Watch Words - An Adoribull Fanfic
* So, since my initial "Riding The Iron Bull" piece, I've been told by an embarrassing number of people that I've been unforgivably harsh on Dorian.
Think of this as my attempt at fairsies.
I'd started this story almost immediately after I finished my first Adoribull story, but only got about half-way through this first scene before losing steam. Then my Instigating Friend had me watch scenes from the Tresspasser DLC, as well as take a peek at her very large, rather encyclopedic Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 2 , and...hello, steam.
So this takes place after the first story and isn't related to the DLC (especially the blasphemous Bad Ending), but still takes inspiration from bits from those scenes.
Again, apologies if my Adoribull isn’t your Adoribull.
And, if you don’t already know, I am, by nature, an erotica writer, so ya know, mind the filthy, filthy, kinky smut.
And, as always, hope you enjoy.
“Be careful of your thoughts,Dorian let Bull lead him to a darkened corner in the back of the tavern, far from where the others were drinking and laughing at one of Varric’s stories. It’d been a very long day and he was tired.
For your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words,
For your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions,
For your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits,
For your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character,
For your character becomes your destiny.”
— Author Unknown
And, while he had no desire to stay at the table with the others—not when he could share a quiet evening with Bull—Dorian bit his lip and hoped that no one would notice that they’d gone. He knew that the others already whispered about them.
Hell, many of them snickered and butted their way into his private life right to his face. Closing his eyes and shaking his head, he wished they all would just mind their own business.
This—whatever this was—was between Bull and him. No one else needed. Or wanted.
Dorian knew—even if Bull didn’t understand—that involving anyone else just ruined everything. The way they looked at him with Bull, it was as if they could see straight into his most intimate moments. And, with the things they said, he could hear each word drip with snarky, knowing judgement.
At least, Bull had—mostly—stopped encouraging them. Had learned to keep his big trap shut about things that weren’t anyone’s business but their own. Had learned that intimacy—real intimacy—belonged solely between the two of them, away from the rest of the world that too often simply didn’t understand.
Bull turned to face him in the dim hallway. The sounds and voices from the tavern were muffled for the moment, leaving them blessedly alone. Bull’s full lips smiled at him, making Dorian shiver in anticipation.
It was so strange, the effect he had on him. Bull was huge. A Qunari, he was more than a head taller than everyone else and often more than three times as wide. The height and breadth of him was often as much of a hurdle in their bedroom exploits as it was thrilling.
The man’s body was a mystery. Strangely fashioned in overblown proportions and covered in slashing scars that ought to have made him monstrous. After all, the man had an eyepatch and horns jutting out from his head. Everything about him screamed mercenary or marauder.
Bull was hardly what most people would consider attractive. He certainly was not the type of man Dorian typically gravitated to. Was definitely not the type of lover he’d imagined himself being with.
The men he’d had affairs with before had all been beautiful. Even the whores he’d known had been classically handsome with proper manners and an impeccable sense of propriety. Much like Dorian himself.
Yet here he was necking in tavern nooks with a Qunari savage.
Dorian shook his head at the strange and unexpected turn his life had taken. Oh, if his father could only see him now!
Bull arched his back, his disfigured left hand resting on his wide hip. He groaned. “It’s good to be off that horse,” Bull’s deep voice rumbled, beckoning Dorian closer. “Give me a ship over a horse any day. There’s room to move and breathe and doesn’t leave a man chafed in unfortunate places at the end of the trip.”
Dorian smiled and stood next to the much larger man. Eyeing his impossibly tall and impressively large frame, he cocked his hip. “I very much doubt the horse enjoyed it either.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Though the idea of a Bull riding a horse does make me smile. If only out of amusement.”
Bull laughed, his dark eyes glittering with humor. “Yeah, well, maybe I just need practice.” He gave Dorian his own smirk. “I know!” He reached out to push Dorian against the far wall with one massive hand at his shoulder and another at his waist.
