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“I’m sorry,” says Dorian. “I am so very sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Bull claps a comforting hand on Dorian’s shoulder and tries to keep from smiling, raising his eyebrow, anything that could be misconstrued as mocking. “It happens.”

“Not to me,” says Dorian, and he sounds vaguely horrified. “You have no idea how many drunken escapades I’ve been on, and I have never had this problem - Fasta vass, I must be getting old.”

“It’ll be the maraas lok,” says Bull. “Probably packs a bit more of a punch than anything you’re used to.” The situation is frankly hilarious, and he would laugh if he didn't think that would completely ruin his chances of scoring with Dorian ever again.

Dorian glares accusingly at Bull’s crotch. “It doesn’t seem to be having that effect on you,” he says, “not that you could tell under those hideous things you call pants.”

Bull grins. “I could take them off, if that would make life any easier?”

Dorian waves an unfocussed hand. “Please,” he says, “Although I think I’ve rather killed the mood.”

The mood had been good, Bull has to admit. After all, it’s not like he hadn’t been eyeing Dorian up pretty much since the moment they’d met, mistrust mingling with attraction, allowing the sizzling tension between them to grow to the point it was almost painful. Dorian’s a prickly, arrogant guy, and seemed at first to be deliberately trying to get Bull to dislike him. Bull doesn’t think they'll ever be good friends. That doesn’t mean they won't be sexually compatible, though. Bull has had great sex with people he got along badly with.

He’d fantasized, just a little, about what might happen when Dorian finally took him up on his offer. Apparently the answer to that mystery was that they would make it up the stairs to Bull’s room, kissing frantically and touching every bit of each other within reach, and then…

Nothing. Dorian had struggled out of his leathers as Bull gnawed at his neck and detailed all of the terrible, wonderful things he was going to do that night. He’d reached down to finally grasp hold of his prize, only to find Dorian’s dick tragically flaccid in his hand.

“Do you want me to….” Dorian trails off. He flicks his gaze down, coquettish, and damn if that doesn’t do some really great things for Bull. But still, wouldn’t be fair.

“Nah,” says Bull. He can already feel himself losing his erection. “It’s not much good for me unless someone else is getting off too.”

Kaffas,” Dorian mutters.

“Not your fault!” Bull hastens to add. “I was just really looking forward to seeing you come for me, y’know?”

“That's that, then.” Dorian’s expression is determined now. “I can’t let this stain on my reputation stand. You deserve to experience the phenomenon that is sex with Dorian of House Pavus.”

“Right,” says Bull. He can’t stop himself from smiling this time.

“You laugh,” says Dorian, “but I assure you, men’s lives have been changed after one night with me.”

“Big talk,” Bull says.

Dorian snorts, somehow still managing to make it sound elegant. “Who’s talking big? I was led to believe there would be conquering, and so far there has been nothing of the sort.”

“Tomorrow night,” Bull promises. “You lay off the maaras lok, and I’ll conquer you properly.”

“Then it’s settled,” says Dorian, and makes a move towards what would probably have been a dramatic exit if he hadn’t tripped over his own leathers.

“Shit,” he says with great feeling, and it must be bad if he’s lowering himself to swear in the Common Tongue.

“You wanna stay the night?” Bull asks. He'd figured out weeks ago Dorian wasn't about to set him on fire or break out in demons. Sharing a bed with him shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

“Thank you, but no,” says Dorian. “I prefer to sleep in a room with an intact ceiling.”

Bull shrugs. That’s fine.

Dorian’s getting back up to his feet, but he’s looking kind of wobbly.

“I’ll walk you back, then?” Bull offers. He doesn’t want Dorian taking a wrong turn and pitching over the edge of the battlements, that’s all.

Dorian sighs, then relents. “If you must,” he says. “Remember, no one can hear about this. Tomorrow, we’ll make sure everyone knows what great sex we had.”

“And then we’ll come back here and actually have that great sex,” Bull agrees.

--

“Three times?” Dorian asks, incredulous. He’s perched on the side of Bull’s bed, picking at his buckles.

“What?” says Bull. “It’s not that unreasonable. Besides, I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a bad lay.”

“Oh, no, however would anyone get that impression-”

“Look, I wasn’t the one who couldn’t get it up-”

“I thought we weren’t talking about that?” Dorian hisses. His hand is frozen on the buckle.

“Okay, I’m sorry, forget I said anything,” Bull says quickly. “I can keep a secret. I’m a spy, you know.”

“Yes, I think you might have mentioned it once or twice,” Dorian says, dry as a desert. But he’s started taking his clothes off again, so Bull can’t have messed up too badly.

Dorian's clothes are all very beautifully tailored, if a little worn, and presumably they were the height of fashion whenever it was that Dorian left Tevinter. He looks good in them. But as Bull suspected, he looks even better out of them.

