up the rim of the enclosure as Bull kept the dragon distracted, mindful of its lashing tail as he swung his great dawnstone ax at its tender underside.
“Watch your back side!” Dorian shouted, throwing a barrier around Bull as it knocked him to the ground a moment before she went down, collapsing onto a foreleg.
“You watch it, ‘vint!” he shouted back, rolling to his feet before climbing up the wounded leg. With one final great swing his planted his weapon into her neck. A writhe. A gurgle. The mighty beast finally fell.
The Iron Bull jumped around in victory, shouting something in Qunlat that had her turning to Dorian and asking, “What did he say?”
Dorian coughed, swinging his staff onto his back. “I don’t think I should repeat that.”
Bull turned to the altus, grinning from ear to ear as dragon’s blood ran down his flesh and dripped onto the slate ground.
“Don’t you dare ,” he warned as Bull moved toward him.
Too late Dorian turned to run and Bull was on him, lifting him squealing into the air as the qunari cheered their victory.
“Put me down you beast!” he growled, fighting a pleased tug in the corner of his lips.
Bull finally set the man down as she made her way around the corpse to join them. In his kindness the qunari didn’t draw Dorian into a full body embrace, sparing his clothes from being coated in dragon’s gore. Cupping his face, Bull kissed him fiercely.
He pulled away with a gasp, leaving the altus unsteady on his feet as he drew Evelyn to him, in who was already covered in blood. He lifted her into his arms, spinning her around as he kissed her before setting her down and declaring, “That was a good fight!”
“It is disturbing how much you enjoy these things,” Dorian reproached, brushing off his robes.
“If you love birds are done, now?” Varric said, standing near the path that led back below, “We got some little ones left.”
They cleared out the valley with ease, working their way back towards the front and gathering what loot they could. Evelyn would send scouts in later to thoroughly clean the area and deal with the carcass. Bull even asked for a tooth but when she asked what for he wouldn’t say.
As they neared the camp Dorian pulled her close, wrapping his arm around her shoulder companionably. “How cold do you think that waterfall is?” He nodded to the spill amongst the rocky steps.
“Not so cold that a couple of warming runes and a massive qunari couldn’t make it bearable.”
“My love,” he said, not caring about the blood dried on her cheek as he pressed a kiss there, “you have a singular mind.”
“Go.” she said, grinning as she nudged him with her hip. “Take Bull with you. I’ll go up to camp and bring back… supplies.”
He arched an elegant eyebrow. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking Bull has been half hard since we saw the creature and now he can’t take his eyes off us.”
“Mm,” Dorian moaned in her ear, the sound making heat pool between her legs. “It seems a shame to waste such a delightful level of aggression, don’t you?”
She giggled, elbowing him before pushing him towards their lover. “Go you two. I’ll be right back.”
Varric looked between them before studiously shifting his gaze towards his feet. “You three are gonna give me nightmares.”
Dorian pulled him towards the fall, letting go of his hand only to strip himself of his armour, leaving it in a pile by the edge of the water before throwing a few warming runes against the rocks and plunging in.
He came up damp, water coursing over the hard planes of his body in the sunset making Bull’s cock stand up and pay attention.
“Well?” he gasped against the bite of the cold before running his hands over his skin, drawing Bull’s gaze with them. “Are you coming?”
He chuckled, throwing off his blood soaked clothes, now half dry, and toeing off his boots before wading into the shallow pool. He picked Dorian up, growling at the feel of the mage against him, cold skin against heated flesh.
“Under the water,” Dorian demanded, “you blood soaked monstrosity.”
Bull was surprised at the warmth of it when he walked them under the falls, letting the weight of it pound on his shoulder as he protected Dorian from the spray.
“Bull?” Dorian said, suddenly tender as his hands his cupped the back of Bull’s head, fingers playing with the stubble of his shaved head. “You’re very quiet.”
“Maybe I’m enjoying the view,” he said, dragging the knuckles of his hand over Dorian cheek bone, rubbing away a red smudge.
“Or maybe that dragon tired you out?” The mage teased, nipping at Bull’s lower lip. “Can’t keep up… Tiny?”
Bull growled, pinning Dorian against the rock under the falls, the gap of the overhang leaving enough space for them behind the spray. “Want to find out?”
“Oh,” Dorian gasped, his cock hard against Bull’s stomach, “very much so.”
Dorian was a pushy shit, it was half his charm. The other half being largely comprised of his tender heart and insatiable appetite. Before Bull had rubbed one out a couple times a day, tumbling with a willing partner whenever available which was often enough to keep him satisfied if not completely sated. With the two mages sharing his bed he hardly touched himself at all, a miracle if he’d ever seen one.
He was happy.
Even Krem teased him about how much he smiled.
“Gentlemen!” Evelyn called from the other side of the wall of water.
Bull kept him pinned, stealing a rough kiss from his lips before letting him down. They came back out together, Dorian leaning on his arm as he picked his way over the slippery rocks. His smaller feet having less purchase on the stones.
Bull smiled when he saw Evelyn, her pale skin turned golden by the evening sunlight as she stood naked and wet in hip deep water. Well, hip deep for her, for him it barely reached his knees.
“We are lucky men,” Dorian said, grinning up at him.
Bull couldn’t agree more.
She smiled at them wickedly as they drew close.
“What are you up to, amata?”
Her smile turned sweet and innocent as she sidled up to Dorian, hips swaying in a way that was obviously meant for Bull’s benefit. “Dorian,” she said, rubbing her face into the warmth of his chest as she wound her arms around the mage’s neck, “must I be up to something?”
That was when she unfurled her hands, a length of velvet trailing down near the copper skin of Dorian’s back. Oh, she was good.
Bull took the cloth happily as she distracted the mage with her words. He looped the material around his elbows, careful not to brush the mage’s skin until the knot tightened. Dorian gave a jerk, gasping in surprised pleasure as Bull quickly wove the velvet down his arms in a weave before tying it off at his wrists.
“Oh you two are evil!’ he growled as Bull jerked his elbows up behind his back, forcing him to bend over deliciously.
He rubbed his cock over Dorian’s backside, revelling in the mewl of pleasure the mage gave before he saw the other length of velvet Evelyn was holding above Dorian’s head where he couldn’t see it. Her eyes darted meaningfully to Dorian’s legs.
“Hell yes,” Bull growled, circling the mage’s waist before hauling him up against his chest.
Dorian squealed in alarm before giggling wildly, kicking lightly as Evelyn got ahold of one ankle, tying a loop around it before hauling the other close and wrapping it around, pinning them together. She copied Bull’s movements, braiding the length up his legs to his knees until he was utterly immobilised.
“Did you two plan this?” he growled, writhing between the control of Bull’s arms and Evelyn’s hands.
“Wish I had,” Bull bit into the shell of his ear. “Looks like our dear sweet Evelyn c ame up with this on her own.”
Evelyn released his legs, his toes brushing the shallow water they still stood in as she closed the distance, pressing up against Dorian before burying her hands in his hair and giving a yank.
Damn if that wasn’t sexy as hell.
Dorian gasped, hips bucking in delight.
“I want to watch Bull fuck you while you’re helpless,” she purred, releasing his hair to drag her nails over Dorian’s neck in a way that made the man shiver. “I want to watch him take you apart.”
“Amata,” he gasped.
“Tell Bull you want it.”
“I want it.” Dorian gasped as Bull, already wrecked in arousal hauled Dorian to the blanket she’d spread out for them, pushing Dorian down onto his side. She tossed a bottle of oil to him and he slicked himself quickly.
“You need to be stretched?” Bull asked, looking down on Dorian bound beneath him, his dark hair falling damp and wild around his face.
“No, amatus . Please. Please fuck me.”
His cock slid in easily, Dorian ready for him as he pushed in. His little mage was tight tied up like this and he knew Dorian could feel it too as he gasped and moaned. He took without mercy, fucking hard into Dorian’s hot channel as the altus cried out, uncaring of the volume. The sound echoed off the canyon walls.
“Damn, Dorian,” he growled. Their heated flesh slapping together, the adrenaline of the battle mixed with their own insatiable sex drives pushing them hard and fast towards their combined release.
He got his hand under Dorian’s knees, pushing them up towards his chest and giving him another inch, a deeper thrust to work into Dorian’s body. His own flesh was humming in pleasure as they slammed together in a crazed, furious pace.
It was a moan from Evelyn that drew him from the man beneath him. Bull’s hips stuttered as his eyes followed the trail of her hand to where her fingers were buried in her ass. He watched as she rocked, opening herself up.
Fuck he wanted her.
“Come here,” he growled, shattered.
She crawled to him, hips rolling as she crossed the blanket. Evelyn shot him a saucy smile, leaning up to steal a quick kiss before she turned on all fours, offering her glorious ass up to him.
The burst of heat in his gut was enough to make him start moving again, thrusting into Dorian hard and fast as he reached for the bottle of oil. Pouring more over his fingers he plunged one, then two, then three into her tight heat.
She opened for him, moaning and crying as he pried her open.
“Bull,” she wailed, arching up, the long fall of her red hair trailing down her pale skin.
