Kadosh wasn’t really the flirtatious type.
Not to say he was particularly bad at flirting–he had his moments–but there was a time and a place for those sorts of things and the middle of an Inquisition wasn’t really the time nor the place. As close as he was growing with most of his…troupe, he rather felt that any romantic involvement might complicate things.
Purely sexual encounters were a possibility, but he’d had his share of those during his life as a mercenary, and had decided that they weren’t really his thing.
So, no interpersonal entanglements. Easy. After all, it was probably better if the Inquisitor himself avoided showing favoritism. It was easier to lead if people trusted you to be unbiased, and it was important to keep up an unyielding appearance and–well. All of those rules were good and well, except there was one, little, problem.
A problem that had more or less barged into the Inquisition and made himself at home there. A problem that insistently, persistently, would not stand for being ignored.
A problem by the name of Dorian Pavus.
Now, Dorian himself wasn’t an issue. Dorian was (usually) helpful, and (generally) pleasant, and a (fairly) good person, and just as much a boon to their effort as anyone else who had gotten caught up in all of it.
However, Dorian was also confident, and handsome, and entirely the flirtatious type, and that–that was the problem. Especially given that he was from Tevinter, and was more or less proud of that fact. So it was more than likely he had a deep-rooted hatred for the Qunari, and was probably just being civil for the Inquisition’s sake. Maybe he would, in time, develop a grudging respect for his horned leader, but that was about all Kadosh could hope for.
Nevermind the fact that Dorian had already attempted to flirt with him on multiple occasions.
He didn’t really know what to make of that. But regardless, each time had caught him off guard enough that he didn’t manage much of a reply (he really wasn’t bad at this flirting thing, honestly), and eventually, Dorian seemed to give up.
It was probably just Dorian’s way of being friendly, anyways.
But either way, when it really came down to it–Kadosh liked Dorian. And he didn’t hold much hope that Dorian returned the sentiment.
He was bleeding.
Somehow it had taken him this long to notice.
Well, it probably had something to do with the fact that everything between his feet and his horns was in pain enough already, and now that they were back in camp, all he wanted to do was collapse in a tent and pretend there wasn’t going to be more of this tomorrow–a little scrape on his side didn’t really warrant much attention.
He pulled–peeled–his shirt up to survey the damage, and–oh. Okay, not a little scrape, but it didn’t seem very deep, at least, and it had more or less stopped bleeding by that point.
Still, he didn’t want to think about what it might turn in to if he didn’t take care of it properly, so he begrudgingly gathered the necessarily supplies and began his short walk to the stream east of camp, grateful, at least, for that.
He thought it odd for a moment that no one had expressed concern for him, or even asked where he was going...but then again, Iron Bull and Sera weren’t exactly the type, given that concern wasn’t really needed. And Dorian…
Where was Dorian, anyways? He had definitely come back to camp with them all, but since then–
Kadosh reached the top of the hill, and turned towards the stream.
Oh. There was Dorian.
“Ah! Inquisitor, how kind of you to join me,” he said, grinning. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Dorian,” Kadosh said in greeting, taciturn but not unkind. He took his coat off by way of answer, his bloodstained and ripped shirt enough of an explanation.
“I see,” said Dorian, as the Inquisitor set things down on the bank and began to unbutton his shirt, finding a good rock to sit on. “It’s not too serious, I hope?”
Kadosh smiled at the concern. “I’ve had worse,” he said. Then, eager to turn the focus away from himself, “What about you? You didn’t stick around camp for very long.”
“No,” agreed Dorian. “Unlike all of you, I’m not used to drudging around in the dirt all day. What I’d really like is a long bath, but I’ll content myself for now with cleaning the sweat off the back of my neck and washing my feet–erm, are you sure you’re okay?”
Kadosh tried to smile, ending up more of a grimace. The wound really wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable trying to twist around to clean it, either. “Yes,” he said, but as he did, Dorian already was taking the rag from his hands and situating himself in a better position to help. Kadosh didn’t exactly try to stop him.
“…thank you,” he said, after a moment. Dorian huffed, amused.
“It’s the least I can do, with all of your running around taking care of us all the time.”
Kadosh laughed, somewhat self-consciously. Was he really that much of a worrier?
Well, if it meant he got Dorian to fuss over him, then he supposed he could live with that accusation. Though he couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have these same hands on him in a completely different situation. No wounds, no aches from the day’s battles, just–
Was it just wishful thinking, or did Dorian…
He took a deep breath, surreptitiously confirming his suspicion. Yes, Dorian smelledwonderful, in a very, very particular manner.
