Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 55
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: M (L3 N3 S1 V0 D1)
Warnings: Oh my god Cormac, combustible levels of stress, trashy Orlesian novels, zero relationship skills
Notes: Three brothers, three moments. All of them fools.
The walk back to town was significantly more subdued. They were all tired and Fenris seemed pretty shaken up, no matter what he had to say about it. As they passed the bridge, Anton peeled off to go deliver the herbs he’d promised the alchemist, and maybe to drop in on Cullen, while he was in the neighbourhood. Showing up unexpectedly always got him some lovely blushes and promises of even better things. Anders and Cormac stepped out halfway across Hightown, with Cormac supporting most of Anders’s weight as they staggered back home.
It was good. Fenris hadn’t really wanted visitors. Hadn’t wanted to explain what the workmen were up to, what they had planned for this room or that one. He just wanted to take Artemis inside, to the one room that was finished, the one they’d had done first, before he let Artemis loose on the rest of the house. He just wanted to curl up in front of the fire and forget about everything, for a little while. Reflexively, he headed for the side of the house, for the back entrance.
"Fen." Artemis caught him by the elbow. The unexpected touch was gentle, but Fenris still twitched at it. "Front door. You’re the master of the house, Ser Elf. Remember?"
Fenris pulled his arm free, ears twitching. "I was… right." That part of his life was long gone but some habits remained, reinforced by the memories Hadriana stirred up. He fixed his trajectory to walk up the stone steps. Next to him, Artemis radiated nervous energy and concern that he ignored.
"Do you think that slave girl found the place?" Artemis asked, pulling the door open.
Fenris was about to correct him with ‘former slave girl’ when Artemis had his answer.
"Messere Orana!" One of the workmen called out. "The key molding or the vine?"
"The key, Marlowe. But, subtle — you don’t want it catching grease." The elf woman leaned back over the plans spread on the table before her, pencil in hand. "And stop with the ‘messere’! I keep telling you! I’m just here to design the kitchen and make the food!"
"‘Messere’?" A tiny laugh escaped Fenris. "Well, she’s found her place faster than I did."
Artemis stood in the doorway, hand still on the door handle, and watched in amazement as she ordered around a half dozen burly men, telling them that, ‘no, no, that stone will not do for a countertop’ and ‘oh, but could we add a cabinet here?’
"I think I’m in love," Artemis said. Fenris cleared his throat. "With you," Artemis added quickly. "In love with you. Obviously."
Fenris shook his head and walked by the kitchen and its clamour. "Whatever," he called over his shoulder. "I am going in search of wine."
Artemis finally realised he was still propping the door open and rushed to close it, trotting after his broody elf.
Down in the cellar, Fenris grabbed a few bottles of wine — one he knew was good, to start with, and a couple more of questionable vintage that he wouldn’t care about after the first one. Bumping into Artemis, at the bottom of the stairs, he handed his mage a bottle, kissed him on the cheek, and kept walking. Upstairs. The bedroom. He just wanted to close the door, open the wine, and make it all go away. Hopefully, Artemis would have the sense to follow him up.
Instead of passing through the bustling, shouting, and clattering of the rooms he’d already been through, Fenris ducked into the linen walks, and took the servants’ stairs up, coming out in the back of his dressing room, which he supposed was weighted strongly toward Artemis’s side, seeing as he, himself, had very little in the way of clothing. It was one of those things he never gave much mind to. Wasn’t this ridiculously ornate house enough?
He huffed to himself as he stepped out into the bedroom, at last, door already closed, and curled up into the pile of pillows in front of the fire. Those had been a good choice, he decided, not for the first time. Wine and warm. Wine, warm, and maybe his mage. Yes.
His mage seemed to read his mind, sinking onto the pile of pillows behind him and curling against his back, an arm slipping around Fenris’s waist. Artemis could tell that Fenris wasn’t in a talking kind of mood today. He was also, apparently, not in a wine glass kind of mood either, drinking straight from the bottle. He wondered how much wine was left in the cellar and how, between the two of them, they hadn’t drunk through it all.