“Bull,” Dorian whimpered, rocking against the thrust of his cock. He was close, Bull could feel it in the stutter of his hips, in the flutter of his muscles. “I love you.”
To Bull’s surprise it was him who came first, roaring as Dorian’s words tipped him over the edge.
His hand found Dorian’s prick somewhere in the madness of his release and stroked the other man until he came with a shout.
Evelyn grinned like a mad woman as Bull shouted his climax, Dorian following quickly behind. She gently untied Dorian, making sure there was good blood flow in his limbs before getting a cloth wet in the pool of water. She recharged the heating runes, wanting to enjoy the pleasure of the waterfall later before she returned to her men.
She cleaned Bull’s cock, still half hard before moving on to Dorian and taking care of him. She grabbed the extra blanket she’d brought covered the altus before leaving them both to slip back into the water with a bit of soap. She luxuriated in the feel of the water pummelling into her aching back and shoulders, the liquid nearly hot by the time she recharged the runes again. Steam rolled off the pool and the spray in the cooling day.
She smiled to herself as she heard the splash of someone joining her, giggling as Bull lifted her into his arms and captured her lips in a demanding slide of mouths, biting and capturing her lower lip.
She sighed, wrapping her arms around his neck as he deepened the embrace, licking into her mouth greedily.
“Very inventive,” he sighed against her lips as they pulled apart. Evelyn leaned in, tipping her forehead against his jaw,
“I thought you might like that.”
“I think we both did.”
He sat her down on the stepped rocks, his blunt fingers working into her neck.
“Feel better now that you’ve killed something?”
She nodded, blushing at how she behaved and burying it into his chest. “I don’t know why I got so angry.”
Bull shrugged, playing with her curls before ghosting his hands down her flank and over her hips. “You’ve had a rough month. First Adamant then the duel, then Halamshiral. It’s a lot.”
“You’ve been there with me,” she said, eyes shining with emotion in the twilight as she looked up and caught his eye. She raised her arms up and he understood, lifting her so she could stand. Perched on the ledge of stone she was taller than him, able to rest her elbows on his shoulders and scrape her nails along his shorn scalp.
“And I’m not going anywhere.”
She nodded, chewing at her lips before she tilted her forehead against his and whispered against his cheek, “Do you love me?”
“You know I do, kadan .”
She nodded. She did, of course she did. “Make love to me?”
“Yeah,” he whispered, the word full of promise as he lifted her gently for the third time and set her on a lower rock. He kissed her, long and slow, speaking his affection through his touch and oh, did she feel it. She sighed into his lips, into the swirl of his tongue as he brushed over her skin with his knuckles, with gentleness and reverence.
His mouth ghosted over her face, dropping delicate brushes on her eyelids, her temples then down along the column of her neck until she was gasping as his mouth tugged against her nipple, his hand cupping and rolling the other heavy mound.
She held onto the warm stones, hips rocking forward until she was on the edge, splayed out as he rung music from her body in mewls and sighs.
“Please,” she cried as his hand cradled her neck, the fingers of the other plucking between her legs.
“I love you,” he breathed against her ear. She sighed, melting into the touch.
He slipped a finger into her crooking it as his thumb worked over her clit, gentle, so gentle.
“Kadan,” he whispered, breath ghosting against her skin.
She reached out for him, grasping the length of his shaft and tugging him closer, lining him up with her entrance.
“Please Bull,” she bade, feeling soft and vulnerable in the encroaching night.
He slid inside her, burying himself in her heat and holding her, just holding her as she clung to him.
“I love you, Bull.” she whispered into his collarbone, dragging her teeth along the ridge.
They made love on the rocks, languid and unhurried as he pressed his affections into her skin. Eventually their bodies demanded more and they sped up, rocking together with urgency and need as he held her in his arms, the stone perch abandoned for the shelter of his strength.
“I love you,” he whispered over into her hair as her breathing hitched.
“Yes, kadan .” She came like her own spells, bursting apart in glorious sparking arcs as he held her.
“More,” she mewled against him. “Give me your seed. Please.”
He carried her to the blanket, Dorian watching him under heavy eyes as he laid her down on her back and spread her thighs.
She sighed as he sunk back into her, thrusting in long deep strokes that seemed to touch her soul.
“I love you, kadan .” he murmured again and again until Dorian joined in. The altus came close, threading their fingers together as he held her hand. She realised then that she was crying, happiness chasing the shadows from her soul.
Stars winked to life overhead as she worked her free hand down between her legs, rubbing circles into her clit. She found her orgasm again with a sob as Bull’s hips stuttered and he moaned into her shoulder, filling her with his release.
"I love you." she whispered. "I love you."
The march through the Arbor Wilds was miserable, made all the worse at Evelyn’s inability to keep anything but the barest of foods down. She ached, her body sore and weary, Dorian could see it in the way she held herself. Yet each morning she sat atop her horse, regal as a queen as led her troops. Dorian had never been prouder to be by her side. That she practically collapsed into their arms each night in an exhausted heap worried him in equal measure.
“Stop fretting,” she whispered, her thumb tugging his lower lip free of his teeth. He’d been biting it raw. “You’ll give yourself wrinkles.”
He chuckled at that, pulling her close to his chest. Bull was still out in the camp tending to his Chargers. They’d remained mostly clothed, shucking off their armor but remaining in their tunics and trousers despite the humidity of the forest in summer. Cullen had yet to give his nightly visit and until then they would be miserably covered.
“I only threw up once today. I think the candied ginger is helping.”
“It helped my mother when she was with child… not that you’re…!” Dorian sighed, hand curling over her flat stomach. “It helps with nausea.”
She chuckled, nipping playfully at his jaw. Dorian resisted the urge to tickle, she had the most delightful tittering laugh when she skirted the edge of breathless laughter. Still, it would do no favours to her body.
A man pointedly cleared his throat outside their tent flap.
“Come in, Commander!” Dorian called out.
Dorian helped Evelyn out of their raised palette bed and into the chair near the little field desk. Their tent was the largest, big enough to be a cabin. And like the great generals of old Evelyn often saw to matters beside rest within it.
“Herald,” he said, giving her a respectful bow. He was already flushed and sweating in his armour even as the cool of the evening began swirling around them. “Reports from the scouts put us a day’s march from the Temple. I was coming to inquire about your team?” The Commander flicked his gaze nervously to Dorian where he sat lounged amongst the pillows on their shared bed.
So he heard their rowdy ‘discussion’ the night before. Probably half the camp had. Dorian had no problem shouting Evelyn down when he was angry.
“Solas, Varric and Bull,” she responded, her lips tugging in a little smile. Dorian smiled as well, after all he had won that argument “Dorian will accompany the Chargers wherever you position them.”
He nodded, giving a little salute. “Rest well, Herald.”
“Are you sure,” she said, turning to him where he stretched like a great jungle cat, “that you will listen to Krem?”
He grinned like a hatter. “You didn’t say I had to listen to Krem. You said I had to obey his orders as if it were Bull, which is to say, not at all.”
“Hey!” Bull grumbled as he ducked into the tent, “I heard that!”
Dorian muttered, “Damned qunari hearing.”
“Heard that too.”
Evelyn’s giggle broke through their playful spat. Bull turned to her, smiling and he lifted her out of her chair and into his arms. “Ugh,” she complained, swatting at the wall of his chest, “you stink.”
“You don’t,” Bull growled, nipping into the join of her neck and shoulder. “There’s a river nearby we could…”
“And have a repeat of the day we defeated the dragon…?”
Dorian saw Bull give his odd little wink.
“As delightful as that sounds. I should preserve my energies for battle. Sex can waited until after.”
“Yeah, alright. Dorian?”
“You beast,” Dorian purred, rising to fill the wash basin. “You’ve had me every night, haven’t you had enough?”
“Well,” Bull said, setting Evelyn on their raised palette before stripping down and perching on the stool for Dorian to wash him, “usually I get you both every night.”
“And Evelyn’s lack of sex drive someone translates into a punishment for my backside?”
The cloth was cool in Dorian’s hand as he began washing the sweat and grime from his lover’s grey skin. “Nah. But if you’d like me to punish your backside all you gotta do is ask.”
Dorian chuckled and muttered, “That bears revisiting when we are in a place with stone walls, not canvas ones.”
“Mm,” Bull growled, reaching for Dorian even as the mage skittered away, grabbing a pillow that had tumbled off the bed and onto the grass. He came back then and knelt on the pillow between Bull’s splayed bare legs before continuing his ministrations, surprised that Bull didn’t drag him into his arms.
Bull was swelling under his touch by the time he reached the hefty weight of the qunari’s cock, lifting it gently to clean Bull thoroughly before returning the cloth to the basin.
“Come,” Dorian said, tugging Bull from the stool and towards the bed as he gathered up the pillow once more. Evelyn, it seemed had undressed after the Commander had left and was splayed naked across the sheets. Despite her illness, she was resplendent. No greying skin, or sallow cheeks. Rather she seem healthier, her skin glowing and her eyes bright. Whatever had made her thus they should bottle and sell.
