15. a gentle “I love you” whispered after a soft kiss, followed immediately by a stronger kiss
The visitors from Tevinter came to meet the Inquisitor, and it was as awful as Dorian had feared.
They swept in upon Skyhold like crows, all sharp and sleek, ready to get a measure of this new power that had risen up across Thedas. They were haughty, superior; they found the idea of a Dalish Inquisitor laughable. They brought slaves.
“We will get through this,” Josephine announced, “Without causing an international incident.”
Dorian wasn’t so sure.
He did what he could to mitigate the damage – to show his countrymen the best of the Inquisition, to hide from the Inquisition the worst of his countrymen. He gave strict instructions that at no time was the Inquisitor to be left alone with them.
By the third day of their visit, he was exhausted.
“I know what you’re doing,” Ryn told him, and Dorian, newly collapsed into a chair by the fire in the Inquisitor’s quarters sat up too quickly and plastered a smile on his face to readily. Ryn’s hands on his shoulders turned him back ‘round, pulled him back to rest against the seat, massaging, firm. The elf bent his head over him to kiss his hair.
“I haven’t the slightest idea what you are implying,” Dorian told him, “But I am highly insulted that you feel the need to imply it.”
“You’re cute when you get protective.”
Dorian sniffed in disdain. He crossed his arms. Ryn massaged his shoulders with a little more pressure.
“What is it you expect to happen, with them?” Ryn asked. “I can handle a few petty insults, Dorian. I’m Dalish.”
“You know, I think the discussion of politics in the bedroom is an egregious crime.”
“Do you think they’ll make me think less of you?”
Dorian set his jaw and he didn’t answer. Under Ryn’s attentions, he felt even tenser – his shoulders locking up, his hands like claws when they came to rest again against the armrests. His mind, as it had been all week, ran over every terrible outcome this visit could prompt.
Ryn slid his hands from his shoulders and came around the chair to face Dorian.
He wouldn’t have looked like much of an Inquisitor to Dorian’s countrymen – this small, humble elf in his rough hunting leathers. His pretty face and the shock of his stunning eyes would have made him look more suitable to the task of adorning the end of some nobleman’s leash than running the upstart Inquisition. They wouldn’t see his intelligence, his capability, his determination. They wouldn’t be able to imagine the sleepless nights, the bow-roughened hands, the careful study. They were incapable of seeing just what Ryn was.
“If you think any louder, you’re going to give us both a headache,” Ryn told him, and he slipped, with bold confident ease, into Dorian’s lap.
“Amatus,” Dorian began, firmly, but it was as far as he got, for Ryn was there, leaning into him, with his smell of wood and wild and his warm little body. His lips were soft against Dorian’s, heartbreakingly soft.
Ryn said, “You do know I love you, don’t you?” and everything in Dorian grew silent.
“You’ve never said that,” Dorian said, as Ryn drew back enough to meet his eyes.
“I’m saying it now,” Ryn told him.
Dorian knew he should say it back, but it seemed as if he would just be inviting disaster if he did. Something in him felt pained, broken. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. How could he answer – how could he explain what those words felt like, what they meant?
Ryn, in his perfectly appropriate Ryn way, knew just how to respond. He leaned in again, found Dorian’s open mouth with his lips. Where he had been gentle before, he was hard now, insistent, until Dorian’s hands were prying themselves from the chair arms to fill themselves, instead, with the sweetness of his flesh, grasping handfuls of pert backside, thoughts flying out of his mind at last, chased by the Ryn’s lips, his taste, this man who loved him, somehow, despite all the reasons not to – who wasn’t afraid to say it, plainly, no pretext, no playing.
You do know I love you, don’t you? As if it would have occurred to Dorian on his own – as if he would have thought himself for a single moment deserving.
Ryn was sliding from his lap, pulling Dorian up with him. Dorian chased his lips, because he knew the moment they were parted he would have to think again, and Ryn, with his hands in his own, was walking backwards, leading Dorian with him, and when he knees hit the bed the mage did not hesitate to follow him down.