Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 20
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Leandra Amell ♀, Anders ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N2 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Drunken stupidity, somebody gets peed on
Notes: Artemis is not coping well, and has decided that ‘shitfaced on Anders’s floor’ is an appropriate state of being. Anders disagrees, at least with the shitfaced and on the floor parts.
Not having slept much, the night before, Cormac had passed out in the library, again, and dropped a book on his face. It was not an entirely unusual position to find him in, and Leandra was less than entirely surprised, even as she picked up the book, to mark his place and set it on the table.
"Hmmf? Mum? What?" Cormac struggled to sit up properly, still warm and dazed from sleep.
"I always thought my first son would give me grandchildren, but you’re not really interested in girls, are you?" She put down the book and gazed into the fire.
"What? Of course I am. I’m not that picky." Because that’s what you say to your mother, Cormac. Way to sound like an intelligent individual, and not make her worry.
Leaning on the back of the chair, Leandra sighed. "I’ve seen how you look at that apostate boy. You think I don’t know? I used to look at your father like that."
"What? No. It’s not like that. It’s not." Cormac scowled. This was not a conversation he meant to have at all. This was not something he even meant to consider. It was just Anders. They were just how they were, and that wasn’t any of it.
"It’s been ‘not like that’ for an awful long time, don’t you think? Might be time to consider it might be like that, whether you like it or not." Leandra pinched the tip of his nose, before she walked out of the room. "Pheasant salad tonight. Don’t miss supper, or you’ll be up in the middle of the night. And get your feet off that table, before your brother has an aneurysm."
Anders padded down the stairs to the Hawkes’ cellar and his new rooms, a box of supplies for the clinic tucked under one arm: some new vials for his potions, dried elfroot and embrium, bandages, more bandages… He nearly tripped over Artemis, new vials clinking together as he came up short.
"Hello," Artemis replied, and yep, that was definitely his drunk voice. Anders would know because that drunk voice was all he had heard from Artemis in the past week. And there, in Artemis’s hand, was the maker of that drunk voice, a rather large and mostly empty bottle of rum. He was sitting on the steps, drinking. The cellar steps, not so far away from the wine cellar and memories of that infamous night.
Anders sidled past Artemis. "You aren’t still brooding over Broody, are you?"
Artemis mumbled something unintelligible into his bottle.
The situation did not seem to be improving. Artemis had been hiding in the cellar and drinking for days. The drinking had started upstairs, but Cormac had gotten worried about Artemis and those stairs, after the first couple of wobbling stumbles down them, and he’d sent Artie to the cellar, to spend some quality time with the wine, up close and personal. But, somewhere in there, he’d ended up all the way down the cellar, in Anders’s rooms, and the healer didn’t have it in him to put him out.
Anders had gotten the gist of what had happened, on that first night. Artemis had bought the mansion, to keep Fenris safe, and Fenris, like the abject shithead he had always been, had flipped out and threatened him. He could empathise, to a point. But, the elf had clearly missed the first rule — if any of it’s in your favour, grab what you can and run. Hadn’t the sense the maker gave a sack of turnips, some days, Anders thought.
But, understanding the situation did not make Artemis any less drunk, or get him off the stone steps. Anders put the box on a nearby table and came back. "Hey, you look like you’ve been chewed up, shit out, and pissed on. You want to let me look you over? Make sure you’re not going to die of melancholy or malnutrition?"
Artemis eyed Anders over the lip of his bottle. Everything around his fellow mage was blurred colours, but he was past caring. "If you want," he said, his lips and tongue working twice as hard to form words.
He could use the company, really, and Anders was good company, once he got past the Glowy Spirit of Grumpiness. He was a good a lot of things, Artemis was drunk enough to admit to himself. And he wasn’t Fenris.
Artemis pushed himself to his feet, the bottle of rum dangling from his fingertips, and watched the cellar floor sway. Luckily the wall was in one direction and Anders in the other, or he would have fallen over.
With a sigh, Anders wrapped his arm around Artemis’s waist and lifted him down to the floor. He let the most general healing he could muster seep out into the drunken mage in his arms. And, as he thought, from this close he was seeing the signs of someone who’d been drinking too much booze and not enough water. Not how he meant to spend the day, but it would be a charitable work, so Justice would probably at least leave him alone about it.
"You weigh a lot less than your brother," Anders joked, carrying Artemis into the bedroom. The bedroom where only he and Cormac had been. The bedroom he usually wasn’t sharing.
Gently depositing the slumping lump of drunkenness onto the bed, he reached for the glass and the urn on the side table, first, offering Artemis a glass of water. "Drink this slowly. I’ll be right back."
Anders stepped back out to gather a few more things: a couple of potions, a jar of vegetable broth, some salt, and a couple of limes. One couldn’t just go dumping water into a drunk, willy-nilly. That would lead to most of it coming back out, the hard way. Oh. And a spare chamber pot, for just that eventuality.
Anders returned with these supplies and noted that Artemis was sitting back against the headboard, sipping water as instructed. He set down his burdens, placing the chamber pot strategically close to the bed. The last thing he wanted was vomit on his sheets.