Dorian discards his top on the floor and stretches luxuriously, putting on a display. Something about that lights a fire in Bull's belly. He's had a good time working past Dorian’s standoffish exterior, inching towards this final destination, but there's a lot to be said for a guy who knows full well how gorgeous he is.

"Get up here," says Bull, letting a bit of a growl enter his voice. "I'm gonna make you scream."

"Oh, all right then," says Dorian, pretending like it'll be some sort of hardship. He crawls up the bed to settle himself between Bull's legs, kissing him in a leisurely fashion. There's less of the urgent hunger they had between them last night, but it's good. Really good, Bull amends, as Dorian gives a sort of slow, full-body writhe that grinds him into Bull's lap. He’s nothing if not a show-off, which Bull definitely appreciates, but he's looking forward to stripping all that artifice away.

Bull runs a hand through Dorian's immaculate hair.

“Hey, Dorian,” he says. “You like it rough?”

“Yes, very much,” says Dorian. “If you hadn’t guessed.”

“I don’t like to guess,” says Bull. “I like to know. So if I do anything you don’t like, you say katoh, and I stop, okay?”

Bull thinks he really should have gone over all this with Dorian before they started getting into it, before they got distracted, but better late than never.

Dorian rolls his eyes, but nods seriously enough. “I’ll say katoh,” he agrees. “Now get on with it.”

Bull grins. Still, people have different ideas of what ‘rough’ means, so he starts off with a gentle tug at Dorian’s hair.

“Oh, you can do better than that,” says Dorian.

That sounds like a challenge. Bull rolls over, taking Dorian with him, pinning him against the mattress.

"Venhedis!" says Dorian. He squirms out from under Bull, hand clutched to his face. "Andraste's fucking Ashes, Bull, you broke my fucking nose!"

"No I didn't," says Bull, guiltily. "I just bumped it a bit." There is blood beginning to drip past Dorian's fingers, and he looks kinda pissed.

Bull's bodily awareness is normally pretty good, and he hasn't hit anything with a horn that he hasn't meant to in years. Which must mean that Dorian is very distracting, and Bull means that as a compliment, but he thinks Dorian would still not appreciate hearing it right now.

"Uh," says Bull, "pinch your nose and tip your head back and it'll stop quicker."

"Thag you," Dorian says.

"Want me to suck you off or something while you wait for it to stop?" Bull offers. It seems only polite, and besides, he's been wanting to get his mouth on Dorian for so long, he's not going to let a little thing like a nosebleed stop him.

"My nose is broken," says Dorian, moving his hand away from his face so he can glare at Bull unimpeded. "You're going to take me to a healer, that's what you're going to do."

"Aw, come on," says Bull. "It's not that bad. I've seen worse."

"It might set crooked," says Dorian. His expression, coupled with the blood down his face, makes him look like the sort of guy you don't want to argue with.

"Hey, I'll still think you're hot even if you've got a crooked nose," says Bull. "Hotter, even."

"That is so far beside the point I don't even know what to say," Dorian snaps.

His nose does not set crooked. However, his face is puffy and bruised for weeks afterwards, and during this time he refuses to speak to Bull, much less sleep with him.

"It was a sparring accident," Dorian tells everyone who asks about it, and quite a few people who don't.

“Sparring, hey?” Sera says. "Is that what they call it where you're from?"

Dorian glares at her. With two black eyes, the effect is quite intimidating, but Sera laughs hysterically anyway. Bull mostly succeeds in hiding his smirk.

--

It's been a fuck of a day. Bull was roped into doing repairs on a couple of Skyhold’s shittier rooms, which he normally wouldn't mind, except he was up on the roof and it was raining. That sort of thing is always dangerous, unpleasant, and also tends to play minor havoc with his knee. Later that day the weather had improved, and his knee had felt a little better. He'd decided it was time to put the Chargers through their paces before they started to forget what he looked like. This had gone fine until one of the newer recruits had accidentally walloped him in the side of the head with a practise sword when he'd turned aside to speak with someone else. The outcome of this was that he now had a headache to go with the knee-ache.

Bull eats dinner in the Herald’s Rest, and sorts out a bit of paperwork over a mug of ale. After that, all he wants is to give his fucking knee a bit of a rub and then collapse into bed.

Bull pushes open the door to his room to find it’s already occupied.

“Oh, hello,” says Dorian. “I wanted to let you know I forgive you for breaking my nose.”

He glances up from a book that Bull would bet good money he hadn't actually been reading. For one thing, Dorian is naked, and the sheet draped artfully over his lap does little to disguise the fact that he's hard. He'd probably been entertaining himself in a different way, waiting for Bull to come in. For another thing, he is holding the book upside down.

Bull can't help it. He bursts out laughing. Dorian, predictably, looks like someone has pissed in his boots. The boots he’s not currently wearing, because he’s in Bull’s bed, naked.

“What?” Dorian says, glaring. “Is there something on my face?”

“It's nothing, I'm sorry,” says Bull, bracing himself against the wall. “Just - what if someone else had come by? What if I'd been a long time in the Tavern, and your balls froze off?”

