Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 46
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Leandra Amell ♀, Carver Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀
Rating: G- (L1 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Fenris contemplates violence, there are no earthquakes
Notes: Artemis moves in with Fenris. You may now cheer. Anders spots the problem.
Books. When had Artemis gotten so many books? It all went into the crate, stacked in largest to smallest. A few tomes on Fereldan history, Chantry Law… some fuckawful smut in Isabela’s handwriting. When had she sneaked that in there?
"Oh Artie, an elf? What will the neighbours say?"
Artemis gave his mother a flat look as he hefted the crate and dropped it in the hall next to the one with his clothes. "Oh mum, an apostate? What will the neighbours say?" Artemis ducked back into his room, gathering together what was left of the bits and pieces of his life.
Leandra smiled, expression softening as she stopped him with a hand on his cheek, thumb smoothing along the scruff there. Her skin was ghost-pale against his. "Oh dear," she sighed. "I sound like my mother, don’t I?"
Artie patted her hand on his cheek and grinned. "At least I’m only running off down the street," he said. "And if he gets me pregnant, I’ll be sure to write."
Leandra tutted and made a face, dropping her hand. "Oh, Artemis, really."
"You’re fretting again. You know I always tease you when you fret."
"Just like your father," she sighed. She surveyed his quickly-emptying room, the bare shelves and wardrobe. The impeccably made bed. "I will miss you, you know."
"Even though you have servants now to clean up after Cormac?"
"The same servants who should be helping you with all this?"
Artemis gave her a pained look, which she waved away with a sigh.
"Yes, yes, I know. They wouldn’t do it ‘right’." Leandra’s eyes were soft again, and Artemis wished he knew how to make her not worry. "Well, at least I don’t have to worry about all that tunnelling disrupting the foundations of your new house," she said. "They must have finished. I haven’t felt any earthquakes in a while."
Artie grabbed up the Heart of the Many from where it sat on the dresser, thumb smoothing over the gem as he slipped it on.
"Yes," Artemis said, smile slipping, "…they must have." He busied himself over the next empty crate.
They’d spent the afternoon throwing Tal-Vashoth off the cliffs, along the coast, and there was finally enough open coastline to pitch camp, without worrying they’d get overrun by horn-heads while they slept. Carver attempted to pitch his tent as far from the rest of them as possible. Where had his brothers found these assholes, and how had he gotten stuck with the lot of them, for the weekend? It was something he’d asked himself increasingly often, as the years wore on, and he’d never really found a suitable answer.
Anders had been gathering driftwood, to start a fire, and Fenris stared pensively into the darkness, as he tended to do. The next load of wood clattered onto the pile, and Anders finally said something regrettable, as everyone knew he would, eventually.
"So, I hear Artie actually moved in," he said to Fenris. "How’s the old place holding up, now that you’ve got shakes and quakes sharing your bed every night?"
Isabela peered unsubtly over the top of her book, watching them. She’d meant to wait for the fire to get going, before she started in on Carver, but this looked like even more fun than what she had planned.
Fenris’s foul mood turned fouler, and he gave the abomination a look that told him his murder was imminent if he kept talking. "The house is fine," he said coldly. He could feel Isabela staring at him but ignored her. "The house is undisturbed. By the shaking. Which there is."
There wasn’t. No shaking, none of the… activity that led to shaking. He turned his brooding stare elsewhere. He didn’t want to discuss this, not over a campfire, and not with the abomination.
Anders’s eyebrows crawled up, and he gave Fenris a speculative look.
Carver groaned. "Not that I want to hear about this at all, but it sounds preposterously stupid. Artemis barely even shakes the dishes, at home. Why would this endanger a house?"
"Because your house doesn’t have mildew in the load-bearing walls," Anders pointed out. "Or mushrooms growing out of the bloodstains in the under-flooring. I’d think he’d have at least knocked over a piece of furniture, by now."
