Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 31
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Aveline ♀, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S2 V1 D0)
Warnings: Anders gets painted up like a sexy raccoon, dick jokes, Artemis learns to share, Cormac’s good with whatever, Anders is so down, teh gay
Notes: First, Anders gets very unlucky. Then Anders gets very lucky.
Anders had no idea how he got roped into this. Despite being in the Hanged Man, he couldn’t blame it on the alcohol (thanks, Justice), but maybe blood magic. Yes. Blood magic. That would make sense with Merrill around.
"Try not to blink, Anders," she was saying as she swept a stick of kohl along his lower lashline. She pulled her hand back. "Like that. See, you’re blinking."
"Most of us do that from time to time," Anders said, eyes watering where she’d accidentally poked him.
Isabela clucked and took the stick from Merrill. "Let me try," she said, bending over him. Having that kind of cleavage to stare at made it easier to not blink. "There we go. Oh, this is looking lovely. What do you think? Should we go for a nice smoky look?"
"Oh, I don’t know. Don’t you think that might be a little heavy?" Merrill leaned back for a better look. "Maybe if he shaved, but won’t it make his face look too thick?"
"I was thinking the thin lines didn’t give quite enough oomph." Isabela tapped the wrapped end of the stick against her lip. "I can’t tell. Aveline, what do you think? Fine or smoky?"
Aveline sat across the table determinedly studying her pint. "I think you should leave me out of this. He looks like a whore."
"Considering how often I get offers, I don’t think that’s got anything to do with them poking me in the eye," Anders retorted.
"And everything to do with them wanting to poke you somewhere else," Isabela quipped. She studied her handiwork, taking Anders by the chin and tilting his head back and forth in the light. "Alright. We’ll keep it light for now, but we can always dress it up later. But what do you think about a bit of rouge?"
Merrill hummed speculatively, but Anders was shaking his head in Isabela’s hand. "No," he said. "I think I draw the line, there."
"Well, if you could actually draw a line, you could have applied your own make-up," Merrill replied.
"What do you think we should do with his hair?" Merrill asked Isabela, who hummed and ran her fingers through his blond locks.
"What’s wrong with my hair?"
"The dork-knob has to go," Isabela decided.
"The what? You never say that to Varric! I wear my hair exactly the way he does!" Anders started to work himself into a right state.
"That is because Varric is a dwarf. You, serah, are anything but. It puts a whole other angle on it, and darling, it is not flattering." Isabela sat on the edge of the table and crossed her legs, tapping her chin thoughtfully.
"Hot-crimp?" Merrill suggested. "I bet we could borrow a press from Edwina. She looks like she uses one."
"A hot what?" Anders asked, voice a bit squeaky. "Now you’re just making up words. Or is that something else you plan to poke me in the eye with?"
"Ooh! I’ll go ask her!" Isabela said as though Anders hadn’t opened his mouth. She scampered off to find Edwina, her grin far too gleeful for anyone’s comfort.
Anders gave Aveline a plaintive look. "Don’t look at me," she said. "You’re on your own."
Merrill patted Anders on the cheek. "You look so sweet. You’ll see."
"I’m amazingly good looking to begin with! I hardly see why any of this is necessary!" Anders was starting to look a bit whiffy.
"You should stop playing card games you can’t win," Aveline pointed out. "That’s why this is necessary. You did this to yourself. And? I’m not involved, so you still owe me six silver."
"I — what?" Anders’s blood ran cold as Isabela came back with a wavy metal thing in two parts.
Merrill jumped up and headed for the bar. "I’ll get the water. You’ll singe the ends, otherwise!"
After a few minutes and much panicked yowling, by the fire, Anders had wavy hair that was parted a little to the side. It hung down into his face, a bit, and he blew irritatedly at it. And that was when Cormac and Anton walked in.
"I still say you cheated," Cormac insisted, handing his brother a sovereign.
"Of course I did. And when you can tell me how, I’ll consider giving this back." Anton looked entirely unrepentant. He clinked his tankard with Cormac’s and took a drink…
…only to spit it out when he saw Anders.
Anders crossed his arms and glared at him through crimped hair. "Shut up," he said. "I look pretty."
"Yes, you do!" Merrill agreed, still fussing with his hair. He swatted her hands away and tried to get his hair out of his eyes.
Anton was still struggling to remember how to breathe. "Sweet Maker," he choked, eyes tearing. "I don’t know what Corff put in this drink, but I’m getting another after this!"
"Is Varric doing puppet shows again?" Cormac asked, before he looked where Anton was looking and… "By the profound and mercifully squishy tits of Our Lady… Anders? What— I just… How? Merrill, what did you do to him? And why?"