Anders had told him to drink, and that was one thing Artemis was good at. Drinking. He wasn’t sure where his rum had gone, but it wasn’t in his hand. He wasn’t even quite sure how he’d ended up here.
"Is this your bed?" Artemis asked Anders, words tripping over one another. "I’m in your bed, aren’t I?"
"It’s not much, but it’s mine. I didn’t want you falling down on the floor, out there, and cracking your head. You fall down on my bed, and maybe it’ll creak a little, but I don’t think you or the bed will break." Anders mixed some things together in a glass that he set aside, and then offered a potion to Artemis. "This won’t make you not drunk, but it will make you less drunk. I know you don’t think you want to be less drunk, but your body needs a break. You’re way past the fun kind of drunk and into the I’m not entirely sure how you’re even faking coherence kind of drunk. And since my instructions were to make sure you didn’t die, as your healer, I’m going to strongly recommend drinking this. I’m also going to warn you that drinking this is going to make you piss like the pageboy fountain in the Viscount’s gardens. Chamber pot’s next to the bed, and any water that comes out of you, we can replace."
Anders sat down at the foot of the bed, still holding the potion. "And I don’t advise standing up. Just aim off the edge of the bed, and I’ll make sure you hit the pot, when it comes to that."
Artemis only heard about every third word of that, but he understood the gist of ‘piss’ and ‘chamberpot’. He thought it best not to remind Anders that his aim was terrible. He blinked a few times at the potion held out to him before taking it. Again, drinking was something he could do. He swallowed it down and made a face at the taste.
"You know, Anders," Artemis slurred. Anders took the vial from him before he dropped it. "If you wanted me in your bed, all you had to do was ask." Or get him drunk, really, he admitted to himself with a giggle. Goodness knows he was drunk often enough these days.
"I’m not asking you much, while you’re this drunk, and sure as shit not about that. It’s Andraste’s blessing you even remember my name. Or yours. We’ll get you back to ‘amusingly drunk’, and then see how you feel about my bed." For all that Anders was willing to get himself two hundred percent too drunk to remember his name, and then let whoever wanted some take it, he wasn’t the sort to do that to someone else. And sure as hell not to Cormac’s little brother. He was pretty sure Cormac wouldn’t mind, as long as Artemis was sober enough to remember it, later. Anders, however, was probably going to mind until Artemis was back to easily stringing coherent sentences together, without slurring. People didn’t get to say yes to him, unless he was absolutely sure they had a good grip on what they were asking for. That was a lesson he’d learnt quickly.
He put the next glass in Artemis’s hand, this one salted vegetable broth with a squeeze of lime. "This one will make sure you don’t throw up the next glass of water. It’s sweet and salty."
Artemis squinted down at the newest drink. Still not rum, but he would trust Anders. "You’re a good friend," he said, though the way his words were slurring, it came out more as, "y’guffin". Anders patted his hand.
Down the drink, hand back the glass. Artemis had gotten the hang of it by now. "Need me to drink anything else?" he asked.
Anders poured him another glass of water. "And now, we wait. First, you’ll feel as bad as you look, but that’ll only be a couple of minutes. You should be a lot better after that. And then, maybe we’ll talk about getting you a bath and something clean to wear. Maybe a shave. Have you seen yourself, recently? You look like an overgrown dwarf."
Okay, that last might’ve been a bit of an exaggeration, but… a bit. Artemis was starting to look like he had a dead squirrel stuck to his face. It’d take a couple of weeks to finish filling out, but Anders could see the shape, already. He’d get Artemis less drunk, cleaner, and tucked into bed, where he could check on him, throughout the day. If he was still passed out when Anders meant to go to bed? Well, he hoped Cormac’s family had invested in earplugs, by now, because he was going back upstairs.
Artemis frowned, reaching up to feel the scruff on his jaw. How long had it been since he’d last shaved? Probably not since he started drinking. Drunken shaving was not something he would recommend. Drunken anything with blades was not something he would recommend.
Maker. The last days — weeks? — had passed in a haze of drunken brooding that would have put Fenris to shame. Except, no. Not Fenris. He was certainly not thinking about Fenris. He preferred it when he was too drunk to think about anything at all.
"I’m a mess, aren’t I?" Artemis murmured, staring down at Anders’s faded sheets, fingers still absently tracing lines of scruff.
"You’re recoverable." Anders nodded. "A little water, a bit of a wash, maybe some breakfast. You’ll be a whole mage again in no time."
He patted Artemis’s ankle and smiled. He’d scraped worse than this off the ground, more than once. Including several times it had been himself, and those like … six times Oghren had completely misjudged his own tolerance for foreign liqueurs. Those had been the worst. Anything Artemis might put him through wouldn’t hold a candle to those long and horrifying nights. He’d drunk himself into a stupor immediately after each one, desperately trying to blot it out of his memory.
"And I meant to ask you… was that the sound of your dog… laughing, when you guys got into that fight with Carver?"
