Feb 272015

Title: The Finer Points of Enjoying Wine (1/2)
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Fenris , Anders
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Dysfunctional assholes are dysfunctional, the internet is for porn, mulled wine, creative uses for oranges
Notes: It's been a long day, but Anders has some plans for the weekly dinner he's absolutely not having with Fenris, and hasn't been having with Fenris, and won't be having with Fenris, and why would he even be in a room with Fenris, what are you talking about? Namely, some plans to ply the elf with mulled wine, before the evening proceeds in the usual manner.

The mage was blathering on about something, again, while he cooked, and Fenris paid just enough attention to figure out what was being asked for, when the incessant chatter canted up at the end of a phrase. He didn't mean to be rude. Really, he didn't. But, the mage was exhausting on the best of days — and frequently exhausted him in all the right ways — and today, Fenris was already tired.

Reflections on his own half-awake state had caused him to miss something important, he realised. "What?"

"I asked if you had anything forgettably cheap, in your extensive cellars, but now I'm wishing I'd asked if you want me to get you a pillow," Anders replied, not looking a whole lot less tired than Fenris felt.

"Cheap wine? Why?" Fenris expected he'd have knuckle-marks in his cheek, with how heavy his head seemed as he tried to prop it up on his fist.

"It just works better with something you're not already trying to find the nuances in."

Fenris read a hell of a joke into the sentence, but he was just too tired to be a shithead to the mage currently frying duck in his kitchen. Duck fried in its own grease and some sort of leafy greens Fenris had never realised were edible. Perhaps they weren't. This had yet to be proven, but given the mage's bizarre talent for cooking only the most obscenely lush Orlesian food, it was likely these greens at least wouldn't be fatal.

"I'll get a bottle. In a minute." Fenris struggled to find his motivation and any part of his body below his hips. "How did you learn to cook all this, anyway? I thought you didn't learn those things, in the circle."

"I didn't learn it in the circle. I learnt it in a brothel."

Fenris blinked, suddenly a little more awake. "Say that again, mage? I thought you just said 'brothel'."

"That's because I did just say brothel. A nice one, too. I spent a lot of time with the kitchen staff, between patients. They wanted me to stay on, you know. A brothel with a healer on staff does better business." Anders shrugged and stirred the pan of questionable greens. "But, I had places to be, Templars to dodge. I shouldn't have stopped. I'd have gotten here, sooner."

"And maybe you would have missed Hawke, if you had," Fenris joked.

"A curse upon his house, if I didn't think there already was one," Anders grumbled, unpacking the last few things from the enormous iron pot he'd carried up from the market.

"Please don't curse Hawke. You know he'd bring it down on the rest of us, somehow," Fenris groaned into his hands, peering over his fingertips. "Are those oranges?"

"You thought I'd bring duck, and no oranges? Andraste's tits, what kind of barbarian do you take me for?"

"The Fereldan kind, you renegade Dog Lord." Fenris slid off the kitchen stool, spilling to his feet, all slender, unruly limbs. "Wine. I'll be right back. How many bottles?"

Anders squinted at the pot. "More than two. Five? Six?"

"Are you trying to get me drunk?" Fenris asked, holding on to the edge of the kitchen doorway.

Anders grinned. "Yes."

"I wholeheartedly support such a course of events," Fenris declared, making for the cellar.

By the time he returned, carefully clutching half a dozen bottles of assorted shitty vintage, the mage had pressed thin slices of orange into the bottom of the pan, and the smell of singed orange-peel and duck-grease filled the kitchen. Fenris's stomach made its opinion known, as he set the bottles on the island, next to the rest of the oranges.

"Pour those into the pot," Anders directed, sprinkling something into the pan, as he took it off the flame, and put it on the stone countertop. He turned around, hands still streaked with grease, and grabbed an orange and a cloth bag full of cloves.

"What strange thing are you doing with my wine?" Fenris asked, half sure he didn't want an answer.

"You'll understand when you put it in your mouth," Anders replied, punching cloves through the peel of the orange. "Like so many other things."

"All of which have been food, thus far," Fenris pointed out.

"And more's the pity." Anders rolled another orange to Fenris. "Here, do what I'm doing."

The first couple of cloves exploded in Fenris's hands, before he figured out how to hold them, while he pressed them in. The smell was overwhelmingly strong. "How many?"

"Two rings." Anders gestured. "And then stab a hole in each end and toss it in."

Anders worked more quickly, having done this, before, and a few more brown powders of varying scents went into the pot, before Fenris added his orange to the strange, wildly-scented mess. The last addition was a small jar of honey, which Anders upended into the pot, before setting the pot over the flame.