Well, Dorian couldn’t be the only one clothed. Once he had Bull sitting on the edge where he wanted him he pulled at the buckle that held his robes to his shoulder, the mass of cloth pooling on the floor and leaving him in only his boots and trousers. With the pillow back on the ground between Bull’s feet he knelt, taking the half hard organ into his mouth.
“Dorian,” Bull gasped, massive hand cradling the back of Dorian’s head.
Dorian pulled off with a filthy slurp, grinning madly as he looked up at Bull. “You know I will always take care of you, amatus .”
“And I’m all the luckier for it, kadan .”
Dorian worked in earnest then, sucking along the length and rolling Bull’s balls. Once his lover was fully aroused he relaxed his throat and swallowed Bull down and into his throat.
Bull hissed in pleasure.
“Damn,” Evelyn sighed from somewhere above him, “he looks good like that. Maybe he should give me lessons.”
Dorian began to chuckle, pulling back swiftly so he could gulp down air. “It’s made more difficult when you make me laugh, amata .”
“Sorry,” she said, grinning as she leaned over onto her elbow. “Please don’t stop on my account.”
“Don’t stop at all,” Bull growled.
He smiled at both of them, a blush warming his cheeks even as he took Bull into his mouth once more. His audience was silent then save for the moans of pleasure from Bull and Evelyn’s gasps of rapt delight. Dorian loved sucking Bull. The man was massive, of that there was no doubt. Dorian basked in the full choking feeling in his throat and the way it made his lover come undone.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to teach Evelyn; he rather enjoyed being the only one to do this for him. Bull drew him from his thoughts as he clasped his head more roughly, hips hitching in little jerks into Dorian’s eager mouth. Oh, that was delightful.
He pulled back, breathing hard, tears running down his face as his shaking fingers freed his own cock from his trousers. “Fuck my mouth, amatus ,” Dorian pleaded, biting his lip.
Bull nodded, grabbing Dorian’s free hand and pressing it into the meat of Bull’s thigh. “If you need to stop, tap three times. If you need to breathe, squeeze.”
Dorian nodded, both unwilling and unable to hide his excitement. “Damn, kadan.” Bull growled, equally undone, before pulling Dorian onto his cock in one swift movement.
Dorian didn’t even try to wrest control, letting Bull take his pleasure from his willing lips. He stroked his own shaft as Bull buried in his throat, giving a few thrusts until his lungs were screaming before pulling out just enough for Dorian to gasp around the thick head.
They set a rhythm until Dorian wasn’t even thinking about air or pace, only about Bull and how good this felt and how absolutely besotted he was with the man and the woman that shared their hearts.
Evelyn’s sighs of pleasure told Dorian without looking she was touching herself as she watched, as Bull fucked him harder and rougher. Bull was close now as Dorian had been for sometime, he’d slowed down stroking his own cock, wanting it to last until Bull was with him. Pulling back for a final breath, Bull buried himself hard into Dorian’s throat and claimed him without mercy.
The room swam as Dorian brought himself over, Bull’s cock stifling the cries of his release. Bull roared out his own pleasure a moment later, filling Dorian’s belly with his seed.
Evelyn was still going, moaning and gasping even as Dorian collapsed against Bull’s thigh in the aftermath of their combined pleasure. He felt the bed shift, the muscles in Bull’s leg tense and Dorian looked up to see him pull Evelyn into his lap, plunging two fingers into her as she rubbed her clit.
“Yes, please Bull,” she moaned at his neck even as Dorian closed his eyes, too tired to enjoy the spectacle of Bull and Evelyn entwined.
Moments later her muffled cry broke through her gasps of pleasure and they stilled.
“Dorian,” Bull’s voice was rough in the aftermath of sex, “get up here.”
He gave a little mewl of displeasure but stood, peeling off his boots and trousers before collapsing next to Bull on the bed. They’d have to move and get into it properly at some point but right now, both of them splayed across Bull’s chest, it was perfect.
“Come on, kadan ,” Bull said, swatting Dorian’s arse.
Dorian moaned, wriggling down into the sheets.
“If I have to pick you up I’m tossing you outside, bare-assed.”
Dorian huffed, cracking a grumpy eye at him. “You love showing off all those big muscles.”
Bull chuckled and took the hand Dorian offered, tugging him up. “I’m surprised you can still talk after that.”
Dorian stuck out his tongue, which only caused Bull to pounce, licking into his mouth. When they broke apart Dorian gasped. “Barrier spells aren’t only for the outside .”
“Oh,” Bull groaned into his neck, “my clever little mage-boy.”
“Why,” Dorian grumbled, clinging to Bull’s shoulders, “did you wake me?”
“Because it is dinner time,” Evelyn said from outside the tent.
Bull left him to lift aside the flap for her and she ducked in with three large bowls of stew and a loaf of crusty bread.
“That smells divine,” Dorian said, shocked at the quality of tonight’s dinner.
“Cullen’s expecting fighting tomorrow,” Evelyn said, depositing the food on the little table, “they always save the best meal until the night before battle.”
“How are you feeling?” Dorian asked, sweeping up next to her and cupping her face.
“Famished,” she grinned, “I ate some candied ginger a bit ago and I think my appetite is back.
“Good,” he said before taking a bowl and a hunk of bread back to the bed. They ate in silence, Bull on the stool and Evelyn at her desk. She put a fair bit away but eventually she gave Bull the remainder of her bowl and came to curl up beside him.
“I think I might have been too ambitious,” she moaned, sucking on the ginger in her cheek.
Bull cleaned up while Dorian got Evelyn undressed again and curled beneath the sheets. The forest was quickly becoming too cool for naked flesh despite the day’s heat.
Bull joined them, then, his arm bent suspiciously behind his back.
“What are you hiding?” Dorian asked, smile tugging as his lips. Truly, he adored presents. Bull and Evelyn seemed more than content to shower him with them.
“First,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed, “a story. You both know, under the Qun things are different, you can’t stay with someone just because you love them. Duty always comes first.”
Dorian watched Bull’s eye rove over them, smile pulling at his lips. When they remained silent, he continued.
“If someone really wants to show he cares, that he wants to be beside them forever he’ll hunt a dragon and bring back the tooth. They split it in two and both wear it so no matter how far apart they are they’re joined. Two halves, one whole.”
Despite himself, Dorian felt the prickle of tears in his eyes. This wasn’t just a gift, it was a wildly romantic declaration of love. Damn his traitorous heart for melting at such a thing.
“Well, life keeps pulling us apart more than I’d like.” Bull continued, “More than I think any of us like. So I thought… well…”
He pulled it out, a dragon’s tooth, split in three and each section dipped in a precious metal. He split the tooth handing the bloodstone to Evelyn, clasping it on it’s long chain around her neck to where it nestled between her breast, brushing the top of her belly. Then Bull clasped the gold one around his neck, Dorian thought it looked rather fetching against his skin. Bull took the last and placed it around his own neck.
“I love it, amatus .” he said, leaning forward to kiss Bull’s mouth before giving Evelyn her turn.
“I had uh… Dagna enchanted them.”
“We can feel it,” Evelyn said, cuddling in his lap against his shoulder.
Bull nodded. “They’ll cast a protective barrier in battle when your mana is low. They’re also linked, if you hold it and think of the color of the one you’re looking for it will vibrate as you head in the right direction.”
“That,” Dorian said, choking, “is incredibly sweet.”
Bull hauled him onto his lap as well, it was crowded, a tangle of limbs but there was no place he’d rather be.
“Well, if I ever need to haul you out of another man’s bed…” Dorian teased.
“As if anyone could compare to the two people I already have in my bed.”
“Stop it,” Dorian said, nipping at his shoulder, “you’re going to make me cry. I’ll never forgive you for that.”
“Get down!” Bull growled and she did, dropping instinctively to the blood covered stone as his maul careened over her head and into Sampson’s body, knocking the man down and collapsing the chest plate of his armour.
Samson was done, barely alive though they’d leave him for the soldiers to take him back. It was then Morrigan, in her bird form, came swooping into the Vir’Abelasan.
“Morrigan!” she cried out, not bothering to make sure the others followed as she pelted up the steps.
A flash of purple smoke and the witch was herself once more. “You heard his passing words, Inquisitor. The elf seeks to destroy the Well of Sorrows.”
“It’s his to destroy,” Evelyn said, her voice a growl. She didn’t like her people going off half-cocked without her say so. Solas seemed no more please than she, at least they finally agreed about something.
“Beter it be lost,” Abelas said, not breaking eye contact with Morrigan, “than bestowed upon those unworthy.”
“Fool! You’d let your people’s legacy rot in the shadows!”
“Enough, Morrigan!” Evelyn growled, stepping between her and the Well. “I will not allow you to destroy the remnant of a culture to satisfy your lust for knowledge.”
“And what of Corypheus? If we do not take it, he will!”
“Do you even know what you ask?” Abelas sneered at the witch. “As each servant of Mythal reached the end of their years they would pass on their knowledge… through this. All that we were, all that we knew would be gone… forever.”
Evelyn watched the elf, saw the suffering in his eyes. She wished she spoke his language that he might know the truth of her words. “I will not take it. Nor suffer any other to do so without your permission.”
