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The Unexpected

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Submit, Envy had hissed to him, its frustrated avarice barely concealed under cajoling. Already its voice had come from a face that any Inquisition soldier or servant of his parents' estate would surely have said was none other than Lord Perceval Trevelyan's. It will all be so much easier if you only let me in, and better. Everyone will have what they want. I will have your glory and your Inquisition, and you will have your freedom: at last, you will be no one, and know peace.

It had shifted form even as it spoke then, dizzying him, becoming first Chancellor Roderick glaring at him forbiddingly across the war table -- No one will see you fail to form into the shape you are meant to wear, it had said with Roderick's mouth, and then it had been changing again, becoming the crumpled corpse of a mage with staff tumbled from her fingers on the ground, her mouth moving even as her eyes stared sightlessly into eternity. Your hands will never again be stained with the blood of your mistakes. And then he had been backing away from the body by reflex, trying not to look down at the sudden feeling of wet warmth on his own hands, when all at once she had been gone and he had collided with the solidity of a massive body behind him -- and whirling, found the thing in the shape of the Iron Bull, smiling very slightly down at him. You won't have to be tormented by wanting what you shouldn't, it had said; but by then he had already shut his eyes, to keep from having to see the words formed by that mouth. And to try to fight the hammering of his heart against his chest.

And, Maker help him, had it been a temptation? Of course it had. That was the business of demons, and the thing had known its work well enough. Even knowing what it would cost, even when Envy had made that abundantly clear, it was still more difficult to muster his defiance than he would have liked. If all his failings would rest on the shoulders of another -- even if they were shoulders that would look for all the world like his own -- there had been a terrible seduction to the idea of simply letting that be one more of them. That he had let it take him, let it be him, and faded into the darkness with relief.

In retrospect, it even made sense to him, that it would be a demon of envy that could carve so deeply into the heart of him. He, who had stood quietly by as his brothers went with his father to business engagements and social engagements, the heirs-presumptive, and he with a sun like an albatross around his neck, that cast no light nor warmth. He who had felt a thick ugly knot gather in his throat when he had overheard the healer outside Haven's Chantry, gloating to her companion about passing the night in the Iron Bull's tent: how could he even dare imagine what it would be like, to have what she had had from dark to dawn, with no fear that she would be unwanted, or of what would be said on the morrow? He, even, who had looked on the demon standing proud and powerful in his shape in the gruesome tableaux it had made for him, and in spite of all his horror felt a perverse thread of longing. Not for what it had done, never in life, but for how it seemed so sure .

But even in spite of all of that, Cole's voice had been kind and without judgment from under the brim of his obscuring hat, in the shadows of that strange inverted bedroom where the demon's voice had seemed less able to reach. You're just afraid, Cole had said. Lots of people are. It's all right to be afraid. It's only not all right when it hurts, and you don't want it to hurt. You know it would, and that's what's stopping you. Percy had only stared at him -- as best he could, anyway, as Cole had moved around the room as he spoke without regard to plane or possibility, as though there were no up or down or side to side at all. ...Which, Percy had ultimately supposed, under the circumstances, there really weren't, were there?

I came to help because it hurt you, and because it hurt you because it would hurt them. But it doesn't have to hurt anybody. You don't have to do what it says. You don't even have to be afraid, if you don't want to be. He had paused a moment, and then his tone had changed, his voice coming faster and sounding chillingly familiar at the same time, in a way that was impossible to quantify. Too much, perhaps, like Percy's own. "Who is he? The one they all expect. I don't know what he looks like. I try to shape my face into his in the mirror but I always get an ear or eyelash wrong. I stitch him shut around me but bits of me are always coming out the seams. I can't make me go away so there's only him." But you don't have to. You can just be you, and let them see whoever they like. They will anyway.

Percy had been unable to say anything to that for a moment.

It sounds simple when you say it that way, he had managed at last, trying to smile and not making much of a go of it. And Cole had finally tilted his head, so Percy could just see his eyes.

I know it isn't. It's hard. I'm sorry. He had considered that, briefly. But it's better than not trying. You think so, too.

I do, Percy had said, at the end of a long, heavy pause, and swallowed the rest. The rest hadn't mattered, when that much was so true. Then what should I do?

Keep moving. Go up.

Cole hadn't brought that moment up again, in any of the times they'd talked since -- perhaps knowing how it would hurt to be reminded of his faltering, or perhaps just no longer considering it worthy of notice now that the danger was past. It was always difficult to say with him. The closest he had come had been the one time Percy had been sitting with him in the shadows at the top of the Herald's Rest, grateful to be covered by them for a little while, and with no bridge backward to any of their previous topics of conversation, Cole had said, "You don't have to feel badly for looking at him."

Percy had started and then blinked over at him, but of course not enough of Cole's face had been visible to make that of any use. Not that it had mattered. He wouldn't be able to say, later, why he had continued to feel it necessary to pretend he didn't understand: even knowing what he did of Cole, and knowing that he'd been just been in the midst of aching guiltily in his chest, from the sound of a deep, rumbling laugh drifting up from the first floor. "I'm sorry?" he had said, all the same, with a faint try at his own laugh in his voice.

"Yes," Cole had agreed. "But you don't need to be. You think you're leering, steering, stealing, but he isn't at your mercy. It doesn't hurt him, and you would stop if it did." He had paused, while Percy had struggled frozen against the impact of that, and then added, "He likes it when people look. It makes him feel strong. He can decide."

He had tried to form his lips into a smile, when Cole had finally looked at him enough that he could see it, and thanked him, because to a certain degree it did help. Cole knew his work too. If there were nuances he missed, at the same time, that wasn't his fault. The way that the same thing could be both comforting and disheartening at once was perhaps a uniquely mortal experience.

Percy had put it out of his mind as best he could, at any rate, like he had so many times before. Until the afternoon when he came up the stairs to his quarters and found the Iron Bull sitting on his bed; and the words you want to ride the Bull managed to make both his feet, still ascending the top step, lose all coordination and skid right off it, dropping him back down the last several steps in a cacophanous clatter of boot-heels. He only managed to avoid tumbling all the way to the bottom by flinging an arm over the railing as he slid and catching his weight on it in a death's-grip.

That arm was surely just about all of him that Bull could see, very suddenly, in the terrible silence that followed. Which might have accounted for the barely-suppressed amusement he could hear in Bull's voice as it called after him, "You all right, boss?"

"Fine," Percy managed with some effort, even as he settled his feet firmly back on the nearest step. "Fine. I'm. Ow. Yes." With all available dignity, he made himself hold his head high and re-ascend the last few steps to the top, although he still stopped a healthy distance away. "...I beg your pardon?"

"I think you understood me, based on your footing," Bull said, though his tone was still only warm and friendly and amused. He heaved himself to his feet, taking only a few steps toward Percy but still enough to be alarming. "And I can't say I blame you. Can't say I'm not flattered, either. But -- "

But that was as far as Percy could stand to let him go. "But you don't reciprocate the interest," he finished, with a rueful smile that was at least half wince. "Of course. I'm terribly sorry. If I've overstepped -- "

"Did I say you had?" Bull said, mild and patient, faltering Percy's words to a stop. "Slow down. That wasn't where I was going."

That brought Percy up short, at last, and made him able to raise his eyes, although still not enough to meet Bull's. He only stood a moment, chest cramped around his breath. "It wasn't?" he asked when he could, quietly.

"I'm definitely interested," Bull said, not much louder. It was the intense gentleness of his tone, more even than the words, that spread helpless gooseflesh up the back of Percy's neck. He came closer, bringing the pulse thudding up in Percy's throat to match. "No worries there. For one thing, I told you how much I like redheads." He paused a moment there, and then went on, "I'm just not sure you're ready. For one thing, it seems like the whole idea makes you pretty nervous."

