There was a brisk breeze today. It carried the scent of wood fires on that crisp, frosty air. In Tevinter, especially where he lives, things never became quite as cold as this. Dorian had never had to make a conscious effort to stay warm. There had been fires lit for him, hot stones put into his bed for him, hot drinks handed to him. He had never understood cold before he had come to the Inquisition. He had tried to bear it with as much dignity as he could muster, but this truly was a birth by fire. Well, ice in truth. Dorian had never gone without a servant before. He had never realised how difficult it was to simply feed himself. He was truly beginning to grasp how privileged he was.

He stared out at the gates as he had done time and again once before. But Fay was here. He had dropped out of a tree in the courtyard with his family. It had been truly bizarre. Dorian pulled the wolf fur closer around himself. It was as black as night. Fay had hunted the wolf down for its fur to give to Dorian. He had been cold in Emprise du Lion. And Fay had provided for him. The soft fur tickled his face as he considered it all. Was this huff worth it? Could he risk losing this beautiful thing that had found him? Had he already lost it? But Fay had been wrong. Dorian's mind was turning every little thing over, his eyes staring into the horizon as though all the details were written on the landscape. People could make mistakes. People could hurt each other accidentally. What was he standing to gain by punishing them both?

Dorian took in a breath of the sharp, smoke-tinged air. The stars were just beginning to peek out from behind the curtain of dusk. They would sparkle and shimmer with the frost in the air. Fay had taught him that. Dorian closed his eyes, and as if summoned by a thought, he heard a light footfall behind him. A tentative hand touched him on the shoulder as the man drew level with him. Dorian kept his eyes closed for a moment longer, dreading the heartache that would proceed when he opened them. But he had to force his eyes open eventually. He found golden orbs staring back at him. They were watery as though they smarted at the sharp air. Or was he perhaps as emotional as he was?

"I'm sorry." Fay said, in that gentle voice he took up when alone with Dorian. The mage's eyes fluttered closed for another second.

"I know." Dorian spoke past a frog in his throat.

"You know how I feel about you." Dorian opened his eyes again. Fay's hair, loose and tousled, fluttered in the breeze. His sculpted lips were parted, and his eyes were now swimming. Dorian had another sharp intake of breath.

"Tell me anyways."

The elf leaned against the battlement, his face troubled, choosing his words very carefully.

"I see you in every page of every book. Every curving line of every letter." He paused after this beginning, overcome with emotion for a moment. "I hear your voice from across the courtyard, and my heart leaps from my chest. I turn to gaze at you, and my heart breaks. I fight by your side, and I am filled with rage when any creature turns their aggression towards you. I would rip the hearts from a thousand demons to keep you safe." Fay's knuckles turned white with the strength at which his clenched his fists.

"I would set down my blade forevermore if you asked it." He walked away for a moment, clearly distraught. His eyes were working, as though some great thing were slipping through his fingers. "I wake in the night, thinking of nothing but your eyes. Your smile. Your voice." He broke into tears at this point, and Dorian took a half step towards him. "I reach for you, to hold you, to protect you, and you are not there. I pushed you away with a simple, and cutting folly. I can never ask your forgiveness." Fay finally turned back to face him, his eyes pleading. "I adore you, ma vhenan. I always shall." Fay held his hand out to Dorian, weakly, his hand trembling. Dorian grasped it tightly before it dropped. They stared at one another before they fell into one another's arms. Neither was unmoved. They cried quietly together and held each other tightly. After what felt like hours, Dorian spoke.

"We will try." Fay held him at arms length, and studied him closely. His tear-stained face was serious.

"I… I have never had this before." Dorian blustered at last, feeling mortified, his face hot. He broke away from Fay, and stood staring out at the distance again. He wanted to hide his face. He had never been good at explaining how he felt. Feelings weren't really allowed in Tevinter. At least not the kind of feelings he had.

"I have been with others before, but… never like this. A moment in the darkness, in secrecy, and that was all that could be risked. I have never thought to find myself here." He could feel Fay's golden eyes burning into his back. "Love was never an option for me. I would be forced into a miserable marriage and forced to procreate, and that would be called love. That would be called a good match. Good breeding." Hot tears were flowing down his face anew. "I couldn't do that, that couldn't be my life." Dorian's level of anxiety and panic were rising. His breathing was coming faster. He felt Fay beside him, his hand on his back, running soothing circles. He rested Dorian against his chest, where he could hear his heartbeat. He hushed him gently with soothing sounds. He calmed for a moment.

"You are safe here Dorian. You are safe from that fate. It shall not befall you." Fay spoke with such certainty, that for a brief moment, Dorian believed him. In his mind, he knew he would never allow himself to be trapped like that, but convincing his gut of that was a completely different challenge. But for a moment, his gut fear was quieted. In Fay's arms, he would never be shackled to a woman he would never love.

"It's getting angrier." Dorian said, gazing at the rift in the sky, trying to shift the focus, make things less emotional for a moment. A respite. Fay took a step away and a shaky breath. He held his left hand out to Dorian to inspect. The angry green gash had grown and was pulsing with a haunting light.

"I know." Fay said quietly, staring at the sky. "But we have to try. We have to fight to stop this. I can't lose all of this. We don't deserve to go out like this." His jaw was tightened. "I need to close that thing, and crush Corypheus. I need to have a life to live with you after all of this." He gazed back at Dorian again, his eyes still soft with sorrow. "I'm sorry." he whispered again.

"I know." Dorian whispered back as he took his elf in his arms. "I know."