[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 124
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: T (L2 N1 S1 V0 D0)
Warnings: Discussion of internal organs, angst, Hawkewardness
Notes: Artemis, and the art of being not dead.
Cormac woke first, wrapped around Artemis, still. This was his room, his bed, his brother and Fenris and Anders in his bed? What— Oh. The Arishok. Images of Artie’s insides on the outside flashed through his head, and he pulled his brother closer under the pile of blankets. No scars on the outside, he remembered, because Anders had done that part, himself. On the inside… it would be a couple of days before they knew if Cormac had fucked up. But, he’d tried so hard, just like when they were young, and it was all skinned knees and broken fingers.
He pressed his lips against the top of Artie’s head and felt himself start to shake. This had been his fault — He hadn’t expected the Arishok to be able to use the shield against him, like that. It had done a lot less damage than would have been done without the shield, but it hadn’t been like in Lothering. It hadn’t been like the ogre, and he should have used the barrier instead of the shield. He didn’t need to move, and he just hadn’t realised it. And that was where it fell apart. He moved, the shield moved, and the moving shield provided less protection than the immovable barrier. That and it was also very occasionally possible to hit him with his own shield, as the magic tried to focus on the last hit. Some subtle deflection thing that sometimes misfired — backfired — and that was how he’d gotten his nose broken again. He should have healed himself, but he was just too damn stupid to worry about himself. And that had almost gotten Artie killed. He’d failed, again. Horribly. Almost fatally.
Artemis shifted against him, pressing his nose into Cormac’s chest, a groggy, inquisitive sound starting in his throat. "Mrrph. Cormac?" He tilted his head up and got a faceful of beard. Definitely Cormac. His brother’s grip was unusually tight, and Artie felt him shaking. "Cormac. Hey." Artemis pushed back to look at him, rubbing one eye with the heel of his hand.
It took Artie a moment to remember too, tracing backwards from effect to cause. Cormac’s room. Cormac pressed against his front, Fenris curled against his back. Arishok. Maker, Hightown would still be a mess, wouldn’t it?
"Are you all right?" Artie asked his brother, voice low in deference to their other bedmates. "Usually I’m the one who shakes the bed." He smiled, face still a little pale, and tugged teasingly at Cormac’s beard.
Cormac smiled as warmly as he could, which was still guilty and sad. He tipped Artie’s face up and leaned back just enough to get a look at him. "Hey," he whispered, "thanks for not dying."
There was something else, but his throat closed against it, and he kissed Artie in that way one didn’t kiss one’s brothers, unless… but they were just like that. They’d always been a little different. A little strange, and now they were even stranger, but Cormac could live with that, as long as Artemis survived.
"I’m sorry," Cormac breathed against Artemis’s lips. "I should have known better. There was a better way to do that, and I was too slow to notice it. I almost got you killed. I touched parts of you only Fenris should have had his hands on. You’re beautiful, but I never want to see those parts of you again. I’m so sorry, and I know that’s not enough. I just don’t know what else to say. I almost lost you. You’re my everything, Artie, just like you’ve always been. I don’t know what I would have done…" He could feel the damp starting in the corners of his eyes. "And now, I’ll fail you again. I can’t just keep smiling like it never happened. I just… ten minutes, and I’ll be me again. I’m so sorry. For everything."
Artemis watched his brother fall apart, unsure what to do. He stroked Cormac’s cheek, brushed back his hair, and pressed another kiss to his lips to silence him. "Stop," he murmured, cupping Cormac’s face. "Stop apologising. If I almost died, it was because the Arishok was swinging an axe bigger than I was." It was an axe, wasn’t it? Artie didn’t remember the blow. He remembered reaching for a spell, remembered pain like he’d never felt… remembered waking up on the floor with his brother’s hands inside him, in the unfun way. "Or… well. It was my fault for assuming my spell would work and not getting out of the way. Yes, if we’re going to be blaming a Hawke — which I’m not saying we should be — it should be me for that dazzling moment of stupidity. Not you. I’ve only lived long enough to be this stupid because you’re my brother."
And honestly, Artemis should have known his brother would blame himself for that, the fool. He smoothed a hand over his own stomach automatically, trying to find the seams of his wound and finding nothing, not even a scar. There was still a phantom sort of pain there, but it was more a memory than an actual sensation.
"You and Anders do good work," Artie said. "And I’m not dead, so you can stop fretting. I’m not going anywhere."
Fenris curled tighter against him, face buried in Artie’s hair. "Good," he rumbled, eyes still closed. "I’m not done with you yet." Artemis smiled softly at his brother and reached back to pat what he could reach of Fenris.
"I do good work," Anders muttered, winding himself tighter around Cormac. "Your brother might as well be using bookbinders’ tape."
Cormac laughed, quietly, against Artie’s forehead. "He’s right. So, if anything doesn’t feel right, you need to let Anders know, so he can fix it properly. We just had to make sure you didn’t…" He swallowed hard. "There was so much blood. I just had to keep the rest of it in you."
"Maybe you and Fenris should test our work," Anders suggested. "I’m staying over here. I don’t care how good our work is, Artemis does not need the flagpole after that."
"I have witnessed your insides, Amatus," Fenris mumbled, "and I am now even less certain how you … fit… any number of things." Anders. Himself and Cormac at the same time. The jade wand of ass-destruction.
