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The Strongest Person He Knows

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Maxwell stood in the middle of the room he and Iron Bull were staying in, wielding his new staff in his right hand, looking at it. It was better than his last one, that was clear, but it felt so much different. Its weight was unfamiliar, and even if Dalish, who had kept insisting that she didn't know much about staves herself but knew some people who did, had told him that it would fit him better, he still had a difficult time dealing with the fact that he needed a new staff now that he had to wield one with his right hand only.

How could he get over the loss of a hand? Every time he looked at his arm, moved it, or took his clothes off, he remembered what had happened. Everything was taking him twice as long now, and it made him feel irritated with himself. Neither Bull nor the Chargers pitied him, never made him feel like he was hopeless, and yet, he couldn't help feeling useless.

"Kadan?"

Maxwell turned his head away from the door, only then realizing that his eyes were burning. He walked up to the bed and put the staff on top of the covers, hoping that Bull didn't notice how red his eyes were.

"I was just leaving everything I had bought. I'll be with you in a minute," Maxwell said, hoping his voice didn't sound as shaky as he thought it did.

Just as he was putting away the new amulets he had acquired, he heard Bull walking up to him and then a pair of strong arms was wrapped around his middle.

"Want to talk about it?"

Of course Bull would ask that. He always knew whenever something was bothering Maxwell. Bull's voice was gentle, and his presence grounding. It felt so right to just lean back against the solid body behind him, so that was what Maxwell did.

"I just..." he sighed, not knowing how to answer such a questions. What was he supposed to say? That he felt useless? That the Chargers didn't need him?

"You're the strongest person I know, Kadan," Bull said firmly, and the confidence with which he said that made Maxwell close his eyes tighter. "After everything you went through you haven't given up and you’re here.”

“Bull…”

“You’re a fighter. You train harder than everyone else, and you don’t let anyone bring you down,” Bull continued, his lips brushing the top of Maxwell’s head, fingers of one hand caressing Maxwell’s skin through the material of his shirt. “You take my breath away.”

Maxwell turned around, his eyes still closed, and hid his face in Bull’s chest right away. As Bull’s arms tightened around him, Maxwell tried to calm his breathing.

“I’m sorry…”

“You have nothing to be sorry about,” Bull said quietly, making Maxwell exhale quietly.

“I… I don’t think I could do this without you.”

“You could. I know you could.”

“Thank you for being here, Bull.”

“Always, Kadan. Always.”