“I'm a mage,” says Dorian, so frostily that Bull begins to to fear for his own balls. “I can do heating spells.”

Heating spells. To the Bull, whose body is kind of stiff right now and whose knee still feels cold and achy from his morning on the roof, this sounds like a really good idea.

“Hey, Dorian,” says Bull. “Do you know how to give a massage?”

“You mean a sexy massage?” Dorian asks, eyebrows arched. Still annoyed, but interested. That’s enough to work with.

Bull shrugs. “Could be. I assume that's why you're here. But honestly, I hate to tell you, nothing's happening until this ratshit knee of mine feels a bit better.”

“Oh,” says Dorian. “You want me to use my magic fingers-” he waggles said fingers at this- “and warm up your poor stiff knee? I suppose I could do that. But what's in it for me?”

Bull drops his hand down to palm at himself through his trousers. “I think you already know what's in it for you,” he says. This sexy massage idea is sounding more and more likely.

Dorian carefully places a slip of paper to mark his place in the book before closing it and setting it down on the bedside table. Of course, Bull thinks. Bookmark, then sexy massage. Gotta have your priorities sorted.

Dorian slips off the bed and onto the floor, sheet still held coyly around his waist.

Bull comes and sits down, and Dorian kneels between his spread legs. Bull rolls up the leg of his trousers.

Dorian makes a small noise of interest.

“This is a complicated piece of work,” he says, indicating Bull’s knee brace. There’s the guard over his ankle and shin, leading up to the knee support with a hinge at the side, all in dented metal and old leather. It's not a pretty contraption, but it gets the job done.

Bull takes this off, too. Dorian looks momentarily as though he wants to examine the brace further, but pulls his attention back to the task at hand.

“What do I do?” he asks, hands hovering over Bull’s knee.

“Just rub it a little,” says Bull. “Don't press too hard.” There are more specific techniques that can be used, but he doesn't want to get too complicated or Dorian may damage more than he fixes.

Dorian's hands are gentle on his swollen joint, working the hard knot of scar tissue that mars his skin. Bull feels the warmth begin to penetrate his body, along with a tingle of something that feels like Dorian's rudimentary healing magic. It won't do much for the damaged knee itself, of course - that is beyond the skill of even a master healer - but he can feel the minor wear and tear of the day slowly dissipating, the inflammation going down.

“That's… actually really good,” he says, surprised at the care with which Dorian goes about his task. Dorian smiles up at him.

“As recompense, could I convince you to bend me over the side of the bed and have your way with me?”

“Dunno,” says Bull. “Is that meant to be a reward for you or for me?”

“Oh,” says Dorian, “both?”

“Works for me.”

Bull finds his leg supports his weight a lot easier as he heaves himself to his feet, and helps Dorian up as well. Dorian is very conveniently already naked, so Bull just has to lose his belt and slip his pants down a little. He does roll his trouser leg back down, though, deciding to keep the rest of it on for now. See what it's like to be the more thoroughly dressed one for a change.

“You remember the word from last time?” Bull asks, just to make sure.

“Yes, it's katoh,” says Dorian. His eyes widen with excitement as he says it, and his lips stay slightly parted.

“Good,” says Bull. “Don't forget it.”

“Why?” says Dorian. He stands with his hands on his hips, unconcerned in his nakedness. “Are you anticipating breaking my nose again?”

“No,” says Bull shortly. “I'm not anticipating doing anything to hurt you, not unless you ask me to. Doesn't mean you can't still use your watchword if you need to.” He says this sternly, keeping deliberate eye contact with Dorian until he can see he’s got it.

“Fine,” says Dorian. “Where do you want me?”

“On the bed would be a good start,” says Bull.

Dorian quite obligingly lies down over the side of the bed, propped up on his elbows as he waits for Bull to go get the oil. Bull takes his time about it, walking to the drawer slowly and deliberately so Dorian can hear the telltale creak of floorboards as he goes.

He has to stop part way to just stand and admire Dorian momentarily. Dorian senses his gaze and glances back at him, a sly smile twisting about his lips.

“How are you enjoying the view?” Dorian asks. Fishing for compliments, the vain thing.

“Could be better,” says Bull. “Tilt your hips back a bit more.”

“If I must,” says Dorian. He leans forward, draping himself luxuriously across Bull’s bedding- scratchy wool, Bull knows it intimately, but Dorian makes it look like the finest silk. The muscles in his back bunch and relax as he stretches out.

“I said tilt your hips back,” Bull says sternly. “Not rub yourself all over my blankets.” This new position looks good too, of course, but it wasn't what he asked for. Figures Dorian would be a brat about it when given an order- but that's fine. Better than fine.

“Oh,” says Dorian. “My mistake. Maybe if you were telling me over here instead of on the opposite side of the room, I wouldn't have such trouble hearing you.”