With the fire in front of them and Fenris’s warmth in his arms, it would have been relaxing, if not for the clamour going on downstairs. He merely hoped that girl knew what she was doing. ‘That girl’. He’d forgotten to ask her name in all the mess. What had that worker called her? Orana?
Fenris switched hands with the bottle, reaching back to rest a hand on Artemis’s hip. "Thank you." That was it. No explanation. He didn’t think it needed one. He wondered if all the time on the run had weakened his wits, somehow. If all the days without food and nights without sleep had driven him mad, but he loved this mage. Trusted this mage. And this mage, his mage, had killed the woman who had tormented him for years. No questions, no hesitation. This mage had turned on a magister, for him, and killed her. If this was madness, maybe he didn’t mind. It was a nice place to be.
Five storeys up, and Anton’s fingers were starting to cramp. He’d decided going in the easy way, or the other easy way, or the semi-difficult way that involved the sewers was overdone. No, he was going in the actual hard way, because no one ever looked up. You’d think someone would clue these chumps in that not everything remained at ground level. Hell, you’d think the way the stairs, in the courtyard, looked out over it would be a clue. But, no. Just like every other daft punter in all of Thedas, Templars never looked up. So, here he was, clinging to some thick vine and stonework, counting windows on the fifth damned storey of the Templar Hall. Good. Yes. This was the one.
He grabbed the stone sill and hoisted himself up. A bit of a trick with his knee and his elbow, and the arm went in first, before he slid through the narrow window, sideways, landing on his feet in Cullen’s office. Which was empty. Well, that was a waste of a grand entrance. Dusting off a bit of grime, he dropped into Cullen’s chair, put his feet up on the corner of the Knight-Captain’s desk, and picked up the nearest book that didn’t look like ledgers.
Oh, it was one of those books… OH. Well, might as well see where Cullen was getting his lines.
He’d read three chapters of this hilarious drivel before Cullen returned from wherever he was, nose buried in a ledger as he opened and closed his office door. He waited, grinning, for Cullen to finally look up and —
"Oh, sweet Maker!" Cullen yelped, jumping when he saw Anton. "How long have you been in here?"
"Long enough to get to the good part," Anton said, brandishing the open book. He cleared his throat and read dramatically, "‘My bosom heaved against his chest as his turgid manhood entered my —'"
Cullen snatched the book away, his whole face a mottled red. "T-That’s not mine!" he sputtered. "I was just… holding it. For a friend."
"Oh, really?" Anton purred, sitting up at Cullen’s desk. "A naughty friend. And here I thought I was your only one."
"You — er, well — You’re certainly the only friend I get naughty with," Cullen sputtered, the red becoming much more consistent. "What— what are you doing here? How are you here? I didn’t see you on the stairs…"
"Well, come sit on your naughty friend’s lap, Ser Templar, and maybe I’ll tell you." Anton’s grin was nothing if not wicked. He turned the chair to the side and patted his leg, invitingly.
Cullen had never noticed if his office door locked, but he darted back to the door to check, now, and sure enough it had a turnkey for a bolt, which he engaged. If anyone wanted something from him, they could wait. He poured himself into Anton’s lap, platemail and all, clattering and clanking a bit uncomfortably, as he settled.
"Well, I’m here just to see you, of course." Anton ran a finger over Cullen’s lips, his other hand prying a somewhat stabby bit of mail out of his thigh. "And I came in by the window. You might want to get that looked at, because if I can get in those windows, Antivan Crows can get in those windows, and the last thing you want is Crows in your windows."
"Maker, no!" Cullen said with mock concern. "I-I wouldn’t want the Crows to read all my books while I’m at meetings! How… how dastardly!"
"I thought that book belonged to your ‘naughty friend’?"
"I… yes. Well." Heavy platemail was not conducive to squirming. Or for sitting in someone’s lap, really, but Anton hadn’t complained yet. Cullen kissed Anton’s smirking lips, amazed this man had come here just to see him, had… "Hang on. You came in through the window? That’s five storeys!"