“It’s a shame your shirt’s ruined,” Dorian said, off-handedly, and Kadosh’s attention snapped back to him perhaps a bit too abruptly. If Dorian noticed, he didn’t say anything. “I could mend it, but it wouldn’t be quite the same afterwards.”
“Oh,” went Kadosh. “Er. No, or–I have something being made at Skyhold, which hopefully won’t tear as easily. Just a patch would be okay for this one, I think.”
“Well. I’ll just patch it for you, then.”
He ended up following Dorian back to camp, stained shirt in Dorian’s hand, jacket buttoned up over his bare chest and clean bandages. As if that wasn’t incriminating enough (incriminating of something that didn’t even happen), that scent was still emanating off Dorian in waves, admittedly less now than when they had been up-close and personal, but it was still achingly obvious.
Kadosh wasn’t sure whether Sera would notice–he knew admittedly little about elven physiology–but Bull…
Well, he knew exactly why Bull started laughing the moment they walked into camp.
“Kas astaarit?” he goaded, his switch to Qunlat indicating he had correctly surmised the situation. Namely, that Dorian had no idea he was being so obvious, and that Kadosh had no intention of telling him. The Inquisitor’s barely concealed expression of shame probably did most of the talking.
Dorian looked between the two of them, curious as usual, but it was Sera who got the first word in.
“Is there something so important you have to keep it from the rest of us?” she asked, mostly to Iron Bull, who turned to Kadosh instead.
“Well, Boss?” He grinned.
The Inquisitor looked between the three pairs of eyes trained on him, waiting for an answer, and was immensely thankful for his dark skin, mostly concealing the flush rising to his face.
“It’s. Nothing,” he said, in a completely unconvincing manner. And, to somehow make matters even worse, “I’m…going to bed.”
He then proceeded to lie in his tent, pressing his folded-up coat to his face, trying to ignore the world and wondering how exactly he was supposed to tell Dorian that he could literally smell how turned on he was around him.
For a while, the answer was that he didn’t tell him. Dorian was polite, and subtle in all the ways he could control and obviously didn’t wish to make Kadosh uncomfortable, but unfortunately it was still very obvious and Kadosh didn’t really know how to deal with that. Rather than face the issue directly, he kept a small list of topics on hand that either distracted Dorian enough to shift his focus or completely killed the mood. Mentioning Tevinter usually worked, or how grimy they were from wandering around the wilderness for the past week.
There was, however, that one time Kadosh had jokingly mentioned taking Dorian captive, which had entirely the opposite effect that he’d wanted, and wow, that was going to be a hard one to forget.
He was starting to feel somewhat like a voyeur, and everyone else was beginning to notice something was wrong. Sera evidently had heard from Bull exactly what was going on, and despite her trying to keep her nose out of things, she wasn’t exactly the most subtle of the group. Cassandra, thank the Maker, kept herself thoroughly out of the matter, though it was evident enough she found something off about Kadosh’s behavior at times.
And Dorian, being the victim of all this oddity, noticed quite quickly. But beyond a few strange looks and light inquires about the Inquisitor’s mental state, he left him well alone.
It was cowardly, and altogether childish, Kadosh knew this. He knew it all too well. But besides the admittedly present worry about getting involved with one of his comrades-in-arms, there was part of him that wondered. Was he going to face Dorian, only to be turned down? After all, arousal was all too separate from willingness. It could be possible that Dorian, in fact, wanted nothing to do with him.
He would rather have uncertainty, and a small, small, bit of hope.
It was Dorian’s watch.
Kadosh, finally, took a deep breath, steeled himself, and left his tent.
Dorian was sitting on a rock a few yards away, idly tracing shapes in the sand with the base of his staff. He looked up at the sound of the tent flap opening.
“Dorian,” Kadosh greeted, walking over to him. “Er…can I sit with you?”
The mage had a curious look on his face, but he consented, indicating the ground next to him. “You may.”
Kadosh sat, making sure the ground beneath him was clear of markings. He wasn’t sure what Dorian was doing, but he would hate to interrupt.
“Can’t sleep?” Dorian asked.
The Inquisitor looked up at him, thinking that it was nice, for once, to not be towering over him.
“Not really,” he said. I wanted to talk to you. How was he supposed to say that?
“I was just thinking about you,” said Dorian. Kadosh blinked. That was fairly…straight-forward. He took a deep breath, somewhat out of habit, but could mostly only smell the cool night air. Well, then.
