Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 27
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂
Rating: T (L2 N2 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Anton demonstrates a relationship skill!, nightmares, PTSD, references to past systemic abuse, demons, no blood magic
Notes: Cullen has nightmares. Cullen also has a tightly wound smite reflex. This building also contains Anders.
It was like an explosion. The ripple of emptiness blew through the house, and terrified screaming followed in its wake. Cormac was out of bed before he even registered having gotten up. Smite. Templars. He grabbed the glaive, instead of his staff — man cannot be dependent upon magic, in the face of Templars. Running down the hall, he spotted the dog pressed up against Anton’s door. Screaming from… Anton’s room? Screaming that didn’t sound like Anton? Any minute he was going to wake up again, and this was all going to have been some bizarrely stupid dream. Still, just in case…
Cormac threw the door open, only to find Anton naked in bed, with another man. Not that unusual, really. Another man who was curled up into a ball, shaking and wailing. "Andraste’s blessed tits," he sighed, leaning against the doorframe, as the dog pushed past him into the room and climbed up on the bed. "Scared the fuck right out of me."
Still, there was the matter of that absurdly massive wave of smite…
Carver’s door burst open, and his youngest brother appeared in hall with a sword in his hand and murder in his eyes. Bethany’s door cracked open, and Carver murmured something to her before pushing her gently back inside and shutting the door.
"What happened?" Artemis came running up the stairs, shirtless and unlaced pants low on his hips, hair sticking every which way. He was holding Anders’s stone dildo aloft like a weapon. "I heard screaming that wasn’t Cormac!"
"Will all of you fuck off?" Anton snapped from the vicinity of the bed.
"It’s all right, Artie. Looks like Anton’s Templar boyfriend has nightmares." Cormac started putting the pieces together, and the picture he was coming up with was not a pretty one.
"Yes, okay? Yes. He has nightmares. I didn’t know, or I’d have warned you." Anton stroked Cullen’s back, as the Templar curled closer to the mabari that had appeared at his side. "Now just—" He flapped a hand at the door.
Cormac wasn’t sure whether to be more concerned about the fact the whole house had just eaten a smite, or the fact that doing that couldn’t possibly be good for a person. And certainly not at that intensity. Well, if Artie was standing here, holding that, Anders was already awake. Not that Anders slept well, either. "Herbalist? Sleeping potion?"
"Herbalist," Artemis repeated. "Right." He suddenly realised he was still holding Anders’s dildo. He coughed and shoved the thing down the back of his pants while Carver made a disgusted noise. "I’ll get him."
The Smite had hit them both in the basement, and Anders had turned ten different shades of pale. Artemis should probably check on him, anyway, to make sure he was all right.
Anton continued to glare half-heartedly at his remaining brothers while Cullen’s breathing started to even out, his stare looking less glazed and terrified. "Are you with me, Cullen?" he asked, hand still rubbing circles into his back, sliding up to squeeze his nape. The Templar was sticky with sweat.
The dog licked Cullen’s cheek and made an inquisitive sound.
"Anton?" Cullen blinked and looked even more confused than usual. "You’re not real. How—?"
"Not real? Pfft. Ask your ass if I’m real. I can see the teeth marks from here." Anton grinned boldly. "Sorry about that, by the way. Didn’t think you’d bruise that easy."
Cormac slowly got his head out of all the times he’d heard Anders say things like that. ‘You’re not real’, ‘I won’t be tempted’, ‘you can’t make me believe’. He leaned the glaive on the wall and stepped into the room. "Wherever you were, Ser … Cullen, is it? You’re back now. Anton’s very much the real thing, to my lasting and regular regret." The next words, he nearly choked on, but said them anyway, because they always seemed to help Anders, even if he couldn’t quite guarantee the truth of them, in this case. "You’re safe here. Whatever it was, it’s gone. It can’t get to you, here."
All the hair on the back of his neck stood up. He was comforting a Templar. A Templar he’d just found naked in his brother’s bed. But, Anton had made every indication that he intended this Templar to live, that this was somehow something he wanted. And, frankly, after all the things Cormac had done in his life, there was very little he could say about it. And none he’d say right now.
Cullen pet the dog’s back the way Anton was petting his. He still looked pale and shaky, eyes drawn inward. Anton hated that he’d seen that look on so many people, people he cared about.
Artemis returned sans dildo with Anders in tow. Anders who was, thankfully (or regrettably) more clothed and looking considerably more pissed. There was a Templar here. A Templar sleeping under the same roof he was, while he and Artemis were up to all sorts of magical naughtiness. There would be Words later, assuming he could keep Justice from rattling his cage any harder.
Except Anders stopped in the doorway, face going horribly pale again. He knew that Templar. "I can’t…" he breathed, and Cormac and Cullen looked up at the same time.
Cullen looked even less good than he had. "Maleficar."