“One does not obtain permission,” he said, wearily, “one obtains the right.” He paced, restless as he decided. “The Vir’Abelasan may be too much for a mortal to comprehend. Take it if you wish but know this: it comes with a price. Should you partake you would forever be bound to the will of Mythal.”
Morrigan sneered at that, “Bound to a goddess that no longer exists? If she ever did.”
“Bound.” Abelas said simply. “As we are bound.” With that the elf left them, to their deliberations, to her decision.
She stared into the glassy surface of the Well as Morrigan crowed about how she was right about the Eluvian, but Evelyn's own internal struggle waged.
She did not trust Morrigan. Not truly. She trusted Morrigan to have Morrigan’s best interest at heart. Giving the Well to the witch might ensure a temporary alliance or the woman might abscond with the knowledge though honestly Evelyn didn’t think she was quite that selfish. Still Morrigan had her own ambitions and that gave Evelyn pause.
But if she took it for herself she would pay the consequence, she had no doubt. Morrigan might scoff at the notion of the ancient elvhen goddess but Evelyn had seen enough insane magics from the dawn of time be recently resurrected to pause before discounting it.
And there was the other problem.
She watched the healer add two leaves to her sample, swirling the liquid before adding a pulse of magic. It turned a bright, violent purple. “Congratulations, ma’am.” The woman said, not knowing her name in this tiny clinic in Val Royeaux. “You’re pregnant.”
Her hands flew to her stomach unbidden as another wave of nausea crested. She hadn’t even told Dorian and Bull. “Maker,” she sighed.
“I do not think the Maker can choose for you,” Morrigan muttered, impatient as she shifted from foot to foot. “Of those present I alone have the training to make use of this,” she implored, “let me drink, Inquisitor.”
Whatever consequence there was, would it affect the child within her? Was she choosing for them both? “Bull?” she asked, not looking to her lover.
“I say you take it. I don’t much like it but if it could help us with Corypheus... Course I think Dorian would probably disagree.”
She shook her head, she wasn’t really sure why she asked because she already knew her decision. “Morrigan, it’s yours.”
She watched the witch enter the water that was not water with a sickening feeling in her stomach. Did she imagine it or did Bull seem a little relieved? He stood beside her, arm slung over her shoulder. When the Well exploded everything moved so quickly and then they were running, running toward the open Eluvian as Corypheus flew down at them.
Stumbling through the portal there was the strange dizzying sensation she’d felt the first time before they came out in the crossroads then once more through another open one. Falling through she landed on Bull’s chest. A quick look around told her she was back at Skyhold.
“Shit,” she grumbled against the wall of skin.
“What’s wrong, kadan? ”
“We disappeared. Dorian’s gonna kill us.”
Squee! Time for babies! Strap in people because there is gonna be FEELS!
Chapter 15: What Has Been Forgotten
Dorian led his mare under the portcullis just three days after his lovers had disappeared from the Arbor Wilds, luckily for them the raven had arrived announcing their good health just as the soldiers had finished clearing the temple otherwise he might be inclined to have a fit of temper. As it was, Cullen took one look at him and sent him riding with the reporting scout back to Skyhold. He owed the Commander a drink... or five.
Evelyn and Bull were waiting for him and he wasted no time in launching himself into Bull’s arms, his lover lifted him happily until Dorian half wrapped himself around the man's chest. For once, he was taller than the brute and took full advantage of the change to lick a searing kiss into the man’s mouth. It seemed to effect their audience, if Evelyn's needy grunt was any indication.
“Come on,” Evelyn hissed, tugging at Bull’s arm.
“I think,” Bull growled into his mouth, “Boss wants us in private.”
“Bless her!” Dorian giggled. Then - and he would deny it later - squealed when Bull shifted Dorian to his hip and carried him through the keep. No amount of threats or pleading convinced the brute to put him down until they were inside the Inquisitor’s chambers. Thank the Maker most of the castle staff remained with the army and thus limited his humiliation to a few souls. Though he had little doubt that little display would make its rounds through the castle gossips.
“Did you worry too much?” Evelyn asked much later when he was safely ensconced in the massive bathtub she had gifted him for midwinter. It was large enough to hold him and Bull quite comfortably, as it was doing at the moment.
He left himself be pampered, Bull washing his back while Evelyn reclined in the armchair nearby. Dorian flicked a tendril of magic to the warming runes set into the rim to keep the water searing hot. The man behind him groaning in appreciation.
It was a long time later he found himself bundled up in bed, content as he was pressed between the naked bodies of his lovers. He didn’t even mind that the hour was yet early, he was exhausted and happy to be a lazy bug for a day.
“I have something to tell you both,” Evelyn whispered, pressing a kiss into his shoulder.
The bed shifted, no doubt Bull sitting up to look over Dorian’s body. He pinched her chin gently between his fingers, easing her face until she looked him in the eyes. “What’s wrong, amata ?”
“Nothing,” she said with a watery smile.
“Then why the tears?” he asked, wiping away one that escaped with his thumb.
She captured his hand, drawing it down between them until his fingers rested on her belly, a gentle curve against her stomach that wasn’t there before. His breath caught in his throat at the implication.
“Hey,” Bull teased, nudging his shoulder, “you two doing some freaky sex thing over there? Because if you are it’s rude to leave a guy out.”
“Oh!” Dorian hissed. “You cretin!” He pulled his hand away only long enough to drag Bull’s massive cleaver over his hip, swatting it away when it detoured to Dorian’s sex, before pressing it to her belly as she had done.
“Kadan,” Bull growled, intense and predatory. Fasta vass, that voice did things to him.
“Come here,” Dorian managed, before he rolled Evelyn over his body, scooching back until she was snuggled happily between them.
Evelyn still faced him, burying her face in his shoulder but Bull didn’t seem to mind, tucking himself up against her back and cupping her belly protectively.
“ Amata ,” Dorian said sweetly, encouraging her out of the warmth of his shoulder. “Are you with child?”
She looked into his eyes then, hers swimming with tears. “Yes.”
“Who’s the father?” Dorian teased waggling her eyebrows playfully.
She giggled then, swatting at his chest. “You beast!”
She wiggled back into Bull’s arms who was currently grinning like he’d slaughtered a legendary dragon single handedly. “I’m gonna be a father!” he shouted, whooping loud enough to hurt Dorian ears. Still Dorian couldn’t bring himself to admonish the man. “I’m gonna be a father.” he whispered against her shoulder spreading kisses.
Traitorously, a part of his heart wondered what this meant for him. If they’d still want him, if he’d be intruding now that there was a child...
“You both are,” she said, reaching out to wriggle Dorian’s hand against her belly once more where Bull immediately covered it with his own. “Dorian, will you help me raise it? All three of us?”
“Maker ,” he breathed, smile splitting his face, his fears instantly banished. He shimmied himself closer, kissing her temple. “Or course I’ll help raise our child . What kind of monster do you take me for?”
“A devilishly handsome one?”
“Well,” he said, grinning, “that part is true at least.”
Telling the rest of her companions and counselors was easy. Mostly Dorian and Bull did it for her, grinning like the proud fathers they were. Leliana and Josephine even agreed to help find a Tamassaran or healer who might have experience with human-qunari pregnancies, at Dorian’s insistence. Her advisors spoke to her gently and privately about the concern that no doubt many around her shared, what would become of her battle with Corypheus?
Truth was she didn’t know, not truly. If the final battle with Corypheus came upon them swiftly after his routing at the Temple of Mythal then she would happily face him. But once she was heavy with child she would not risk it. Evelyn had said as much to them, gathered in the evening gloam to discuss all matters relating to her bairn.
“I’ve sacrificed enough,” she had said, “I’m keeping the child.”
And while none of them thought this pregnancy was timely - Evelyn herself least of all - they all understood she would hear no arguments for ending it. Leave Bull to get upon her an improbable child at the most inconvenient of times.
She insisted on telling the Chargers herself. The hodge podge group had become like a family to her and their enthusiasm for the child growing within her filled her with joy, something she sorely needed when the letter to her own family went unanswered.
She wasn’t sure why it hurt, they’d had no contact with her since she’d gone to the circle. But some part of her craved their acceptance still, wanted her mother’s love. She’d lived more of her life without her father than she had with him alive but now, in light of the child inside her, his death and the loss of his love was fresh once more as was the abandonment by her mother.
Which made her mother’s sudden appearance at Skyhold all the more surprising.
“What did you say?” Evelyn choked, setting aside the papers she’d been pouring over in the warm sunshine of her chambers.
“Your mother will be arriving within the hour with a retinue. How should we proceed Inquisitor?”
Josephine knew, of course she did , from as early as Haven about the prolonged estrangement between her and her family. She’d avoided drawing them into Inquisition matters at all because of the distance between them and because of her mother’s conservative faith. No doubt her mother had nearly died when she heard that the blasphemous Herald of Andraste was her own flesh and blood.
“-already made several demands about their lodgment.”
“Excuse me, what?” Evelyn said.
Josephine sighed, no doubt tired of repeating herself but continued sweetly. “An envoy has been sent ahead to make sure that Lady Trevelyan’s accommodations are up to her standards.”
