Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 33
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anders ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: M (L2 N3 S3 V0 D0)
Warnings: Three naked mages in the cellar, Artemis hopes that fabric’s stain resistant, oh my god Cormac, Anders is confused, teh gay, awkward naked conversations about love
Notes: YOU TWO ARE HOPELESS. HOPELESS! Poor Artie…
Artemis stood just beyond the doorway, out of sight, and listened to them. He shook his head. He’d never met two people so obvious and so oblivious at the same time.
From the doorway, he threw the dildo so that it just missed Cormac’s head. Damn that man and his shield. His aim had been good that time! "For the record," he said, leaning against the doorframe, "I think you’re both eternally fucked stupid. By each other." He wondered how many dildos he’d have to throw at them to make them see sense.
"Come back to bed, Artie," Cormac called, picking up the dildo from where it landed next to the couch. "Er, couch. Come back to the couch. We’ve got a naked and beautiful Warden with a raging boner, and I’m pretty sure he means to let us misuse him all night."
"Most of the night, anyway. It’s possible to wear me out. It’s happened." Anders stretched his legs down the couch.
"You’ve passed out on me." Cormac laughed. "The first time, when I pulled out and woke you up, and you were so pissed at me… How was I supposed to know you wanted me to keep going?"
"I thought I told you. I was that tired." Anders rubbed his face. "Yes, come back to the couch, Artemis, and save me from your brother’s uncannily accurate memory."
"You two are both just affirming my ‘fucked stupid’ theory," Artemis said dryly. And it was tempting… tempting to go back to the couch and kneel between those long legs, to see if, between the two of them, they could wring a real sound of Anders. But watching them, listening to him, made Artemis think of green eyes and a growly voice and what he really wanted, what these two idiots already had without realizing it.
"Cormac," Artemis sighed because he was just this side of fucked stupid himself, "just man up and tell the idiot mage you’re in love with him."
"What?" Anders blinked owlishly at Artemis and then squinted over his shoulder at Cormac.
"I’m in love with your knob. We’ve established that." Cormac patted Anders’s hip and squinted at his brother. "Where the fuck are you getting this? Did we fuck you stupid, too?"
Oddly, his mother had also suggested it, at some point. "Have you been talking to mum or something? I figured Bethy had just shooed her off one time too many and she needed someone to hassle about a relationship. But, this is not the conversation I want to have with a gorgeous, naked mage in my lap. So, please, let us not have it."
Anders stretched his fingers, invitingly. "Come on, Artie. Show him what you can do to me. I bet we can get a sulk out of it."
"I do not sulk! And I will not be sulking. I’ll be applying a little spark to go with whatever he’s got to offer. Maybe a bit of a cold touch right where you like it…" Cormac’s fingers traced teasingly along Anders’s knob.
Artemis wiped a hand over his face. And that was another temptation, showing off something he could do to Anders that his brother couldn’t. He walked up to the entangled pair and cupped one of Anders’s cheeks, bending down to kiss the other one, before he smacked his brother upside the head with his other hand. Cormac sputtered and flapped a hand, trying to shoo off any further potential slapping.
"I know you don’t want to have this conversation, Cormac," he said, frustration creeping into his tone. "But are you ever going to?" Artemis gave his brother a look he was used to seeing from their mother, a look that said ‘I’m telling you this for your own good, young man‘.
Sighing, he reached for his pants and pulled them on.
"Pants? Why are you wearing pants?" Cormac looked dismayed and confused. "No, no, no. This is not a pants-wearing occasion."
"Aww, Artie, don’t go!" Anders grabbed the pants, even though Artemis was already wearing them. "You got me an awesome couch, and we’ve barely even gotten anything on it, yet!"
"Is this because I didn’t tell Anders I’m in love with him?" Cormac still looked confused, possibly even more so. "Anders? Am I in love with you?"
"You’re asking me? I’m a mage. What do I know about love?" Anders shrugged.
"I’m one too, and he thinks I should know. He’s a mage. He thinks it’s true." The strokes of Cormac’s fingers along Anders’s length became shorter, more frustrated.
"Yeah, but the two of you weren’t in the Circle, and I was. I… I don’t know. I just know it’s something I’m not supposed to have, which, unlike every other thing I’m not supposed to have, I didn’t go gallivanting after, because it seemed like a real dick thing to do to someone." Anders looked up at Artemis apologetically. "I didn’t mean to piss you off. Please stay?"
Artemis shook his head, staring at the far wall. His plan — albeit a shitty plan — had been to leave them to talk this out, but this was painful. Throwing the word ‘love’ between them was like hitching two untrained dogs to a sled and expecting them to know how to pull it without running each other over.
"Maker." He plopped back onto the couch… and immediately regretted it, cringing at the ache in his backside. "I’m not pissed off, Anders. I’m just…" He shifted until he could find a position that was reasonably comfortable. And Maker, it was distracting having this conversation with Cormac’s hand on Anders’s dick. "That’s sad, is all." He shrugged, helplessly, unsure how to put it.
Anders had issues, issues he wasn’t sure he wanted to touch or was prepared to touch without making worse. But Cormac? How could his own brother not know?
"I know you two. You’d do anything for each other, and…" Artemis squirmed helplessly again. "And… what do you think love is if not what you have?" He was terrible at this, at the whole ‘using words’ thing, at the whole… ‘thinking about love without thinking about Fenris’ thing.
That bookshelf. Over there. It was crooked. Artemis got up to fuss with it. Yes. Very crooked. Best to reorganize the whole thing.
