Cullen is pacing, nervous and barefooted across the cold stone floor of his office. The bed creaks upstairs and Dorian’s sleep-roughened voice calls to him. Cullen does not hesitate to answer, to ease Dorian’s worry.
“I am here.” He answers. It is late. Or early now, depending on how one looked at it.
There is movement and shuffling, and Cullen feels guilty at the first creak of the ladder rungs. He glances up as Dorian, swaddled in the bed covers, slowly works his way down to Cullen. He is half asleep still as he reaches Cullen, Cullen’s cloak in his hands to wrap around the man and keep him warm. “Nightmare?”
Cullen pulls the cloak to him but lets go and stares at Dorian instead. As arrogantly self-serving as Dorian pretends to be, he never fails to wake when Cullen stirs at his side and needs comfort. He never fails in giving it, either. A warm hand, gentle words, soft embrace. Even just space and a slow walk around Skyhold.
“No… not a nightmare.” Cullen takes a breath to speak but it catches in his chest, frozen as he watches Dorian rub his tired eyes and curl into the bedsheets. Tucking his toes into the edge of it to protest the mountain’s chill, but still stood patiently before Cullen with no intention of leaving him yet. “I…” Cullen rubs at his neck and swallows hard. “I thought I might… think. Down here. Without disturbing you.”
Dorian yawns and chuckles. “That worked out very well. Shall I leave you to your pondering?”
Words stick in Cullen’s throat, large ones that feel like they will shatter the world if they break free but will explode from him in the need to get free if he does not say them. “No, I… I will sleep.”
Dorian smiles as he shakes his head, fondness overtaking any irritation Cullen wouldn’t blame him for as he takes Cullen’s hands and leads him to the ladder. Cullen looks at Dorian and feels that same realisation he had woken for, thrum through him- heat and shock and need, burning through his chest and clawing to get free from his tongue.
He loves Dorian.