Percy struggled a moment -- how was he to pry his attention at all away from that thunderous revelation long enough to explain? -- and finally exhaled a hard breath. "It's not that... it makes me nervous, exactly. It's..." He swallowed, and finally forced his gaze up to Bull's. "I don't want you to feel obligated, or pressed to anything, simply because it's what I want."

Bull only looked at him for a heartbeat's time, his only visible expression one of slight amusement -- though Percy knew better, by now, than to take that at face value. "Do I strike you as the kind of guy who can't make up his own mind?" he asked at last, and it was also mild on top and loaded as a cannon underneath. Percy firmed up his shoulders and his gaze, though, doing his best to meet the challenge.

"No," he said. "You strike me as a deeply honorable, committed man, in the long practice of sublimating his own needs to a greater purpose. It's something that I happen to admire about you, and also something that, in this context, is of great concern to me."

Bull did not react to that outwardly, that Percy could see, at all. After another moment's pause, he sighed, his massive shoulders rising and sinking with it. "I gotta say, you worrying about taking advantage of me wasn't something I expected going into this." He answered Percy's weak smile, though, and leaned in closer, his head tilted down and starting to intrude on Percy's space. "You don't have to be concerned about me. I mean it. That's not on you."

"Of course it is," Percy said, his voice softer even than he had entirely intended. He tipped his head to meet Bull's eye, though, still smiling at least a little. "You look after your men, and I look after mine."

Bull's voice was a rumble now. "But I'm not one of your men," he said -- and even as he stepped in closer still, his hands closed easily around Percy's wrists and pushed them up over his head. His body pressed Percy's back up against the wall behind him with a smooth swiftness that made him gasp and arch in spite of himself. "We're here on contract. As long as I keep to the terms, I can do anything I want."

Percy fought his suddenly empty, breathless chest to speak, pinned between Bull and the wall. Bull's body radiated heat through his clothes, softness laid over irresistible strength. His own thoughts were scattered with embarrassing immediacy, his prick throbbing already toward hot fullness.

"Then what do you want?" he asked when he could, his voice barely above a whisper. Bull leaned in toward his ear.

"If you don't tell me to stop right now, you're going to find out."

He should. He knew he should. This was the moment to call a halt to this, to extricate and collect himself, apologize and end it and not change what was between them. It would be simpler, wiser, more sensible. Percy could still be the leader he was meant to be, forbear and commit to the right course in this at least. It might be awkward for a time but it would be for the best. He should resist this temptation as he had others before, and go forward bereft but in the proper way.

But he had Bull pressed tight against him, mouth close to his ear, just one hand now encircling both his wrists against the wall: the stuff of endless guilty fantasies, an absolute torment to think of feeling once and then losing forever. He had Bull's reassurances, his offer. And who would be harmed, really, this time if he weakened? What would it cost except feeling that he was working toward someone else's ideal, which he was increasingly unconvinced had ever been as important as he'd thought?

Percy swallowed hard, his whole throat working along the length of it. "Please," he breathed, scarcely able to even hear himself. "Please."

Bull's hot breath tickled over Percy's ear, and then he clasped his free arm around Percy's waist and pulled him in tight, the other letting his hands free even as he steered them both back around and toward the bed. Percy seized the chance to clutch greedily at the thick planes of muscle down the tops of Bull's shoulders, to paw around behind the column of his neck, and then he was being lifted entirely off his feet, laid out on his back on the bed with his thighs spreading eagerly around Bull's planted knee. Bull's body stretched out over his, an overwhelming bulk that made blood thunder through him, his hips twitch helplessly. Their nearness and his hands behind Bull's neck led into a slow, hot, wet kiss before he could even give it conscious thought. The line of scar at the corner of Bull's mouth prickled at Percy's lips inside the frame of his own beard, waking all his nerves to light and finishing all at once the work of making him desperately hard.

He only drew back by a breath when his hands strayed up higher, one palm sliding toward where the broad curve of Bull's skull flowed into the thickness of horn. "May I?" he asked, breathless, and hovering over him Bull raised his only visible eyebrow, and then smiled.

"Good to ask, but sure, go ahead." He leaned his head a little into Percy's hand, even, as it wrapped tentatively around the horn and slid out along it. The texture of it was fascinating: hard and smoothly gnarled as old twisting wood, though warmer to the touch. "You like those, huh?"

"I like everything ," Percy said before he could approach thought, voice fervent as a devotee's prayer. Though he went surely as red as his hair at Bull's chuckle, he couldn't bring himself to regret it, either.

He lingered there as Bull pushed up slightly on his elbows, and brought one forearm across Percy's chest to pluck open the buttons down his coat. His big fingers pulled them free with steady deliberation, giving the weight of each time to land before the next opened, leaving Percy swallowing and unsteady under his touch. The lighter silk of the shirt beneath the leather he then simply bunched into a slow fist on Percy's chest, drawing it with a twist of his wrist up from the edge of his trousers to bare him. When he'd gathered it all below Percy's chin, between the coat's parted wings, he ran his other hand firm and warm up Percy's side from his waist to where the freckles started at his ribs, and leaned in to just graze the edges of teeth against Percy's nipple, his stubble scraping skin below it. Percy's hips jumped like he'd been shocked, his breath hitching in on a tiny yelping gasp. Bull's thigh pressed down, also as though casually, and grinding against it like a guilty teenager was good enough to make his eyes water.

And then Bull had pushed himself up again, frustratingly out of reach -- and before Percy could even blink, had grabbed both coat and shirt in the same bundle and pushed them up and off, drawing Percy's arms up over his head in the process. When that was done, Bull pinned down both Percy's wrists where they lay with one hand again, and rolled to one side so he could unlace the front placket of Percy's breeches. He had to release Percy's hands to strip them and his shortclothes off him when that was done, taking his boots and the rest along the way, but Percy only lay with them where they'd tumbled, breathing in great heaving gasps, feeling as pinned in place by this process as any grip of Bull's hand.

Instead of propping up over him again, Bull came back shouldering between his naked thighs with a smirk on his lips, and Percy could no longer seem to catch his breath or react in any way but staring, his pulse a drumbeat that shook him with its force. Somehow his hands reached back down seemingly of their own accord, though, whether to welcome Bull back in or draw him on or just touch him it was impossible to say, but it didn't matter: when they did, Bull just leaned up and seized them again, holding them in a warm, firm, but comfortable fist against Percy's belly. He kept them there as he lowered his mouth back to Percy's skin, grazing and nipping and tonguing a path down the trail of hair low on his belly, to where the touch of his breath made Percy's breath pant out of him in short fast bursts, his thighs spreading out in mute, unconscious encouragement.

Braced on his elbows, Bull moved his other, free hand to rest over Percy's hip, along the inner plane of his groin. It was a deceptively casual movement for a press that felt like the weight of a boulder, leaden on his lower body, holding it inextricably down to the mattress. Wrists still held, hip held, pinned entirely and incapable of pushing or pulling or doing anything but lying exactly where he was and accepting what he was given, Percy gasped every breath like his last and watched Bull's head angle down expertly to dip and capture the head of his prick, sucking it between his lips and into a thick wet heat beyond the obscenest of fantasies.

He had no hand to muffle himself with and no release for his tension but as sound, and the moan that tore out of him was embarrassingly loud and desperate. Bull's mouth sheathed him to his root as easily as sliding into water, even as it closed him into slick, tongue-lashed tightness. He was helpless to it, buried deep, unable to move enough to either push for more or retreat for relief of the overwhelming waves of its heat. All he could do was gasp, some choked sound in every exhale. Bull drew his head up only a little ways, sank him back deep in one firm smooth motion, did it again until it built toward something like a rhythm. Percy found himself dragged toward the edge of losing all restraint with alarming, dizzying speed. His hands trembled above where Bull's gripped them, thighs taut, face and chest as slick with sweat as his cock with Bull's mouth.