"Isn’t it that sappy, awkward shit people do? Outrageous shit with flower petals and declarations in the street?" Cormac shrugged. "Or like when mum talks about how dad risked his life just to come see her, so she gave up everything she had to run away with him to Ferelden?" He tipped his head a bit more towards Anders. "Ferelden, where neither of my parents is from. Although we don’t actually know where dad’s from. He wouldn’t tell, but he looked Rivaini."
"I heard it was the thing that made you foolish. The unwillingness to make the necessary sacrifices, so only one person would fall, instead of two. That it was selfish and dangerous, and the kind of privilege only good, right people blessed by the Maker could have, the freedom to be so selfish. But, if it made it more likely that you’d die and lose everything you were fighting for… It just sounded stupid. I read it in books, and it sounds like getting lured by a desire demon. Why would I do that to myself or anyone else?" Anders finally twisted in a way that he knew was going to leave a stain on the couch, as Cormac slipped out of him. "I have amazing friends like you and Cormac and all the rest of those crazies we play cards with. What do I need with some selfish, dangerous obsession that’ll end in death?"
And just below the surface was the story Anders still wasn’t telling because he wasn’t sure it was true, but it kept nagging at him. He’d fallen in love once. Only once. He’d fallen in love with Karl, and Karl had died because of him. Died at his hand. Died Tranquil and begging to be killed. Why would he ever do that to someone again? Maybe it was a horrible coincidence, but it went exactly the way they’d always said it would go, in the Tower. Tranquility and death.
Everything on the shelf in front of Artemis looked crooked because the shelf itself was crooked, and Artemis wasn’t comparing Anders to this shelf in his head, nope, except that he kind of was. This was worse than he realised. This was more than denial. This was years of conditioning and abuse, of shaking out the thoughts in Anders’s head and putting them back together wrong.
As he replaced the books on the straightened shelf, they started to tremble and knock together, and Artemis had to screw his eyes shut and get his anger under control.
"Artemis?" Anders sounded concerned, and that was the opposite of what Artemis wanted
He glanced over his shoulder and explained, "Templars. Templar-induced earthquakes."
"The ones who did that to you." He kept putting books back on the shelf, kept his movements slow and measured. Breathe. Breathe and don’t think of murder. "Anders, I am so sorry." He was ill-equipped to handle this. He could barely keep himself together unless he was drunk.
Cormac looked even more confused, which was now verging on comic. "I know what love is, for us, Artie. Don’t you doubt me for a minute. But, there’s that romantic shit out there, the other kind of love, and I’ve got nothing for it. I don’t have a use for it. I’m not trying to do it. And he doesn’t want it. I’m not dad, no matter how much I look like him. He had it. I … just don’t. And I have this beautiful and charming Warden who doesn’t mind that worth a damn. And Isabela, but who doesn’t have Isabela."
"She’s worth having. A few times, at least," Anders agreed. "So, let’s all agree that we have no idea what you’re talking about, Artie. And no amount of rearranging my bookshelf — thank you, by the way — is going to fix that. We don’t see what you’re seeing. Or if we do see it, it doesn’t mean the thing to us that it seems to mean to you. I had that trouble when I got to the Tower. I had to learn a whole other set of rude gestures, because nobody understood the ones I brought from home."
"Culture clash, with my own brother. But, I guess I’ve got that with Carver, too. Or so say the black eyes I keep letting him give me." Cormac laughed and pulled his knees up, wrapping his legs around Anders’s shins to pull them up too. He grabbed some article of clothing off the floor and draped it across them. "So, yeah. Just… tell us?"
"I… er." Words. Artemis’s head was full of them but none of them seemed useful just then. The shelf was neatened, the books organized by height, but he kept fiddling with them, straightening them unnecessarily so he wouldn’t have to look at them. "Well, it’s… the way you two look at each other," he began. "It’s more than just ‘I want to ride your flagpole’. It’s… ‘you fart daisies and I want to ride your flagpole’." Maker, he was bad at this. "Like… like your entire world revolves around one another. And you’re always talking about each other, which was a little disconcerting the first few times I sat on your dick, Anders."
Anders snorted and gestured around him. "Can’t say I’m sorry if this is where it ended up."
"Anyway, what I’m saying is… you two just… know each other." Where was Bethany? She’d be better at this. "You know each other, you adore each other, and you still constantly want to be with each other. Love doesn’t have to be anything fancier than that, you know. It’s just finding someone you can’t picture your life without."
And yes, that sounded terribly sappy, at the end there. Books. Books needed straightening. There was another shelf over there. Yes.
Cormac considered it. ‘Can’t picture your life without’… "Hole in the world, Urthemiel," he said.
"Hole in your ass, Dirthamen," Anders replied, bursting into laughter. If that was all it was, it was much too late. He’d kill and die for either of these brothers. For most of their friends. He’d healed Fenris while the elf was trying to kill him. What a hole that would be in the world, if any of them weren’t in it. He had so few friends.
They howled like idiots for nearly a full minute, before Anders untangled himself and stumbled to his feet, taking the… he thought that was his tunic in one hand and holding it at an appropriate height as he crossed the room, putting his other hand on Artemis’s shoulder. "We’ll consider what you said. Please, come back to bed. You’re getting twitchy again, and I’ve got a cold spot and the half a bottle you left next to the couch." He preferred Cormac’s company, but not tremendously, and he really preferred not to watch Artemis suffer, especially if there was something he could be doing about it.
"It’s like talking to a wall," Artemis muttered, wondering if he’d been any help at all. But he smiled at Anders and ducked under his arm, allowing himself to be steered back towards the couch. The couch which he suspected he’d be cleaning, when all this was done.