Dorian inhaled sharply, his eyes widening, as the towering man leaned in close. Looming over him, Bull made Dorian feel so small pressed up against the wood. Almost overwhelmed. It should have felt frightening, boxed in as he was with nowhere to go, no way to escape.
But—as with all the other contradictions wrapped up in this man—it was exciting, managing to feel both safe and scary at the same time. It was like riding an edge Dorian wasn’t entirely comfortable with, but longed for like a fool.
Shadows shifted over Bull’s skin along ridges of muscle in a sinful caress. Dorian’s hands reached out to touch. Bull chuckled and pulled him close, pressing his smaller body flush against his larger, harder frame. His strong hold on him felt like a vice that threatened—deliciously promised—to crush. A flutter of irrationally aroused fear flitted through Dorian as Bull’s lips and teeth grazed his shoulder, right where his clothes parted, as if preparing to nip. Dorian gripped Bull tighter. He shuddered heatedly when Bull’s deep, gruff voice murmured against his skin, “I could just fit you for a bit and take you for a—”
“Oh,” Vivienne’s haughty voice said, “please, do excuse me.”
Dorian dropped his hands. He felt his face flush hotly. Caught, he felt the shadows flee, as if Vivienne’s gaze shone a glaring light.
Swallowing hard, he shut his eyes and pushed against Bull’s massive, unmoving chest. He could feel the man’s heat searing his own skin, leaving an unmistakable brand on him that he couldn’t hide. The connection they shared, that a moment ago had felt thrilling and warm, now felt stifling, like an embrace that now choked.
Out of the cover of darkness and under someone else’s gaze, Dorian felt exposed.
Vulnerable in a way he’d been avoiding all his life.
He gritted his teeth and grasped for the familiar emotional walls that had kept him safe for so long. “Get off me, you great oaf!” he hissed. He ducked under Bull’s arm, twisting out of his grasp. “Must you always be so crude?”
Trying for a modicum of decorum, Dorian ran his hand over his hair, banishing the stain of disheveled guilt. He coughed and stepped into the tavern light, where the pristine, well-dressed woman waited. “Was there something you wanted, Vivienne?”
She smiled sweetly, knowing amusement grating in her gaze. She waved a graceful, long-fingered hand dismissively. “It can wait, if I’m interrupting—”
Bull grunted, covering a laugh as he turned to lean against the wall, not even bothering to hide the obscenely obvious state of his arousal.
Dorian shot him a glare over his shoulder. “You weren’t,” he insisted.
Vivienne smiled as cold calculation colored her amusement. “As you say, darling.” Leaning a bit to address the other man, completely ignoring Dorian, she said sweetly, “Bull, I did notice that your horse was very poorly tended to.” She scolded him with a saccharine tsk, causing both men’s spines to snap straight. “You cannot just throw water and feed at the creature and call it a day.” Her gaze slid snakelike over Dorian and her smile thinned. “And, since it seems you’re not busy at the moment, could you please go back and do the job right?”
Bull slumped his shoulders and murmured something soft and vaguely apologetic. He bowed his head demurely to the woman while he walked past Dorian. “Yes, ma’am.”
Vivienne grinned, touching Bull’s arm as he passed her. “Oh, and, Bull, darling,” she added in a tone that ached like a cavity, “be a dear and take care of my horse as well.”
Jutting his jaw, Dorian crossed his arms over his chest. “And now we see the truth of your request.” She honestly expected him to walk all the way back to the stables, do her dirty work, then walk all the way back to the tavern? Was she mad?
Vivienne lifted her chin, challenge clear in her eyes even as she insisted innocently, “Not at all.” She stroked Bull’s arm, patting and petting him in a way that made Dorian’s fingers curl into fists. She lifted a casual shoulder. “I simply thought that,” she said before giving a tinkling, mocking laugh, “as he said, he could use the practice.”
