Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 13
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: Dead slavers, sewers, dick jokes, zero relationship skills, Cormac is still fucked up, Artemis isn’t much better
Notes: Dick jokes. Anders is talented in the strangest ways. A semi-permanent installation of the cellar-apostate.
It was about that time Anders reappeared, carrying baskets of stuff. "Take this basket from me, Cormac. No funerals, lately, she says, and the stuff’s been gathering. Amazing what benefits come from a little late-night setting Lowtown’s worst on fire."
"Speaking of setting things on fire." Cormac took the basket and sniffed at the contents. "The two of you think you can find enough non-flammable things to put fire in, so I can get this going?"
Fenris took a very long moment to tear his eyes away from Artemis. "Only if you didn’t bend or break everything."
Cormac snorted and pointed further in the direction of the house. "I didn’t make it all the way across the room, yet. There’s probably something over there."
Anders unpacked the other basket onto one of the tables Cormac hadn’t been offended by. Nug ham, apple turnovers, three bottles of wine, elderberry jam tarts, a wheel of some exotic cheese from afar, a cabbage salad that reminded him of … somewhere else, boiled eggs — he knew better than to try to buy food while he was hungry, but he’d done it, and he just kept unpacking layer after layer of edibles from the basket. He could do this, because it wasn’t just for him. It wasn’t even his money — Cormac had put coin in his hand for food, and he’d spent all of it. They’d eat well. He’d eat well, for a change.
While Anders was opening packages of food, Artemis was opening the door to the room of death. "Oh, Maker," he choked. Much of the smell had left with the bodies, but it still didn’t smell like potpourri. "Can I go back to cleaning the door? That was much more pleasant." Eating didn’t sound like such an appetizing idea anymore.
Fenris held a hand to his nose and walked past the mage. It occurred to both of them that this was the first time they’d been alone together since the night of that infamous party. Neither mentioned it. The smell of dead bodies and piss didn’t usually lend itself to romance, so it was probably for the best.
Fenris poked at the scraps Cormac had left behind. "Does this look flammable to you?" he asked, turning over a lump of… something.
Artemis didn’t mention that magic could make anything flammable.
Cormac squeezed Anders’s ass as he walked past, heading back in to help find things he could set on fire on top of things that wouldn’t burn. "You’re so good to me."
"You’re easy. It helps." The words were out before Anders could think too hard about them, and then he stopped talking, because the first tart was going in his mouth. He was sure he’d have to share them with the elf, and that meant the first one was his.
"Artie! Anders says I’m easy!" Cormac called into the room. "I think you should convey to him all of your opinions on what a difficult prick I am."
"Your prick may be hard, but I doubt it’s difficult." Fenris appeared at Cormac’s shoulder, smirking, and pressed something that might once have been a bowl into his hand.
"I am, not I have." Cormac scraped something questionable off the floor with the edge of the bowl and set it aflame with a flick of his fingers, before sprinkling a few chunks of resinous incense onto it. The smoke billowed outward, as the powder dusted onto the outside caught first, and there was quickly a circle around Cormac that smelled of something other than death.
"I can corroborate his state of being as a difficult prick," Artemis said, following the smell of not-death over to his brother. "As for the state of his prick, I would defer to Anders’s judgment." That was territory it was best he didn’t venture down.
He followed Fenris to Anders and the basket of food. Fenris narrowed his eyes at the healer, who was busily munching. "Are you eating my tarts?" he growled.
"Of course not," Anders said through his mouthful, and Fenris made a face at the lack of manners. "I’m eating my tarts. The ones I bought. Myself. That I might be inclined to share."
Artemis picked at the nug ham and didn’t mention that he’d bought said tarts with Cormac’s money. "There’s a joke there, about a tart eating a tart," he said.
"Only one joke?" Anders countered. "You disappoint me, Artemis."
Cormac wandered out, after a bit, smelling of elven funerals, and shut the door behind him. "Well, I know which tart I want to eat."
Anders waited, with a teasing grin on his face, but Cormac reached past him for the dessert food. The grin shifted into something between horrified and offended, and he elbowed Cormac in the back of the head.
"What?" Cormac whined around the pastry in his mouth. "I’m hungry! I’ll get to you after I eat actual food. When I’m not in danger of fainting from starvation. I’m no fun when I’m fainted."
"That depends on your definition of ‘fun’. You’d certainly be quieter." Fenris squinted between mages until he spotted what were probably apple turnovers. That or they were meat pies. Some days one couldn’t be sure. Still, he grabbed one and was rewarded in the first bite with the flavour of spiced apple.
"Quiet and fun went hand in hand, in the Circle," Anders noted, peeling an egg. "Usually with a side of ‘nobody’s wearing any smalls’ and ‘wow, it’s draughty in here’. Fainted and fun, on the other hand, a little less so."