"Insides are stretchy, Fenris. You think his are amazing, you should see what’ll fit in mine." Cormac kissed his brother, again, this time much more intently.
"No, you shouldn’t. Even I was traumatised," Anders said to Fenris, as the kiss went on, between them.
Artemis chuckled into the kiss, pulled back to bite Cormac’s lip playfully. "I’m not sure if I’m more curious or concerned," he murmured, without breaking contact.
"Concerned," Fenris answered dryly.
Anders nodded. "You should be."
Artemis huffed, pulling away from the kiss and twisting until he could look at Fenris over his shoulder, one hand still toying with Cormac’s hair. "Regardless, that’s my brother’s… plumbing. But the good healer says you’re welcome to test out mine." His eyebrows gave an exaggerated wiggle, making Fenris raise his.
"Really?" Fenris drawled. "After losing all that blood? Are you certain you have enough left in you for such… activities?"
Fenris was probably right. Artie was feeling more tired than sexy, but it was the principle of the matter. "One way to find out?" he suggested with a shrug.
"We’ll keep an eye on you," Cormac promised. "Make sure you don’t get rattled too hard, if you pass out."
"And once his eyes roll back in his head, I’ll keep an eye on you," Anders joked against the back of Cormac’s neck, hands wandering over the warm body in front of him. He moved up the bed, so his feet weren’t sticking off the end, any more, and he was a bit more correctly aligned with Cormac’s body. Anders had a habit of hiding behind whoever else was in bed with him, but as tall as he was, that rarely went quite according to plan.
"Might take a little more effort than you’re used to," Cormac teased, but he meant it. Artie still being alive and well enough to tell him not to worry about it just wasn’t quite enough to put the throb back in his knob, maybe even with help from Anders.
"Artie, when you’re done getting pounded through the mattress, I’ve got something I want to show you. I think it’ll make your brother a little less mopey," Anders said, gnawing at the back of Cormac’s head, affectionately.
"I am not mopey." Cormac’s eyes crossed.
"You are too mopey," Artemis protested, tugging lightly at a bit of his hair.
"And this from the man who lives with Fenris," Anders said. "He must be an expert on moping by now!"
"I do not mope!" Fenris huffed.
"He doesn’t mope," Artemis agreed. "He broods."
"I do not brood!"
Anders and Artie exchanged wry looks around Cormac’s head. "And his ears don’t twitch," said Anders wryly.
Artie shook with soft laughter, which made Fenris huff.
"Mages," the elf muttered, but the word sounded fond. His mage, who had almost died. That was only just now sinking in.
Artemis rolled onto his back so he wouldn’t have to twist to see Fenris. One hand kept touching Cormac, twisting long hair around his fingers, while the other curled under and around Fenris. "If it will make my brother less mopey," Artemis said, looking over Cormac’s head to what he could see of Anders, "you’re welcome to tell me before the pounding. Or during." He didn’t like seeing that look on Cormac’s face, didn’t like knowing that he was the one who put it there, especially after Cormac had told him to stay home yesterday.
"I, ah… I don’t know if that’s the best idea. I’d have to get out of bed," Anders groaned. "And I just woke up."
"I can tell exactly what up you woke. It’s jabbing me in the ass," Cormac laughed, reaching behind him to squeeze Anders’s thigh. "Besides, you’re almost wearing clothes."
That was true, Anders realised. He’d gone to bed in his shirt, like he hadn’t in so long, because Fenris was with them. He sighed. "Fine, fine. I’m moving."
Anders rolled heavily off the bed, staggering as his feet hit the ground. He’d never been good at mornings, but being a mage usually meant he didn’t have to get out of bed to help. He could start something and then worry about standing up and wearing pants. But, this wasn’t the kind of thing he wanted to do lying down. It would trash the sheets and probably Cormac’s back. He staggered around the bed and leaned on the vanity. "So, you’re pretty good at doing exciting things with stone," he pointed out, fairly obviously. "But, I think there’s something you might be missing."
Plates of stone clattered into being, as Anders leaned away from the furniture, and in seconds, he was wearing an assortment of them, mostly in places no one wanted to be stabbed.
Artemis pushed himself up onto his elbows, staring at Anders’s stone-covered body. Stone. As a shield. As armour. "That’s… I never thought to do that." Why hadn’t he thought to do that? He could already create stone, could already move it. He’d just always been more focused on finding more offensive uses for that skill. And fun uses, really, but Anders had taught him most of those.
Artemis climbed out of bed, a little ungracefully as he had to climb over Cormac first, and then had to steady himself against the wall as he stood, feeling light-headed from the sudden movement. He rapped his knuckles against a stone plate. Yep, definitely stone.
"It’s something I learned in the Circle," Anders said. Plates of stone moved as he shrugged. "It’s a bit cumbersome when I’m healing, but it has its uses."
"Is it heavy?" Artemis asked, looking to see the way the pieces fit.
Another shrug. "Not really. The stone hovers over you so none of the weight is actually resting on you."
"You’ll show me how to do it?"
Fenris listened to the pair of them, curling against Artie’s pillow. Then he looked up and realised that he and Cormac were the only ones in bed.
"Mages," Cormac said, with a shrug.
Fenris reached behind himself and then walloped Cormac with a pillow. "Why is it always mages?" he sighed, pulling the blanket up over his head, to go back to sleep. In Cormac’s bed. Fenris lay there, mortified, for a long few minutes.