Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 5
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D1)
Warnings: Drinking, partying, Anders is fucked the fuck right up, Artemis isn’t much better, unexpected Templar
Notes: Part II: The Ball! Also, Anton getting his mack on. Finally.
A grand ball. The Amells had returned to Kirkwall, reclaimed their family home, and brought a good many people along for the ride, it seemed. The estate overflowed with people, from Leandra’s Orlesian friends to Cormac’s miners’ union leaders, Anton’s compatriots of questionable virtue, Bethany’s handsome prince charming, Carver’s collection of Ostagar survivors, and an assortment of ‘philosophers’ who seemed to be in the habit of wearing robes. Leandra was somewhat surprised at the number of elves present, and that none of them seemed to be servants. Some even seemed to be actual Dalish. That was not something she had necessarily seen her family associated with, for all that she had been raised in a house with high standards for the treatment of elves. But, that one with the white hair and the tight pants made her nervous, the way he glowered at everything and seemed to lurk behind Artemis.
Two dwarves her sons had apparently saved in the Deep Roads had volunteered to see to the staffing and catering concerns, and they proved quite competent in both regards, for all that the one seemed a little light about the wits. She couldn’t tell how old he was, but he seemed to be a child, and having had five of her own, Leandra was not at all put out by this sudden sixth in her house. A delightful boy, really. Why couldn’t her sons have stayed so pleasant?
"So, Artie poured the last of the whiskey on it, and I set it on fire with the torch, while Carver cut the head off the one behind us!" Cormac slapped Anders on the back, jovially, and the Orlesians they were speaking to laughed. "And that’s how we got out of the Deep Roads alive."
"I’m pretty sure that’s how you got out of the Deep Roads, but I think ‘alive’ had more to do with me, than any of your half-cocked shenanigans," Anders pointed out.
"Well, now that we’re home, you’ll have to try my whole-cocked shenanigans," Cormac retorted, pulling Anders down for a kiss somewhere near his ear. "And he’s right. Without this herbalist, we’d all be dead."
Anders’s heart skipped a beat and he excused himself to get a glass of wine he’d have to fight himself to drink. But, he did mean to drink it. Drink all of it, and maybe another three glasses as well. Damn Cormac. This had been a terrible idea, and now he was getting attached.
Artemis was in the middle of pouring himself a glass when Anders approached, a glass which he handed to the ‘herbalist’ with a grimacing smile. "Is he telling the whiskey story again?" he asked, reaching for a second glass and pouring more wine. "Sounded like it from here. Maker, a waste of whiskey, that."
There was no whiskey here. No rum, either. Noble parties were much too prissy for that sort of thing apparently, so all he had was this fruity Orlesian wine and glasses much too small to make the buzz worth it
Over the rim of his glass (shut up, Justice), Anders watched Artemis pour. And pour.
"You might as well drink it from the bottle," he said.
Artemis flashed Anders that same unhappy smile. "If you can find a polite way to do so, let me know." He took a long gulp and made a face before topping off his glass again. "Urgh, that is disgusting." He finally set the bottle down (for now), hands flitting around its base as he tried to space it evenly between the others, turning it until the label faced outward. He twitched it first one way, and then the other. Then he started to smooth out the tablecloth.
Anders raised an eyebrow. He was familiar with Artemis’ s nervous habits, but he didn’t usually fret this much. "Rough day?" he asked before taking a much-needed drink himself.
"Too many people," Artemis muttered. "They’re making a mess."
"Right." These Hawke brothers were going to drive him insane, if Justice didn’t first. It was a race he wasn’t planning to watch.
"What about you?" Artemis asked, fingers tapping now on his glass. "I don’t often see you drink."
"I don’t have time to be drunk. Or eat. Or sleep. Or most of those other little human necessities." Anders picked up a different bottle and filled his glass again. "I agreed to the expedition, because I needed a holiday and a good night’s sleep. And then there were darkspawn. So much for that."
These glasses really were too small for the kind of drinking they were trying to do, Anders noticed, pouring again. "Once you start running, you never stop, even when you’re stuck in one place."
"Maybe if you hadn’t made a deal with a demon, you wouldn’t be having this problem," Fenris suggested, appearing behind Artemis with a bottle of sherry from his own cellar, that he pressed into Artemis’s hand. "Drink this. It’s far more appropriate to the occasion."
"It’s not a demon. Other than that, you’re … half-right." Anders shrugged. "But, I’d also be useless and entirely self-interested, so… it’s a bit of a trade-off."
Anders squinted at his own hand. He’d never thought that, before. In fact, he rather missed his days as a self-interested layabout. Those had been some truly good times. He’d been happy, for a while. Then he’d been in chains again, and then he’d become a Warden, but even being a Warden hadn’t been so bad.