Evelyn groaned, cradling her already pounding head in her hands. She wished Dorian or Bull were here but it had been decided that she should remain at Skyhold unless there were specific reports of rifts. With her unavailable two groups of her people had been dispatched as well as the Chargers. Dorian had accompanied Varric, Cassandra and Cole to the Emerald Graves to deal with the Freemen of the Dales lingering there. Solas, Sera, Blackwall and Vivienne had gone to the The Exalted Plains to rout the remaining undead that plagued the area. And Bull, her dear sweet attentive Bull had left nearly a week ago with the Chargers to the Storm Coast to hunt a dragon seen in the area.
“I don’t know, Josie,” she looked at the woman, pleading. “I haven’t seen this woman in over fifteen years. I don’t know how to handle her, I don’t even think I’d recognise her .”
“Hush now,” Josephine said, coming to her side and smoothing back her hair as the tears came. “Then we shall treat her as any other particularly difficult - if powerful - potential ally.”
Evelyn nodded before adding, “whatever she’s here for it isn’t to suddenly ally herself with us. She wants something.”
“Then we shall wait for her to tip her hand.”
Despite her misgivings and the fearful flutter in her chest she stood with her back straight when her mother, at the head of a thirty person retinue, arrived at Skyhold. Even King Alistair and Queen Arnora had arrived with less. She snorted as the Lady waited for a servant to help her dismount.
Her Ladyship Catherine Trevelyan swept her into a hug as if she hadn’t ignored her youngest daughter for nearly two decades. The theatrics of it made her stomach curl. She wondered, as the woman released her, if her mother had always been this calculating or if it was a recent development.
“Lady Trevelyan,” Evelyn said, dipping into a bow appropriate for equals. Josephine had advised her against insulting her mother with a more shallow greeting though she longed to wipe the smile from the woman’s face.
“My dear Evelyn,” her mother fawned, trailing fingers over her skin before pinching her cheeks roughly. Now that brought back memories, unpleasant one. “Put some colour in your cheeks.”
“Shall I give you the tour?” Evelyn said, offering her arm.
Catherine looked around, the labourers and tradesmen that had been working all seemed to slow down to watch. No doubt the rumour mill already abuzz with news of the Inquisitor’s mother .
“Perhaps later,” the older woman said, patting her arm, “you know how travel fatigues me.”
Evelyn raised an eyebrow at that. How would she possibly know such a thing? But of course it was said for the benefit of those around her, pitched in such a way to carry. She hadn’t felt this exhausted since Halamshiral.
The Inquisitor handed the woman off to her ambassador, happy to be rid of her. Josephine was far more suited to deal with Lady Catherine, even if Evelyn felt a bit guilt for abandoning her friend.
The following day she was rather lucky as Lady Trevelyan decided to stay abed and rest from her travels. Evelyn spent the day hiding in Cullen’s office and playing chess. She had decided the garden was off limits until her mother left as the woman had received five rooms facing the area.
The day after, however, she was not so lucky. She was invited to tea with her mother and no amount of begging would get her sudden unavoidable business elsewhere. Maker’s balls.
So Evelyn went, wearing one of the new flowing maternity gowns that Vivienne and Josephine had commissioned together. Evelyn’s only instruction was that it be comfortable. Well, true to their word it was even if it was far too feminine for her tastes. She supposed she was too used to armour.
She couldn’t wait for Dorian to come home, he would tell her how resplendent she looked. And Bull - Bull would peel it off her and tell her she always looked her best naked in his arms. She was inclined to agree on that account.
She tried to stifle a yawn as her mother launched into another long winded tale about a relative she’d never heard of.
“How are Eleanor and Margaret? You haven’t mentioned them once, mother.” Evelyn tried to interrupt even as a knock came at the door. Catherine sighed heavily but motioned for a servant to answer it.
“Apologies ladies,” the runner said from just inside the chambers, giving a military bow, “Inquisitor, you asked to be informed when certain persons returned. I’ve come to report that the Chargers have reported back.” Another little bow and he was gone, off to deliver some other news.
She was half relieved and half petrified. She did not want her mother meeting the Iron Bull not because she was embarrassed by the father of her child, not at all. She was embarrassed by her mother, her mother who’d been in Skyhold for three days and still hadn’t asked a single thing about the daughter sitting in front of her.
Her mother continued with her story, ignoring both Evelyn’s questions and the scout’s report.
She tried, Maker knows she did, but after another two excruciating hours of listening to her mother ignore her and ramble at length, she was done. “I apologise, Lady Trevelyan.” Evelyn said, setting aside her untouched tea. “I must go greet the Chargers.”
“Oh,,” the woman said, rising, “who are these ‘Chargers’ and why are they important enough to run off on your own mother .”
She laid on the guilt, trying to manipulate her. Sadly, if Madam de Fer couldn’t intimidate her, no one could. She’d fought tuskets more threatening than the woman before her. As for political strength? Her mother may have but she didn't know how to wield it and it certainly didn't impress Evelyn. “The leader of the Chargers is the father of my child.”
Lady Catherine pinned her with a sharp stare. “I notice you did not say ‘husband’, child. And who is this man? I had it on good authority you and that lovely curly haired commander were somewhat of an item.”
Evelyn nearly choked. Why did everyone think she was with Cullen? He was a good man and a good friend but she had never been interested in him. “Then you were mistaken. The father of my babe is the Iron Bull and he’s a mercenary commander.”
Ooh if only she had learned frost as her elemental magic; then she could have frozen that face on her mother! The woman sucked in her lips, it was distinctly reminiscent of a cat’s arse.
“A mercenary?” her mother said coolly
“Indeed,” Evelyn said, suddenly inspired with ways to torture the woman as much as she’d been tortured listening to her drivel for nearly six hours, “you can meet him at dinner tomorrow. We will be holding a feast in your honour.”
“Oh,” Catherine said, caught between preening at the honour and inquiring further about her lover, “I shall be there.”
“Good night, Lady Catherine.” Evelyn said with a brief curtsy.
“And you, Inquisitor.”
Chapter 16: My Life is Yours
I cannot believe it took me this long to write this chapter. Damn writer's block but I'm happy with the results so there!
Also in this chapter I introduce kadaen as the plural form of kadan.
Evelyn stepped into the Herald’s Rest and felt the tension bleed from her shoulders and in its place a hollow ache from holding her body stiff for so long.
Bull’s raucous, “there she is!” nearly made her smile - nearly. The Chargers were in fine spirits tonight, already heavily into their cups having joined their Chief for their first dragon slaying. She happily curled herself up in Bull’s lap, sinking into his warm and letting the familiar sounds of the tavern wash over her.
“You alright, kadan ?” he murmured in her ear, planting a kiss on her cheek. His breath smelled only faintly of ale, and by the sharp glitter in his eye he was very clearly sober.
“Are you?” she retorted, “I figured you’d be halfway to stumbling having put down another dragon.”
“Nah,” he groaned, the smile breaking across his face putting warmth in her chest, “not when I’ve got you and the little one to take care of.”
That was… so incredibly sweet and why was she crying?
“Hey,” he said, pulling her into a tighter snuggle but careful of her belly, “this got something to do with your mother?”
Her eyes snapped to his, startled. “You’ve been back two hours… how did you? Ben-Hassrath.” she answered in tandem with him.
He grinned again, nuzzling his flat nose against hers.
“Shit, Your Worship,” Krem said, coming back with another round, “you look incredible. If you weren’t with the Chief I’d steal you, myself.” His eyes were glittering in appreciation but no heat, just a lovely compliment from a lovely young man.
Still, Bull growled, “Watch it Krem or I’ll give you a new nickname.”
“Like what, Chief?” he challenged from across the room.
Krem wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “That’s terrible. I’m drunk and that’s still not funny.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Bull growled, but the smile tugging at his lips ruined the effect.
“Bull,” she whispered into his ear, nipping at the soft flesh.
“Yeah, kadan ?”
“Take me to bed?” she pleaded. She hated how weak her voice sounded, how fragile. “Take me to bed and make me forget. I need- I need-”
“I know what you need. I’ve got you.”
His hands were gentle on her as he guided her through the Keep, warning glances keeping anyone who would try to steal a moment of her time at bay. When they were finally, blissfully alone Bull undressed her slowly, spreading silent kisses over her skin.
It was barely dinner time and yet she felt so Void-cursed tired. She couldn’t help the whimper of pain when Bull eased her swollen feet out of her boots.
“Shh, shh,” he soothed, his voice pitched low and gentle to calm her nerves. “I’m here, kadan . I’m here.”
Naked at last, he guided her to the bed and into the circle of his arms, laying against his chest. His fingers worked tenderly, releasing her red curls from the tight coiffure she’d worn and forging fragile moans in her chest as her scalp was freed from the tight pins.
“There you are,” he said, pressing the words against the skin of her shoulder as he kissed her.
He worked a comb through the tangles, prying them apart without tugging at her sensitised scalp. His ministrations soon had her floating in a hazy bliss. She hardly noticed when he rebraided her hair and draped it over her shoulder.
Blunt fingers dug into the tense muscles of her neck and shoulders, the digits coated in a fragrant oil that Dorian added to his baths reminding her of the absent man. It somehow soothed her longing for him, the scent memory helping to ease her mind until it was only a buzz of affection and tenderness.