This level of attitude has Bull itching to give Dorian the slap to the ass he’s so clearly deserving of, but he pushes that thought aside for later. That's the sort of thing that needs to be discussed first, and this is very much not the time.

So Bull relents, and walks back over to the bed. He takes his time about slicking his fingers up, but not overlong. Tracing a finger around Dorian’s rim makes him shiver, and pushing it ever so gently inside makes him gasp.

Bull grips a hand around his cock, just holding, not stroking, a little something to take the edge off.

“Good?” he asks Dorian.

“I'm sorry, did you do something?” Dorian retorts. “Whatever it is, I can barely feel it.”

Bull pushes his finger in, down to the knuckle, and delights in the way Dorian’s breath hitches.

“Did you feel that?” he asks.

“Yes,” Dorian breathes. “Curl it a bit- oh, yes, that's the way. You have lovely fingers.”

“You've only felt one of them so far,” says Bull. “Promise the rest are just as good, though.”

“Well, go on, give me another one,” says Dorian. He's cocky, maybe overconfident. Bull will have to keep an eye on that. But he’s taken the first finger like he was made for it, so Bull sees no harm in moving things along a bit.

They've been delayed enough in finally getting to this point. How he would love to tease and play games, but he feels a little too impatient for that now. Besides, there will be plenty of time for taking things slow later on.

Bull frowns, and pauses in his ministrations. He's two fingers deep in Dorian’s frankly beautiful ass, and he's gone and distracted himself. And here he is thinking about next time, about later on, as if it were a promise rather than a possibility.

… Although, why shouldn't it be? By now, Bull has had more sexual encounters with Dorian than with the majority of his partners, most of whom were a once-off thing. True, neither of them has actually managed to get off yet, and that was what kept them both coming back - wasn't it? Once they finally achieved their goal that would be it, back to normal, storm passed, itch scratched. There was no other reason that this should keep happening.

“I hate to interrupt what must surely be a most diverting train of thought,” says Dorian snippily, “but I have to ask, do you think you'll be fucking me sometime this age, or should I take matters into my own hands?”

“Patience, big guy,” says Bull, giving Dorian another finger by way of apology. “It's called delayed gratification.”

“I think it's called you getting distracted and- oh, sweet Maker, do that again.”

“Sure thing,” says Bull, giving another rough twist of his fingers. “Gonna feel so good when I finally get my dick in you. Bet you've been looking forward to this, huh?”

“Oh, not terribly,” says Dorian, who still sounds pretty impressively put-together for a guy with three thick Qunari fingers buried to the knuckles in his ass. “I've had ever so many things to distract me, you know, what with the broken nose-”

“Hey, didn't you say you forgave me for that?” says Bull.

“I did,” says Dorian, “but I never promised not to keep reminding you of it. I want you to feel guilty for the rest of your days. Imagine if you'd permanently marred this perfect visage. It would be like defacing a priceless work of art.”

“I couldn't have lived with myself,” says Bull, mock-serious.

He bends over to give a little nip to the side of Dorian’s neck. The movement makes his knee twinge, but he ignores it. He hasn't got time for that right now, there's more important shit going on.

“Mm, that's good,” says Dorian, twisting to the side to bare more of his beautiful neck. The opportunity is too good - Bull has to lean down and bite him again.

That's when it happens.

“Aw, fuck,” says Bull. “Shitshitshit, vashedan, fuck.

He pulls his fingers out, probably a little too fast as Dorian hisses through his teeth. Bull’s got other things on his mind as he reaches down to clasp both hands to his suddenly aching knee.

“What's wrong?” says Dorian, turning to look at him.

“Nothing, it’s just my- fucking- knee.” Bull says through gritted teeth. The knee has locked up, and is now filled with the burning sort of pain that means it's going to ache for days.

Oh, kaffas,” says Dorian. “Can I do anything to help?”

“I think you might have to give me the un-sexy sort of massage,” Bull grunts, levering himself around to collapse on the bed.

“I didn't make it worse, did I?” Dorian asks, expression anxious.

“Nah, don't think so. I think today just fucked it up more than I realised.”

“Are you sure there is nothing else I can do?” says Dorian.

“Short of going back in time and stopping me fucking it up in the first place, not really,” says Bull.

Dorian pretends to consider it. “Well, I'll ask the Inquisitor,” he says, “but somehow I doubt she’ll let me.”

Bull begins to rub his knee, and it alleviates the pain just a little. “Afraid I'm not going to be much good for the next couple of days,” he says.

“Well,” says Dorian carelessly, “you know we only keep you around for your pretty face, anyway.”

Bull can't help but laugh at that.

--

Bull is pretty sure there’s something wrong with him.

Okay, fair’s fair, when he'd turned down the soldier who propositioned him last week, his knee had still been sore. Then there was the barmaid, a new hire, who’d heard the gossip from her co-workers and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Saying no to her made sense, because he’d been busy. He had shit to do the next day, and wanted a good night’s sleep. That was perfectly normal.

