Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 44
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: M (L2 N3 S3 V0 D0)
Warnings: Faint whiffs of angst, no earthquakes, Cormac opens his mouth, buttsex
Notes: Artemis and Fenris are ridiculously adorable. So are Cormac and Anders, if maybe a little more smutty and wicked.
"Come home with me," Fenris had said, when they woke. "Come home with me, to my — to our house. That you bought for me."
There was, he’d decided, no better place to start things over than where they had come apart in the first place. Certainly, this would involve stopping at a few places in the market, on the way back, because he knew he was missing some things that Artemis would not approve of. Like food. But, he hadn’t been expecting company. He’d been expecting to go to that wretched party alone, to leave alone, and to come home to throw more bottles at the corpses! Like any other day…
He let Artemis make a few decisions about what they needed. He would have allowed any number of such decisions, but those were the only suggestions he’d had, so that was what Fenris added to his admittedly somewhat short list. He wasn’t in the habit of entertaining at home. Hence the corpses. He wasn’t really in the habit of entertaining at all. And so, when they got to the door, he opened it, saying simply, "I’m sorry."
Artemis more or less knew what to expect. He’d been to Fenris’s — his — their — mansion before, after all, though really only in the foyer and the front hall. But he’d been a guest then and aware that some people found it insulting when you started cleaning their things without permission. He remembered neatening a bookshelf the last time, but that hardly counted.
"I see your… friends are still here," Artemis said, indicating the corpse in the foyer with a wave of his hand. And Maker, but that was disgusting. The corpses were little more than bone at this point, bones with strings of something fleshy holding them together.
And then there was the dust. And the spiderwebs. And the broken furniture. And… Maker, even the walls and ceiling were a mess.
"Hang on. Are those mushrooms?"
"Mushrooms? Yes. I suppose they are." Fenris eyed them, curiously, as if this were the first time he’d noticed mushrooms growing out of his floor. Which it may well have been. "You don’t suppose any of them are edible, do you?"
He’d never noticed them, and he wasn’t much in the habit of identifying fungi. Other edible plants he was pretty good at, courtesy of spending years in foul and questionable parts of the Marches. Sometimes, he almost missed that old tower outside of Tantervale. Unfortunately, that place had been … enchanted, in some interesting ways, and the magic had gnawed at his nerves. It had the remains of a lovely orchard, to one side, though. He wondered if he could do that, here. He wondered if he could go back and bring those apples, here. He returned to his senses with a faint smile — was this what it meant to have a home? — sure he’d missed something important.
"Yeah, I, um." Artemis scratched his arm, movements a bit agitated. "I wouldn’t trust mushrooms growing out of the floorboards. At least, not unless we give them to Carver first." Though that might be more effort than it was worth. Carver distrusted anything food-related Artemis handed him after that incident with the raccoon when they were younger, no matter how much Artemis reminded him that it was ‘one time’!
This was just the entryway, Artemis reminded himself. The whole mansion couldn’t look like this, could it? He padded into the main hall and saluted another pair of corpses. He poked around a bit now that he’d been given permission to, and, nope, okay, the whole main floor was like this. Sweet Maker.
Clean. He had to clean this. He was fit to crawl out of his skin as he tried to figure out where to start.
"Fenris, you… you’ve been living like this?" Concerned, not judgemental. This could not be healthy.
"How else would I live?" Fenris looked honestly confused by the question. "I have been in worse places, by far. This is no brothel. I am no nobleman. It’s a shelter. I sleep in it. Most of the time, I don’t wake up wet."
He looked around the room. The corpses might have been a little much, even just as bone, but he thought about keeping the skulls on a shelf, just for the laugh. Artemis was definitely going to do away with the corpses, he was sure. But, the place was a ruin, like any other ru— Oh. That was it, wasn’t it.
"It’s a ruin. A more modern one, with better conveniences than any other I may have taken up residence in, but it is still simply a ruin." Fenris tried to explain. "But, you wish it to be a house, and it has not been that in a long time. I do not know how to live in a house, except…" He shrugged. He wasn’t going to finish that sentence.