She must have fallen asleep because when she was next aware her head was pillowed against Bull’s naked thigh, hugging to him as if he were a childhood teddy. Her body felt… incredible… languid and pleasurable.
“Hey,” Bull said, stroking her hair out of her face when she stirred.
“Bull... love you,” Evelyn mewled her voice foggy with sleep.
“I love you too, Ev.”
She laid there for a long time, not quite awake and not quite asleep. Bull seemed content to let her drift as he flipped through a book.
Eventually, she wiggled up into his lap, nudging the tome away as she straddled him. Her face found its favourite spot buried in the thick muscles of his neck.
“We gotta talk,” he said even as his hands stroked her back and flanks, waking the contented hum in her mind.
“I know.” She nipped at the tight cord of his neck, muscles thick from holding up his heavy horns. “If you keep doing that I’m going back to sleep.”
He chuckled, capturing her chin in the curl of his fingers before claiming her mouth. It was a gentle onslaught but no matter how slow, how tender the press of his lips and tongue it was clear he was reminding her she was his .
Bull had been unsurprisingly possessive and protective in the weeks after he’d learned of their child. But, he’d been equally and wonderfully tender. And Dorian had been a blessing: drawing her baths, rubbing her feet and laying in a stock of delicacies from all over Thedas. He’d emptied many of the shelves in her chambers of books and replaced them with jars of treats. She wasn’t ashamed to say she had basked in their attentiveness.
When the kiss ended Bull stared at her for a long time, a sweet smile tugging at his lips until a blush bloomed over her face.
“What?” Evelyn asked.
“I’m a lucky man.” The rough pad of his thumb brushed gently over her lower lip, now swollen with his kiss. “I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to make you and Dorian as happy as you’ve made me.”
“You are… you do Bull.” She smoothed her hands over his chest, trailing fingers up his neck until she could curl her fingers into the dense flesh at the base of his horns. “Can I…?” she asked.
He rummaged in the drawer of the bedside table until he found the horn balm Dorian had made him.
She worked slowly, spreading the cream in a thin coat over the solid bony spurs of his horns before focusing on the meaty flesh at the base, massaging it in with her thumbs until he was moaning and melting beneath her.
“What did you want to talk about?” she asked.
He answered without opening his eye as he enjoyed her ministrations. “You know what.”
She sighed, adding more of the cream and digging in roughly against his scalp before answering. “She has been here for three days and every time we’re in public she fawns over me so much it sickens me. But when I had tea with her today she spends six hours talking about people I don’t even know! She doesn’t care about me. It’s all an act. I wish she would just tell me why she’s really here.”
“You try asking?”
“I got out one question today and she pretended as if I hadn’t spoken.”
Bull’s hands squeezed her hips before his hands started working gentle circles into the small of her back. “Want to see what I can find out?”
“You’re gonna Ben Hassarth my mother?” she asked, grinning.
“Not sure you can use that as a verb.” He cracked his eye, a grin tugging at the edge of his lip. “I can ask around, see what I can find out. Might have to show some interest.”
“Flirting,” she said, sinking down onto his chest as she set aside the jar, her arms weaving around the back of his skull, “is fine. But no touching.” Evelyn nipped at Bull’s lip before capturing it in a rough kiss. “You’re mine.”
As she went to pull back he captured her mouth again, cradling her neck in his hand gently. “Everything I am is yours.”
His words sent a lance of electricity down her spine. “Fuck, Bull.”
His responding laugh was deep and dirty, making her sex clench in painful emptiness. He must have see the arousal written on her face because he gave her a knowing look before he slid down on the bed, jostling her until she was hovering above his head, her legs wrapped under his horns.
His tongue was hot as it licked along her throbbing folds, fingers warm and gentle around her thighs as he massaged her skin. She relaxed into it, letting him take her apart as she leaned against the headboard. Evelyn was floating in the sensations his tongue was ringing out of her, his moans deep and so good against her flesh as he took her apart.
He slipped a blunt finger in her, rubbing and plucking like she was an instrument and not a woman and fuck she was coming hard against his mouth. Bull didn’t stop, encouraged by her pleasure he eased off her clit but slid another finger inside her. The digits thrust into her tight channel as she arched and rode careening toward another release, or perhaps never coming down from the first.
She was a sobbing mess when she finally begged him to stop and he eased her down to the bed at his side. Exhaustion settled over her, her eyes slowly drifting closed when she felt Bull slip out of bed. “Now?” she whimpered.
“Shh kadan . I’ll be back soon.”
And he went, leaving her to drift off into an uneasy sleep.
Bull rolled his shoulders as he watched the procession enter the Great Hall like Catherine Trevelyan was a queen and not the dowager of a tiny march half a world away. He tried not to let his eyes linger on Evelyn where she stood at the center of the long table, an empty seat on her right for her mother to sit at. Normally Bull liked a good feast but he was pretty sure this one was going to test even his patience.
He wished Dorian were here, somehow he knew the mage would have a better sense of what to do. Yeah, he was a Ben Hassrath and he could manipulate half a dozen people without batting an eye. But he didn’t play those kinds of games with them, his kadaen. He could probably spend the night pissing off her mother easily enough but that wouldn’t get her out of whatever emotional harm the dowager was here to reek.
Boy, was this gonna be a shit-fest.
He’d considered, albeit briefly, offing the old hag and dumping her body where no one could find it. He could do it. It wouldn’t even be hard.
But it would be complicated. Evelyn would know and then Dorian would know. She wouldn’t be pleased. Dorian might reluctantly approve but the altus was more ruthless… especially where it concerned their child and the woman who bore it.
He would have to find another way.
It hadn’t been too difficult to get her ladyship’s people to loosen their tongues, just a little drinking and a little flirting. He let a handmaid and then later a chamberlain make intimations, ones he didn’t deny. Her personal steward was a particular coup, he wondered what the man’s face would look like when he realized he was pressing that hard-on up against the Inquisitor’s lover? It almost made him feel bad for the man… almost.
Her security was shit. But, then again, she was a vicious woman made toothless in her dotage. Without any real political gambits to make or plots to plot she turned her boredom and her cruel mind to torturing her servants with endless demands. No wonder they bore only enough loyalty to secure their own positions.
He’d told Evelyn everything, his guts twisting in empathy at her pained expression. That her mother had been all but banished after a tête-à-tête with her second daughter, now the wife of the Lord of the March. Her first daughter was a rising star in the Chantry but that didn’t afford her the luxury of extra chambers for her aging mother and her staff. And, of course, her youngest daughter, albeit estranged, was the Inquisitor.
That wasn’t all of it, he could feel it in his horns. But while the woman may be high handed and cruel, she wasn’t stupid. Whatever she’d truly come here for she’d kept to herself.
He’d failed Evelyn. She needed him and he couldn’t deliver. Not that he was going to stand around and beat himself up about it like some Orlesian hero. At the end of the day, he was her shield and he was damn well going to protect his kadan .
Even if that meant her mother met an untimely end.
Catherine reached them alone, her entourage seated amongst the tables flanking either side of the hall. The center had been left bare for entertainment which might be the only redeeming quality of the night. That, and watching the Commander, who’d been seated to her ladyship’s right, squirm.
Dinner itself was a stressed affair, all tinkling glasses and fussy forks. Not that he didn’t know how to use them. He cleaned up pretty good, Dorian would be sad he missed the second occasion Bull had worn the dress uniform his altus had designed.
They’d all worn the uniform except Evelyn who was getting too rounded in the belly for such a thing. She was wearing another of the flowing gowns they’d designed for her. It was all a bit too much for him. He always loved her best naked or in battle.
Didn’t stop his eyes from warming when he’d come to escort her down, palm covering the swell of her stomach with a possessive ferocity.
Everything was made a bit harder by the old woman trying to play court, making snide comments about every little thing falling just short of her expectations.
“At home they would’ve had this delicious puddings. Don’t you remember the puddings, Evelyn?” How could she when they’d shipped her off at seven… or was it eight? She barely remembered anything of her supposed ‘homeland’.
Or, “The weather here is just so dreadful it is a misery to my aching bones. If only there were some way for your helpful mages to keep the chambers warm. Now that’s a good use for their magic!” As if her own daughter wasn’t a mage. As if her magic hadn’t saved the fucking world. As if it wouldn’t again.
“The hall would look so much nicer with some proper Marcher art, don’t you think Commander?” That almost made him laugh. The Ferelden Commander, Ferelden to his bones approving of Marcher art? Not that the man was interested in any artwork to Bull’s knowledge. Maybe statues of Andraste? He had been a good templar once.
Seeing Evelyn clutch her utensils in white-knuckled anger he covered her hand with his own, leaning close to whisper in her ear, “She’s nothing. Just another windbag with too much air.”
Evelyn sighed, taking in a deep breath before letting her muscles relax. She shot Bull a grateful look as he leaned back in his chair, muscles loose and all the more deadly for it.
“So,” the prim Lady Catherine turned her gaze to him trying for withering but falling somewhere around petty, “how did you meet my child, Iron Bull?”