Fenris surged to his feet, fists clenched at his side to keep from doing something he’d regret. Something that would likely put him in the campfire again, and that was an experience he’d rather not repeat. "I do not wish to discuss this, mage," he said, ears twitching in agitation. He didn’t need a reminder that Anders knew that part of Artemis, knew it better than Fenris did — or would, at this rate.
"Ooh, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," said Isabela. "Or is that because Artie capsized it?"
"There has been no capsizing! Of beds or any other furniture!" Fenris snapped.
Anders’s eyebrows arced up. Fenris should have been smug. Self-satisfied and gloating, not angry. Something wasn’t right, here. He looked as Isabela for confirmation. Did she see it, too?
Isabela nodded, from behind Fenris, eyes wide. She pointed at him and turned her thumb down, quickly picking up a nearby bottle, when Fenris suddenly turned around.
"Ah, Fenris? Step away from the fire with me, for a minute, so neither of us ends up in it. I’m pretty sure you’re going to hit me, and Cormac’s not here to step in front of it. I’m also pretty sure you don’t want the next thing out of my mouth to happen with an audience." Anders checked himself for weapons, anything that could be used against him. Fenris’s fist would probably be enough, really, but there was no sense in providing convenient stabbing implements, if he didn’t have to.
Fenris glared at the abomination, but he followed. As loath as he was to talk to Anders, as least this way he was in strangling range. Heart-strangling, if he ended up being extra irksome.
"What?" he growled. It was colder over here, away from the fire, and he folded his arms against the sea breeze. "I told you I did not wish to discuss this."
Back at the camp, Isabela tore a page from her book and rolled it into a cone, placing it to her ear and angling it their way.
"Then don’t discuss it. Just listen to me." Anders rubbed his face and looked out over the water. "It wasn’t about me. I was just there, and I stopped saying no. And given all the ways that could have gone, you and I should both be very glad that was only me."
He looked back at Fenris. "And I’m getting the feeling that things are not going as well as you say they are. You’re not rubbing my face in it, and he’s been looking twitchy as all get-out. More than usual. You know it’s going to happen, and you need to tell him it’s okay. You’ve made it clear to all of us how poorly you regard magic, and he’s… touchy about this. I am a mage, and he was worried about it with me. He’s probably terrified you’ll leave him again, if he knocks over a bookcase. And really, if you’re going to do that? Tell him anyway. Better he should know what he’s in for. Just remember he’s crazy about you. The number of times I heard him swallow your name…"
"I wouldn’t…" Fenris sputtered. Leave Artie? Over that? "I know he’s a mage, and I know that that happens. Why would he think I would leave him for that?"
Except that Anders had just said why, and, as much as he hated to admit it, he was right. Fenris ran a gauntleted hand through his hair, not caring if it snagged, as he stepped away to pace in a small circle. He pictured the look on Artemis’s face the last time they’d kissed, the flash of panic when Fenris’s hands had slid down the back of his trousers.
"Venhedis," he murmured, finally coming to a stop with his back to the mage. "I am a fool."
"Look, I’m probably going to regret saying this, but if something’s not right, come talk to me or Cormac. We both want Artie to be happy, and Cormac would even like it if you were happy, and we’ve both spent more time with Artie than you have. That’s not an accusation, it’s just a fact. And until you figure him out, he’s a little difficult. But, he’s worth the trouble. I promise you that." Anders folded his arms stuffing them up the opposite sleeves, for warmth. "Just don’t hurt him because you’re too damned stubborn to ask."
Fenris grunted something non-committal, staring down at the sand at his feet. He curled his toes into the sand as he considered this. The thought of asking Anders — or even Cormac — for help in this sounded abhorrent, but for Artemis? Fenris suspected he’d do anything for Artemis, as frightening as that thought was.
"I will ask," he decided, "as long as you don’t pry."
Anders smiled. He knew that was Broody Elf for ‘thank you’.