Artemis didn’t know how to respond to that, so he didn’t for a while, as he crossed the room back to Fenris’s side. He cupped Fenris’s cheek, thumb stroking his cheekbone until Fenris finally met his eyes. "I’ll teach you how," he murmured, as though so much of this wasn’t new to him too. But Artemis couldn’t imagine what that had to be like, living like this, amid decay and dust, and not even noticing, not even understanding that he deserved — moreover, that he could have — better. He would make this place a palace, he decided, and spoil Fenris in every way he knew how.
Artemis moved closer still, wrapping his arms around Fenris’s waist and kissing him softly. "We need to clean this place out," he said. "And make repairs." He glanced up at the ceiling and the fractured sunlight that filtered through. Thank the Maker it wasn’t raining. "Is that all right?"
Still Fenris’s house, he wanted to remind him.
Fenris swallowed and nodded. "I trust you," he said, as much to remind himself as to remind Artemis.
"Upstairs is… better? I decided I didn’t like the smell right next to the bed. There are no bodies there. In that room." Fenris wasn’t sure about the other rooms. He hadn’t been in most of them for years. "I would like it if… Will you come upstairs with me? I know where the linens are. You could have fresh sheets. We could…"
Taking a deep breath, Fenris tried again. "I would like you to come upstairs with me. I will put sheets on the bed. We can stay there all day drinking wine and eating whatever it was we bought for supper. I suppose we should have bought something to cook, but I don’t care. I don’t cook, anyway."
Artemis didn’t really cook either — Maker, they were a hopeless pair — but his mind wasn’t exactly on food, not after the mention of a bed. Oh Maker. That was a thing. That was a thing he and Fenris should quite possibly do without alcohol at least once.
"Erm. Yes. That’s a thing that we could… yes." Eloquence was not the word of the day. "Though… maybe we should skip the wine, for the moment." After that hangover, Artemis was ready to swear off alcohol for a year. Considering his tendencies, that was… probably a good thing.
Taking Fenris by the hand, Artemis ventured upstairs and prayed to the Maker that it was better.
Fenris couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten quite that much at once, but it was easy with Artemis offering him bits of things, pointing to foods he hadn’t yet tried and making enthusiastic sounds. He’d found himself smiling foolishly several times, and his cheeks ached, which suggested he’d been doing more of it that he’d thought.
They’d moved the remains of supper off the bed as they ran out of things, until finally, Fenris found himself sprawled beside Artemis, with nothing but a bag of those fried potato and chicken things between them. He ate another, because they were really quite good and there was no one to stop him, and immediately thought better of it. There was, it seemed, such a thing as too much food.
He wiped his fingers off on the corner of the sheet. "They’re not mine. We can burn them in the backyard and buy new ones."
Artemis smirked at him. He suspected they would be burning quite a lot of things from this house. "Oh yes," he agreed. "Nicer ones. In whatever colour you like. I could even get you some of those Orlesian silk sheets, but I have to warn you, if you don’t sit on them correctly, your bum will slide right off."
New sheets. Furniture. Curtains. They’d start from scratch and make it theirs, erase this place’s ugly history.
Artemis set aside the last of the food, feeling pleasantly full himself, and turned back to Fenris to realise there was nothing between them now.
"Sheets so slick we could slide off them?" Fenris looked faintly horrified. "What purpose would that serve? I would think the sheets should be suited for sleeping on, not for… whatever one might do with falling out of bed on a regular basis!"
Fenris blinked at Artemis, still considering it. Slippery sheets? Why would you want that?
A subtle grin crept across his face, as an even more absurd thought occurred to him. "If this is your way of suggesting I find another way to bruise your ass…"
Artemis’s laugh came out a bit nervous, and he coughed into his fist. "Well, you know Orlesians," he said, smoothing over a bit of sheet between them. "Maybe sliding on their rump is an extreme sport for them. Then again, knowing the Game, having silk sheets would make it easier to dodge an assassin. Someone coming at you with a knife? Slide right out the other side of the bed."
