[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 107
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: M (L2 N0 S3 V0 D1)
Warnings: Questionable choices in fashion, questionable choices in semi-public places, QUESTIONABLE CHOICES — IT’S THE HAWKE WAY, serious conversations while secretly getting laid
Notes: Mistakes and secrets. CULLEN NO.
Artemis and Fenris filed out of the closet, looking every bit as dignified as anyone who’d just had closet sex could. Artie smoothed down his hair and his skirts long past the point they needed smoothing and nearly tripped over his brother. Anton sat on a bench just outside the closet, a certain corseted templar in his lap.
Artie’s ears burned as he remembered their earlier… mishap. "Hello," he said with an awkward smile.
"Hello," Anton replied in kind. Artemis didn’t know it was possible, but Cullen managed to look both ghost-pale and wine-flushed. He stared at Artie like he hadn’t seen him before, or, rather, like he’d seen him do too much. And really, that was a bit of an overreaction to walking in on somebody.
Then Fenris tugged on his chain and ushered him away from there.
"Mage!" Cullen finally managed, jabbing a finger at the couple walking away.
"Fenris is not a mage!" Anton groaned, loudly enough to be heard. "I told you that. He’s just got a… thing. He doesn’t even like mages."
Fenris reflected that he’d become rather fond of mages, over the last couple of years, particularly the one standing next to him, but this wasn’t the time to argue that point. "You think I’m a what?" Fenris turned around, handing the end of the chain back to Artemis, as he made his way back toward Cullen. "Take another look," he demanded, turning full-circle, to display the lyrium etching on most of his body. "This is what mages did to me. I am not a mage. You’re a templar. You know what this is." He held his hand up inches from Cullen’s face. "If I were a mage with this much lyrium in my body, I’d be one of the ancient magisters."
Fenris hadn’t looked that irate in years, possibly because he hadn’t been that irate in years. He towered over the seated templar.
And it was lyrium, Cullen could tell. Even at a distance, he should have known only lyrium glowed like that in the light, but here, this close, it was undeniable. He took in the rest of Fenris’s tattoos — which he had always thought were simply that, tattoos — and sucked in a breath.
"How are you not dead?" Cullen asked. Or at least lyrium-addled. So far, accused mageness aside, Fenris was one of the saner people in this house.
Fenris answered with an ugly smile, drawing back his hand. "I should be. You’d have to ask the magisters why I’m not."
"But… the room shook. I felt it. If you’re not the mage, then…" Cullen’s stare slid to Artemis. Artie, who would have been the right age back at Honnleath, who made Shale ‘quiver’, and who could make stone —
Oh. Oh, now that wasn’t a thought he needed to have, just now.
"Earthquakes. Yes." Artemis stepped forward, eyes a bit wide. "Um. Mother used to complain about those all the time. The house, you see, it’s… it’s over a tunnel into the Deep Roads, which are currently being mined."
"Quite annoying, really," Anton agreed. "We thought they’d stopped."
"Maybe you should ask Anders," Fenris suggested. "He’s the local Warden. If anything notable were going on in the Deep Roads, he’d know. Or Cormac, who owns half a mine." Fenris huffed out a laugh. "Wouldn’t that be a thing? If he’s been mining under his own house, all this time."
"Cormac owns…?" Cullen squinted at Anton, distracted by the bizarre revelation.
"The Bone Pit. Yeah. Got the union going and everything. Killed the dragons, improved working conditions." Anton shrugged. "Every once in a while, he manages not to fuck something up. I wish he hadn’t killed all the dragons, though. I wanted a dragon."
Cormac owned a mine. Solona was the Warden-Commander of Ferelden. Every time he blinked, Cullen kept running into perfectly normal mages. And then there was Anders. But, given what Anders had been through, he was still a decently normal individual. Mages, outside the tower, didn’t seem to be much different to anyone else — aside, of course from maleficars. But, the average apostate … didn’t seem to be that much of a threat. Changes. There had to be changes. Something had to give.
"Why would you want a dragon?" he asked.
"Why would I not want a dragon?" Anton laughed and bounced his thigh, and Cullen’s fingers dug into his shoulder, a tiny, choked sound escaping the templar.
Artemis blinked. Fenris must have fucked him stupid that he didn’t realise until just then that, not only was Cullen sitting on his brother, but he was sitting on his brother. Well. This conversation just reached new levels of awkward. At least Cullen had changed the subject from mages, lyrium, earthquakes, and all things related.
"You are not getting a dragon," Artemis told Anton in his best older-brother voice. "Where would you put it? Next to Goatilda?"
"On the roof. Obviously."
"So it could pee on passers-by? That seems to be a bit of a theme with you. The peeing, anyway."
"And you know what’s a theme with you, Artie?" Anton said sweetly. "Drinking. Why don’t you do that?" He made a shooing motion with his fingers.
Artemis scowled. "I would be insulted by that comment if it weren’t such a good idea." Drinking. Preferable to talking to templars as they’re being boned.
"… and it took a good five or six drinks, but he was interested. Alcohol-soluble noble graces." Anders shook his head and put his glass in Artemis’s hand. "Speaking of alcohol-soluble nobility… Where did you two run off to? We all know what you were doing, but we’ve got a silver piece riding on where."
