“I tell you, we will have the finest furniture in all of Ferelden.”
He had to admit he had zoned out of much of the chatter as they drank. Pointless small talk about drapery, and carpets and-
“Particularly the desks.”
“Oh, the desks are good, so I hear.”
“Sturdy is what I have heard.”
“Mh. Well, Cullen has the largest out of us all…desk that is. Perhaps we should ask for his consideration?”
He glanced up, suddenly aware of a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. “It’s, er…a desk? A fine desk? No complaints.”
“But Commander, do tell.” Dorian’s smirk grew to a positively mammoth grin, curling at the edges as he leant forward. “Tell us your thoughts on just how sturdy a desk should be.”
And he froze.
Maker, how could they possibly know…
He couldn’t help the colour that had started to rush to his cheeks, deliberately refusing to meet the eyes he knew were locked on him, awaiting his response. A quick, sideways glance to Dorian once more confirmed his worst fears - the smug bastard knew.
Andraste, preserve me.
“You’ve gone a very adorable shade of magenta, Commander. Something you’d like to impart upon us?”
“N-No!” He managed to splutter, forcing himself to look at the assembled parties around him. “I have n-no idea what you are…to suggest…nonsense!”
“Really?” Bull’s deep voice cut in. “I heard some most interesting news floating around camp this week.”
“Did you really? Why, I wonder if it was the same news that managed to reach my ears too?”
There was a chorus of sniggering, and Cullen began to twitch, starting to rise to his feet. “I should really get back to-“
Bull’s hand on his back caught his armour, pushing him back down in his seat. “No, no, Commander. Five more minutes. Indulge us.”
“Would someone like to tell me what I am missing here?” Cassandra was staring over her flagon, an eyebrow raised, and Dorian’s shit-eating grin grew wider.
“Yeah, Curly. It’s rude to leave the lady out of our discussion.” Of course Varric would be supporting this.
“I do not think it is gossip that the Lady Seeker would be even remotely interested in!”
“Gossip? Are you saying there is no truth to it, Commander?” Smug bastard.
“Would someone care to explain to what exactly is going on?” Cassandra’s patience was wearing thin.
“My Lady Seeker, we were simply passing through the barracks earlier this week when we happened upon some interesting information. A scout by the name of Jim-“
“Jim?!” That damned scout. He would swing him from the tower when he saw him next.
“Happened to be passing along the ramparts when he saw a most flabbergasting proposition…Imagine, the dear Commander and the Herald of Andraste…testing out the very limits of our fine desks…”
“Perhaps that is why…“ Holy preserve him, not Josephine too. “There was a most interesting comment from our dear Inquisitor, enquiring as to why Commander Rutherford had a very large hole in the roof of his personal quarters that had not been repaired.”
There was silence, and Cullen wholeheartedly agreed that if a rift were to open above him, and a demon to seize him, he would have gone willingly into the Void.
“Curly? Anything to add to that, or have we got the story covered? I do like to be thorough. Remember, the Maker is watching and knows your heart, and all that jazz, so no lying.”
He saw the dawn in Cassandra’s eyes as they shifted to him, and he felt the sweat on his palms under her scrutiny. Maker, he hadn’t been this embarrassed since he was a mere boy, and damned Mia had told his parents about…
“You and the Inquisitor?”
It was a fruitless endeavour to continue to pretend now, and he gave in with a heaving sigh, mumbling into his flagon as he drained it.
“Sweet Maker, I need more wine.”
The table erupted into a roar of laughter and shouts, and he laid his head against the table, burying it beneath an armoured arm, Dorian’s slap to the back stinging even through the armour.
It was going to be a long, long night.