Maker, he was rambling again. This was around the point where he’d normally drink himself stupid, but Artemis promised himself he wasn’t going to do that, not with Fenris. This time.
Strangely accustomed to working with claws on, Fenris found himself having to pay attention to his fingers, when he reached out and wrapped his hand around Artemis’s wrist. After a moment, his fingertips caught up with his intent, settling against the inside of Artemis’s wrist, which was, he reflected, a very different sensation than clutching with the inside of the first joint. He knew — he’d known for a long time — but he’d never had the time to reflect on the effect of actual fingertips in a situation like this. Which might have had something to do with not having been in a situation like this.
"Assassins. Of course. Always a danger in Orlais."
Fenris raised Artemis’s hand to the height of his chin, remembering the last time he’d held this wrist. He looked to his mage, for recognition, and then pressed his lips to the knuckles. "I should have done it, then."
Artemis remembered that same hand all but crushing that same wrist, the bruise it had left he wouldn’t let Anders or Cormac heal away. Stupidly sentimental, that, but he didn’t care, not then and not now with lyrium-etched skin soft on his. "Well, you’re doing it now," he murmured, voice a bit thin. "I’d say that counts more."
The tattoos tickled, prickled against his skin. He wondered how far those tattoos ran, how they would feel pressed to his. Fenris had been woefully overdressed in the cave and in the cellar.
Artemis turned his wrist in Fenris’s grip, moved his hand to splay Fenris’s fingers, exposing the lines that ran down each one and met in his palm. He traced those lines with his fingers, down Fenris’s wrists, wondering if the tattoos reacted to his touch the way his skin reacted to them.
"Burns when you do that. Like you’ve lit a fire under my skin, and it follows your finger." Fenris’s voice was faintly reverent. "You, all of you, you’re made of magic. It’s in you, part of you, and it calls to the lyrium in my skin."
It scared him. Terrified him, really. But, at the same time, no mage had ever touched him so gently, and the burn, while it still hurt, took on a tempting overtone. Fenris squared his jaw and took a deep breath, pulling back from Artemis, and twisting out of his shirt, without getting up. It was probably not the best idea he’d ever had, but it was the idea he was having right this second, and he wanted to know if he could bear it. He needed to know, now, if this was just some foolish dream.
On the other hand, he’d touched this mage terribly intimately, with no lasting ill effects. Dream or not, perhaps it wasn’t so foolish.
Artemis nearly swallowed his tongue at the sight of so much tempting skin, and his eyes followed the lines of lyrium down Fenris’s toned torso.
"You just said it hurts, and you want me to…?" Artemis shook his head in amazement. "Well. Stop me if it’s… too much."
Artemis’s fingers picked up the trail where they’d left off, tracing first the filigreed tattoo of Fenris’s arm and following it up the curve of a shoulder, down the sweep of his chest. "All right?" he asked.
Fenris swallowed and nodded. "I want… you."
The statement stood by itself, for a while. He had no idea how to express what he meant, the finer details of it, the fact that he didn’t just want to fuck. Not that he wanted not to fuck. No, he was pretty clear that whatever this was, there would be fucking. It was just that Artemis was the important part of that.
"Stay with me," Fenris sighed, hand reaching up to wrap around Artemis’s, pressing those scalding fingers against his chest. It burned, still, but… differently. Like rocks from the fire at the foot of the bedroll, at night. Sure, it burned if you kicked one, but they were so marvellously warm. He’d scorched himself pretty badly, a few times, but it had been worth it. And this would be, too.
He just wasn’t sure comparing someone to a foot-warmer was really the most romantic image. It might be better to wait for a more reasonable comparison to surface. Surely there would be other things he could compare this to, even if he hadn’t found them, yet.
"I’m not going anywhere," Artemis said, eyes fond. "At least not unless we get those silk sheets. Then I’ll have no control where I end up."
Not the best time to make a joke, he was sure, but Artemis was starting to jangle with nerves. Still, he pushed through it and looked up at Fenris, at the adoration he saw in startling green eyes. Maker. No one had ever looked at him like that.