"Anton’s preferred closet, apparently," Fenris drawled, a little less than thrilled with everything that had happened since leaving the closet. "His templar just mistook me for a mage."
Isabela turned around from a nearby conversation. "You’re not a Hawke, but that ass is magic," she called out, before returning to the conversation at hand.
"You?" Cormac blinked, a fruit tart raised halfway to his mouth. "That’s the most ridiculous and offensive thing I’ve heard this week! He knows about me and Anders, of course, but you? What, does he just think Anton collects apostates?"
"The Hawkes have done stranger things," Fenris said blandly. "And the glowing threw him off. Apparently he sees glowing as a strictly mage-only talent."
Artemis was still parsing through Cormac’s words. ‘He knows about me‘. Had Cormac really just said that? Or had that earthquake rattled his brains? Artie flailed internally for a moment before grabbing Cormac’s wrist, interrupting his communion with the fruit tart. "Hold on," he sputtered. "What? Cullen knows about you? When did this — what?"
Cormac took the tart with his other hand and took a bite. "Before Anders and I took that holiday up the coast. It’s fine. Honnleath," he said, around a mouthful of tart. "He thinks I’m you."
Artemis stared at his brother, mouth falling open. Honnleath. Where Shale had been a statue. Where Cullen had grown up. Where Artie’s magic had…
Maker. "He… thinks…" Artemis’s expression tightened, and he looked murderous. "And you didn’t tell me. A templar mistook you for me, and you didn’t tell me. Is that why you went on that ‘vacation’?" Artie struggled to keep his voice down. "How are you not in the Gallows?"
Anders leaned in, clearing his throat. "Artie? I think Shale is purring again." He tilted his head in Shale’s direction.
"Because he knows the Gallows, I suspect. And he’s utterly mad about Anton. But, he’s promised to give Anton the heads up, if I need to find myself on holiday, again." Cormac looked largely unconcerned with any of that. "But, really, why would I have told you? He didn’t figure out it was you. There’s no need to get you worried over something like this. I went on holiday, and Anton fixed it. And apparently also proposed… Didn’t see that coming." He laughed and put an arm around Artemis. "You’re my little brother. It’s on me to look out for you, so I did. Problem solved."
"The templar is not particularly good at his job, either," Fenris scoffed. "Me. A mage. Ridiculous."
"He’s better than most of Kirkwall’s templars," Anders said, reaching up to pet the cat still curled on his head. "I swear, one of them walked up to me the other day and asked if I knew anything about mages in the city. Hello? Warden mage, here."
Fenris shook his head. "Well, they’re bound to make Carver look good in comparison. For better or worse."
Artemis pinched Cormac under the arm, still scowling. "I do not like not knowing," he murmured. "We’re supposed to look after each other, you twat." Artie would never have let Cormac take the blame for something like that, which was, he supposed, exactly why Cormac didn’t want to tell him. He sighed and kissed his brother’s cheek.
"Me… I’ve done this before." Cormac laughed, holding Artie close against his side. "They’d never have gotten me, and you know it. You, my dear brother, are the delicate mageflower in this family, and? You know it. So, just let me look out for you. Shit, Anton was ready to throw me to the dogs for you. I was ready to throw me to the dogs for you. Bethy would have signed off on it. Carver would have thrown a damn party. When it’s your turn to step up, you’ll know it. It’s just usually mine. It’s what I’m here for." It was yet another reason he’d signed the house over to Anton. Fewer unpleasant questions, if anything happened.
"He’s the delicate mageflower, and I’m the magical unicorn." Anders shook his head, gently, and Purrcy meowed.
"Well, you were pretty horny, as I recall!" Cormac joked, grinning at Anders. "Not a state you seem to have recovered from."
Fenris made a disgusted face. "Aren’t unicorns usually drawn to virgins?" he asked. "If so, he’s a rather terrible unicorn."
Anders plucked up a few more olives from the table. "Being a unicorn is one thing I don’t mind being terrible at," Anders said, grinning and waggling his eyebrows. He popped the whole handful of olives into his mouth, and Fenris looked even more disgusted. "But what the magical unicorn would like to know," Anders said, mid-chew, "is how the broody elf managed to squeeze that far into his corset without puncturing an organ. Or have you? Am I going to need to heal you after?"
Artemis snorted and stole the last of Cormac’s tart.
Cormac huffed and pinched Artie’s ass. "I guess I’m eating a different kind of tart, tonight." He studied Fenris. Now that Anders mentioned it, that was an extremely small waist on the already slim elf.
"No organs have been punctured, in relation to this corset." Fenris looked smug and glanced down at the spikes. "That could change at any time, but they won’t be my organs."
A disbelieving look crossed Cormac’s face. "Anders? How’s Justice doing, right now?"
"Aside from reminding me I’m not having another glass of wine?" Anders swallowed and didn’t put more olives in his mouth right away. He blinked and looked at Fenris. "No. You didn’t…"
"I think he did," Cormac said, sounding more than a little bit impressed. "That works? How does that work?"
