You look absolutely awful.” Dorian did not even feel bad for saying it, as the elf really looked positively terrible. Not in a injured way (if that was the case Dorian would have made sure he was okay before teasing him about his looks) but still...terrible.
He had never really seen Mahanon this way, he admitted to himself as the elf chuckled and pulled him closer. He didn’t yet know if it was unsettling or strangely wonderful, but he was pretty sure he would find out in the coming hours.
Mahanon’s lips were so close they were almost touching his, and then the Tevinter mage caught a whiff of his breath and pulled back.
“Are you...are you drunk?” The answer to that question was obvious, but the thought of Mahanon actually drinking that amount of alcohol was strange, and not like the man he knew. He didn’t have anything against the Inquisitor drinking now and again, that would be the very definition of hypocrisy, but it was still surprising. Mahanon rarely drank, would always shake his head with a polite smile on his lips if asked if he wanted an alcoholic beverage.
So Dorian could admit he was having some problems understanding how that man could be the same one that was standing in front of him, clearly drunk out of his mind.
Mahanon chuckled again.
“Bull wanted to celebrate slaying the dragon, so he offered me some drinks.” He wrinkled his nose in a clear face of disgust.
“Creators, that thing were vile.”
“Then why did you drink it?” Mahanon frowned for a bit, clearly thinking about what he should answer. Then his face lit up, as if he remembered something.
“I kept drinking it thinking “it can’t be that bad”. Before I knew it, I was analyzing the nuances of its flavor, observing its effect on my nausea. I was in a catatonic trance..” Dorian clasped his hand over the elf’s mouth before he could continue quoting him.
“Well, I am thrilled to know that you actually do listen to me.” This didn’t feel especially good though, because he knew that Mahanon loathed his drinking habits. He would bring it up, carefully, ever so often and it would always result in tremendous fights. Dorian knew that he only cared, and that was why he tried talking to him about it – but that didn’t change the fact that the last thing Dorian wanted to do was talk about it.
But the fact that the elf apparently memorized things he uttered, without really thinking about it – Maker’s breath, why did Mahanon care so much about it?
At least Dorian could have the small comfort that the Inquisitor didn’t seem to be in the mood to discuss (fight about) whether he did or did not have a drinking problem. Instead Mahanon just looked at him in somewhat puzzled, his lilac eyes looking even more unnatural when widened with confusion and alcohol.
He tried to say something, but the sound was muffled by Dorian’s hand. The indignant look the elf shot him was enough for him to remove it from those full lips with a small laugh.
“Of course I listen to you, that much should be obvious. I value your opinion more than anybody else, surely you must know that?” Something warm, tingly started to spread in Dorian’s chest, but he chose to ignore it. It was easier that way.
“You are ridiculous.” He settled for saying, a fond smile slowly creeping over his face without him being able to stop it. He was rewarded with one of those unbashful, real grins that didn’t adorned the elf’s face nearly often enough.
“I thought I was frustrating?” Dorian couldn’t help but chuckle, as he did remember saying those words what felt like a lifetime ago (Not before the whole of Thedas went to shit – again - but before this, before them).
“That too. Come on; let’s get you to your quarters.” Mahanon made a small sound that could mean anything so Dorian decided to view it as an agreement. They did however not make it far before Mahanon started mumbling, which made Dorian stop walking. Everything was very strange, because he should’ve found this infuriating – having to lead a stumbling, needy Mahanon to bed – but yet he found it...oddly charming.
“What’s that, amatus?” He had said the word of endearment before thinking about it, like it was the most natural thing in the world, but (Maker forbid) he liked calling Mahanon that. The elf’s face would always light up in one of those rare smiles, and this time was no different. Or rather, Mahanon smiled this time as well, but the smile was a lot drowsier, more relaxed than usual.
“I said that you’re really pretty.” Dorian couldn’t help but laugh, and he could actually hear the smugness in his own laughter.
“You are stating the obvious now, my dear Inquisitor. I do however like it.”
“Scout Harding thinks you’re pretty too.”
“Of course she does, she does have eyes.”
“No. I mean – yes, she does have eyes! But she talks about you, a lot. I’ll ask about the current situation, and she’ll somehow manage to work in how very pretty you are in the conversation.” Mahanon was practically pouting and Dorian couldn’t stop himself from kissing him on the lips, doing his hardest to try not to laugh.
“Is that jealousy I detect in your voice, amatus?”
“Don’t be preposterous.” He was going to take that as a yes.
Dorian had hoped that the main hall would be empty, given the time. However he was not so lucky, as the door leading to the war room opened and Josephine emerged.
“Lord Dorian!” She didn’t sound particular pleased, but he was not surprised. She still hadn’t forgiven him for those fourteen bottles of wines that may have gone missing.
She may have sound stern when talking to him, but when she saw the elf leaning on him she lit up in a small, but fond, smile.
“No. You’re not allowed to see me like this.”
“Dorian is the only one allowed to see me like this.” Dorian didn’t know if he should be happy or sad about hearing that. Was it because Mahanon didn’t feel like he had to impress Dorian anymore? And if that was the case – was that a good or bad thing? Bad as in he didn’t feel like trying anymore or good as in “Oh I trust Dorian so much, he can see me at my lowest”? He honestly didn’t know, he had never been in this situation before. He did not know these things about relationships that seemed so easy and clear to everybody else.
“I see..” Josephine said slowly, clearly having no idea what the elf was talking about. She looked to Dorian as for guidance but he simply shrugged (quite a feat considering Mahanon was still leaning on him).
“No, you don’t. Varric was right, I can’t be a person. They see me as something more, I must be something more.” Dorian felt his features twist into a fond but sad smile.
“That’s what you gathered from all that? Oh, you marvellous idiot.”
“No, it’s alright. You see me as a person, not an icon. That’s what’s important. But no one else can, I won’t fail them like that.”
“Perhaps I should go?” Dorian didn’t move his eyes from Mahanon, but nodded as answer to Josephine’s words.
“I think that would be best, yes.”
“Right. Good night lord Dorian, Inqui...” She bit her bottom lip, as if she was trying to keep the title from reaching out anymore than it already had. Dorian was glad that she did so, glad that she seemed to understand at least a little.
“Mahanon.” She finished instead, and with a slight bow of her head she turned around and started walking. To her own quarters, Dorian would assume. It didn’t really matter though.
“Come on, amatus, we really should try to reach your bed before you fall asleep standing up.” After some coxing he managed to get the elf to his quarters and the last few steps to the bed Mahanon walked himself – clearly eager to get some sleep.
With a small huff of breath he lay, almost fell, down on the bed and just moments later he was sound asleep. Dorian chuckled weakly, stripped down of his clothes and joined him, eyes never leaving his lover.
He looked so peaceful when he was sleeping, so relaxed and so real. Dorian had never realised it before, how exhausting it must be to maintain the picture of the perfect Inquisitor, the leader sent by the maker himself. He knew about playing the game, keeping up a charade but this - this was on a whole other level.
Carefully he carded his fingers through the elf’s white hair, just wanting to touch him, to be close.
“You marvellous idiot.” He said again, even if he knew Mahanon couldn’t hear him this time. It was easier that way, admitting his feelings without actually having to do it. He would get better at it though, he vouched. Would learn to say it out loud, show Mahanon that to him he truly was a real, and amazing person. He deserved that, more than anyone.
“At least you got wit enough to realise you’ll never have to pretend for me.”