Title: Brotherly Love: 9:20 Dragon
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: BEEEEES!, slightly less than entirely brotherly
Notes: Cormac’s 17, Artie’s 15. Don’t poke the hornets. (For anyone reading Rhapsody, this is a month or two after Artie caught Cormac in the barn.)
Artemis picked their next target, an apple tree deeper in the orchard, the red fruit weighing down its branches. They’d come a long way from falling into rivers, from climbing each other’s shoulders to reach the fruit above their heads, and by then they’d perfected their technique. Artie waited for Cormac to put his shield in place around the tree, sizing up the tree for the right angle and looking around them to make sure no one could see what they were doing. Force gathered under his fingertips once Cormac gave him the signal, and Artie hit the tree hard enough to make it vibrate, leaves rustling. A few apples fell, gathering in the shield Cormac held, and Artie moved to hit the tree from a different angle.
"How many more of these, do you think?" he asked, gathering the same spell in his hands. "My magic’s getting a bit temperamental." Which usually meant Artie was running low on reserves, but then he’d wasted more effort than necessary on that last tree, trying to knock down that last apple.
More force thwacked into the tree.
"You want to just do this one and quit for the day? We’re ahead of everyone. We haul more than anyone here, every single day. Nobody’s going to say anything if I take you home because you’re a little wobbly, today." Cormac finally quit dancing to a song only he could hear and cupped his brother’s cheek in one hand, studying his face from a few different angles.
"You just push a little too hard or is it something else?" he asked, looking up at the clear sky, between the trees. It had been hot, this season, but it never really took them the same way, since they barely worked for three or four times the return anyone else was taking. They were in high demand across the southern stretches of the Bannorn, because they were just that fast and that thorough. When the harvest came, so did the messengers with offers.
All the same, this heat had been wearing on them, the last couple of days, and Cormac was worried about his brother.
Artemis waved Cormac’s concern aside. "I’m fine, I’m fine. Just spent too much time on that last one." He hadn’t been able to walk away from it, even after the last few stubborn apples refused to budge. Leaving a tree unfinished was like leaving an itch unscratched, and Artie found himself scratching at his arms as he sized up their current target. There were a few more stubborn blighters higher up in the tree. "One more spell," he muttered, knowing one would turn into two, which would turn into three if this didn’t work perfectly.
Another wave of force, and the last apples plopped into the shield… along with the hornets’ nest Artie hadn’t seen.
"Maker’s knob!" Artemis clutched Cormac’s arm. "BEES!"
The shield came up reflexively. Cormac didn’t even have to stop to think about it. But, he was still holding a barrier spell full of angry hornets. He studied it for a moment, considering the best way out of this. "Andraste’s blessed burning buttcheeks, Artie, if you just unleashed the next Blight by summoning some waspy archdemon, I’m… I’m… I have no idea what I’m going to do, other than be extremely pissed. On that note? Run. I have to drop the barrier, or they’re going to catch us." And that would end in templars, and nobody wanted that. "Just back away and start running. I think if we make it three or four rows before I let go, we can get away from them."
He tugged at Artie and started to edge further into the orchard, watching the swarm get larger and larger inside the barrier. They were going to have to come back for those apples. Or maybe they just wouldn’t. A complaint about the hornets would probably also get them out of here even faster, today. "Go, go, go." He pushed his brother ahead of him and started running.
And Artie went, went, went. He ran through the orchard, glancing back every now and then to make sure Cormac was following. Behind them, other apple-pickers in the orchard shrieked and screams of "BEES!" followed the brothers.
"This is your fault!" Artemis decided as they ran. "I don’t know how, but this is your fault! Bees! I wanted apples, and I got bees!" The words came out breathy as he was running at full speed, one hand clutching Cormac’s tunic and keeping his brother at his side.
"You’re the one who hit the tree! If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s yours, you little prick!" Cormac reached beside him and hoisted his brother into his arms without breaking stride — and his back was going to do a lot of complaining about that, later — both arms folded under Artie’s ass as they came up on the wooden fence that divided the orchard from the yard of the farmhouse. Praying to an assortment of gods, Cormac took the fence in three steps, feet hitting the crossbars as forward became up, before it went back to being forward. He skidded to a halt beside the last haul of apples, throwing one foot out for balance as he spun to burn off the last of the speed. He stopped in a half-crouch with one knee between his brother’s legs and the other foot half a leg length out. All the constant sparring and tactical games had finally paid off, he supposed.
"You good?" he asked, looking up at Artie, still clutching his brother tightly to his chest as he waited for his heart to slow down. "Any of them get through?"
Artemis clutched his brother, hands bunched in his tunic, and looked up to see Cormac’s face close to his. He swallowed, mouth suddenly going dry, his heart still hammering away. A question. Cormac had asked a question. "I, er… fine. I’m fine, that is. No wasp stings. Still your fault." That last joke came out strained as well as teasing, followed by a weak laugh when Artemis realised just where Cormac’s knee had ended up.
Artie all but jumped away from his brother as though scalded, stumbling to his feet and putting a more respectable distance between them. Brother, he reminded himself as he scratched at his skin. His brother.
"And… you?" Artemis asked. "Any wasp stings in unfortunate places?"
"No, but you’re heavier than you look," Cormac complained, straightening up, with one hand pressed to his back. He reached out and grabbed Artie’s wrist, a healing spell cupped in his palm. "Come on, let’s just go tell Mort what happened, so he can get the wasps out of here before we come back tomorrow. Then we can head back to camp, right? Take the rest of the day off, maybe catch some fish?" He summoned up a smile, trying to figure out exactly when Artie had gotten so weird about being close to him. It hadn’t been an issue, until this summer, and he had no idea what he’d done.
"Yeah, that’s… yeah." Artemis nodded, curling his hand and digging his nails into his palm to keep from scratching again. "Fishing sounds lovely. Maybe a swim? It’s hot as the Maker’s asshole out here." He’d blame the heat for his twitchiness.
"The… Maker’s asshole, huh? You say that and all I hear is you wanting to bone a god." Cormac’s awkward smile turned into a wicked grin as he let go of Artie’s arm and started backing away. "Been giving a lot of thought to the Maker’s hot ass, have you? I thought you were still pining for your elf," he teased.
Artemis huffed, following him. "The only ass I see here is you," he replied, aiming a kick at said ass’s ass.
Cormac squawked. "I mean, yeah, swimming sounds amazing. It’s been hot. Almost as hot as me." The wicked grin returned, only to fade almost immediately as three more rapid kicks landed. "Ow, shit, Artie! That’s my ass! My ass is not going to get any less hot from you kicking it. You cannot steal the hotness of my ass for yourself by violent means!"
The squawking and kicking continued all the way around the side of the farmhouse, and started again as they left.