Then, Bull had refused the advances of a visiting merchant - an attractive guy, and one who Bull would have leapt at the chance to have a bit of fun with, except he hadn't. He hadn't even considered it. The thought had meandered through his head that if he was going to have sex with anyone, he might as well go try again with Dorian, and his mouth had been shaping the words ‘sorry, no thanks,’ before he’d even really had the chance to think about it.

The merchant had shrugged, unbothered, and wished him a pleasant evening.

What was the saying? Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence…

“Okay, this has gone on long enough,” says Bull, slamming his hands down on the table. “We keep on trying to have sex - we need to stop fucking around and just fuck. Nothing fancy, just you and me and no clothing. I'm gonna go crazy if we don't.”

Dorian - settled in his armchair in the library, of course - glances up from the book he was definitely actually reading, this time.

“Do you mind?” he says mildly. “There are people trying to read.”

That's fucking irritating - there aren't people trying to read, there's no one else even in the library at this hour. Dorian’s trying to read, and not paying Bull the slightest bit of attention.

He looks up at Bull from under his lashes. Quickly, without moving his head at all, but Bull catches it.

Okay. If that’s the way they’re going to play it.

Bull drags another chair over. He'd like to make a bit more noise as he does it, like the obnoxious screech of wood over flagstones. But this section of the library is carpeted, and it'd be a shame to accidentally damage it. He sits down on the chair, facing Dorian, but at a bit of a distance.

“So,” he says. “Watcha reading?”

“Nothing you’d care about,” says Dorian, still with that tone of disinterest.

“Try me,” says Bull.

“Tevinter genealogy,” says Dorian, rolling his eyes.

“Okay, you're right,” says Bull. “I don’t care about that at all. Do you?

“Since it may help us defeat Corypheus, then yes,” says Dorian. He turns a page noisily, and shifts uncomfortably in his seat.

“Uh huh,” says Bull. He reaches down to get a hand beneath the waistband of his trousers. He's not turned on yet, but he could be.

“You've been here all day, haven't you? Don't you think you deserve a break?”

Dorian’s eyes flick over the page. “Actually, I took a break earlier, for some good red wine and a back massage. Oh, and some peeled grapes.”

Bull snorts. “Now I know that's not true. For one thing, where the hell would you have gotten good red wine?”

“I could have gotten it from Josie,” Dorian counters.

“Like Josie would waste her wine on you.”

Dorian sniffs. “Of course she would. It would be a small price to pay for my invaluable services to the Inquisition.”

Bull is starting to get hard. He hopes Dorian’s noticed.

“After all that service, isn't it time someone else serviced you for a change?” he asks.

It's barely a pun, but Dorian rolls his eyes anyway. It's nice that he’s reliable like that.

“Just for that,” says Dorian, “I'm going to stay over here and continue with my research. You may do as you wish.”

“All right then,” says Bull, taking his belt off. “Maybe I will.”

A nearly empty library at night is far from the most risky place Bull’s ever gotten himself off, but he still feels a little exhibitionist thrill. Dorian’s sneaking glances at him again. Bull thinks about it, and realises he’s pretty sure Dorian’s never actually seen his cock.

Well. It's about time that changed.

Bull twists a hand down his length, huffing out a moan that's slightly louder than it needs to be. It definitely gets Dorian’s attention, which was really the whole point.

“Oh, man,” says Bull, once he’s sure Dorian’s looking. “There’s nothing I like better than fucking my own hand. Even when there’s so many other things around that I could be fucking instead. Actually, especially then. I just love thinking about all the things I could be fucking instead, if only someone would stop acting like Tevinter genealogy is more interesting.”

Dorian’s not even pretending to focus on his book anymore. He's turned around to stare at Bull intently.

“Like your mouth,” says Bull. As he says it, Dorian reflexively licks his lips. “That’s way more interesting. Or your ass,” Bull continues. “Just a suggestion, mind you. I could always just keep doing this.” He slows down, moving his hand in a way that will let Dorian get a good look at him.

“I hate you,” snaps Dorian, finally getting up from his chair. “I hate you so much.”

If hatred involves coming over to straddle Bull’s lap, library chair creaking slightly in protest, Bull figures he’ll take it.

“Hey,” says Bull, reaching up to rub a thumb across the exposed skin at Dorian’s shoulder. “Nice of you to join me.”

That bit of skin is always so very tempting. Bull is torn between wanting it on display, always, so that he can enjoy the sight of it whenever he wants, and asking Dorian to cover it up, so that nobody else can. That’s a dangerous instinct, Bull recognises. Fixating on Dorian’s shoulder is one thing, but it could easily lead to fixating on the rest of him as well. He has to remind himself he has no right to that. A quick but satisfying fuck was what they agreed on.

The ideal solution would be to forget about Dorian - and his shoulder - entirely. To drive the matter from his mind and focus on other things. To leave Dorian to get on with his life, and to get on with his own in turn.

All of this, Bull promises himself, he will definitely do. Eventually.