Damning proof, indeed, that the meddling woman had heard—and likely seen—far too much of their earlier…liaison.
Dorian hated how she grinned at him, while he felt hot shame flush his flesh. Laying possessive hands over Bull’s back, she ushered him out into the tavern proper. “And I expect their coats to shine like the finest satin, Bull.”
Bull nodded and walked away like some obedient pet. “Of course, ma’am.”
Vivienne crossed her arms over her chest, a satisfied smirk spreading over her face. “Thank you, darling.”
Dorian wanted to shout.
Wanted to call Bull back.
Wanted to smack her.
What was she doing, telling him what to do? Ordering him away like he were a child or a servant?
And what exactly was Bull doing listening to her? Bowing to her bidding like that? Where was his unmovable mercenary? He sneered, thinking about Bull at this woman’s beck and call.
What had she done to his Bull?
Dorian’s eyes narrowed as he stepped closer to the woman. “Must you order him around like that?”
Vivienne tilted her head coyly. “Like what, my dear?”
He scoffed. As if she didn’t know. “Like you own him,” he accused. “Like he’s yours to command. He’s not your slave.”
She raised an imperial brow at him and let out a small laugh. “This coming from a Tevinter?” She leaned in to look him in the eye, her gaze piercing. “Tell me, Dorian of House Pavus, just how many slaves does your family own?”
He flinched at that, at memories of a childhood surrounded by slaves he’d never really paid much mind to then. He remembered being young, never really understanding what that had even meant. Class and stature had just been the way of the world. A natural and unquestioned part of his existence. Through no fault or doing of his own, he’d been born into his place in the world; he assumed that was just how things worked and had never even thought to wonder or worry over it.
It’d been an embarrassingly long time before he realized that the slaves his family owned didn’t have the luxury of not having to worry over their place in the world. And had taken him chaffing at the societal trap he was caught in to even notice anyone else’s.
Dorian stiffened his shoulders. “My family,” he pointed out. “Not me. And, even if I did, that still wouldn’t make Bull your errand boy.”
“The Iron Bull isn’t an errand boy,” Cole’s hazy, wondering voice mused. “Not a boy at all.”
Dorian turned, not all that surprised to find the spectral boy behind him. His lips thinned and sighed. “Not now, Cole.”
“But you called him a boy,” Cole continued, still sounding confused and disconcerted. “And a bull. But he’s not. Not a bull. He is The Iron Bull. That’s his name. The name he gave himself. It’s what he’s worked so hard to become. ‘A mindless weapon. An implement of destruction. A dangerous thing.’ ”
Yes, yes, he’d heard Bull give the same imbecilic speech. The man was far too proud of the idiotic, dehumanizing moniker he’d taken. Maker only knew why.
Dorian’s nails dug deep into his palms, thinking that this hallway felt far too crowded. Glaring at Vivienne, he told her, emphasizing each word carefully so she couldn’t mistake him, “He’s not your errand boy.” He turned to Cole. “And he’s not a weapon.” He waved his arms in frustration. For Andraste’s sake! “He’s not some thing.”
Cole quirked his head, his hat tilting at a thoughtful angle. He blinked blankly. “What is he then?”
Vivienne let out a laugh, her eyes lighting on Dorian. “Oh, it seems Varric’s attempts to teach it humor are working.” Her grin widened in snide glee. “The Inquisitor’s pet demon made a joke.”
“I did?” Cole cocked his head in the other direction, before breaking out into a pleased smile. “Oh, good. Was it funny?”
She gave Dorian a hard, meaningful look. “Terribly. As if someone like our dear, pampered Lord Dorian, could possibly know what someone like The Iron Bull is.”
Dorian made an irritated sound. She acted as if she knew him—had some intimate, secret knowledge of him—when no one knew Bull better than he.
Dorian stared at the tall, confident woman. She was beautiful, he knew, even if he didn’t find her attractive. She may not make his blood race, but he could still recognize fine beauty when he saw it.