Just when Percy had begun to fear he was in danger of humiliating himself with adolescent haste, Bull drew his head up further than ever on his next retreat, to where Percy's prick at last tumbled entirely from his lips. An indistinct sound choked out of Percy involuntarily, closest to a sob, and he could feel the curve of Bull's lips unbearably against the skin of his shaft as Bull turned his head to graze his mouth down along it, tonguing it in soft touches that were exquisite, agonizing. His tongue's heat played against the coolness of the air on wet skin, lapping under Percy's cock-head, rubbing the slit at the tip. Then Bull was working his way back down, skimming its length, nuzzling his mouth against Percy's stones, and exhaling hot and intimate over the crease of his inner thigh. Percy only lay still, all that he could do, thighs levered wide enough to make them shake and eyes squeezed shut, whimpering his breaths. There was nothing left but need, no thought in him but more .

"Tell me something honestly," Bull's voice rumbled out of the breath-heavy silence, his own breath stirring more shivers of pleasure and torment where it touched Percy's bollocks, his shaft, his thighs. His voice held that velvet, predatory gentleness again, and cracked Percy's eyes open to see Bull watching him heavy-eyed from between his thighs. His thumb idly stroked Percy's hip. "You ever had anything up you before?"

Percy swallowed hard as he tried to find his voice, his chest rising and falling so hard it was as visible as the press of a bellows. "Just -- fingers," he somehow managed to force out of it, "my fingers, I -- " He had to catch his tongue again, where it tripped there, even as he managed a weak smile that parted around his breath. "Even with all of them, it was -- never big enough to be convincing."

Bull laughed, looking quite pleased, and Percy found himself flushing redder in spite of the sheer absurdity of having any shame left now. "You're sweet," he said, and only then released Percy's (slightly numbed) hands and hip, to push himself up. "Then if I'm going to fuck you -- and I'm going to fuck you -- " This said in a tone three shades darker than the rest, and with his heavy open hand running up the inside of Percy's thigh, making him shudder and buck helplessly -- "we better get you good and warmed up first." He patted Percy's thigh one more time, and then curled his hand up under Percy's rump, encouraging his hips up off the mattress with its press. "Let me get a pillow under you, here."

Slightly mystified, and still so half-mad with heat and hunger in spite of the moment's reprieve that he couldn't think clearly about it, Percy nonetheless pushed up obediently on his legs so his hips lifted as directed. Bull leaned over him to paw one of the bed's over-large pillows closer, and pushed it under Percy's arse and hips and lower back, so that he could relax his weight back down with them propped up and his legs sprawling down and away. Bull was quickly between those again, clasping one hand under each of Percy's thighs, able to hold even their breadth with an ease that was both alarming and thrilling. He pressed them up, folding Percy's knees up toward his chest, even as he lowered himself flat to the mattress, pulling back a bit before coming forward again so that his horns could clear under Percy's thighs.

And in spite of all of that, and of all sense and reason, it still managed to shock him when Bull's tongue touched right to the hole between the inner curves of his arse.

Fortunately Bull's hands, still braced on the backs of his thighs, kept him from jumping as badly as he surely would have otherwise -- which just as surely would have been comically disastrous, in this position -- but a yelp still jolted out of him as his upper body twitched. Bull seemed untroubled, though: one of his hands stroked Percy's thigh a bit, soothingly, and he murmured "Easy" warmly against a place where Percy had never thought to feel the tickle of his breath, and that was all. Then it came again: warm, wet muscle, sliding against that tender furl, tracing its outermost edge and then pushing, delving. Percy's eyes squeezed shut hard enough to water, mouth wide open and trembling around something like a sound that was too big to escape him. Every nerve in his body seemed to be firing at once, amidst simultaneous rushes of outraged propriety and half-ashamed lust that fed each other as much as they conflicted. Bull licked around him and into him, and he shook and gasped and let the gasps out on little breathless cries, when they could force past the straining of his throat.

Arousal swiftly overtook alarm, and before long he was trying to hold his thighs wider still in the grip of Bull's hands, his prick twitching and leaking a spreading pool where it rested on his lower belly. His face felt flame-hot and his trembling was constant, and there was no trepidation in it now at all. Bull's tongue worked against him in unhurried, methodical strokes, pressing into him a little deeper each time before it retreated again. Its heat, its obscene and unbearable slick , had the tight clench of muscle there already relaxing, easing, beginning to feel warm and loose and open and wet in a way that was no less pleasant for feeling decidedly sluttish. In time, the supporting hand left one of his thighs (leaving him a bit unsteady but able to keep it propped up on his own, at least for now), and the soft circling traceries of Bull's tongue were joined by a more firm and insistent pressure against his opening: the tip of a very large finger. He breathed, and Bull's tongue slicked and soothed him, and Bull's finger slid into him seemingly without effort at all, more and more of him spreading and unfolding to accept its shape until it was deep, then deeper, then deepest. And when it was deepest, a crackle of pure hot feeling clenched through all the muscles of his lower body from some unnamed point deep within himself -- a spot he had only barely been able to brush in his own explorations, which Bull found instead with unerring and devastating firmness. Percy's eyes sprang open wide again, staring blurrily up at the nothing of the arching ceiling and gulping a whimpering breath, and his hips jutted and twitched and ultimately accomplished nothing. Only Bull could make it happen again, with another slight retreat and press of his finger, now with his tongue flickering in alongside its base. Only Bull had any mastery of Percy's body now.

Percy couldn't count the moments of that as they passed, only that they passed; that Bull penetrated him on his finger and circled it with his own tongue and he burned, in his extremity, unable to think or move. Eventually his unheld leg began to sag to one side, a litlte bit at a time -- and the feeling of the back of his thigh brushing Bull's horn, just lightly, was very nearly catastrophic. Both his hands fisted hard in the blanket, all of him going steel-tense as he grunted and fought down the sudden, very real threat of a premature end. Bull went still at once too, which was a mercy; if he hadn't, Percy would quite likely have gone over the edge anyway, coming abruptly to his climax with his prick untouched just from the wracking of need, pleasure, and overwhelmed senses.

After a moment, just as his body was throbbing back down enough to register protest at the loss of sensation, Bull chuckled, and drew himself up a bit and away entirely. "Cut it a little close, huh?" he said, amusement in his voice, and Percy had to shut his eyes against it even as he managed a small panting smile of his own. "All right. That'll do."

He let Percy's feet back down to the mattress when he drew away, and Percy opened his eyes to find him unstrapping the harness from his shoulders, and then backing off the end of the bed momentarily to stand and strip his trousers and all else away. The view, from where Percy lay sprawled and wrecked on the bed, was extraordinary. An endless expanse of his curiously-colored skin, stretched taut over the soft curves of belly and arse, the hard veined swells of arms and shoulders and thighs. Taking in the sheer size of him, the casual power of how he was shaped and moved, was practically a torture given how aroused Percy was already. He swallowed thickly and wrapped an absent hand around the base of his prick as he watched, as much just to have something touching its needy heat as to try to forestall any more near-misses.

And then there was Bull's own cock: thickened and nearing fullness below the swell of Bull's belly, more visible as Bull clambered forward over the bed to where he could kneel up between Percy's legs again. It shaded to a surprisingly lovely, dusky color at the tip that was almost a deep rose, and it was well-proportioned even as its length and girth passed impressive into intimidating . Heat as sharp and cresting as a fever flared through Percy as he stared at it, but it was threaded now with anxiety. Was it -- too much? Was he ready? He wanted it so much, so much, but --

"Tell me what you want," Bull said -- tearing Percy's gaze away and back up to his face all at once. Bull's expression was as quiet as his voice, smiling but serious, and the command in both was unmistakable and left no possibility of refusal. One of his hands rested on Percy's thigh -- there was something gripped in the other, a small steel flask, he hadn't noticed when Bull had picked that up presumably from his clothing -- but beyond that, he looked entirely prepared to remain where he was forever, until he had his answer.