Dorian is a little taller than Bull like this, the perfect height for Bull to draw aside his collar and lean in to bite and kiss at his neck, without screwing up his knee this time. Dorian shifts his skirts - okay, robes - out of the way, and grinds down against Bull’s dick. The leather he’s wearing is a bit rough, but Bull finds that he likes it.

“Isn't all this uncomfortable?” Bull asks, trying to find the trick to undoing Dorian’s pants. He’s wearing some sort of fabric leggings underneath, and the leathers seem to clip over the top.

“Not especially,” says Dorian. “It's very high-quality leather.”

Bull allows his mind to linger on some other combinations of Dorian and high-quality leather.

“Oh, here, just let me,” says Dorian, finally growing impatient and shoving Bull’s hand away. He starts to undo the fastenings himself. Bull decides that if he’s not wanted in that respect, he might as well occupy himself elsewhere. Right now that means reaching around with the hand that’s not currently steadying Dorian’s shoulder, and getting a good handful of Dorian’s ass. Dorian jumps slightly when Bull squeezes, then recovers his equilibrium, rocking back down against Bull’s dick.

It's not exactly what Bull had in mind for their first time, but he thinks he’ll very much enjoy having Dorian ride him right here, on the library chair.

Suddenly, Dorian goes still in Bull’s lap.

“Dorian?” Bull asks. Dorian's staring at something over Bull’s shoulder. Bull tries to turn and look, but he hasn't quite got the range of movement.

“Helisma,” says Dorian, in the sort of carefully measured tone of voice that means he's about five seconds away from absolutely losing it. “How long have you been there?”

“Not long,” says a voice Bull vaguely recognises as belonging to the Tranquil researcher who hangs around the library. “I need to take some of these books down and re-order them.”

“Of course,” says Dorian, very calmly. “And how long do you imagine that will take?”

“There are many books out of sequence, ser,” says Helisma. Her flat tone sounds very nearly apologetic. “You may as well carry on. I will try not to disturb you.”

“Well, fuck,” says Bull. That’s creepy as shit.

“You know,” says Dorian thoughtfully, “I used to own a pet monkey. Surprisingly friendly little creature, used to follow me around, sit on my shoulder, that sort of thing.”

“Okay,” says Bull.

“I had to sell it, of course. Every time I slept with someone it would try to hang around and watch. Terribly off-putting.”

“Helisma’s not a monkey,” Bull points out. “She’s a librarian.”

“Yes,” Dorian agrees. “I’m trying to decide if that makes it better or worse.”

Bull sighs. Well, it was good while it lasted.

“You wanna take this somewhere else?” he asks, just in case.

“I'm sorry,” says Dorian. He’s already up and re-adjusting his clothes. “I really do have research I need to do.”

I guess I’ll just go jerk off by myself, Bull thinks. Again.

--

The dragon comes completely out of nowhere.

They must have accidentally strayed into its territory, because it's pretty fucking pissed, and it leaps upon them, not even bothering to breathe fire, but instead swiping at them with claws and tail.

They don't really celebrate birthdays under the Qun, so Bull has never had a surprise party before. But if he had, Bull thinks this is probably what it would feel like.

The Inquisitor has hauled her giant nug to a stop, and is turning it around for a retreat. Sera and Dorian, both swearing their heads off, are already some distance away. The dragon - perched now on a nearby rise, staring after them with barely banked rage - looks angry enough to follow.

“Please, Boss,” says Bull, with his most hopeful look. Come on, he thinks, I've been good lately, just let me have this.

Oh, really, Bull?” says the Inquisitor, stopping her nug to stare at him incredulously. The dragon does decide to breathe fire at them now, and the Inquisitor’s nug rears back in terror, just narrowly avoiding the flame.

“Please?” says Bull. He would very much like to kill a dragon.

The Inquisitor rolls her eyes at him, then nudges her nug into a gallop to catch up with Dorian and Sera. Bull follows.

“All right, you lot,” says the Inquisitor. The dragon bellows and stomps behind them. “We're going back, because somebody wants to fight a dragon. Who's in?”

Sera and Dorian both look extremely unimpressed. Then Sera shrugs.

“Eh,” she says. “We might all die, but it'll be fun.”

Dorian gives a deep sigh. “Just so you all know, I had actually planned to die of alcohol poisoning,” he tells them. “But I suppose being horribly mauled by a dragon will do instead.”

“That's the spirit!” Bull says.

They don't tie up their mounts. If the dragon goes for them, it's better to have a missing mount than a dead one. They grab their weapons and head back towards the dragon on foot.

As it turns out, they don't really need to. It comes to them.

They are near the steep banks of a dried-up river bed. The river itself is a sluggish trickle at the bottom- not a lot of use if one of them gets set on fire.

The dragon is sending great gouts of flame towards them, glancing off Dorian’s barriers. He and Sera hang back, more effective from a distance, while the Inquisitor unsheathes her sword.