"Why?" Artie laughed. "Are you thinking of trying it?" Then he remembered that his brother was just as capable of… doing the glowy thing, and his smile froze. "You’re thinking of trying it. Maker."
Fenris shrugged. "It works the same way I’m able to reach into your chest and pull out your heart," he said. That made Artie squirm a bit, and Fenris smirked. "The parts of me in the way are in the Fade, while the rest of me is here. Enough to keep the corset on."
"Lacing the thing was bizarre," Artemis said. "His waist is… both there and not there, and… well." He gestured at Fenris. "The spikes added an extra challenge."
Cormac shook his head and kept staring. "I can’t do the parts thing. I’m either here or I’m not. I’m not sure it’s possible for me to do just a part. I’m going to need a different book."
"You think someone wrote about that?" Anders asked, rubbing his stubble with his knuckles. "I suppose if someone had done it, there’d be a book about it. It’s probably going to be in Tevene, though."
"Is this how magisters happen? Mages trying to adjust the rules of fashion with magic? I wonder how many demons have been summoned in pursuit of the perfect figure," Fenris drawled, looking thoroughly unimpressed with all of them. Still, that Cormac wasn’t sure he was capable of this was somehow reassuring.
"How many demons I’d summon accidentally, just trying to get into that thing," Cormac muttered. "What is it with you and spikes?"
"I think he’s still going for ‘Broody Elf Chic’," Anders said. "Either that, or he’s discouraging hugs."
"Possibly both," Artemis agreed, earning a raised eyebrow from Fenris.
"Honestly, I’m surprised you didn’t leave that closet with a few puncture wounds, Artie," Anders said. "I mean, I know impaling was the goal, but…"
Fenris grinned. "Notice that there aren’t any spikes in the important places," he said. "Aside from the one, that is."
Artemis groaned and hid his face behind his hand and against Cormac’s shoulder.
"Is that a thing for you, Artie? Glowy, Fade-touched … spikes?" Cormac was not helping, but he hadn’t meant to. "I mean, this is getting to be a theme, here."
Fenris could have done without the reminder, but Artemis always came back to him. Even when he was being a fool. "I believe only one of us glows quite the way he likes."
"I think only one of us has actually glowed in bed," Anders pointed out.
"If you mean literally, ‘in a bed’, then yes," Fenris muttered, one ear twitching. He had no desire to remember that time in the Vimmark Mountains. That was too much glowing, even for him.
Artemis hummed, resting his cheek on Cormac’s shoulder. "Is that a thing you could potentially do?" he asked, knowing he probably shouldn’t. "Glow in the bedroom?" Or closet. Or dining room. Or anywhere, really. And there was a thought: Fenris and Cormac laying on their glowy hands. Maker have mercy.
"I don’t know if it’s a good idea," Cormac said, thinking of the last time he was glowing for something like that, and if Anders didn’t remember, Cormac wasn’t going to remind him. Better he didn’t know, really. "But, if you want it, I’ll try it. I’m going to have to insist that Anders be there, though, just in case. If I break something… if I break you…"
"Do not break my mage," Fenris growled.
"I’ve watched you — well, heard you — squeeze my brother’s beating heart. I could say the same to you, but I don’t, because it wouldn’t be polite." Cormac raised an eyebrow disdainfully. He rather tactfully avoided mentioning the later events of that evening, when Fenris’s hands had ended up in his own body, if only because that time, he had asked not to be broken.
"For the record, I’m not going to glow in bed." Anders tossed another olive into his mouth. "Justice isn’t into that. Any of that, really. If he wasn’t me, I’d apologise for the amount of it he’s had to sit through, but I know he knew what he was getting into."
Artemis darted a look at Cormac but refrained from commenting. If Cormac wasn’t going to remind him, Artie wasn’t going to either. As for Cormac glowing… the thought was tantalising, but he wasn’t going to press the issue if his brother didn’t want to do it. It certainly made for a lovely image, however.
"I still don’t think it’s fair I’m the only one who doesn’t glow," Artemis huffed.
"You have earthquakes," Anders reminded him. "It balances out."
The party was not quiet, but one voice cut across all the noise, suddenly, echoing in from the hall. "Oh, shit, Anton!"
It was followed, shortly, by another voice cackling hysterically.
"Well," Anders observed, "someone’s having a good time…"
"I’d hoped they’d have the sense to take up the closet, once it was empty. Apparently not." Fenris’s ear twitched.
Cormac was silent for a long moment. "Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them. I’m going to have to ask Anton about that, later. I think everyone’s going to be asking Anton about that, later."
Artemis shook his head as though trying to shake the last few seconds out of his brain. "I… I could have lived without hearing that," he said. "Or… sort of seeing it a few minutes ago."
Fenris cleared his throat. "To be fair, Anton and Cullen heard and saw quite a bit more than that earlier."
"Hey, we were in a closet. There was a door. Something resembling privacy. They should have knocked!"
Anders shook his head and exchanged a look with Cormac. "Between the basement and upstairs, there are how many bedrooms with lockable doors, and everyone crowds into the closet?"
"All right, that’s it," Artie sighed. He pulled away from Cormac and looked around. "Where did the alcohol run off to?"