"He’s owed me eight silver for three weeks. He should stop losing at Wicked Grace." Merrill’s fingers darted back to Anders’s hair, and she finished weaving a plait along the side of the part, keeping the hair from falling quite so obnoxiously forward. Instead, it fell just to the side of Anders’s eye.
Cormac looked like his brain might leak out his ear. It should have been ridiculous, this unshaven apostate in crimped hair and kohl, but… the world was lucky they were both men, Cormac decided, or the next generation of Hawkes would be even deadlier than the sons of his father. And where the fuck had that thought come from? Vanity. Strictly vanity.
"Merrill insists a smoky eye would have been too much," Isabela was nattering on. "He does have such pretty eyes, though."
"Oh, I disagree," said Anton, crouching in front of Anders to get a better look, wearing a devilish grin that made Anders nervous. "I think you should go all out. Smoky eye, lipstick. The whole thing!"
Isabela clucked her tongue. "Now, Anton, everyone knows that you only play up one feature at a time. Eyes or lips, not both. Unless you want to look like a whore."
"He already looks like a whore," Aveline said into her drink. "And so do you."
"Thank you, everyone, for the input," Anders sighed. He reached up to rub his eyes, but Merrill smacked his hand away. He looked up to see Cormac still staring at him with that odd look on his face. "And you look like you just got kicked in the head. It’s that bad, isn’t it."
"Bad? What?" Cormac blinked. "I didn’t say that!"
"You didn’t have to." Anders stood up, nearly bowling Merrill and Anton over. "And now, since you won’t let me wipe it off, here, I’m going to walk through Darktown like this, so I can go wash my face. Thank you, my debt is paid."
"Why don’t you walk home with me, instead?" Cormac offered, guzzling his drink and leaving the tankard on the table.
"I really don’t want to hear it from you, either," Anders grumbled.
"I’m sure I can find something you want to hear." Whatever that was on Cormac’s face, it wasn’t disgust.
Anton squinted at his brother. "Really?" he said. "The frizzy-haired raccoon look does it for you?"
"I do not look like a raccoon!" Anders sputtered. It was a hollow protest, since he didn’t know what he looked like, exactly. He glanced about for a looking-glass. "I don’t. Do I?"
"A sexy raccoon," Isabela said with an unreassuring eyebrow waggle.
"A whorish raccoon," Aveline muttered.
Merrill pressed a hand-mirror into Anders’s hand.
"Yes," Anton said dryly, "the next time I see a raccoon flashing some leg on a street corner, I will think of Anders."
"Maker," Anders groaned, looking at his reflection.
"If raccoons looked like you, I’d have some much bigger problems than I already do," Cormac reassured him. "Besides, you’re much too tall, you don’t have a fluffy tail, and I have never known a raccoon to be … beloved of Urthemiel."
It had become something of an ongoing joke, between them.
"I would hope you haven’t, or I would have some serious questions about you, Cormac." Anders rose up on the next inhale, spine straightening, shoulders lifting. He raised one eyebrow and peered down at Cormac, as he handed the mirror back to Merrill.
"Oh, nice," Isabela breathed, taking in the shift. "Yeah! Shave and you’ll be giving Serendipity lessons! We dress you up a little more and we can tell people you’re the Empress of Orlais!"
"I haven’t been checking out raccoons," Cormac muttered. "Which was my entire point. I’m not into raccoons. I’m into you. Therefore…"
"Therefore, get me out of here so I can take off this ridiculous make-up," Anders said.
With the way Cormac was looking at him, he suspected make-up wasn’t the only thing he’d be taking off. Well. Wasn’t that interesting.
"Still playing Wicked Grace?" asked Anton as he pulled up a chair. He put his feet on the table and wondered if, somewhere, Artemis was twitching. "Deal me in! I’ve been practising." His grin was the dangerous kind.
"With the dog?" Isabela asked, eyebrow quirking. "Again?"
"So, six days in, and I’m sure it was six, because I remember the clank of the flags going up, every morning — six days in, I’m sick of it. I told him if he didn’t shut up, we were going to get caught, but Howe had the memory of a geriatric nug, after about the seventh drink. I’d call him the bastard son of a bastard son, if I didn’t know the man who killed his father." Anders settled his head more closely against Cormac’s shoulder and flexed his thigh against Artemis’s lap. They’d been drinking for hours, and with every story Anders told, he sprawled a little further across the two brothers at opposite ends of his new couch. The couch, of course, being how this all started. The brothers had moved the ornate green couch into the cellar with a combination of well-placed shields, repulsion fields, and force pushes, finally settling it on the wall between the two doors to Anders’s bedroom, which is where he’d found them on it, already halfway through the first bottle of wine.
"But, I showed up to breakfast wearing nothing but a flag tied to my knob, and demanded to know if they were quite through."
