Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 53
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: Dick jokes, brotherly love, violence, dead slavers
Notes: Brotherly ribbing, with a side of slavers on the side of the mountain.
Anton had decided to drag his brothers up the mountain after some Maker-forsaken fancy grass for that alchemist in the Gallows. His brothers who were, for some reason, not really looking at each other, for a change. Usually, Cormac would be making terrible jokes and Artemis would be turning them back on him, but they were both somewhat more subdued. They’d done something. Something stupid. The last time he’d seen them like this was when they’d gotten swept down the river, after failing horribly to climb the neighbour’s tree for pears. Artemis had blamed Cormac for falling, Cormac blamed Artemis for kicking him in the armpit, and they hadn’t spoken for a week.
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the group shift, as Cormac nudged Artemis and tipped his head toward the back. Good. At least he wouldn’t have to put up with them being weird at each other all fucking day.
As they slowed down, falling a bit behind everyone else, Cormac elbowed Artemis, again. "You good?" Usually a safe starter.
Artemis fidgeted with his robes, smoothing out imagined wrinkles and plucking off a bit of dog hair. "I’m good," he said, carefully neutral. "You good?" After a pause, he added, "And if you say ‘If you’re good, I’m amazing’, I will force push you down this mountain."
"Hey, I’m fine. You pissed at me?" Cormac looked at anything that wasn’t his brother. Either of his brothers. In fact, that tree over there had some lovely flowers on it.
"Why would I be pissed at you?" Artemis asked, addressing the air around Cormac more than Cormac himself. "Are you pissed at me?" Because, Maker, if it had been anyone’s fault, it had been his. Oh look, more dog hair on his sleeve. He plucked at it as he walked.
"Nope. What am I going to be pissed at you for?" Cormac shrugged and tossed an arm across Artemis’s shoulders, still not looking at him. "Okay, so, that last part might have been a little awkward, and I’m sorry about cleaning that up with— yeah, anyway… No. Not pissed. Not even a little. If you told me to do it again, I’d do it again. Might even do it sober."
That thought made Artemis’s ears turn red. So Cormac didn’t regret it, not really. As for himself, ‘awkward’ didn’t even begin to describe the situation, but he couldn’t say he regretted it either, not entirely. He doubted he could do it sober, however.
"Don’t be sorry," Artemis said. He bit his lip against a laugh as he remembered something. "I hid those smalls under Anders’s pillow. Since I’m sure he felt left out." Maker, his drunk self was crazy.
Walking behind the group gave Artie the perfect opportunity to ogle Fenris’s ass. "The glowy thing was nice, wasn’t it?" he asked in a conspiratorial whisper, finally looking at Cormac, if only for a moment.
"It’s got a certain charm," Cormac admitted, still processing the sentence that had preceded that. "Wait. You did what with them?"
Cormac pressed his fist to his lips and swallowed a laugh. "Was that when you went to go take a piss? We were starting to think you just got lost. Wound up in the other drawing room or something."
The laugh finally got away from him, a short bark of amusement. "Anders! When we get back to the house, look under your pillow and ask me about what you find there!"
Anders shot a wary look over his shoulder. "Did you move my ‘Magic Wand’ again, Cormac?" he called back, making Anton cringe and choke on a laugh.
"Your magic what?" Fenris asked. The terrifying grin Anders sent him made him regret the outburst.
"Anders, don’t you dare," Artemis hurried to say. Fenris shot him a look that was equal parts confused and concerned. The poor elf had dealt with enough magey kinkiness this week. He didn’t need Anders scarring him even further.
"Don’t I dare what? Complain that your brother is hiding my toys?" Anders looked terribly put-upon. He had a particular talent for that, and far too many years of practice.
"I am not hiding your toys! I didn’t even do it! I have no fucking idea where your Wand is, if it’s not under your pillow!" Cormac’s eyes were huge and round. "I have just… heard rumours something else might be under your pillow, and there’s a worthwhile story behind it that I’m not telling in mixed company."