Bull’s hand drops to his axe. It's the dawnstone one, real pretty- almost as pretty as the dragon herself.

She roars, mouth gaping. She looks like she could swallow him whole.

Taarsidath an halsaam, he thinks.

Bull lifts his axe high and charges.

--

“I can't believe I let myself be talked into that,” Dorian complains. “What a pointless and dangerous waste of time. Look at my robes, they’re a mess.”

He is indeed sweaty and dirty and singed around the edges, and in Bull’s opinion he has never looked better. Try telling him that, though.

Sera is whooping and dancing over on the other side of the dragon’s corpse, while the Inquisitor smiles at her fondly. And as for Bull, he is suddenly really fucking horny.

“Hey, Dorian,” says Bull. “Wanna go somewhere?”

Dorian stares at him, eyes narrowed. “I could do with a walk,” he says eventually. “At the very least, let’s go before the Inquisitor decides she really needs dragonhide, and asks us to help her skin it.”

They head towards the trees, just far enough that they are out of sight from Sera and the Inquisitor. Bull can't go too far before his legendary patience reaches its limits. He needs something to occupy his hands, to use up all this endless restless energy left over from the fight. His breathing is still harsh and his blood runs heady in his veins.

Dorian seems to feel the same way- they are just barely obscured by the trees when he turns on Bull, an intent look in his face. Too late does Bull realise tight coils of force magic have closed around his limbs. He couldn’t have done anything to stop it even if he’d wanted to.

Yeah,” Bull says, as Dorian slams him up against a tree. Finally, this is it, he can feel it in his bones, can feel it fizzing and popping in the back of his skull like fireworks, like fire, like the singe and crackle as Dorian’s spell shot past his head to burst in flames against the dragon’s flank.

“Fuck, that was awesome,” Bull pants.

“We nearly died,” Dorian reminds him. But his pupils are blown and he too is breathing hard, not as unaffected as he'd like to pretend.

“We nearly died,” Bull agrees. The thought shouldn't be so arousing, but hey. He's always been a bit funny about dragons.

Dorian grabs him by the horns and hauls him down for a kiss. Bull happily obliges. Dorian licks into his mouth all heat and desperation, like he's making up for lost time. After a moment of this sort of onslaught, Dorian releases his horns, allowing Bull to pull back and catch his breath.

“Fuck me,” says Dorian. That's far more compelling than it has any right to be.

“What, right here against the tree?” Bull asks.

“You can fuck me in that patch of mud over there if you'd really like, just as long as you fuck me,” snaps Dorian.

“You might get your fancy skirt dirty,” Bull warns him.

Dorian rolls his eyes. “My fancy skirt is already dirty. And splattered with dragon blood.”

“I know,” says Bull. “It's hot.”

He grins as he gets an evil idea. “Since it's already ruined-” he begins.

“You may tear my robes off, yes,” says Dorian graciously.

Bull growls, low in his chest. The outer layer of Dorian’s fancy mage get-up is quickly destroyed. The leather beneath it will be a little harder to tear, but it will be worth it, to reveal more of Dorian’s skin for Bull’s restless fingers.

Unfortunately, Dorian doesn't let him get that far. “That's quite enough of that,” he says, undoing the laces at his shoulder and peeling it off before Bull can do it any damage. Disappointed as he is, Bull has to admit he doesn't really care how Dorian’s clothes come off, as long as they're off.

Bull flips them around, so Dorian’s back is up against the tree.

“Legs around my waist,” he orders, getting his hands under Dorian's ass to help him up. Dorian's hands are back on Bull’s horns, and he’s grinding up against Bull’s dick. Bull thrusts forward, so that Dorian’s back thumps against the tree, just to give him an idea of what he’s in for.

“Yes,” Dorian hisses. “Hard, just like that -”

The tree they're up against doesn't seem the most stable, Bull notes. It's a passing thought, though, not the most important thing right now. They're pretty close to the edge of the dry river here, and the banks are treacherous and eaten away. Bull thinks that maybe they should move somewhere the ground’s a bit more solid, but this thought is driven from his mind as Dorian nips at his ear in a way that practically screams pay attention to me.

It's a demand Bull is only too happy to respond to.

Bull tries to work his belt off without dropping Dorian. It's actually easier than it sounds, what with Dorian's muscular legs wound tight around him, so tight there's practically nothing between them, nothing except the infinitesimal, interminable space where he's still not fucking Dorian-

Bull gives another solid thrust. Dorian’s back thumps against the tree once more.

The tree gives a creak. Its roots tug against the worn-down riverbank.

Oh, fuck, thinks Bull, as the ground beneath them gives way.

--

"You're lucky you didn't die," says Stitches.

"So you said," Bulls says patiently. "So did all the Inquisition healers as well. Every single one of them.”

"It's true," says Stitches, looking calmly furious. "Even as it is you'll be stuck on bed rest. Start watching where you put your feet, Chief, you fucking idiot."

"I'm a Qunari," says Bull. "We're tough."