Percy stared back at him, sure that his own wide eyes betrayed more than he'd ever have wanted. And he understood with sudden totality that to stop would be, without question or hesitation, an answer that Bull would accept. It came in the guise of playfulness, just another way of blessedly taking control out of his hands, but really it was an open door. A way out. Bull had said that by not telling him to stop, when Percy had first been pinned to the wall, he was consigning himself to inevitability, but that wasn't true, had likely never been true. Bull had read his hesitation off him now like the page of a book, as Bull's old Ben-Hassrath companion had claimed to be able to read his prisoners, and at once he had responded by reopening the possibility of escape. And even now, the thought was somehow able to distract Percy with the new, humiliating realization of how much Bull's training and skill must always have let him see: what Percy had wanted here up until now, what he had wanted before, all along. Every stray guilty flicker crossing his face whenever his gaze had lingered a second too long.

He likes it when people look, Cole had said, and Percy supposed here was another reason for that beyond the obvious. Bull did like to have all the information.

But none of that was the point, was it? The point was, apparently, what he wanted now. And if anything, understanding all of that had made him more sure than ever that, nerves or no, the answer did not include stopping.

"I want you to fuck me," Percy said, his voice shaking and breaking. His hand squeezed his cock helplessly, and then he made himself let it go to clasp Bull's hand on his thigh instead. "Please."

The intense focus of Bull's smile lessened, let it become something more open and more gentle. "Good," he said, drawn out into almost a purr. "Because that's what I'm going to do."

And even as Percy was still shivering, senselessly, at that praise and that promise, Bull was releasing him with a squeeze to open the flask, and pour oil into his other palm. When Bull's hand was slick, he closed the flask and tossed it aside, and took his own cock in his oiled fist. His few long strokes over it were a practical matter, spreading the oil all along his length, but the sight of it was still almost too much for Percy to bear in his present condition. Yet another image from all of this he would surely turn over hungrily in his mind later, even if it happened that Bull did not want him again: Bull up on his knees on his bed, gloriously bare and touching himself --

Then that was done, and Bull took easy hold of the backs of both his thighs again, pushing them up folded toward his chest. With them lifted, he could push himself under Percy's legs, coming to lean looming over him with them braced over his arms. The shift in pressure and position, with Percy's rear still propped up on the pillow, ended up driving his shoulders and upper back and head down into the mattress at a steeper angle, effectively bending him double with his arse in the air. It was a moderately humiliating position and he was able to distantly suppose, swallowing and gulping air and trying to focus his blurry eyes, that it was a good thing he was too far gone by now to care much. Not to mention too focused on what little he could see, looking down, of Bull's hand guiding Bull's cock to the cleft of his rear, setting a gentle pressure first on and then in the hole there.

It was... not easy, but not as difficult as he'd feared. The feeling of his flesh and muscle giving way around -- Maker, the prodigious size of Bull's cock was in its first blush exciting, pleasurable, and then quickly became a stretch that was alarming. Even as he began to tense in his panic, though, Bull stopped at once with barely the tip inside, waiting, murmuring something that sounded soothing that Percy couldn't understand, which he was reasonably but not entirely certain was because it was not in a language he spoke. He was able to breathe and relax himself by degrees, at any rate, and then Bull was sliding forward again, at a time-slowed crawl that would have been tormenting under any other circumstances and was still almost too much under these.  But the angle at which Bull had arranged him seemed to open the way somewhat, smoothing his passage, and the oil let Bull's skin glide against that inner flesh even as it furrowed open, and little by little, it did manage to happen. When he was deep enough that he could release his own shaft, Bull pressed the large warm flat of his hand over Percy's prick instead, where it lay against his lower belly: just resting a palm over him first and then rubbing it up him in an idle stroke that was firm but aimless. It made Percy's body stutter under the weight of Bull's, a creaking sound forcing out of his chest, even as most of his attention could not help but stay focused on the slow work taking place inside him. It was almost done by then, Bull's hips nearing his own, his body almost fully knowing now how to take a shape that fit around Bull's cock.

Finally the warmth of Bull's thick hips pressed up against him, the firm heavy curve of Bull's belly pushed against his thighs, and the tip of Bull's cock brushed and then pressed and then pressed fully and relentlessly into that deepest point inside him. It was nothing like it had been even with Bull's finger; it was a wracking muscle-deep flare of pleasure and overpowering sensation that hit him like a cramp, spasmodic and hot, wresting all his sense of control of himself away. His hips twitched and jolted on their own on Bull's buried cock, making it worse, better, incredible. Percy was barely aware of shouting, with his full voice, his hands in shaking fists beside him. Bull drew back a bit, let an inch or two of himself slide out: a tremendous relief, immediately blown away by a sense of terrible loss and a terror that Bull would keep withdrawing. But instead he went only so far and then pushed in again, very slightly faster now, and Percy's lower body burst in another firework of sensation when he reached his end once more. He ached around Bull, it was so much , and it was so good , he had lost himself inside it. He had lost everything inside it, and gone beautifully, mercifully free.

Bull repeated that motion once -- twice -- uncountable times, rolling his hips out and in again in a smooth rhythm that picked up speed almost impercetibly, running those flares of pleasure into one long pulsing blur through Percy's flesh. After a time he was just aware enough to note the increasing heaviness of Bull's breath, the way it heaved in the body pinning his down, and Percy's prick throbbed against his belly under the casual, maddening press of Bull's hand. Spurred on, he managed to run one hand up Bull's arm, where it braced on the mattress at his hip, palming greedily over muscle and pale lines of scar, even as he panted and rocked under Bull's weight. Bull allowed that for a moment, and then his arms were moving: folding to lower him closer to Percy's body and then sliding underneath it, one grabbing a firm hand under Percy's arse and the other wrapping around him at mid-back. With only a faint grunt of effort, then, he spread his knees for leverage and lifted Percy's whole weight off the mattress, up into his arms and cradled against his chest, to straddle his kneeling lap. Bull's cock did slide slightly out of him in the process, but being settled atop Bull drove it newly deep again with his own weight, breaking another delirious cry out of Percy's throat.

He gulped and whimpered with his head thrown back, clinging to Bull's shoulders with clumsy arms. They were no sooner in their new position than Bull's own arms around him lifted him gently up along Bull's shaft, and then let him sink back down it to hilt-deep, his own prick rubbing against Bull's belly all along the way. Bull didn't even need to fuck him, as such: he could just move Percy's body on his cock like his own hand, use him however he liked to pleasure both of them. The thought was like a hot poker down the middle of him, unmanageable and devastating. He writhed on Bull, sobbed his cries, fumbled by instinct for purchase with his knees astride Bull's legs to try to grind back against him, and couldn't do it. He was helpless to Bull's arms, Bull's control of him and everything. He would take what he was given until he could take no more.

Bull lifted him again, eased him down again, moved him again toward a rhythm. The work of it had Bull's breath harsher and more labored now, a purplish flush under his skin at points, but he showed every sign of being able to keep it up as long as need be, all the same. Amid all else, Bull's belly rubbing against his cock had Percy on the perilous edge of climax with dizzying speed, but it just wasn't quite enough -- still not what he needed, but he was so close , he was a bonfire throwing sparks up into the dusklight through stained glass --

"Please," he managed to force out of his throat the next time Bull lifted him. It burst past his locked throat wild with effort, his voice creaking and breaking as though he were in a storm of weeping. Both of them were trembling, in constant motion: Bull finely with exertion, Percy wildly in his extremity. "Oh please -- please, I need -- "

Bull made a deep, rumbling sound that seemed to roll up Percy's spine. He paused with Percy sunk deep down on his cock, freeing one arm to wrap Percy's prick tight in large fingers -- but, terribly, it was around his base as before, flaring sensation through him and then dulling and restraining him all in the same gesture. Percy could not have helped another desperate cry.