"The Circle really knows how to put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional," Artemis muttered before stuffing his face with nug ham. It was a tad saltier than he usually liked, but it was food. That was the main thing.
He tried not to think what it would have been like, growing up in the Tower, surrounded by stone and water and helmeted templars. He certainly couldn’t picture Cormac there, though ‘fun’ and ‘silent’ would be a refreshing change. The two of them together would have destroyed the place within a week. Likely by accident.
"I like to keep the good memories alive by still wearing no smalls," Anders supplied through a smirk. It was the sort of thing Artemis would consider ‘too much information’, if he weren’t already familiar with Anders’s smalls.
"If Anton were here, he’d call your bluff," Artemis replied. "As I recall, he spent a couple of hours with your smalls on his face in the Deep Roads." Slowly, memories of that night were turning from ’embarrassing’ to ’embarrassingly funny’, especially in light of their more recent… shenanigans. Maybe in a year or so he could look at Fenris without his ears turning red.
"That was the Deep Roads. It’s different. One, it’s draughty. Worse than the tower. Two, the more layers between the important parts of my anatomy and the darkspawn, the better." The grin that followed didn’t make it all the way onto his face before it turned into a grimace. "Especially after that one time, with the brood mothers. They have tentacles. You should be aware of that fact. And no description I give will do them justice, or you mercy."
Anders stuffed an egg into his mouth to shut himself up. Much to Fenris’s surprise, he could still shut his mouth around it, and a look of abject disgust twisted the elf’s face.
"Iffr tllnt," Anders failed to clarify.
Fenris took a few moments to translate that. "I wonder if any of your ‘talents’ are actually useful, or if they’re all just completely disgusting sex jokes made real."
"I promise, he fucks quite seriously. No jokes there." Cormac reached for one of the turnovers and Fenris slapped his hand, without a second thought. "Ow! It’s a good thing he’s a healer, because I need one in the morning."
"So, if you weren’t getting laid, more lives would be saved in the darkest corners of Kirkwall?" Fenris smiled smugly.
"He doesn’t need that much healing. Although, if you keep on like this, I’m going to take my dick more seriously than the next time you get stabbed."
Ah. Anders had finally managed to swallow the egg. Charming.
Artemis watched the display with his mouth open, a slice of nug ham halfway to his lips. He cleared his throat. "Wow."
Anders waggled his eyebrows at him, and Artemis shoved the food in his own mouth around a laugh, looking away before Fenris could start growling. Speaking of… "Are you going to slap my hand if I take a turnover?" He waited until he’d swallowed the ham before asking, and yes, maybe there were some puppy eyes involved. Fair was fair.
Fenris narrowed his eyes at the damnable mage, but Artemis could see the moment Fenris gave in. The elf flicked a turnover in his direction with one clawed finger, and Artemis snatched it, hiding his smirk behind it as he took as bite.
"Greedy mages," Fenris grumbled without rancor.
"Hungry mages," Anders corrected him. "Hungry mages feeding hungry, spiky elves."
Fenris was back to growling.
"Jam tart?" Cormac held out the plate to Fenris.
"Wine?" Anders offered a bottle, with one hand, while rolling another egg on the table to crack it.
Fenris very nearly smiled at Artemis, eyes glimmering with amusement, as he took a tart and the bottle. "I could get used to this."
Anders opened his mouth, and Cormac could just tell where that was going to end, so he stepped firmly on Anders’s toes. "Ow! Cormac! What?!"
"Oh, sorry. Was that your foot? I’ll just have to kiss it better, later." Cormac batted his eyes and smiled up at Anders in a terrible impression of innocence.
"You’ll be kissing more than that," Anders grumbled, taking a bite of the egg, before realising he hadn’t finished peeling it.
As Anders peeled eggshell off his tongue, Cormac returned his attention to his brother. "We have a lot of cellar. Any thoughts on what to do with it, other than just an escape route? Everything mum wants is already handled in the older parts — the wine cellar, the vault. Which means we, as in you and I, have an awful lot of cellar."
Artemis hummed around his turnover, considering as he chewed. "We do have a lot of cellar," he murmured. "Quite a bit more than I realized. It’s like another mansion under our mansion. Only with… more death and chains than I generally prefer." He patted Cormac’s arm and pressed on before his brother went red in the face thinking about slavers in his basement again. "It connects rather well to the clinic of our industrious healer, however."
Anders made a sound that could be interpreted as agreement before spitting out a last bit of eggshell. "Easy access, as Cormac so helpfully pointed out." He popped the now-peeled egg into his mouth.
"Easy access. Yes," said Artemis, staring at the healer’s bulging cheeks. He cleared his throat again and tore his eyes away to indicate he was addressing both Anders and his brother. "I was thinking… perhaps we could use a few of the rooms to expand the clinic? Would that be feasible?"