"Whoa, no. Stop." Cormac stepped directly in the way. There would be none of this, in his house. "That’s no maleficar. That’s a Grey Warden. There is no blood magic in my house. The Hawkes do not stand for that sort of thing." Well, except Merrill, but she wasn’t in his house.
"Kinloch Hold," Anders said from behind him. "I was in the hole. It was never about blood magic."
"They warned me about you." Cullen started to hyperventilate.
"Did they warn you about what they did to me?" Anders demanded, pushing Cormac aside and peeling his shirt off with the other hand. "I left. I joined the Wardens. I was at the Battle of Amaranthine, and now I’m here. But, I’m not an apostate, and I’m sure as shit not a maleficar. I’m a Warden, like the man says."
A faint blue glow danced across Anders’s skin, and he struggled to keep Justice in check. The Templar wasn’t dangerous, yet. But, fear led to violence, with most of them.
"Oh, shit," Artemis muttered. Maybe they would have been better off with the dildo instead of Anders. "Oh, shit," he said again when he got a good look at Anders shirtless for the first time. He, Cormac, and Carver stared at one end of the scar over his heart while Cullen and Anton stared at the other. Cullen looked like he was trying to swallow his tongue.
"Okay, this?" said Anton, smile a touch hysterical as he stood up, putting himself between Anders and Cullen. "Not helping. Will all of you please just get out? We can discuss this at length later when no one is glowing or freaking out!"
"Okay. Okay, he’s right," Artemis said, hands hovering over Anders’s bare shoulders but pulling them back when scarred skin flashed blue again. He sent a pleading look Cormac’s way.
Cormac winked at Anton and stepped back up. "Artie, get Carver out of here. I got this."
"Got this? Get it out of my room," Anton demanded.
"Listen the fuck up, all both of you, and you too, Anton. I said no one was getting hurt, here, and I meant it. This is our house, yours and mine, and I don’t see either of us standing for it, from or at either of these two. I don’t know what the fuck went on at Kinloch Hold, not really, but somebody’s telling me at a time other than now, because I only know two people out of that tower and neither of you sleep right, and that tells me the problem goes a whole lot further than some one-off."
It killed him to drop that, but if he could paint Cullen and Anders with the same brush, there was a chance they’d all walk out of here, and Cullen wouldn’t come back with a whole lot more gentlemen in platemail.
"I was at Amaranthine," Anders said, again. "You can send a message to the Warden-Commander, there. Just do it quietly."
"Uldred?" Cullen asked, squinting suspiciously.
"Wynne. I heard, but I was already gone. I’m sorry." The glow finally broke. Anders had always wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t gotten out before that. He liked to think he’d have helped Enchanter Wynne.
He let Cormac lead him toward the door, before remembering why he’d come up here in the first place. "Sleeping potion, if you think it’ll help," he said, leaving it on a shelf and walking out without his shirt. "I’m not who you think I am."
Artemis shut the door behind them, leaving Anton, Cullen, and the dog to work things out in the dark. He’d coerced Carver into going back to bed after an empty threat to Force push him down the stairs. It might have gotten him sent to the Gallows, but at least the dog would be laughing.
He waved Cormac and Anders away from the door, fighting not to stare at the mess of scars on Anders’s chest. "By Andraste’s supple buttcheeks," he cursed, running a hand through his hair, "what are we going to do about this?"
There was a Templar here. A Templar who recognized Anders. A Templar who now knew they were consorting with mages and had almost been in the building when Artemis had made the floor shake. This was not the time to panic. He was trying to lessen the overall panic, not add to it.
"As little as possible. Anton’s got it. All it takes is a letter from the Warden-Commander, and everything will be fine. Amaranthine’s not that far from here." Cormac was determinedly optimistic.
"The Commander will confirm I’m a Warden," Anders muttered, arms wrapping around his chest. "I should really send a letter, myself. I should really apologise. She thinks I’m dead. I’m sure she thinks I’m dead."
"Possibly because you should be dead," Cormac pointed out, rubbing Anders’s back. "You want to tell me why you’re still alive?"
"No." Anders grinned, but it didn’t reach his eyes. "But, if you get me a shirt and a very large glass of ale, I will." He paused. "And you can shut up about it," he hissed. "A very large glass of ale."
Artemis didn’t have as much faith in Anton as Cormac did, but he swallowed his protests for now. Knowing Anton, this was likely a one-off thing, anyway. Maybe he didn’t even know he was a Templar. Or maybe not, as he thought of his little brother shielding what’s-his-name from Anders and Justice.
"Downstairs, then," he said, indicating the cellar with a jerk of his thumb. "Plenty of shirts and drinks there." Well, not plenty of shirts, but Anders’s shirts. The man was too tall to fit into theirs comfortably.
Artemis doubted he was invited to Anders’s ‘storytime’, but then he could just fret in the wine cellar. Maybe he’d organize the bottles by size this time instead of alphabetically.
Anders nodded, still with that stiff smile, and followed the younger mage.