"And what if I don't?" Bull asked, his head craned down near Percy's ear, so heavy with dark menace that Percy shuddered wildly with it. "What if I keep you here and fuck you for another hour, right on the edge, begging me until you're hoarse? Just because I wanted to and I could ?"

There was no possible response at all in Percy, nothing he could have mustered if given that whole threatened hour. He gasped a ruined, wordless sound, his head dropped down almost to his chest, completely shattered. His hands clung to Bull's shoulders like vises and his cock throbbed and pounded in Bull's fist, a molten river, a sweet agony.

Bull let him stay like that for what felt like centuries and could have been only seconds, and then let out a low hot laugh, just as darkly, near his ear. "Lucky for you, I don't," he said. In Percy's absolute state, the second of pause he left wasn't long enough for that to fully sink in, before Bull added: "What I do want is to see how hard you come."

And no sooner was it spoken than Bull's tight grip relaxed slightly, and his huge hand worked over Percy's cock in a few brisk, firm, perfect strokes. 

Percy's back jerked up and arched as though he'd been shocked. He shouted -- almost screamed -- and his cock leapt in Bull's hand, the burst of his seed forceful enough to stripe up even to the expanse of Bull's chest. He melted down in a jumble of bucking, shaking spasms in the curve of Bull's body, with Bull's hips driving up into him from below, striking torrents of sensation through him like a clapper shaking its bell with sound. When he could think again at all, there would be no doubt in his mind it was the hardest he had ever come in his life: all of him absolutely destroyed by pleasure, nothing but a blank white smear left of his mind and self.

There was no way of knowing how long it took him to slow, and still, and then eventually to recover some semblance of his awareness of the world around him. Whenever he did, he was resting heavily against Bull's chest, with Bull's hips just coming to rest against him where they had been thrusting. No need to show off quite so much now, Percy supposed from what seemed like a great distance, his eyes sliding shut and breath huffing soundlessly with the shape of a smile in it. Bull paused to breathe for a few seconds, and then withdrew himself from inside Percy, slowly -- very slowly, which was a mercy given how tender and uncomfortable Percy felt around him now, with his cock lying wilting and messy between their sticking bodies. Even still, the feeling of loss was profound: an aching, bruised-feeling hollowness at the core of him that was melancholy somehow, like loneliness. If he had been able to muster himself, to reorganize his thoughts in any fashion, he might have asked Bull to stay inside him, to continue, to finish there. The thought of Bull's seed pulsing slick inside him actually managed to curl a lazy, feeble tendril of heat into his belly, although his body was in no condition to respond to it.

But he said nothing, and Bull slid free of him, coming to settle Percy lower down on his knees and grasp his own thick, hard cock between them. Percy watched from where his head cradled on Bull's shoulder, and found his hand lifting hesitantly.

"May I?" he asked -- though the sound of his voice was so rusty and raspy it immediately made him wince. Bull glanced down at him, breathing fast and hungry, and looked a touch surprised to see him still sensible at all. A second later he chuckled a little, tucking Percy closer in his free arm.

"Be my guest."

Resting in the circle of Bull's arm, unaccountably pleased again with his permission, Percy curled his hand around Bull's cock at once. With Bull's hand still there, his wrist laced with Bull's and rested atop it, letting him roll his palm and thumb over Bull's tip while Bull stroked himself from the base. Bull let out a groan low in his throat and worked his hand in earnest, his heart thundering in the thickness of his chest near Percy's ear. He watched how Bull's hand dwarfed his, how their grip overlapped and worked in tandem, and felt the slickness spreading under his fingers at the tip and the pulse building under all the skin he touched. He felt safe, fascinated by watching the signs of pleasure spread in Bull's cock and face, happier than he thought he had been in quite some time.

Eventually Bull's hand began to speed, taking Percy's hand with it rather of necessity; Percy did his best to follow anyway, using his higher angle to rub Bull's head and the top of his shaft in time with the pace Bull set. Bull's breath grew faster and more labored still, his eye slipping shut with a faint sweet line of something just warmer than pain or concentration between his brows, his lips parted -- and then he rumbled in his chest again and his hips jerked up three fast, short times into the joined grip of their hands, and he came with a long groan and his arm tightening around Percy's shoulders, his seed pulsing warm over Percy's fingers and his own belly and hand. Percy's own prick actually gave a valiant, feeble twitch as he watched, although that was the absolute most it could muster at the moment.

After one more second of taut stillness, Bull collapsed heavily back against the mattress, and sat panting for another moment on his knees. Then at last, he shifted Percy carefully on his chest, hauling his weight up to unencumber first one and then the other leg from under him, and stretch them out along the bed with an even louder and heartfelt groan. "Oh, I'm gonna pay for that," he muttered, reaching around Percy's side to rub the knee closest to him -- the one that he wore braced, and that Percy had only barely been aware in all this was laced with wicked arcing scars, now that it was bared. He lifted his head a bit to blink down at it, and then sheepishly up at Bull.

"Oh, I'm -- sorry -- "

Bull glanced at him, and chuckled a little, shifting his arm to encourage Percy back in place. "I damn well hope you're not. That was more than worth it."

"I'm sorry your knee is sore," Percy said, his voice blurry and mushed and shaped in a smile that rested against the skin of Bull's chest. His eyes had already drifted closed. "Not otherwise."

Another chuckle rumbled in the flesh under his cheek. "Good." Bull gave him another light squeeze, and then started shifting again, maneuvering him down toward the mattress. "Get some rest, boss. Should be hours yet before anyone needs you for anything."

Percy made a dim, assenting sound, letting himself move with Bull's arms and hands. Bull moved away for a time and the sounds of water being disturbed came for a time from the basin in the corner, and then he returned with a soft wet cloth, providing a brief cleaning Percy could barely be stirred to help with. Percy was settled back in the sheets, nestled on pillows, tucked close under blankets and along the warmth of Bull's body. The sunset light slanting in through the windows reddened the insides of his closed eyes, but otherwise could not succeed in troubling him. It was not very long before he was no longer aware of it at all.

But he had to remind himself very firmly of his gratitude, and that he had not asked for anything else, when he finally woke at an early rose-colored hour of the following morning, and found his bed empty around him and Bull gone.



2.

The meeting had ended, and his advisors departed back to their respective offices and other responsibilities, but Percy lingered over the war table. It was crowded with markers in the aftermath, a great deal currently in play, and he wanted to be sure that he'd wrapped his mind around it all, and left nothing to chance. So much of what would happen now was in the hands of others, of course, but that didn't mean he could afford to forget any of it. He would be ready when he was needed.

He wasn't so absorbed, though, that he failed to hear the footsteps coming up the hall outside, or register that they were too heavy to be any of the other three returning. He turned to look up at the door when it opened, and it was the Iron Bull who entered instead, of course -- with the slight duck he had to practice with most of Skyhold's doorways. The smile that immediately claimed Percy's face, though, began to melt away just as quickly afterward, with his first good sight of Bull. There was no doubt in his mind that if Bull wanted to hide how he felt from him, it would be done, but he was making no such effort at the moment: his face was inward and drawn, his shoulders tense.

"Am I interrupting, kadan?" Bull asked, and he at least managed to look a bit amused in that moment. Percy let a bit of his smile come back, and shook his head.