"I take it back. Other than the demon part, you’re right. And if I ever say something like that again, you have my full permission to perform an exorcism."
Fenris smiled thinly and stepped closer to Artemis’s back. "Do I? The hard way, even?"
"I’d rather you do it the easy way," Anders said, pouring himself another glass of the useless wine. That was useless. Not him.
"You won’t live to see it," Fenris warned.
"Warden," Anders reminded him. "Remember to wash your hands when you’re done."
"Not entirely sure what you two are on about, but you’re making me blush," Artemis said into the sherry (and Maker praise Fenris for that).
"Are you sure it’s not the drink?" Fenris asked. Artemis huffed and took a drink, Fenris’s eyes on his throat as he swallowed. The bruises he’d left on that neck had faded, but he could still remember what his skin had tasted like and how his pulse had beat hard and fast underneath.
Artemis paused and licked his lips. "I’m sure."
"I’m sure I can think of a few other ways to make you blush," Anders quipped. His gaze slid to Fenris as he spoke, and the elf bristled.
"You keep talking of running away," Fenris growled, "and yet you’re still here." Artemis put a hand on his shoulder.
"Here’s an idea," Artemis interrupted before the two could escalate, "why don’t we run away from this horrible party?"
"All three of us?" Anders asked. "My, what scandal! Let’s!"
Fenris glared, but the question had belonged to Artemis, and he really had no idea if Anders had been included in it. What then? he asked himself. Mages. He would never understand mages.
Across the room, Cormac was being some kind of horrible to the Prince of Starkhaven, to judge by the look on Bethany’s face. The poor girl, four brothers, and all of them sharp-tongued bastards. Actually, Artemis seemed like he might be reasonable, even after a couple of weeks in the Deep Roads. Anders was willing to credit him that, after everything he and Cormac had put everyone through. At least Anders assumed he and Cormac had put everyone through some shit, the way everyone watched him all the way back to Kirkwall. But, he’d never been good at enclosed spaces and stone, so most of that trip was just another burning black pit in his memory.
Maybe he’d work his way through the Hawkes. Maybe that would get him off Cormac. It wasn’t supposed to be serious — he didn’t have time for that, and he really didn’t have it in him to ruin another life the way he’d ruined his own. So, yeah, he decided, if Artemis was offering, he’d take it. And the elf, too; why not? He was sure that tight-assed bag of loathing could hit everything he’d never ask for, but wouldn’t turn down.
Out in the front room, away from all the revelry, stood a blond man in Templar plate. Bodahn wrung his hands as he fetched Anton — he knew enough of this family to make that choice. Artemis would end up in chains, Cormac would burn the house down, Carver was too young and indiscreet, and Bethany was the one the man had come seeking. And Leandra, well, the lady of the house was otherwise occupied with her return to high society. It had to be Anton, who swept into the room with the strongest bottle at the party in one hand and two glasses in the other.
"Ser Templar! How lovely of you to join us, this fine evening. I didn’t know the order cared! Mother will be thrilled to see you, of course!" Anton smiled broadly, as if the house with three mage children had nothing to hide.
"Cullen," the Templar introduced himself, holding out his hand, only to find a glass in it. "I understand you have a sister with some magical talent."
"I have only one sister, and I’m afraid she’s in Starkhaven." Anton assumed a zone of nationhood around members of the royal family of any nation, and given how close his sister had been standing, at last glance, he had few doubts she’d be in it. "If you’ve come to woo her, I’m afraid you’re a little late."
"Woo… her? I, er, no." Ser Cullen was looking terribly wrong-footed, and Anton was feeling terribly smug.
"Oh? Come to woo someone else, then?"Anton asked as he filled Cullen’s glass, pretending not to notice the abortive gestures Cullen made to discourage him. "Oh, do tell! Don’t keep us in suspense."
Cullen’s ears turned the loveliest shade of pink. He cleared his throat and brought the glass to his lips, only to realize what he was doing and pull it away at the last minute.
"I’ve already told you why I’m here, Serah Hawke," Cullen said with renewed conviction, setting down his glass on a side table. Anton blithely sipped his. He was used to keeping his siblings’ secret, and this was hardly the first time he’d shooed a Templar off the scent. It was the first time with such a handsome Templar, however, so maybe there’d be less shooing this time around.
"And I’ve already told you why it was a wasted trip," he countered. "Unless, of course, you’d like to stay a while." He pressed the glass back into Cullen’s hand. Anton let his eyes do the rest of the talking, gaze raking over Cullen’s armoured figure and lingering in all the most promising places.
The pink spread from Cullen’s ears to settle in blotches along his cheeks.