Anders stopped chewing, eyes as round as his cheeks. "Mmwuh?" he asked.
Artemis sighed at this display and reached for the wine, drinking directly from the bottle.
"I suspect that could be arranged." Cormac nodded. "Or, we could just move the healer in, so he’s got the extra space where he is, now. Which keeps Darktown on the other side of the large, iron door, and makes it much harder for angry gentlemen in platemail to raid our home. I wonder how long it will take Carver to figure out we have an apostate we’re not related to living in the cellar…"
Anders stared silently at Cormac for a long few moments, trying to figure out what to do with this suggestion. Other than accept it. Accepting it was very high on the list. But, it put him in a position where he might be considered to owe people things, and that was something he very much tried to avoid. He’d earn it. Which might even actually be possible, once he started sleeping again. A door. A door with a lock on it. A big, iron door, with a lock on it, to which he held the key. And he could work right next door.
He blinked and spotted Cormac’s fingers snapping in front of his face.
"Anders? Swallow. C’mon, how tired are you?" Cormac nudged him. "You weren’t even with me, last night, so I know you must have slept at least a little… unless you were enjoying some other company…"
Anders choked down the half-chewed egg. "No. Not tired. Just … surprised?" Sort of a lie. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept through a night, but that didn’t really qualify as ‘tired’ after this long.
Fenris stuffed his face with food to keep any rude words from spilling out. Just what the Hawke Estate needed: another apostate. If the templars discovered one of them, they’d all be at risk of discovery. Which wasn’t his problem. If the mages wanted to form their own mage cabal in their basement, it was their choice. He wasn’t concerned, certainly not about Cormac and Bethany being slapped in irons or Anders being made Tranquil or Artemis being…
He thought of Artemis being locked up, pictured a sunburst brand on his forehead. He didn’t realize he was growling until three mages were staring at him. Again.
"Do you have an objection?" Anders asked, one eyebrow quirked.
"I have many objections," Fenris hedged. "Mostly, at the moment, to do with your disgusting eating habits." He turned a glare on Cormac. "Don’t say it. I know you’re thinking it and that’s more than enough."
He was better off stuffing his mouth with wine, Fenris decided. Drink wine and screw mages. Or perhaps drink wine and screw mages if he wasn’t careful. One mage in particular, at least.
"Should I have offered you the other room? There’s more than enough space for both of you." Cormac blinked at Artemis and shrugged. Maybe the elf just wanted to be closer to his brother. All the Hawkes had fantastic asses, after all. Except maybe Carver, who was built more like the Amell side of the family. Still, nothing to take lightly.
"I have an entire house to myself. Why would I want to share some dark and dingy tunnels with a mage. This mage, in particular." Fenris jabbed a finger at Anders, who draped a slice of nug ham over it.
"Eat more. You’ll be less bitchy," Anders suggested, grabbing another slice for himself. "Trust me, it works."
"Is that the secret? Hmm. A few more sandwiches, and maybe you’ll stop whining about oppression." Fenris debated whether the ham was still food, after Anders had touched it. Probably wasn’t any worse than anything he’d likely already gotten in his own mouth, that day, given the amount of corpse-hauling that had gone on.
"How is your house holding up?" Cormac asked. "The last time I saw it, it was showing signs of battle and extended neglect — I do wonder how long it had been without an owner, proper, before we went through and carved up the current residents."
"It has a roof and walls," Fenris said. "It will suffice."
"Is a roof still a roof when there are enough holes in it that when it rains, it rains inside?" Anders asked, looking up and tapping his chin as though asking a deeply philosophical question.
"Is a mage still a mage if I stab him full of the same amount of holes?" Fenris asked with a dangerous smile.
"Save your stabbing for the slavers tomorrow," Artemis suggested, distracting Fenris by stealing a bite of his ham and giving it back. Fenris growled.
"There’s plenty of ham right there!" the elf complained.
"But I wanted yours."
Elf ears twitched, and Artemis smiled sweetly. He reached for Fenris’s ham again, but Fenris growled and snatched it away.
Cormac reached around Anders and swiped the remaining ham from Fenris’s finger, folding it up and stuffing it into his mouth.
"Ham-stealing mage!" Fenris snarled.
"You weren’t actually eating it! You were just gesticulating wildly with it, while my brother tried to eat it. Me? I’m much less patient. You want another slice, there’s more on the table." Cormac licked his fingers clean and pinched Anders’s ass with the other hand.
Anders squeaked, blinked, and wrapped up some cabbage salad in a slice of cheese. He was pretty sure no one was going to fight him for the cabbage. "Don’t steal the broody elf’s food, Cormac. I’m trying to make him less broody."