Cormac laughed so hard Anders’s face slid down his chest. "Only you, Anders. Only you…"
"I don’t know. In that crowd, I’m not sure it was that unusual of a decision." Anders shifted, putting his ass in Artemis’s lap and his head in Cormac’s. He bit Cormac’s thigh, before he went on. "So, there’s the Commander, laughing hysterically into her porridge, and her pet assassin and the Dead Legion girl just look at each other, stand up, and salute."
Cormac couldn’t breathe, he was laughing so hard. It took three tries to choke out, "But, did it look good on you?"
Artemis’s face was red with suppressed laughter, his shoulders shaking.
"Oh Cormac. You know everything looks good on me."
"Not as good as everything looks off you," Artemis slurred. He hiccuped and covered his mouth. "Did I just say that out loud?"
"Yes, you did," Anders said, patting Artemis’s hand, the one holding the neck of a half-empty bottle. "But you’re not wrong." Artemis grinned at him and patted one of the thighs in his lap.
"And that’s why it’s the flagpole, and yes, I’ve run a flag up it," Anders concluded, rubbing the back of his head against Cormac. He looked thoughtfully up at both brothers. "Two Hawkes and a brand new couch. I’m feeling lucky, here."
"Feeling anything about getting lucky?" Cormac asked, setting the bottle he’d been holding next to the couch, before he could manage to drop it on anything important. Like Anders.
Anders squirmed in Artemis’s lap. "Oh, I might be. Maybe. Might be feeling something about getting lucky poking me in the cheek, or the other cheek."
"Hey," Artemis whined. "S’my turn with the flagpole." He threw an arm across Anders’s hips as though to guard said flagpole from his brother. Anders smirked and wriggled some more, making the younger brother squeak. Two Hawkes laying claim to his body? He’d have to get more couches, if this is how it ended.
"Now, now," Anders said, "didn’t you ever learn to share with your brother?"
He was travelling uncharted territory there, he knew from the look on Artemis’s face. They may have stumbled dangerously close to that territory, maybe dipped a toe or an ankle into it, but.
Artemis made an indecipherable noise into his bottle, cheeks and ears flushing red.
"Hey, if Artie’s into it, I’m game." Cormac shrugged. He knew they could put Anders to good use, between the two of them. Shit, each of them had already put Anders to some fantastic uses, alone, and there was no doubt in his mind that two Hawkes were better than one. And two mage Hawkes? Good thing Anders had a talent for healing and that Warden stamina.
Anders licked his lips and smiled coyly at Artemis. "If you get your turn with the flagpole, will you share the rest of me with Cormac?"
He wasn’t sure how this would go — if Artie was drunk enough, if maybe he should be less drunk for something like this, but this was an opportunity Anders would kick himself if he didn’t at least try for. Strongly encourage in favour of. He might even consider getting down on his knees and pleading for it, but he’d save that stunt for plan B.
Without removing his lips from the bottle at hand, Artemis eyed the man half in his lap. Anders noted the look and arched and wriggled invitingly in a way that was certainly cheating. Getting him drunk was cheating. Telling him funny stories about the flagpole was cheating.
Anders waited for Artemis to stutter an excuse and leave, but Artie made a noise that wasn’t a no before he set his bottle down too. His other hand was still on Anders’s thigh and kneading. Well, that was promising.
"It would take a bit more persuading than that," Artemis said, drunk enough for his smile to be just this side of wicked.
Cormac watched this unfold, wishing there was someone he could bet on the results with. Almost a pity Anton wasn’t here, if only for the fifty silver he had no doubt he could take off his brother, finally. He was smarter than to say anything, at this point, unless Anders addressed him. Which he didn’t.
Instead, Anders rolled off the couch and landed on his knees at Artemis’s feet. Nudging those feet apart, he positioned himself between them and rubbed his face against Artemis’s thigh. "Please, Artie? Oh, please, won’t you share me with Cormac? I promise I’ll be good." He leaned forward and pressed his lips to a particular bulge of increasing size. "I’ll do whatever you want, Artie. Anything. Just let me have you both."
He was a little too good at that, and for reasons he’d probably never admit. Still, he managed to cram the few tendrils of memory back into the black heaps of shit he tried not to remember, and made desperate little sounds against Artemis’s lap.
Those sounds went straight to the tail of Artemis’s spine. He reflected that, in the state he was in, it was either this or making some more lonely earthquakes upstairs. And he’d be lying if he hadn’t thought about it, not with the way Cormac talked, and it wouldn’t be all that different from the night of the party, would it? Yes. Justification was the word of the night, a word that had too many syllables for his drunk and aroused brain to handle.
Artemis tucked a lock of blond hair behind Anders’s ear, the touch and his smile affectionate even as his hips nudged forward.
"Hard to say no to that," he murmured, and Anders grinned against him.
Artemis nodded desperately, breathlessly.