The hand on Fenris’s chest slid up to cup the back of his neck, and Artemis pulled them together in a kiss.
Fenris’s arms wrapped around this precious mage, whose every touch bit through him like fire, and he kissed back as if he could change the nature of the world with his tongue. Warm, needy sounds chased each other out of him, short huffs of breath, gasps, sharp inhales. It was as if he’d never have enough of this, even as it felt like his chest was on fire. Somehow that didn’t detract from the moment, at all.
"Mage," he breathed into the kiss. "Artemis."
And that was the sum of it, really. A mage. This mage. His mage. What had magic touched that it hadn’t destroyed? In that case, he was already ruined, and there was nothing more to lose in giving in to this desire. He didn’t desire, so very often. What others had bore no interest for him. But, this man, this mage… he desired Artemis.
One hand moved down to clutch that ass he still remembered so clearly, and his leg wrapped around Artemis’s. His mage. His.
Artemis gasped into Fenris’s mouth, let the elf swallow his own small sounds and heavy breaths. Fenris was wrapped around him, rocking against him, in mostly-clean sheets they’d just gotten crumbs on. Fenris. His Fenris. And it was… They were…
He thought of burning lyrium that tingled under his touch, thought of earthquakes that shook the walls, thought of a ruined statue in the courtyard, and… and he really needed to stop thinking. Because they’d done this before, hadn’t they? The floors didn’t even shake in the Deep Roads, and the glass in the cellar hadn’t harmed anything except his own foot.
Still, Artemis’s breathing started to grow a little too heavy, and he found himself pushing Fenris back with a hand on his chest.
Body aching with need and the burn along the lines in his chest, Fenris looked a bit confused, at the look on Artemis’s face, and the fact that he was now several inches back from where he’d started.
"Artemis? What is it?" Fenris untangled himself from the warmth in his arms and looked around the room. "Should I have swept the crumbs out of the bed? Is the skylight too much? Should I have washed what’s left of the windows?"
"I-I, no, it’s… I mean, yes, now all those things are bothering me. Thanks for pointing them out." His smile aimed for teasing and landed on nervous. He wiped a hand over his face and covered his eyes, forcing himself to breathe slowly. "Fen, I-I’m sorry. I just…"
Words. He should use them. But his fears were all tangled up in his being a mage, and he’d only just gotten Fenris back.
"Artemis, look at me. See me." Fenris stroked Artemis’s side, gently. "There is no one else here, and I am not going to harm you. Look at me, and tell me what you see."
Fenris started to wonder if there was some sort of theme, here. If the running joke of his wreckage of a life would be mages hyperventilating. At least it wasn’t the abomination, this time. At least they weren’t under a billion tonnes of stone. None of this registered on his face, which was carefully neutral.
Artemis pulled his hand away from his face and forced himself to look at Fenris, only able to meet his eyes for a moment. "You," he answered. "I see… you. Shirtless you, which is really quite a sight, you know." He gave Fenris another weak smile.
This wasn’t fair. He wanted this so badly, but he just… couldn’t. Not right now, in the state he was in.
"I’m sorry," he said again. His hand went back to smoothing the sheets. "But can we just… Can you just hold me tonight, and not… that, just now?"
Maybe he should have gone for that wine after all.
"It wasn’t difficult, this morning, and it shouldn’t be, now. I’m pretty sure I can do that." Fenris decided maybe he wasn’t as good at the jokes as Artemis was. That was, perhaps, not the best collection of words to have passed his lips, in recent memory. He pulled at the blanket that was folded across the foot of the bed, handing it to himself with his toes, to pull it up over them.
"You look unhappy. What’s happened? What’s wrong?" Fenris had an odd sense this might end in him killing someone. Not that he would mind. "I was supposed to stop making you cry, but I don’t seem to be doing a very good job."
"Hush, it’s not you," Artemis murmured. He reached up to stroke the side of Fenris’s face. "I am… too much in my own head, at the moment. It’s hard to explain."