Anton waved this aside. "Please," he scoffed. "For you? It only felt like three." He had bruises and scrapes in all sorts of places, but he wasn’t about to mention that.
"You scaled a five storey wall, just not to come through the gate, to see me?" Cullen’s face waffled between suspicion and amazement. "That’s the sea side! What if you’d fallen?"
"Well, I needed the practise anyway. I’ve been getting terribly lazy on the ground all the time." Anton nibbled Cullen’s lip. "And what if I’d fallen? I’d be in the sea, that’s what. Probably safer than anywhere else I might have fallen, if not by much. I could die of drowning, instead of a broken neck."
"Well — just —" Cullen sighed, trying to put his concerns into words that didn’t make him sound like a meddlesome granny. "Please don’t fall, Anton. It would break my heart just as much as your neck."
"You delightful sop!" Anton laughed, pulling Cullen down for another kiss.
Cullen sighed into the kiss, hand cupping the back of Anton’s head, gentle in wake of his gauntlets. He supposed he was a sop, wasn’t he? Frankly, Anton could call him whatever he wanted as long as he kept kissing like that, as long as he kept… well. As long as he kept simply existing. Maker. Yes, he was a sop.
"You know," Cullen rumbled between kisses, "I have another hour before I need to be anywhere."
Anton grinned. "Well, Ser Cullen," he purred, "there’s lots one can do in an hour."
"Just… promise me one thing." Cullen gripped Anton’s shoulders firmly. "When you go? Promise me you’ll use the door."
Anton laughed and leaned forward to nuzzle Cullen’s ear. "As you wish."
"Cormac, what the fuck is under my pillow?" Anders muttered, as Cormac helped him into bed.
"Oh, well…" Cormac coughed and stretched out next to him, reaching under the pillow. "See, the other night, well…"
Cormac coughed again and the sassy grin got a little too wide. After a moment, he gave up and just pulled out the spunk-stained green knickers and dropped them on Anders’s face. "They’re my brother’s."
"Artemis’s, I hope," Anders mumbled, from under the cloth.
"No, they’re Anton’s. Of course they’re Artemis’s." Cormac leaned in closer, wrapping himself around Anders, nibbling at his earlobe. "He used them to wipe his spunk off my back."
Anders peeled the smalls off his face to stare at Cormac. "I’m… sorry, he did what? When was this?" He could not have heard those words correctly. Not in that order. And they certainly did not match up with any new images in his mind that he planned to savour for a while.
"The night he got back together with Fenris. Well, back back together with… Did you know they weren’t fucking? A few nights ago. I meant to tell you but you’ve been… Justice." Cormac shrugged and tried to look as nonchalant as it was possible to look when talking about being a sex toy for one’s own brother. "He and Fenris… we were all kind of drunk. And you know how much Artie loves to have something to grind on, when he’s getting fucked. So I said something, and Fenris grabbed a pillow, but the couches in there are embroidered, and I don’t even fucking remember, but Artie said something and I asked if he meant it, and then Fenris was fucking him against my ass. And… well… that’s… He wiped off my back with those. He’d been wearing them with a corset in the same colour that Aveline bought him."
He just sort of blurted it all out in a long rambling string, and finally inhaled, at the end. "It seemed like the thing to do, at the time?"
It was a good thing he was already sitting down, Anders decided. "That’s… that’s quite a lot of images you’ve just put into my head," he said, awestruck. Artemis in a corset. Artemis on top of Cormac. Fenris on top of Artemis on top of Cormac. "And you didn’t invite me?" he teased, quoting Cormac from that night in the cellar.
"I’d have invited you, but the broody death elf objected. Vehemently. With growling." Cormac squirmed against Anders’s side. "Lots of growling."
"Hang on. Is this why you and Artie were acting so… well. You were both very quiet this morning and wouldn’t look at each other. I assumed you’d had a fight or… Wow." Anders had no other word for it other than ‘wow’. "Just… are you two okay with this?"