That startled a chuckle out of Artemis. "Yes, he… he loves it when Carver tumbles down the stairs." He giggled again at the memory, at the thunk, thunk, thunk sound Carver’s ass had made on the staircase. But he knew Anders was a cat person. "Know any cat that would do that?"
"Well," Anders replied, "I suspect any cat in your house would push Carver down the stairs himself and then laugh."
"And make it look like the dog did it," Artemis agreed. Cats. Fur-demons, the lot of them. Artemis looked around him, at the small, spare room that Anders now called his. "This room could use a fur-demon, you know. A cat, I mean. Or dog. Something fuzzy to pee everywhere and yell at you when it’s hungry."
"But that’s what I have you for."
That earned Anders another smile from Artemis, amid all the scruff.
"I’m a little worried you haven’t been complaining about the lack of food, though. Especially since all of mine appears to be where I left it, and there are way too many stairs for me to imagine you making it to the kitchen upstairs and back." Anders reached out and brushed the hair out of Artemis’s face. "Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised you’re not eating my food. It’s mostly cheese, jerky, and dried fruit. Some broths I keep for emergencies. Like this one."
He hadn’t thought about getting another cat. Not really, anyway. He’d been setting cream out, when he still didn’t have a proper door, but any cat that wandered into Darktown was likely to end up as someone’s supper. But, now he had a door. And Artemis said he could. He didn’t think Cormac would complain, however determinedly Fereldan he was. A cat. He could have a cat. And nobody would make him give it away, this time. And if he was terribly lucky, it wouldn’t get possessed, either. So maybe he should keep it away from Merrill… Still. Real home. Real cat. … Real family, even if he was just borrowing that.
Speaking of cats, Artemis was leaning into his touch like one, eyes drifting shut. It was a simple thing, a brush of fingertips through hair, but it was warm and gentle, something Artemis didn’t realize he’d been aching for.
"Haven’t been hungry," Artemis said softly, and that was mostly true. Really, he hadn’t cared enough to do anything about his hunger, and rum filled his stomach as well as anything else. He remembered Bethany bringing him something at one point, some sort of sweet bread, the kind he liked. He remembered her teasing him gently, eyes too soft to be anything but concerned.
"Er." Artemis squirmed. "You said something about a chamberpot?"
Anders leaned forward, nudging Artemis toward the edge of the bed with one hand and picking up the chamberpot in the other. "Do you have hands enough to get your pants?" he finally remembered to ask.
Artemis blinked, trying to count limbs. "Um," he answered helpfully. "Maybe?" Two hands. He had two. Were they functioning correctly to undo his laces? No, apparently not, but not for lack of trying.
"Andraste’s flaming ass," Anders muttered, clutching the chamberpot between his knees as he quickly untied Artemis’s pants. "Tell me you can at least hold your own knob and aim roughly in the direction of the floor?"
He grabbed the hip of Artemis’s pants, holding tight not to let him fall off the bed, and put the chamberpot roughly back where it would need to go, with the other hand. Artemis probably wouldn’t hit the bed, in this position. Probably. Anders prayed under his breath.
"Aim. Roughly. Yes." Artemis let Anders manhandle him in whatever way he liked. "The floor is down, right?" One could never be sure after that much drinking. This made it, what, the third time Anders had seen his knob?
Luckily for everyone involved, Artemis managed to hit his target. Mostly. When he was done, he slumped against Anders, body sagging in relief. Some of the cottony fuzziness had left his brain, and Artemis wondered if that was a good thing.
Anders counted in his favour how many times he’d done this before. Nothing on the floor, but Artemis had hit his hand. He’d had worse. He’d live. Drunk piss was a mild inconvenience, compared to some of he things that came through his clinic fairly regularly. "Had a man piss up my ass, but never yet on my floor," he congratulated himself, leaning over to stick the chamberpot under the bed, where Artemis would be unlikely to kick it over.
And his hand was still wet. He sighed and wiped it off on the bottom of Artemis’s shirt. There was a change of clothes in his near future, anyway.
"How’s your head? You need another glass of water?"
"Murrgh," Artemis answered, laying his cheek on Anders’s shoulder. The feathers were soft if a bit tickly. Nothing at all like spiky armour.
Either Anders spoke drunk or he guessed correctly, since he pressed a glass of water into Artemis’s hand right after. Artemis tried to figure out if there was a way to drink said water without moving his head from the soft, tickly feathers. He tried, but gravity was not in his favour. After dribbling water on his chin, he sat up and took a long gulp. He didn’t realise how shaky and wrung-out he was feeling until some more sips of water made him feel almost human. Then he dropped his head back to Anders’s shoulder.
"You know, if you’re going to keep getting me all wet like this, we can just skip to the bath," Anders teased, gently stroking Artemis’s hair. Artemis’s greasy hair. Ah, well, his hand would get clean when he had to wash that hair, anyway. Cormac should be doing this, a voice in the back of his head insisted, but at the same time, no, Cormac really should not be doing this. This had gotten far enough to require a healer. He’d done worse. He’d been stabbed by worse – and that was just counting patients.