“Actually, it's The Iron Bull.” He didn’t call her ‘ma’am’, she hardly deserved the honor. “And I met her when she hired my company to fight for the Inquisition. She’s a good woman, sees the best in people.”
“Ah yes,” she said as if she suddenly remembered which was complete bullshit, “you’re a mercenary commander, are you not? Not as prestigious as Commander of the Inquisition,” Cullen looked like he was about to be sick, “but I suppose when one is a mage one hardly receives the best of suitors. And my Evelyn has been so sheltered. I wonder what such a man of the world sees in her?”
A cold rage was stinging sharply in his veins, his hands itching for battle. But he wasn’t a brute who would fly off the handle at her rude insinuations.
“Ah!” Josephine tried to cut in from further down the table, “Maryden has arrived I think-”
“What I see in her is bravery.” Bull cut the Ambassador off, staring down his would be mother-in-law. “A kindness that the trials of leading the Inquisition has honed to a fine edge. A fierce loyalty and a gentle heart. Yeah, she’s a mage. She is one of the best-damned mages I’ve ever seen. She has the will to face down the temptations of demons every day which belies a strength a woman like yourself would know nothing of. Makes me wonder what she sees in me.”
“Oh Bull-” Evelyn whispered softly, for his ears alone as tears welled in her eyes.
“Well yes,” Catherine’s icy tone cut in, “I do wonder that myself.”
“Well!” A cultured tevene accent said from the far end of the hall, rising about the crowd. “Having a feast without me, darling?”
Dorian swept up to the table, the fact that he was freshly bathed and making a grand entrance not lost on Bull and probably not on Ev. Made Bull’s heart hurt a little with how much he loved the man.
“Amata,” he said, breathless as she stood to greet him. Dorian held her at arm's length for a moment, his golden brown eyes sweeping over her gown with an appreciative glimmer. “Radiant as always, my heart.”
Lady Catherine had stood when Evelyn did. The woman’s pale eyes dragged over his two mages as Dorian cupped Evelyn’s face and kissed her deeply. Bull couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lips as the dowager’s face twisted in naked shock before trying to make some sort of calculation.
Then Dorian turned to him, plopping down onto his lap and giving him a similar kiss though this one was with tongue. When they broke apart Dorian shifted his mouth to Bull’s ear whispering conspiratorially, “Is the hag watching?”
Bull made a noise of assent.
“What-” Lady Catherine said, her face flushed with indignation, “or rather who is this man?”
“Mother,” Evelyn said, pinning her mother with an amused glance, “this is Dorian Pavus, an altus of Tevinter and also my lover.”
Chapter 17: Grief Arrow-Studded
Hello, my darlings! Did you think I had abandoned you??? Well, I did not! Here's another chapter my sweets! I hope you will all stick around as we slowly work our way toward the climax of this fic!
“How?” Evelyn gasped as Dorian swept her around the dancers in the great hall. He’d insisted on a dance, cutting off Evie’s mother in what was shaping up to be a truly spectacular rant about decency . As if what went on in their bedroom was any of her business.
Their love was not wrong. Dorian had seen a great deal of wrongness, of corruption. He didn’t care what the Chantry said or the dowager with a pinched, disapproving mouth like a cat’s arse. Bull was his. Evelyn was his. They were having a child. He’d burn the world down to keep them safe. For a brief moment, he understood the desperate who turned to demons to protect those they loved. Not the magisters who did it for power. But, he could see in himself a man who might open his own veins for the strength to stand between those he loved and the world.
“I suspect Leliana,” Dorian said, moustache twitching in amusement. “I received a raven tell me to return with all haste but urging me not to worry, thus I did. One of her people met me at the gate and explained the situation. You mother is rather a bitch, isn’t she?”
Evelyn’s bark of laughter warmed the cockles of his heart… which sounded quite dirty but wasn’t at all. “She is. Remind me to give Leliana a raise.”
“Did you miss me?” Dorian purred into her ear. He already knew the answer, after all, she smelled like his bath oils.
He curled his arm further around her back, tugging her to him in a closed hold that had the swell of her belly pressed against his robes. “I love you, amata.”
“I’m hormonal and you and Bull are determined to make me into a weeping pregnant woman,” she moaned, blinking tears out of her eyes.
“No, love,” he breathed against her cheek, stealing a kiss from her flushed skin. “I missed you, is all.”
She rested her head on his shoulder, the tender need in her making his heart twist in protective desire. “I missed you too, Dori.” A shudder went through her that the swirl of the waltz did nothing to hide. “I’m so glad you’re back.”
A quick glance at the Inquisitor’s table showed Bull watching them, eyes dancing in happiness. Cullen was not faring so well, her ladyship seemed to be interrogating him. “Perhaps I should go save the Commander.”
“Probably,” she sighed, raising her head to look into his eyes as the song ended. “Kiss me?”
He was happy to oblige, pressing their lips together. A shadow fell over them. Dorian turned to Bull with a smile. “ Amatus , take Evelyn for the next dance while I deal with our in-law, yes?”
“Sure, kadan .” Bull said, taking Evelyn into his large arms. Dorian reminded himself to steal a dance later when they didn’t need to keep Evie away from her mother.
Reclining in the chair Evelyn had abandoned he sipped liberally of the wine, a fine vintage even if it was southern, and amused himself as Catherine Trevelyan tried to twist her plot to fit the shape of the information they’d revealed. Oh, and he had no doubt there was a plot of some nature if only to cleave to the Inquisitor’s skirts and live a lifestyle her second daughter would no longer provide. Leliana was exceedingly well informed and, it seemed, that of the three of them he was in the best position to end this farce before it further upset the woman he loved.
He patted one of the pockets of his robes, feeling the comforting weight of the three rings within. He had intended to propose as soon as he returned but he did not wish Evelyn to think it was in response to her mother, such things were beneath their dignity… well, perhaps not Bull’s he thought as he watched his lover sweep the Inquisitor into the air. She burst out laughing, entirely trusting to his strength as well as his gentle nature.
“Lord Pavus,” the hag said, tightly and tight-lipped. No wonder she looked aged beyond her years, the weight of her own miserable countenance drawing down her face.
“Yes, Lady Trevelyan?”
“Would you kindly explain to me the nature of your association with my daughter?”
Dorian did not even favour her with a glance. He knew the way of high handedness and, as she had no true advantage, he had no desire to engage with her on her level. She was entirely beneath him, beneath all of them and since Evelyn was too kind or perhaps intimidated to treat her the way she deserved then Dorian gladly would. Besides, those like her only understood one language, that of power; fortunately, it was a tongue he was entirely fluent in.
“I do not see how that is any of your business.”
She huffed, indignant but continued, “She is my daughter.”
“She was your daughter,” Dorian gritted, flicking a withering glance in her direction, “you lost the privilege of that term long ago. I can understand the barbarity of your southern circles after a fashion; even if shipping off your children for fear of demons rather than teaching them the basics of shielding their minds from temptation is distasteful to me. I can even forgive such a thing. But to not speak to her? To not visit for all these years? You are no mother to her nor shall you be kin to our child.”
If the woman cared about the accusations lobbed at her feet she would have certainly been purpling with rage. Her calm demeanor said to Dorian she cared not a whit about being Evelyn’s mother beyond the privilege she might indulge in.
“Are you the father? Evelyn told me The Iron Bull was the sire.”
He laughed, full and hearty. “Well,” he cooed, all saccharine falseness much the same as how she spoke, “it matters little the sire. The child is ours, the three of us, in every way that matters.”
“Surely she is not so perverse, not such a-”
“I encourage you to think very carefully about your words. We are in Orlais and if you insult the woman I openly court,” he formed a ball of ice in his palm before shifting it to fire and then to crackling lightning. A child’s trick, nothing more, but her face visibly paled. “-then it would be well within my rights to challenge you to a duel. How many of your retinue would lay down their lives against a Magister? How many before you, yourself, must fight me?”
He nearly burst into laughter the way she suddenly shook with righteous anger. “The Templars would not allow it! The Chantry-” she hissed.
“The Templars all went to Corypheus save but a few, and fight now beside a blighted magister out-of-time who would rule as a God. The Chantry has no power here, your daughter does. I would remind you to have a care with how you speak to and about her. Her patience for you far outstrips mine for it would take less energy than I use to hold this glass to end your miserable life.” He let the electricity crackle along his arms as he sipped from the goblet, finishing it off. He gave her a wide smile with far too many teeth. “It was lovely to meet you.”
He stood then, returning to his loves and dancing the next song with Bull leading him. When the qunari bent low to press a kiss to Dorian’s cheek the Altus whispered, “I suspect her mother will no longer be a problem but we should watch her.”
“You’re vicious. So sexy.”
“You heard that?” Dorian said with a smile.
“Oh yes,” Bull purred, “I’m going to peel those clothes off you.”
“Then, by all means,” Dorian purred, “let us retire.”
They stumbled into their chambers, the three of them, a flurry of eager hands wanting to greet, to reacquaint.
“What...?” Evelyn asked as Bull took turns getting them both naked. She and Dorian circled him, tugging off his formal wear. “...did you say to my mother?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Dorian said, grinning a wicked grin at Bull before sinking on his knees in front of the man, he felt the rumble of appreciation under his hands. “I missed you both desperately.”