"He has to actually put the food in his mouth, for that to work. I thought a little encouragement might help." Cormac shrugged. "So, what are we doing? Are you moving in? Do I need to buy furniture?"
Anders toyed with the new chain around his neck as he munched on cabbage and cheese. "I… suppose I am," he said. If Cormac hadn’t just pinched him, Anders would have pinched himself. Not dreaming. Not the Fade. No demons here. Just men with gorgeous asses offering him a home and stuffing him with food. "As for furniture? I… hmm. I need to think about it." Not for him but for his patients. He owed Cormac enough as it was, and the last thing he needed was the man buying him things he didn’t need.
He wondered when things had moved from ‘nothing serious’ to ‘here’s a key, do you want to move in’? These were all great and wonderful, generous things he was being offered, yet the first thing that came to mind was panic. Panic he tried to hide under more cabbage and cheese.
"Wonderful," Fenris grumbled into the wine bottle he had claimed. "You should rename it the Mage Estate."
"Apostate Apartments?" Artemis suggested.
"The Magic Mansion," Cormac threw in. "Best kept secret in Kirkwall."
"There are no secrets in Kirkwall, but if you know the right people, the city will pretend," Anders muttered around a mouthful of cabbage. "Cormac, what are you doing?"
"If there are hands, it’s not me." Cormac held his hands up, and Fenris snagged the tart he was holding. "Andraste’s tits!"
"Fair is fair, mage."
Cormac just looked outraged and grabbed another tart. Perhaps the Hawkes weren’t magister material, after all, Fenris thought. They huffed and sulked, but none of them had struck out at him. Nothing more than the occasional elbow or a sharp poke, and even that was less for him than they gave to each other.
"I’m pretty sure I know where all the hands are. I just… this…" Anders tried to find a way not to sound ungrateful. "It’s sudden."
"I suddenly have a cellar, and I know a man who needs a safe place to sleep. Anything else I might or might not be doing with that man is incidental. I’d do the same for Varric, in a pinch, and it would have nothing to do with my appreciation of his chest hair. You just saw me offer the other room to Fenris. But, you’re the one of us without a door. You’re the one of us living behind a curtain, in a sewer." Cormac clapped a hand on Anders’s upper arm. "I have, and you need. It’s that simple."
"And maybe now Cormac can be fulfilling your needs," Artemis muttered, "downstairs." He roomed down the hall with his brother. Damn right there were no secrets in Kirkwall.
"Stone echoes," Fenris reminded him before finishing off Cormac’s tart without remorse.
Artemis grimaced. "Right."
Anders looked at the hand on his arm, a hand he was coming to know as well as his own. He covered Cormac’s fingers with his, pale, freckled skin a stark contrast to his. "Thank you then," he said, "for always keeping my needs in mind." He kept his smile crooked, just this side of coy to hide the genuine affection they held.
"Some of us are trying to eat, here," Fenris grumbled. Artemis hummed and offered the elf the rest of his tart. Fenris smiled and popped it in his mouth.
"Two sovereigns says we can make the elf vomit," Cormac challenged, grinning.
"Two sovereigns says your brother goes over, first," Anders shot back, and then Cormac’s mouth was on his. His hands fluttered stupidly, partially in surprise and partially trying to figure out if he had sauce from the salad on his hands before he grabbed any of Cormac’s clothing.
Fenris made a few exaggerated noises of revulsion.
"Does retching count?" Cormac murmured into the kiss.
"Mmm, nope. Actual puke only." Anders reached down and lifted Cormac by his ass, until they were the same height.
"Oh, shit!" Cormac broke the kiss and looked down, fending off a wave of dizziness. "That’s … a floor. Down there."
"Your brother’s intelligence is questionable at the best of times, and this is clearly not the best of times," Fenris remarked quietly to Artemis, as he helped himself to the last turnover.
Recovering from the shock, Cormac dove right back into the kiss, this time with even more fervour and a great deal more tongue.
"If I force myself to vomit, do you think they’ll stop?" Artemis asked, making a face around the lip of the wine bottle as he took a drink. "I’d be willing to make that sacrifice."
"Please no vomiting," Fenris replied, "unless it’s going to be on them, and we established that last time with the bandits that your aim is not that great."
Artemis huffed. "He ducked!"
"All three times?"
Artemis muttered under his breath. The two mages across from him were going to get drool all over the food. Artemis nudged Fenris with his elbow. "Hey," he said, leaning in to whisper. Fenris’s ear twitched at the feel of mage-breath. "Wanna steal the food and run off?"
He was going to ask ‘wanna go make out in the clinic?’ but that just sounded unsanitary. He wasn’t nearly drunk enough to suggest it anyway.
Fenris hummed and eyed what was left of the food, including the cabbage he hated but the abomination seemed to like. He slid a smirk in Artemis’s direction and nodded, quickly piling more stuff onto fewer plates.