A part of him wondered—worried—over what Bull saw when he looked at her. Would his lover’s mind linger over the length of her legs? Would his fingers itch to trace the strength and curve of her spine? Knowing Bull as he did, Dorian had no doubt the man had thought long and hard about the shape and weight and texture of her tits and ass.
A thought bloomed in his mind, such a small question that stretched and filled his thoughts.
How well did Bull know her?
Dorian shook his head and scowled. He shot the woman, who grinned at him knowingly, a dark look. “He’s an idiot.” Dorian sniffed imperiously. “Completely ridiculous and stupid. As is this discussion.” He was done with this conversation. And with the two of them.
This was not how he’d wanted to spend his evening.
He shook his head again. Like he’d said, involving anyone else in their affairs always made a mess of everything.
Still fully clothed as he lay on Bull’s bed, Dorian frowned when he felt Bull, unapologetically nude, climb into his bed with an indulgent groan. Rolling onto his side, he turned away from the giant man still squirming to get comfortable under the covers. Dorian took a sharp breath when he felt the man’s hand rest on his hip.
He sat up. “I need a drink.”
He got up and moved to a small table that held a single glass and a bottle of Mackay’s Epic Single Malt. He poured the whiskey then took a drink. “I don’t know what you mean.”
Dorian flinched when Bull took the glass from him. He hadn’t even heard him get up from the bed; for such a big man, he could be so sneaky. Bull walked away, providing Dorian quite the view, and set the glass atop a simple set of drawers across the room. “You do know what I mean,” he said in a voice that brooked no argument, “so save us both some time and just talk to me.”
Dorian frowned. Fine. He leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. “I don’t understand you, Bull.”
The man picked up the glass and took a sip. “I’m not exactly complicated, kadan. What’s to understand?”
Dorian huffed and shot Bull an irritated look. He hated that Bull often hid self-deprecation beneath layers of cockiness and jokes meant to make him sound like less than he was. Bull liked to accuse Dorian of playing games in their relationship, but Dorian wasn’t the only one who liked play pretend.
The man wanted to play games; let’s play. “Why do you let Vivienne boss you around all the time?”
Bull coughed on another sip of the liquor. “What?”
Dorian threw out an arm. “The way you were today, with the horses. We had plans, but then she came, snapped her fingers, and you couldn’t wait to scamper off to do her bidding, could you?”
Bull shook his head and moved to sit on the bed. “That’s what this is about?” His face scrunched up in complete confusion. “Horses?”
Dorian rolled his eyes. “Of course it’s not about horses!” He made a frustrated sound. The man could be so dense. “This is about Vivienne. You left me for her.”
“What are you talking about?” Bull looked at him like he were crazy. “You were the one who’d told Vivienne that we weren’t doing anything.”
Dorian wanted to scream. The man was not just dense, he was brainless. “You know that I didn’t mean it.” They’d been heading up to his bedroom; what did the man think they were really up to?
“Then why did you say it?”
Dorian squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his fingers against the bridge of his nose. Was he joking? If he’d told him once, he’d told him a million times. “It’s called discretion.” You completely irreverent oaf!
Bull just shrugged. “You know I don’t understand that.” He leaned back on the bed, stretching his large, naked body on the mattress. “I understood what Vivienne wanted.”
Dorian ground his teeth. He’d just bet he did. He sniffed. “Well, it makes you look ridiculous.” He shook his head, trying to understand, to make sense of things. “You’re so different with her than you are with anyone else.” Subservient. Docile. Dorian curled his lip and looked away. It was, frankly, extremely unattractive. “I just don’t understand why.”
Or at least he hoped he didn’t.
On a growl, he picked up the bottle of whiskey and took a swig.
He swallowed hard, feeling the smooth burn bring him courage. “Have you and Vivienne ever…”
READ PART TWO HERE