“You missed us both desperately,” Evie teased, “then why does Bull get his cock sucked and I get nothing?”
Dorian laughed even as he licked a stripe up the stirring length of Bull’s member. “My darling, if you had a cock for me to suck I would be on my knees for you nightly.” Dorian looked up at Bull and spared him a withering glare. “Has he not been taking care of you, amata?”
“Hey,” Bull groaned good-naturedly, “I just got back.”
Dorian rose, leaving Bull to tug Evelyn into his arms, pulling off the last of her clothing. He could manage no heat in his gaze when he ran his knuckles over the swollen peaks of her breasts, only adoration, but she soaked in it nevertheless. “They are swelling.”
“Yes,” she said softly, slotting their bodies together in a naked hug.
Dorian rocked her in his arms as she spread chaste kisses over his jaw, familiarity in their touch forged from time rather than mutual attraction. Dorian loved being touched, after a fashion. That he adored rather than merely enduring her embraces were a testament to their deep care for each other.
“My love,” Evelyn murmured against his jaw, eyes flicking open only long enough to see Bull watching them with a possessive hunger.
“You are resplendent, amata ,” he whispered into her hair as he undid the simple braid. “You have always been beautiful but motherhood suits you.”
“I am ungainly,” she bemoaned, “but I would not trade it for the moon on a string.”
“ Kadaen,” Bull purred as he crossed the room. He didn’t wrap his arms around them, leaving them the freedom to cuddle, but he stood near - dragging fingertips over skin until Dorian began to stir against Evelyn’s swollen belly.
“How does he do that?” Evie asked into the skin of Dorian’s neck.
Dorian whispered conspiratorially, “I suspect qunari magic.”
Evelyn giggled, the sound akin to joy bursting in his chest. Oh, how he loved her.
“Come, amatus , pleasure our Inquisitor.”
“Are you sure, Dorian? You just got back.”
“I’d like to watch,” he purred, brushing fingertips over her cheekbones, her jaw. “Will you indulge me?”
“Always, Dori. Always.”
He settled himself into a chair after dragging it close, angling it toward the bed. It was a bit chilly that far from the fireplace but a few warming runes freed him of that so he could appreciate the two in front of him.
He wasn’t inclined toward voyeurism, certainly had never asked it of his loves before, but he needed the time to gather himself. His thoughts kept tugging back to that dark protective swirl, the need to shield Evelyn from the hurt her mother was causing.
He knew something about difficult relatives, had a pair of them himself. Still, he would not allow the elder Trevelyan to stress Evelyn during such a difficult pregnancy. Better the woman disappear.
Evelyn’s pleasured cry brought him back to the present, the slick slide of bodies and the particularly fantastic view of the Iron Bull’s backside as he thrust into her. It seemed he wasn’t in the mood to watch, after all.
Rising to his feet, Dorian strode across the room and trailed well-groomed fingers over the parting of Bull’s arse. “May I, amatus ?”
“Yeah, kadan, whatever you want.”
“Oh, blessed Andraste,” Evelyn swore as Dorian fetched the oil. “Is Dorian going to fuck you? Are you going to fuck Bull?”
“Yes, I was considering it…”
He returned to the bed as Evelyn wriggled out from beneath their lover, guiding Bull’s mouth to the parting of her sex. “I have to watch. Please, say I can watch…”
Dorian chuckled as he drizzled the oil onto his fingers, “Of course.”
“This ok, Bull?” Evelyn asked, dragging the qunari back by his horns.
“Whatever you want, ” Bull purred, kissing her fiercely before lowering his head once more. She hooked her legs over the jut of his horns as Dorian slipped a finger into the qunari’s impossible warmth.
“ Venhedis, Bull… so hot.”
“Qunari run hotter than humans,” Bull provided, rocking back into the crook of Dorian’s finger.
“Is that why your child is a little fire rune in my belly?”
Bull groaned wantonly at the mention of her pregnancy. “Do you have any idea what seeing you grow with my child does to me?”
Evelyn tittered, the laugh hidden behind the curl of her knuckles. Iron Bull might have said something more but Dorian took that moment to plunge another slender finger into him.
“Dorian, shit! So good kadan .”
“When was the last time you were fucked?” he asked as he watched his finger disappear into the gleaming grey flesh.
“Years,” he moaned into Evelyn’s swollen belly.
“Perhaps we should buy one of those… leather wrapped rods… godemiché . Then, I could fuck Bull while Bull fucks you.”
Bull murmured his approval as Dorian scissored him open before finally adding a third finger. Evelyn was making little mewls of pleasure that told Dorian she was close but, unlike the men in the room, Evelyn could orgasm nearly endlessly. He was decidedly not jealous… ok, perhaps a little.
“Just fuck me already, kadan. ”
“Oh, so impatient,” Dorian teased. “Next time you have me tied up and going crosseyed from need I hope you’ll remember this moment and have mercy on me.”
“Not likely,” Evelyn snorted before meeting Dorian’s smiling gaze.
Without warning, he splayed his hands over the small of the man’s back and sunk into Bull, earning a pleasured groan from the qunari. It was unusual, to fuck someone from standing, but with Bull’s height he could manage little else. Still, there were no complaints from his partner nor his audience.
“Dori, Maker’s tits you look so good. Watching you fuck Bull…”
He shifted his hips and Bull shuddered. “There kadan, right there.” Dorian saw Bull tilt his head up, dragging Evelyn’s legs with his horns before he asked, “Can I be inside you again? Want it, Ev, please .”
And that… well hearing the Iron Bull beg for anything was affecting .
Evelyn clearly thought so too because she had no words, no cheeky snark as she slipped beneath him on hands and knees. Dorian felt Bull shift, heard the moment he pierced Evelyn once more and the rock his hips into Bull became a three-person rhythm.
To say it felt good would be a supreme understatement. It felt right , the three of them moving in tandem toward the peaks of their desire. It was Evelyn who cried out first, Bull cradling her with one arm and stilling as Dorian rode him, pushed him toward his climax.
“Fuck, Dorian…” Bull shouted as the impossible heat of him clenched down on Dorian’s length. The qunari shuddered and spasmed, barely holding himself up but he need not have because the drag of his muscles along Dorian’s cock sent him spiralling over the edge.
“Come in!” Evelyn shouted, expecting a servant. Both Bull and Dorian were about in the castle but they had a tendency to send her meals at seemingly random intervals.
As the footsteps reached the head of the steps she looked up, her heart sinking when she saw her mother draw tight, standing primly before her. She’d managed to avoid the woman for three days; clearly, the detente was untenable.
“Mother,” she tried for neutral and failed.
“May I join you, Inquisitor?”
So, she was ‘inquisitor’, not Evelyn. “Of course, Lady Trevelyan,” Evie said stiffly. She wished she had some way to summon her lovers to her in secret but that was cowardice. He mother was hers to deal with. “How may I help you?” she asked when the older woman had settled herself in one of the chairs on the other side of the wide expanse of her desk.
“I’ve come to inform you that I and my retinue will be leaving.”
“As soon as this conversation is over.”
It hit her like a blow. She wanted her mother gone and yet… and yet she’d hoped . Evelyn supposed it was foolish to think she could reconnect with her family. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Catherine scoffed, “Somehow I doubt that , child.”
“Do not tell me how I feel, mother.”
“Oh! So now I am your mother?”
Evelyn swallowed down the tears that threatened to spill. “No, you haven’t been that since you abandoned me to the Circle. Why you thought you could step back into my life after all these years…”
Lady Trevelyan pulled a roll of papers from her sleeve and cast them on the desk.
“What is that?”
“An ultimatum.” The woman met Evelyn’s eyes levelly, nothing but cold loathing in her gaze. “Even now, I give you a chance to prove yourself, to earn your place in this family.”
Rage trembled in the Inquisitor’s hands as she reached out for the scroll and unfurled it.
Writ of Disownment the paper read.
Evelyn’s breath caught, then expelled but she could not will another in as Catherine spoke, “You have never been anything but an unwelcome burden but your fortunate accident that made you Inquisitor has finally made you useful to me. Elevate your sister to Divine and I will burn it and it will be as if it never existed. I know it is within your power, I’ve heard the rumours.”
Her chest was screaming for air that she could not draw. Of course , that was what Catherine had wanted all along. To use her… to manipulate her.
“Speak, Evelyn,” her mother cajoled. “Say it will be done.”
“You are making - “
“Get. Out.” Evelyn’s voice was barely above a whisper as the room swam, a gasp of breath finally filling her lungs.
Lady Catherine Trevelyan rose, a sneer painted across her face. “You are a whore to foreigners and beasts. You are no child of mine.”
Evelyn held herself very still as the woman she’d once called her mother left, not daring another breath until she heard the door close behind the poisonous bitch.
When she was finally gone, Evelyn collapsed.
She cried. Cried for the abandoned child. Cried for the years of loneliness. And cried for that, the final wound.
“You’re right,” Evelyn whispered as it traced Catherine’s signature on the parchment, “I am no child of yours.”