"Tough in the head," Stitches snarls. It's not the first time he's expressed this sentiment.

Apparently toughness hadn't been enough to save him from tumbling down the side of the bank, and fucking up his neck enough that he will have to wear a brace on it and sit pretty still for a few days if he doesn't want to fuck it up worse.

Dorian had landed on top of him, and Bull had needed to haul the both of them out of the riverbed. Dorian had still apparently ended up with a broken leg and a concussion. Fragile frigging humans.

He's sleeping in the next bed over, after Vivienne had healed him up a bit and pronounced him unlikely to kick the bucket any time soon. She didn't put it like that, obviously, but that's how Bull interpreted it. Still, he reckons it wouldn't've been a bad way to go. Overcome by injuries sustained in the midst of passion, directly after killing a dragon. Shit, that’s pretty much the ideal, right?

Bull's decided he might as well stick around until Dorian wakes up. This is mainly because he's not currently allowed to leave the healers' tent. If he does, one of the healers will tell Stitches on him, and he'll get another lecture.

Eventually, Dorian begins to stir. His eyelids flutter open. Beautiful grey eyes take in the room, and Bull feels like he could stare at this sight forever.

“Well, fuck me,” says Dorian, grouchily.

“I don’t know if you’d noticed,” says Bull, “but I’ve been trying to.”

"I feel like I've just been run over by a druffalo stampede.” Dorian glares out at the world from within his nest of blankets.

"You've got a compound fracture in your leg," says Bull. "I watched them put the bone back in. It was nasty."

Dorian is silent. Bull gives him a moment to take it all in.

"Correct me if my memory is playing tricks on me," says Dorian, "but did we...”

“Fall into a river?” says Bull.

“While… you know..."

"Trying to get it on?" says Bull. "Yeah. Yeah, we did.”

Dorian processes this for a moment. Then, with great effort, he tries to heave himself up into a sitting position.

"Hey, no, don't sit up on my account," says Bull.

"I was sitting up to get a drink of water, actually," says Dorian. "But go ahead and flatter yourself."

"You're a complete asshole, you know that?" says Bull. He feels a surprising bubble of fondness swell within his chest. He hasn't even fucked the guy, and yet there's no one else he'd rather fall down the side of a riverbank with.

Dorian gives an offended sniff, reaching for the pitcher of water on the table between their beds. He's smiling, though.

"The Iron Bull," Dorian says, with great ceremony, after he's had his drink. "How would you like a handjob? I'm afraid I don't feel up to anything more vigorous."

"Might not be a good idea," says Bull. Dorian's face falls a little, and he hastens to add, "Given our track record, we'll probably be attacked by Corypheus the instant I get my dick out."

Dorian throws back his head and really, truly laughs. "I think that's a risk I'm willing to take."

The handjob is nice. Not the best he's ever had, but pretty good for a guy with a concussion. The world doesn't move, sparks don’t fly, but given that Dorian is a mage, that's probably not a bad thing.

Bull comes with a quiet grunt and then returns the favour as best he can without wrenching his neck.

“Well,” says Dorian, after, relaxing back into his own bed. “That was... that was alright, actually.”

Damned by faint praise, Bull thinks. But considering all the ways it could have been worse…

“The healers didn't walk in,” says Bull. “Nobody got injured, nobody died-”

“Nobody broke anybody else's nose,” says Dorian.

“Yeah, that too,” says Bull. Surprisingly, he feels a little disappointed. That’s it, then. All those months of buildup, and all it came down to was mutual handjobs in the healers’ tent. He's learnt to be happy with his lot in life, but somehow, he feels like there should be more.

“Bull?” says Dorian. He sounds heartbreakingly tentative, now. Like he expects Bull is going to laugh at him, or ask him to get up on his broken leg and leave.

“Yeah?” says Bull. It doesn't even begin to cover what he wants to say, but somehow he can't find the words. Isn't sure Dorian would want to hear them, even if he could. Maybe given a little more time they could figure themselves out, figure each other out, but they don't have more time. They're done.

Bull kind of wishes they'd gotten interrupted again.

“You liked it, then?” says Dorian. He shakes his head then adds, “Well, of course you liked it, it was me. Why am I even asking? I'm spectacular.”

“Aw, you're not bad,” says Bull, who recognises a defensive strategy when he sees one.

“Still,” Dorian muses, “I think there is room left for improvement.”

“Oh?” says Bull.

“Yes,” says Dorian. “You know, practise.”

Bull catches on. “In that case, we’d better keep trying,” he says. “It was nowhere near as good as I expected. We can definitely do better than this.”

Dorian’s smile is small but genuine, lips tilting up underneath the disarray of his moustache. He looks like he doesn't even realise he’s doing it. Bull wants to see more of that smile.

“We did both make some rather extravagant promises that have yet to be fulfilled,” says Dorian. “For instance, I recall telling you that sex with me would change your life.”

Honestly, though, Bull’s pretty sure it already has.