"No, we're quite finished. I was just dwelling on a few matters." He paused a moment, and then asked, carefully, "Is everything all right?"

To his surprise, though, Bull waved that off, even if his smile looked a bit more like a grimace. "Yeah, nothing to worry about. I just wanted to catch Cullen on his way out, and I figured I'd come see you." Percy tilted his head, and Bull wandered along the table in the other direction, his gaze lingering on the markers as he rounded the far side. "I'd had the Chargers out for him, picking up refugees to bring in. Turns out a lot of the ones they found were from some little village out on the edge of the Dales. A bunch of Venatori razed it to the ground, making room for them to do whatever crap they do with some old ruins nearby. First we'd heard of it." He glanced up, at last, the twist of his smile so rueful it looked like he'd bitten something sour. "The place is in the ass end of nowhere, so it's no surprise Red didn't have anybody out that way. But I know there's been a Ben-Hassrath embedded in the nearest lord's serving staff for ages." Bull's fingers brushed the top of one marker set near the edge, off the coast of Amaranthine, as he spoke: one carved tipped with the House of Tides icon, a Qunari dreadnought spotted in the waters. His voice was soft, thoughtful. "So we could have known."

"We don't know that for certain," Percy said, after a moment of heavy silence. It sounded weak even to him, but he pushed on all the same. "It might have turned out exactly the same way regardless. Even the best can be blindsided, especially at a distance." Bull looked at him, his mouth still turned in that same wry smile, and said nothing. After a moment Percy came around from his side, to where Bull stood. He reached for Bull's hand, distracting it from the table to come rest in both of his, as he looked searchingly up into Bull's eye. "It's not your fault."

"That's a damn funny conclusion to come to," Bull said, again sounding almost amused. Percy shook his head.

"No, it isn't. We always do the best we can with what we have. There will always be resources we don't have available to us. Sometimes by circumstance -- and sometimes because there were other matters that were more important, and we had to make a choice."

"I know how it works," Bull said, low, maybe a touch warningly. Percy did his best to ignore it, if so, stroking the back of Bull's hand with his thumb and watching the turn of Bull's eye.

"Then do you think we made the wrong one?"

Bull said nothing for a few seconds, and then sighed, all of his prodigious upper body seeming to sink with it. "You know I don't. But it used to be that I would have said there was no choice to make at all."

He was no longer looking at Percy at all: his head turned off to the side, so that from this angle Percy could only see his eyepatch, and nothing of his eye. Percy watched it all the same, still holding on to his hand. "May I ask you something?" he said, presently, breaking another brief silence. Bull didn't look at him, but the corner of his mouth turned, if only by reflex.

"Sure."

"If I had asked you to choose differently," Percy said, slowly, picking his words as though they were a footpath over loose, slick rock. "If I had told you to save the dreadnought, and abandon the Chargers to their fate... would you have done that?"

The silence this time was awful, and tellingly long. Still, he was able to hold out hope right up until the second that Bull spoke. "Yeah," Bull said, a rumble so low it could have been in the floor beneath. "I would have."

Percy shut his eyes briefly and exhaled, his hands momentarily squeezing around Bull's. "I don't want that kind of power over you," he said, when he could summon up his voice again, small and sorry though it sounded. "I don't want anyone to have that kind of power over you."

"They don't," Bull said, with the velvet gentleness Percy wasn't sure he'd ever heard from him at any time but in the midst of sex. He had turned his gaze back to look at Percy, just barely, but it was very hard to interpret what was there. " You don't. Not exactly. But it's more complicated than that. There are things that are more important there, too."

Percy dropped his gaze to their joined hands, finally, no longer able to keep it on Bull's face right now. "Do you know what Cole told me, when I first met him?" he said, another moment later. "That I didn't have to be who I was expected to be. That I could just be who I am, instead, and that would be all right."

Bull made a low huff of sound that could have been a laugh. "Yeah, that sounds like something Cole would say." He paused a moment. "And I can see how you would have needed to hear that, early on."

"I did," Percy said, and smiled his acknowledgment at the rest unsaid. Then he was raising his chin again, raising his eyes again, to look at Bull straight on. "I know it isn't the same for you as for me. I know I may never be able to fully understand, even if I try." He took a small breath, drawing himself up. "But I would very much like to try, kadan. If there ever comes a time when you'd like to talk to me about it."

It wa a bit funny how good it could make him feel to see Bull's brow lift like that, just a little -- but how could it not, knowing how pleased it had always made Bull to be surprised by him?

"Maybe sometime," Bull agreed, after a very long pause, and now his scarred mouth bloomed in a warm, spreading smile. He stepped in closer to Percy around the edge of the table, with their clasped hands between them. "But you're busy right now."

Percy craned his neck the way he had to in order to keep looking up at Bull's face, when Bull stood so close. His own uncertain smile threatened at his lips. "Am I? I had thought this meeting was the last thing I had planned for the day."

"Yeah, you are," Bull said in a rumbling murmur, and he was moving closer still, his body crowding Percy back against the table so his rear pressed against its edge. He turned his hand in Percy's and brought in the other to plant them both on the tabletop beside Percy's hips, pinning both his hands under the much larger weight of Bull's, as his thigh came in flush against the front of Percy's breeches.

Breath stuttered in Percy's chest, and heat blossomed at once in his face and deep in his prick. "Ah, I see," he said, a touch unevenly, even while he was tilting his head to let Bull crane and hunch to set a warm, teasing mouth along the side of his neck ."You do know that my quarters are... literally the next door down the hall."

"I know where they are," Bull said, warm and amused, the hot stir of his breath across Percy's neck rippling all its skin up into gooseflesh. "But we're already here."

Percy closed his eyes briefly, trying not to be too distracted by the huge hard plane of Bull's thigh pressing his own thighs wide around it, or to rub himself back up against it for that matter. "I'm quite sure Josephine is still in her office," he pointed out, still trying to sound reasonable and persuasive despite the thickening breath in his voice. Bull chuckled, another tickle at his throat.

"Then I guess you're gonna have to be careful about how loud you can get."

That made it impossible to keep his hips entirely still, in spite of himself. Percy tried one last time to steady himself, even tried to tug at Bull's hands, but of course they gave not at all. "Honestly. We can't -- "

"You know what to say if you want to stop," Bull said, and all at once he had withdrawn back to where he could stare into Percy's eyes, the sudden intensity of his gaze enough to stop Percy's breath. Even so, that little smile he'd been able to feel was still sitting on Bull's lips. "But otherwise, I want to fuck you right here. And the next meeting you have in here, I want you to keep looking at the spot where you came with me splitting you. I want you to get so hard right there you have to hide it from everyone else."

Yes. He knew what to say. He always did. And standing there pinned up against the table by Bull's weight, sure his face was already apoplectically red and his cock hard so quickly it made him a bit dizzy, Percy said nothing. And even though it was part of the game, part of the tease, it was as much at hearing the words I want so many times out of Bull's lips as it was at anything else.

He rolled his hips up against Bull's leg instead, letting his head fall back a bit with eyes closed, and stayed silent except for his breath. And then Bull's hands were at the flaps of his vest and pushing it away, tugging up the shirt that had been underneath it, baring his chest to the air.

When he was stripped to the waist, Bull looked past him a moment, and then looked back at Percy with a bit of a grin. "Think between the two of us, we can remember where everything in Ferelden was?"