Fenris looked so earnest, so concerned, and that helped ease the tightness in his chest even as it made him feel guilty. Artemis wrapped his arms around Fenris again, pulled them close again, and tucked his head under Fenris’s chin, his cheek pressed to Fenris’s chest. He wondered for a moment if even that touch hurt Fenris, the way his cheek pressed against lyrium markings.
Which it did, but not in a way that particularly bothered him. Fenris curled around Artemis again, an amused sound in his chest. "You know, mage, you are actually taller than me. Your feet aren’t sticking out the end of the blanket, are they?"
Cormac lay sprawled across Anders’s bed, one leg hanging off the side, almost touching the ground, both hands clutching the most incredible mage in all of Thedas to his chest. There was an awful lot of spunk in his chest hair, and he was sure they were going to end up stuck together, again, but in the moment, he couldn’t bring himself to care.
"You look like you need a minute," Anders muttered into his ear. "I’ll be nice. I’ll give you five."
"Resting on the job? What would Justice say?" Cormac teased.
"Let’s leave my evil twin out of this, shall we?" It wasn’t that Anders actually thought of Justice as evil, but there were few things in the world that could put him off the mood faster than that incessant stream of nagging about the cause. The nagging was familiar. He’d had it even before Justice, but it used to be about other things, most of them a great deal more terrifying, but somehow not nearly as boner-killing. Maybe he just liked a little excitement in his life, even if it was the near-fatal kind.
"What about my evil twin?" Cormac asked, stretching and considering whether he could reach the cup of spice tea on the nightstand, without making Anders move.
"You don’t have an evil twin. You have an exceptionally sexy younger brother, who has left us for his won twoo lahv." Anders rolled his eyes so hard Cormac swore he could hear it happen.
Cormac snickered. "I don’t get it. Hates mages. Falls madly in love with my brother. In whose world does that even make sense?" The snickers bled out into a sigh. "I do miss all those little noises he used to make, trying to get all of you into him, but hey, more bed for us. You, me, and I am so glad you let us get you a new bed, because I was afraid we were going to fuck your old one into a pile of splinters."
"Mm, that would have led to splinters in unfortunate places," Anders replied. "Ever had one in your scrotum? It’s not fun." That brought back fond memories of the Circle, of the wooden benches of his Potion-making classroom and of… Neil? Niall? Too bad the splinter had been the most exciting part.
There was a scritch of claws and a disconsolate ‘meep?’ from the other side of the door, and Anders blew out a sigh. "Looks like Lord Assbiter wants to come in," he said. Which was, in fact, why the door was closed in the first place. Cormac may not have gotten a splinter in his scrotum, but he’d certainly gotten fangs in his ass. "Did you feed them?" Anders couldn’t remember if anyone had, and a hungry Assbiter was a dangerous beast.
A furry red paw scrabbled under the door.
"Yeah, I sacrificed half a ham to the cats, on my way down. Before I dragged you away from whatever it was your evil twin was working on. I’ve got ink stains on me, now, don’t I?" Cormac squirmed, squinting down at his leg, over the awful lot of Anders in his way.
He was starting to worry about how hard Anders had been working. No, he’d been worried for a couple of months, now. But, he’d made a point of coming down and interrupting him, every night, for the last few weeks. Sometimes, he’d find Anders still at the clinic, sometimes bent over that desk — and he was getting Anders a new damn desk, because he was much too tall for the one he had — but always working, and usually not having eaten. If nothing else, he could usually get Anders to eat a sandwich. Occasionally, he actually had to put the plate on the manifesto to make that happen, but it could be made to happen, if Anders didn’t start glowing. Once the glowing started, dinner was out. Justice didn’t eat. Or sleep. Or fuck.
"Probably. You picked a good time tonight. I was right in the middle of a sentence I couldn’t finish." Anders rolled his hips in response to the squirming. "It’s a little hard to tell, in this light, but yeah, you’re probably wearing some fingerprints. It’s like a roadmap to all the places I love to grab you. And you are so very grabbable."
"So, I can’t see the fingerprints, because they’re all over my ass." Cormac grinned.