He tossed a knife to Fenris, who caught it without even looking. "Slice some bread, while I take care of this?"

Fenris quickly identified the rag-wrapped lump that was the bread. "I know you and your weird bread. What did you get, this time?"

"Weird bread." Anders huffed. "I got that almond bread you like. Which you never would have found, if I didn't buy weird bread."

"You know, one of these days, Varric's going to start to wonder why we both excuse ourselves from everything on Wednesday nights." Fenris remarked, slicing the bread.

"Not tonight, he's not. Not after what went on, this afternoon. As far as anyone's concerned, you and I are across town from each other, sleeping like the dead."

"The dead don't sleep," Fenris shot back, and Anders pressed his palm against his eye and laughed.

"No, we don't, do we?"

For a few moments, Fenris laughed with him. "You eat, piss, bleed, and fuck, mage. You're not dead, yet, even if I'm not quite sure how."

"Magic," Anders choked out, between cackles, and Fenris had to put down the knife, before he stabbed himself, laughing. Anders slid down the cupboard, beside him, wheezing hysterically, wine-dripping spoon still clutched in one hand.

"Delirium." Fenris mangled the word so badly it took Anders a moment to make it out.

"Heavy on the lyrium," Anders panted, and Fenris's eyes almost crossed.

"Fuck," Anders coughed, as Fenris bounced the heel of the bread off his forehead.

"Later," Fenris growled, and all the blood rushed out of Anders's head, as he stopped laughing and staggered to his feet.

"Promise?" Anders asked, moving the wine and closing the stove.

"Not if there's that much wine involved." The corner of Fenris's mouth tipped up, and his eyes gleamed with amusement.

Anders moved the pans onto the island, where Fenris was trying not to pass out into the bread. On his way to serve the wine, he tossed two spoons to Fenris, who caught them both, without taking his head off his hand.

Fenris set down the spoons. Anders always took them out, but unless there was soup, they never actually used them. They had knives and bread, and that was enough. Anders handed him a cup of wine and finally sat down.

For a while, the only sounds were knives scraping against the pans, as they ate, occasionally breaking into a louder clatter as they both went for a particular piece of duck.

"How do you manage to do this, every week?" Fenris finally asked. "I thought Justice objected to anything other than work."

"It's only a few hours, once a week. He's discovered that if he lets me have a good meal, a few drinks, and the occasional rough fuck, I'm much more pleasant and compliant." Anders gulped the wine, like he was drinking tea, and picked up another piece of bread.

"You? Compliant? I'll have to test that out for myself," Fenris joked, cramming another piece of vegetable-covered bread into his mouth.

The blood drained out of Anders's face, and the piece of bread in his hand crumbled into the pan.

Fenris tried to swallow faster, chasing the mouthful with wine. It was good. Surprisingly so, considering what had been in those bottles.


And then Anders stopped breathing, without a sound, his entire body going motionless, as he held his breath, waiting for the inevitable.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, Fenris cursed himself. "Anders. Look at me. It's only me. We're just having supper."

Anders blinked at his hands, after a few terrifying moments. "Fenris? I'm sorry, what…?"

Bread in his hand, a glass of wine, Fenris sitting across from him. Wednesday. Supper. Something was missing, and he couldn't find it.

"I made a joke. It wasn't funny. Now, get your bread out of the pan, you're stealing all the sauce."

"I cooked it. I'll steal the sauce if I want to," Anders said, piling the damp chunks of bread onto another slice, and covering the lot with vegetables.

Fenris huffed in amusement and relief. "What did you do to this wine? It's drinkable."

"That's the point. And the oranges will be wickedly delicious, by the time we get to them."

"You mean to eat the oranges, as well? I thought they'd be ruined by this." Fenris, for all the wine he drank, had yet to be introduced to the finer points of enjoying the drink.

"Eat them?" Anders laughed. "I don't just mean to eat them, I mean to squeeze them out over your naked body, lick it off you, and then eat them."

He froze, mid-laugh. "No, I'm sorry. I know better."

"Know better than what?" Fenris asked, pouring more wine down his throat. "You put enough of that wine in me, and I might get drunk enough to let you. I've gotten used to you putting your tongue on me. Just keep your hands to yourself."

"Thought you were too tired for that sort of thing."

"I never actually said that." Fenris staggered to his feet to get another cup of wine. "I might have implied it was possible to get me too drunk for some other things you might want, but not that. I'm sure I can lie flat on the floor, no matter how drunk I've gotten."

"Yeah, but I'd much rather you were conscious to enjoy it."

"Then hurry up, mage."

The rest of the meal passed in a blur of blades and bread.

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