"I -- " was as far as he let Percy get in answer, though, which was probably just as well since Percy wasn't entirely sure he'd decided on whether I think so or I don't think you should would have been how he'd continue. Either way, Bull reached around him to sweep one large arm across the side of the table they stood against, before Percy could even think of protesting, gathering and pushing all of the markers off to crowd up against the discarded bottles and containers and heaps of parchment that normally occupied the table's ragged wing. At least he hadn't sent them all over the floor, Percy was able to think with faint amusement, before Bull looped both arms around under his arse and lifted him off his feet entirely, to set him down seated on the cleared table. Then Bull was pressing in close, demanding against him, and he went down on his back under Bull's weight obligingly enough, breathing unsteady and boots propping up on the tabletop beside Bull's hips.

"This is ridiculous," he said half-muffled in Bull's shoulder, although his unsteady little laugh and the breathless weakness of his voice robbed it of any power. Bull only laughed back, and tugged open Percy's belt, retrieving it with particular tender care for the half a dragon's tooth he wore always wrapped on its chain around it. Bull could wear his as the necklace it was meant to be easily, but Percy had found it much less unwieldy to keep it at his hip, which fortunately Bull had not taken at all amiss. Once that was set aside, Bull went after Percy's breeches next, using his newly prone position to free his boots and socks and remaining clothing from under him. Percy supposed his lifting his hips to help did nothing to support his protest.

"It really is just a great ass," Bull remarked a moment later, running a big hand under one curve of the area under discussion as he pushed Percy's knees up toward his chest, and then moving his palm further upward still. "Honestly, though, I'm not sure your thighs aren't even better. I have to tell Josephine sometime to thank whoever she's got tailoring for you, for putting you in all those tight pants all the time."

"You'll do no such thing," Percy said, with as much prim dignity as anyone could manage with his voice full of breath and being bent double naked on a strategy table. It at least got a good laugh out of Bull.

"Lot of backtalk from you today, huh?" he said then, though, and his voice had dropped a few warm, dark pitches lower, enough to make Percy shiver. "Let's see what I can do to fix that."

He left no chance for a response: as soon as he'd spoken he was lifting Percy's leg and shoulder and rolling him on one side, to settle in a curled position there. The ease with which he moved Percy's whole body, simply placed it wherever he wanted it, made Percy shudder again and his cock twitch stiffer and bead with wetness. He could barely see in his periphery Bull drawing something from pouches lining his own absurd trousers -- Maker, he really did bring what he needed for this everywhere , a thought both terribly exciting and slightly distressing all at once -- and then cool soft fabric was around Percy's wrists, cinching them, and lashing them tight behind his back with expert knots. Trussed on his side like game on the table, Percy could only lay with his eyes shut and heaving his breath while Bull rustled through a few more motions, and then lifted his topmost leg by a grip around its thigh, to rest its bent knee hooked over his shoulder where he bent over Percy. And, once Percy was spread wide, to start pressing slick fingers slowly inside him.

Percy gasped, tensed by reflex, then took a hard breath and forced himself to relax. Bull hummed an approving noise and pushed deeper, seating his fingers inside. As his body adjusted, Percy became by degrees more acutely aware of every aspect of how he was arranged: mostly on his side and a little turned toward his back on the war table where he met with his advisors, tied hands behind him just beginning to press uncomfortably into the tabletop, one leg held aloft to keep him spread and exposed as he was penetrated. The helplessness and humiliation of the situation was at least as deeply affecting as the knowledge of what would come next. It was so good , like it was always so good, to be helpless: to let control be taken away from him, and be left with no choice but to accept what he could never have been able to ask for.

He groaned through his teeth, trying to keep it silent, and his hips tried to jut one reflexive time against Bull's hand. Bull laughed low, sliding his fingers in and barely out and in again, teasing him.

"That's more like it," he said, purringly soft, the slick grind of his fingertips at Percy's depth making his eyes water and his body already ache for more, for the full girth of Bull's cock, stretching him around it at the limits of what he could take. "That's good. I wish you could see what you look like right now -- it's a hell of a view." Percy's face heated, his eyes squeezing shut, and Bull laughed again above him. "You know, I always think eventually, I'm not going to be able to make you blush anymore. But it still works every time."

"Ass," Percy managed on a gulped breath, although there was a smile on his lips and this was well past the point when he was meant to fight back at Bull's teasing. If Bull was determined to fuck him on the war table , though, he thought he deserved to show a bit more spirit than he might in the safety of his own bedroom. Bull's only response was another laugh, though -- and a twist of his fingers that bordered on rough, that made Percy arch his spine and creak a shocked, hungry sound. His wrists strained a bit at their bonds, reflexively, with the urgency of his want to touch himself.

"You love it," Bull said, his voice closer as though he were leaning in, and there was a dangerous grin shaping it now that made Percy hesitate to open his eyes. "Even when it's our friends teasing you and you're telling them to cut it out, there's a little part of you that's turned on when you think about it. Because everybody knows ."

Percy didn't answer that time, but his eyes were squeezed tightly now instead of just resting closed, and his flush felt hot almost down to the middle of his chest, even as his breath came panting and heavy. After another second, Bull's fingers first stilled and then began to ease away, and even amid how badly he wanted more Percy had to strangle a mute whine of protest in his throat at the loss. His leg was let back down to brace trembling on the table, once Bull had left him empty, and there was more shuffling, the rustle of more clothing being shed.

"When everybody busted in the door the other day," Bull said, warm and caressing and relentless, as his hand wrapped and lifted Percy's thigh again and the slick head of his cock nudged behind Percy's bollocks, "did you think maybe just once about what would have happened if they'd come in a little while earlier? What they would have seen?" The tip steadied, was guided more firmly to begin to enter him. "You know how nothing's to stop anybody from walking in here right now?"

And it was right then -- with Percy still as spotted  prey under a hawk in his hands, light-headed and near-hyperventilating, feeling like he could catch fire at any second -- that Bull pushed into him, filling Percy with himself in no hurry but not quite slow enough not to burn.

Percy locked his teeth as tight as he could, whipped his head to crane down toward the table, cords standing out of his neck with the effort of holding back sound. All that he still couldn't contain was a throttled, crescendoing groan that struck against his closed mouth hard enough to shake his whole upper body, to set him jolting in Bull's hands and up against his hips. Then he was being fucked: Bull's one hand braced on the table, his other holding Percy's leg in the air, his hips rolling in a smooth steady rhythm that snapped into him at the end just enough to make him twitch all over with the explosion of his pleasure. He was incandescent with need, the knowledge of where they were now blazing in his mind like a torch. Some half-hour hence he had been standing and talking about strategy in the spot that his head pointed to now as it shifted and rucked his hair on the table with Bull's thrusts, and Josephine had been leaning across Cullen where Bull was standing and pumping into him now. He would walk in here tomorrow and have to try to concentrate on the same tasks, just like Bull had said, with the memory of every perfect inch of Bull's cock in him now seared into his head, how his lust had been built to a torment by his bound hands, restrained from reaching and touching the hot ache of his own prick. The door to the room was directly across from where he was laid out, splayed and sweating and fucked open, ready to open under the hands of any of his advisors who'd so much as forgotten something, or some hapless servant carrying a message. The thought was embarrassing beyond what he thought his whole body could stand, sending him squirming and cringing with it, and yet half the squirm was writhing, bucking, already burning for release so badly he couldn't imagine how he'd survive.

And still the sweet burn inside him continued, built higher every time, as Bull pushed him a little bit harder with every thrust, never letting him find a level where he could catch his breath. All too quickly Percy was swallowing great gasps of air, trying to collect himself even enough to beg -- and then Bull withdrew in what seemed at first like preparation for another deep thrust, but then, horribly, kept withdrawing. Even as Percy's muscles tried to tighten reflexively around him, he slid further away, the tip of his cock entirely easing free before Percy had fully grasped what was happening. He couldn't restrain a thick, wrenched whimpering sound at the loss, all of him shuddering with it, and Bull caressed his leg soothingly while letting it back down.

"Easy. I've got you."