"Your extremely grabbable ass," Anders agreed. He reached down to squeeze said ass to demonstrate. The ink had long dried on his fingertips, making his skin feel dried and cracked, but he liked the idea of his touch lingering on Cormac’s skin.
Justice was making some noise in the back of his head about that unfinished sentence, running through words and phrases, searching for the right, incendiary verbs. He was usually background noise when Anders was like this, pressed skin to sticky skin, but his clamour had been getting louder, more insistent. And the spaces between waking and remembering were getting worryingly darker.
Another ‘meep’ and a scratch of a paw. "Not hungry, then," Anders said. "I guess poor Ser just feels left out."
"Good. I don’t need more teethmarks on my ass." Cormac thought about that for a minute. "More teethmarks that aren’t yours. Have I mentioned I love it when you bite me? Because I love it when you bite me. You’re such a damned savage, sometimes."
"Oh, I’m the savage?" Anders teased. "You’re the barbarian dog lord, who takes being bit as a courting ritual, and I’m the savage?"
"You’re the one who bites. You’re the savage." Cormac laughed and grabbed Anders’s ass in both hands, kneading encouragingly, as he slid one foot up along the bed to brace himself better. "And I love it. Every second of it. Every bite, every time you throw me down, every inch of that incredible flagpole. Nobody fucks me like you do, Anders."
"That’s why I’m the chosen of Urthemiel," Anders quipped, bending to bite at the skin above Cormac’s collarbone. He held the skin between his teeth playfully for a moment before soothing it with his tongue. "And you the chosen of Dirthamen." He drummed his fingers along that delectable ass and grinned.
They did fit so well together, Anders reflected. And not just here, like this, if he was honest with himself. But honesty was more Justice’s strong suit than his.
"No, I’m the chosen of Dirthamen because of the magic ass. I’m pretty sure there are no other secrets with me. Especially not about the way you fuck me." Cormac tipped his head back, baring more of his neck. "Bite me like you mean it, you glorious mountain savage. … Savage mountain… You’re really ridiculously tall. You know that, right? Just a reminder. In case you forgot."
Anders bit the meat of his shoulder, worrying the teeth with an exaggerated growl. "This from the Fereldan turnip," Anders said, laying on his worst Orlesian accent. He bit a bit higher. "Fereldan parsnip. Fereldan rutabaga?" Cormac’s earlobe was next, and Anders pinched it between his teeth and tugged just a little.
"Parsnip. Definitely parsnip." Cormac groaned low in his throat, sure he was supposed to have objected to that characterisation, somehow, but totally unable to find all the words that would have gone into that objection. Not with Anders growling and biting at him. Not with that incredible flagpole still buried in him. "Harder. Bite me harder. Bite me like you mean to break something. …. I’m not worried about you breaking something. I know you can fix it. Fuck, Anders, taste me. Make me bleed."
Well, that definitely wasn’t what he’d meant to say, but that was fine. He meant it all the same. This was trust, he supposed. The freedom to beg someone to make you bleed, and to be completely unconcerned with the outcome, not because of your own shitty half a healing spell, but because they were probably the best healer in the Marches, even if they refused to believe any such thing without a great deal of prodding and dick-sucking. He’d learnt he could get Anders to agree to almost anything, like that.
And Anders obliged, doubling back over Cormac’s neck and the bruising skin he’d already tasted. He was well-acquainted with Cormac’s brand of crazy, and he marvelled at how much he enjoyed it. His flagpole certainly did, anyway, and Anders circled his hips to remind Cormac that it was still there. Not that Cormac needed reminding, he was sure, but just in case.
For the moment, Anders was able to tuck Justice away, to let him go back to background noise. "Is that what you wanted," he asked against abused skin, "my favourite Fereldan root vegetable?"
Cormac’s response was thorough, explicit, and loud, detailing all the ways in which that was exactly what he wanted, right down to the parts he hadn’t known he’d wanted until they came out of his mouth. The cats stopped pawing at the door, spooked by the noise, and many, many hours later, they would be found under that little desk, on the other side of the main room.