Anders looked concerned, or maybe that was dismayed. Part of it was definitely terrified, though. "No, I think when we get back to the house, you’re coming downstairs and moving my pillow for me. And then you’re going to tell me what this was all about."
Artemis bit his lip against a laugh. "Don’t look so concerned, Anders," he said. "I just left you a present, is all. Next to the… Magic Wand."
"Somehow, that doesn’t make me less worried."
Fenris grit his teeth around a growl. Mages. His mage giving the abomination a ‘present’?
"Don’t worry, Fenris," Artemis said sweetly. "I have a present for you too, later. Also involving a pillow."
"I’m not listening to any of this," said Anton. "I’m just here to collect some fucking plants up a fucking mountain." But, really, he should have known better than to invite the four people he’d shared a tent with in the Deep Roads.
"Stop right there!" called a voice from above them. "You are in possession of stolen property. Back away from the slave, now, and you’ll be spared."
Anton looked up. Not too many of them. Still… "Oh, shit."
"Fenris is a free man," Anders shouted back, unshouldering his staff. He didn’t have to like the elf to see what was wrong with this entire proposition.
Fenris forgot how to breathe, his pulse roaring in his ears. After all this time, they’d finally come for him. He expected to see Danarius for a moment, but no. They were just mercenaries. No magister would dirty his hands chasing a slave, even one with markings as valuable as his.
"I won’t repeat myself!" the mercenary called down from the cliff. "Back away from the slave now!"
Then Artemis was at Fenris’s side, staff drawn and trembling with rage. "Is that your first offer?" he shouted, his smile the unfriendly kind. "Because it’s not a good one!"
Lyrium markings lit, and Fenris drew his sword. "I am not your slave!" he roared.
Cormac rolled his eyes, and lashed out with a wall of ice. "They’ll never learn, will they," he remarked to Fenris, drily.
"You should have attacked when you had the chance," Anton called from somewhere utterly other than the last place anyone had seen him. "We won’t let you take him."
There weren’t nearly enough of them for the five extremely angry individuals who had just come up the mountain for some fancy grass, and in very short order, Fenris was crouched over the last one living. He knocked the man’s face against the ground, just to make the point that he really was quite serious. And quite irritated. "Where is he?" Fenris demanded.
"Please don’t kill me!" the man sputtered.
"Tell me!" Fenris was pretty sure he wasn’t going to break the guy’s back, with his knee there. Yet.
"I don’t know! I don’t know! I swear!" The man still looked panicked, for extremely obvious reasons that had a lot to do with having a glowy, angry elf kneeling on his back. "Hadriana brought us. She’s at the holding caves, north of the city. I can show you the way."
"No need," Fenris growled. "I know which ones you speak of."
The man under Fenris’s knee whimpered, eyes large and pleading on what he could see of the elf. "Then let me go," he begged in a quavering voice. "I beg you. I swear I won’t —"
"You chose the wrong master." Bone snapped under Fenris’s hands, and the man’s head flopped limply to the ground.
Fenris rose to his feet, eyes cold. "Hadriana." Lyrium lines flickered in reply to Fenris’s agitation. "I was a fool to think I was free. They’ll never let me be!"
"Someone you know?" Anton asked, jumping back down from the rocks above.
"My old master’s apprentice." A hint of a sick laugh ran through Fenris’s voice. "I remember her as a snivelling social climber who would sell her own children, if she thought it would make Danarius happy. If she’s here, it’s at his bidding. I knew he wouldn’t let this go!"
"Then why are we standing around?" Cormac asked. "They need to be stopped, before this goes any further."
"Looks like we have some hunting to do." Anders twirled his staff and slung it back over his shoulder.
Killing slavers. They were rather good at that. Fenris was amazed by how readily these men picked up their arms in his defence, even the abomination. Fenris wondered if he would do the same for him.
"We must go quickly," he said, "before Hadriana has a chance to prepare… or flee."
He led the way to the holding caves, Artemis at his side.