"He’s not pissed at me. I can live with it. If he says it again, I’ll do it again. If not, it’s a thing we did one time, and we’re not talking about it in public. Well, we’re not talking about it in public either way." Cormac laughed, quietly, a little nervously. "How terrible does it make me, if I say I’d be happy to do it again?"
Anders was still holding the ruined smalls. His mind was still too caught up in those images to think clearly. "Well, I can’t say I’d blame you," he said, his mouth moving on its own. "I mean, have you seen your brother?"
Well, clearly Cormac had. And in a corset.
"I’ve seen just as much of my brother as you have. And twice as much of Fenris, now, too." Cormac shivered at another memory. "You know that glowy heart-squeezing thing? So, turns out Artie’s into that. And then … I’m not really sure how Fenris and I are looking at each other at all, after that, but… Artie wheedled him into clawing at my bones a bit. I didn’t want it. He didn’t want to do it. We did it for Artie, you know? You know there’s nerves under your shoulderblade? Because I’m pretty sure there are nerves there, and I’m pretty sure he was pulling on them."
And now Cormac’s teeth were chattering. "I might be a little bit less okay with the Fenris thing. It wasn’t… I’m not used to being performance art. But, Artie liked it, and that’s why we did it. Under other circumstances, that could have been really good, but… I didn’t want to do that to him."
Anders sat up, leaning closer to Cormac. "That… sounds vaguely terrifying," he said. Which, generally, was Cormac’s sort of thing. Less so Artemis’s, but it wouldn’t be the first time he was surprised by what that boy was into. What worried him was Cormac’s reaction now, how unsettled he seemed. He reached up to the curve of Cormac’s shoulder, kneading the muscles there soothingly. He didn’t know that that was the same shoulder Fenris had stuck his fingers into.
Cormac sighed and curled closer against Anders. "Don’t get me wrong. I came so hard I thought my dick was going to turn inside out. I just… He hates mages. He didn’t much want to touch me. He did it because he loves my brother. I did it because I love my brother. I don’t know. It works well enough for me. I just don’t trust it in anyone else." He laughed. "I’m fucking sentimental or some shit. Worried Artie’s going to push him away, because he won’t say no. I don’t know. Something stupid. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Fenris isn’t growling at me more than usual."
Anders folded his arms around Cormac. "No, he doesn’t seem to be," he said. "In fact, aside from the ‘must kill Hadriana rar’ moment he had, he seems… happier than usual." He remembered his conversation with Fenris at the beach. "Which, I take it, means things are okay between him and Artemis again." He sighed, carding his fingers through Cormac’s hair. "You keep talking about your brother and what he wants, but what about you? Are you all right?"
"I’m fine." Cormac rolled over and smiled up at Anders. "Why wouldn’t I be? He’s happy, you’re happy, the only templar near the house is the one doing Anton… Bethy’s got Prince Charming. Carver’s… Maker only knows what Carver’s doing, but he’s not complaining, so it’s probably fine. We’re filthy stinking rich. I own half a mine that people aren’t dying in, any more. It’s a fine fucking day in Kirkwall, insofar as any day in Kirkwall could be described as ‘fine’."
"Not to mention you’re in bed with the chosen of Urthemiel," Anders added with a crooked smile. He held up the stained smalls to Cormac’s skin. "You know, this colour would look good on you too." His smile turned mischievous.
"Mmm. Yes, I am. C’mere, gorgeous." Cormac scratched at the stubble under Anders’s chin. "And don’t even think about putting those on me. You won’t get them past my thighs. Artie’s kind of… willowy. But, you want to get me some that fit in that colour, I’ll wear them for you. Just long enough for you to take them right back off me, I suspect."
"Getting you underwear I can tear off later?" Anders purred. "My, that sounds like a lovely idea." He plopped the smalls onto Cormac’s head and hummed. "You know, while we’re out, we should get Artie something too. He was nice enough to leave me a present, after all." If his smile was mischievous before, it was outright diabolical now. "In fact, I think I know just the thing…"