“Er,” he went. “Were you…were you?”
“I was, I was,” Dorian teased, smirking. “You’re a very strange Qunari, you know. Or, no–what is it you say? A Tal-Vashoth?”
Kadosh smiled, sheepishly. “Something like that.”
“Wait! No, just a plain Vashoth, then? I can never remember the difference.”
“Yes, that’s…better. Though…that’s more something those under the Qun call us. It’s not generally something you self-identify as.”
“Hmm,” went Dorian. “Alright. What do you call yourself, then?”
He thought about it for a moment. “Kadosh,” was the only answer he could come up with.
“I see,” answered Dorian, seemingly amused. “Well, I can’t exactly say you’re strange for a Kadosh then, can I? You’re the only one of those I know.”
The Inquisitor laughed. “You can just say I’m strange,” he suggested. “And then perhaps explain what you mean.”
“I mean that you’re strange. All of these rifts and red templars and cultists…the world is practically falling apart around us, but you still somehow keep a smile on your face and go around like it’s just another day for you. You care for all of us and hardly get irritated when we’re being rightfully irritating. You’re practically…” he let out a huff of air, evidently amused by his own thought process. “You’re a saint.”
Kadosh frowned, and rubbed at the base of one of his horns. “I don’t know about that,” he said. “I’m handling it just about as well as any of you are.”
“Even if that were true,” which it’s not, said Dorian’s tone, “it would still be impressive. Any one of us could walk away from this at any moment, you know. You’re stuck with this.”
Kadosh swallowed thickly. That didn’t seem right to him, somehow. Any one of the people joining the Inquisition had it just as hard as he did. But Dorian’s line of thinking…
He huffed, and shook his head. Time to change the subject.
“Dorian,” he said, before he lost his nerve.
“Do you know much about…my race of people?”
He thought about it for a moment. “No,” he answered. “Not particularly. You keep your heritage more or less to yourselves, it seems.”
“Well. I’ve found that we have a much stronger sense of smell than you humans do.”
“Ah, yes. I did know that one, though mostly from being told stories as a child that Qunari can smell fear.”
Kadosh may have laughed at that had he been less nervous. “That’s…true, actually. Fear is usually easy to pick out. Though it’s not quite as obvious as sexual arousal.”
“That would be useful,” Dorian joked. And then, “Ah.” A pause. “Hm. Well…”
Kadosh sighed, and rubbed his forehead, reluctant to make eye contact.
“I…apologize,” said Dorian. “If I had realized…”
“I’m not really sure there’s much you could have done about it.”
“No, I suppose not.” Another pause. “This explains some of your behavior recently.”
The Inquisitor had developed a sudden interest in all of the markings in the sand. “I wasn’t sure how to tell you,” he said.
“Something akin to, ‘Dorian, your debaucherous fantasies make me uncomfortable, please save them for the privacy of your own quarters’ would have sufficed.”
“That…wouldn’t entirely be true.”
Dorian opened his mouth to say something. Then he shut it. Kadosh felt a momentary victory in, for once, leaving Dorian speechless. However, it didn’t last for long. “Meaning?”
“Do you really need for me to spell it out?”
“Oh, yes. More than anything.”
“Well,” was there really a polite way to say this? “I think you’re attractive, and would presumably enjoy having sex with you.”
“Presumably,” Dorian repeated. He was grinning by this point, which Kadosh couldn’t help but mirror.
“Though that’s not all I’m looking for.”
Dorian’s smile dropped, and for a moment Kadosh thought he’d misstepped. “You mean to start a relationship in the middle of all this?” he asked. “What a mad idea.”
“It’s not like the rest of the world has exactly been reasonable recently.”
Dorian laughed, and Kadosh was hopeful again. “You have a point,” he said. “Nothing else makes sense. Why shouldn’t a magister and a Qunari become involved. Yes…yes! I accept. Though neither of us is really either, of course.”
“I did hear a ‘yes’ in all of that?”
“Yes,” Dorian repeated. “Now, do I get to kiss you?”
Kadosh blinked. “Oh,” he said. “Yes.”
He would have added a few choice qualifiers to that, such as anytime and anywhere and as much as you like, forever, but Dorian was already leaning down (for one of the few times that would be the case) and kissing him.
Kadosh didn’t even think to feel self-conscious about the fact he hadn’t shaved in a few days, which was something of a feat in itself.
“So,” Dorian was saying, after they parted, “About those debaucherous fantasies of mine…”