The words rumbled over him, and against his back at the end, as Bull bent down to clasp him into both arms. Percy was lifted again, around his chest and under his thighs, turned upright with an ease that again made frantic need sob in his cock, and set at last on his knees on the table. Bull's arm stayed around his chest at first, to help keep his balance with his arms tied back, hard and heavy as a band of stone. Somehow, though, through his panting extremity, Percy found his equilibrium and pushed fully up on his knees as Bull coaxed him, staring forward at the door even as Bull gripped his hip from behind and tugged his thighs rudely apart.

"There we are," Bull murmured near his ear. At least from what seemed like a great distance, it was gratifying that Bull's voice was breath-heavy and keen with want, and that his long exhale was slightly uneven as he pressed Percy forward enough to make room for his bound arms between his back and Bull's belly, and brought his cock-head back to Percy's hole. "Sorry to make you wait, kadan. Just wanted to make sure you're putting on as good a show as possible, just in case."

And then he was fucking blessedly back into Percy, filling him and taking him apart all over again, holding first one and then both hips in his hands to control his slide. While Percy knelt up on the table, wrecked and red, bound and bare, his cock wet and hard enough to stand away from his body entirely, bent a bit forward but with his own hips pushed obscenely forward on every new thrust of Bull's into him, staring at the door to the room and the hallway beyond directly ahead of him.

And it began again. A pounding rhythm that set his whole body burning at every crest, an endless torrent of almost-painful pleasure that made him delirious with its force. The knowledge of how he must look in its grip.

"Please let me come," Percy heard tearing out of his own throat on a thrust that was barely past the first few, his voice almost breathless and creaking like an old door and so desperate it was on the fine edge of panic. Even the slight bob of his prick in the empty air was beyond torment.  "Please, I need, I need to -- "

"You know what to say," Bull growled again, and Percy bit his lip to muffle a sound that was almost a wail, and squirmed his hips into Bull and into nothingness in a way that helped not at all. It did manage to draw a faint groan from Bull, though; in spite of what he said, from the sound of his breath he couldn't be far off from his end either. Even so it loomed in Percy's mind, much more than he thought it ever had before, the possibility of actually doing it: using the word that would bring an end sooner than whenever Bull decided he was done drawing it all out. What stopped him -- maybe the only thing that stopped him -- was the memory of what had convinced him in the first place, the words I want on Bull's lips. If there was something he could give that Bull truly wanted, only and selfishly for himself, Percy did not think there was anything he would be prepared to deny him. It could be his arm from his shoulder; it could be his life. And put that way, what was it to experience a few more minutes of overwhelming pleasure without release, by comparison?

He stayed pointedly silent instead -- or at least wordless, as the notion of controlling his sounds at all was completely beyond him by now. Bull pounded into him, and then a few seconds later let out a panting chuckle, one hand leaving Percy's hip to curl its arm up around his chest.

"You always manage to surprise me," Bull breathed into his ear from above, holding him in as close as he could amid Percy's tied arms. "You really are something, kadan. I could never be prouder than for anyone to know you're mine." His hand stroked Percy's chest a moment, hovering over his heart... and then dropped down his body to his cock, fisting around it, exploding new sensation all through Percy's body as he tugged it in furious strokes. "Now come for me, and be mine."

Percy managed to close his teeth, but that was all. His genuine scream as orgasm surged and tore through him wouldn't be stopped by any such means; tatters of it strangled out of him high and thin as he jolted and shuddered in Bull's hands, electrified along every nerve, so much raw feeling he must surely die of it. He was blown apart by it, lost in it, all of him gone. There was nothing to feel or know but his cock spilling endlessly in Bull's warm and perfect hand, Bull's cock driving directly into that deep unbearable point of pleasure, and even both of those distant under the roll of fire through all of him that obliterated everything behind.

Then he was panting and faint, slumping limp in Bull's supporting hands, still crackling al over with stray sparks of pleasure. In the confused state of his nerves, Bull's still faster and more erratic pounding into him only wrung out more aftershocks in spite of being almost too much to bear, made him shiver when Bull groaned warningly and pulled his hips in tighter. He was held in place, driven into a few last teeth-rattling, emphatic times... and then Bull was muffling his own roar, freezing rigid and arched at his deepest extreme, and new hot slickness was pouring into him around Bull's shape until he felt drenched in it, filled even further by it. The final burst of heat that the sensation sent through him was strong enough to actually make his softening cock twitch again, enough to push out one last feeble drip of seed.

They hovered there for a moment, panting for breath, settling back into the world and themselves and finding something like balance again. Eventually Bull let out a hard breath and leaned back a bit, one hand moving behind Percy to guide his own cock as he slowly, carefully withdrew. Percy winced a bit in spite of his gentleness, glad Bull still couldn't see his face, and sighed some more of the strength out of his body when Bull had left him, which was far more like a relief this time. He rolled his shoulders pointedly a moment later -- his arms were really quite sore, a fact he couldn't say he'd been at all aware of until just now -- and Bull let out a hoarse little chuckle and took the hint, tugging in some way he couldn't see at the bonds behind him until they had loosened and slipped away, and Percy could retrieve his arms and flex and stretch them. Now that he was able, he lowered himself to all fours on the tabletop and made a clumsy business of crawling backward off of it, with Bull moving in when he reached the edge to steady him with a hand on his back. Percy wavered on his feet for a moment once he'd returned to them, and then just leaned against Bull next to him, pressing his head against Bull's chest and secure under his arm.

"You know that none of it is that I'm ashamed of being with you?" he said a moment later, softly, as he turned his face up to look up at Bull's eye. Giving voice to the small nagging thought that had been rolling around the back of his mind since what Bull had said, at the last. "I wouldn't want you to think that. Quite the opposite is true."

Bull looked down at him, and a smile of deep warmth and gentleness spread across his features, enough to spread its warmth into Percy's chest too. "You made that clear when it counted," Bull said, just as quietly. He tugged Percy in closer, tucking him under his chin: the perfect place. "I know. You're just easy to embarrass. That's why I like doing it so much."

Percy pulled a face, though he only reluctantly drew back enough that Bull could actually see it. "And you're awful," he said, while Bull laughed. Percy actually pulled back enough then to look down at himself, front and back, and sighed. "And I'm an utter mess, which is also entirely your fault."

"Proud of that too," Bull said, grinning. Percy rolled his eyes, and bent to try to find at least a handkerchief among his discarded clothing -- wincing now at the slick wetness shifting inside him as he did, and actually starting to run down his leg, for heaven's sake.

He put himself into the best semblance of order he could while Bull did the same beside him, although the thought of going outside this room in his condition was still at least a few degrees toward "scandalous." He fought his flush, though; Bull would only be too pleased by it. At least his room was very close -- although with his luck surely Josephine would want him to stop and talk to some Orlesian grand cleric as old and immaculate as the Grand Cathedral, and she'd look a bit like his mother in the bargain..

"I'm going to my quarters to clean up," Percy said when he was as ready as he'd ever be, turning back to face Bull. He did not add while trying to somehow walk normally, that much seemed implied. "And you are going to clean this table , and put everything back on it where you found it, for that matter."

"Yes sir," Bull said, although his grin down at Percy was of course entirely unrepentant. Percy only managed to look sternly back at it for a moment before relenting in spite of himself, and stepping in closer again.

"And then I'll come join you for a drink?" he said, smiling up at Bull. Which earned him another in return with all the same, wonderful warmth as before.

"I'll be waiting," Bull said, and kissed him so thoroughly that he was light-headed and beaming foolishly all the way out the door. Already thinking of hearing that laugh that had once boomed up to him where he sat in the upper shadows with Cole, now from just beside him, with its owner's arm slung over his shoulders; and everything he never could have imagined would happen, that somehow had when he'd let it.