[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 142
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Aveline ♀, Donnic ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Varric ♂, Jethann ♂, Serendipity ⚧
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Tasteless jokes, heavy drinking, Cullen’s abject inability to dance
Notes: The night before the wedding, Anton throws a wild party.
Serendipity stood between two templars, stealing sips from both their drinks, from time to time, as they rambled on about the latest strange stories from the Gallows, which she’d already heard from almost every templar in the room. Still, she smiled and laughed at appropriate points, and managed to continue to look interested far beyond the point at which she’d mostly stopped hearing them.
And then, as if by magic, Cullen appeared before the three of them. "I don’t think Anton would forgive me, if I left you to the mercies of my men, all night. May I have this dance?" He smiled slyly and held out his hand to Serendipity.
"Why, Knight-Captain! Shouldn’t you be dancing with Tony? Where is he? I’ll pinch him so hard…" Serendipity laughed and accepted Cullen’s hand, stepping out to join him.
"Oh, I think he’s trying to keep Artemis from… you know Artemis, don’t you?" Cullen smiled awkwardly, and led her away, looking back over his shoulder. "Excuse us, Ser Alfric, Ser Godfrey."
"Keep him from…? I’ve watched Artemis. That’s terribly ambiguous and you know it, Ser Cullen," Serendipity teased, as he swept her onto the floor, in time to some Orlesian music he didn’t know how to dance to, but she did.
Cullen took a moment to answer, trying to find his footing. He watched Serendipity’s feet, darted glances at the other dancing couples, and tried to keep up. "That’s… I suppose that is, isn’t it," he said with a strained laugh. "Ambiguous, that is. I’m not entirely sure if Anton’s trying to keep Artemis from rearranging the furniture or if he’s trying to keep Artemis from drinking, which is… usually what Artemis does when he’s trying not to rearrange the furniture." He sighed, shook his head, and decidedly didn’t think about that time with cordial. In the garden. With the wrong brother. Not now, not in the middle of his — Anton’s — their bachelor party.
Serendipity chuckled and carried on dancing even when Cullen nearly stepped on her foot. "Rearranging the furniture might be the safer option," she said. "I tried to put him in charge of the cheese plate to give him something to focus on, but he just ended up organising the slices by size."
Anton steered his brother away from the bar. "I’m not drinking," Artemis insisted. "This is me, with a plate of cheese in my hand, not drinking. This is what me not drinking looks like, in case you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon."
"So I see," Anton obligingly replied. "And this is me, steering you and the plate of cheese away from the bar, just in case." He stole a slice off the plate and popped it into his mouth, grinning when Artie scowled and rearranged the plate until it was even.
Cormac danced with Merrill, while Anders watched from a table he shared with Jethann and Donnic.
"Okay, new rule. Take a shot every time Cullen steps on Serendipity’s foot," Jethann announced, pouring another round for the three of them.
Donnic laughed and took two shots in rapid succession, stealing Anders’s glass, to do it.
"Are you two trying to get me drunk?" Anders took a hefty swig straight from the bottle, after he plucked it out of Jethann’s hands.
"Honey, I’m always trying to get you drunk," Jethann laughed. "I know for a fact Cormac’s not going to mind if I borrow you for a little while."
Anders made a face like a freshly spritzed cat. "Aw, Jethann, don’t… No. Yes, Cormac would probably even pay for it, but no. Don’t. I’ve seen you in my clinic."
Jethann laughed harder. "So, heal me first, if you want to be sure!"
"You guys are behind like six shots," Donnic warned them. "And they’re still dancing."
Jethann winced in sympathy as Cullen made another misstep. "Maker have mercy, we’ll be sloshed in minutes," he sighed before taking a few swigs in rapid succession.
"How is she even still standing?" Anders asked, taking the bottle back. "Do those heels have steel toes?"
Loud laughter wafted over to them from a table farther down, a table populated by templars and an already-tipsy Isabela. She was sitting in the lap of a fresh-faced recruit and stealing drinks from the men around her. Anders suspected most of them would leave with their pockets a little lighter.
"Kitten!" Isabela called out as Merrill danced past. "Come join us!" She waved Merrill over with broad sweeps of her arm, and the men at the table cheered and beckoned for her to join them.
"Oh!" Merrill tittered, pausing, hands still around Cormac. "I don’t think there are quite enough chairs for me."
"Don’t worry, Kitten, there’s plenty of seating!" Isabela punctuated this statement by wriggling her rump against her templar-cushion of choice.
"No, there isn’t!" Carver intervened, practically leaping over chairs to pull Merrill away. "No seating there!"
"Oh, come on, Carver!" Cormac laughed. "I can free up some space for both of you. You can be her shiny, platemail seat!"
"You shouldn’t be around brutes like these," Carver muttered, holding Merrill close to his chest.
Isabela laughed. "These brutes? But, she spends half her time with me, Junior! There’s nothing they can say that’ll even compare."
"You’re one to talk, recruit," one of the templars teased. "I heard what you said about Gareth’s mother and the dog, last week."
Cormac covered his eyes and spun around, before jabbing a finger at the table. "You! Templar. I have no idea who you are. Come dance with me so my brother’s girlfriend can sit down and embarrass him with stories about his ‘swording’."
"But— I—" The templar sputtered, taking another swig of beer. "I can’t dance."
"Yes, you can!" Another templar reminded him. "I saw you practising all week!"
"Yeah, get up, Johan. You wanted to learn so you could impress the ladies, but you’ve been sitting on your skinny ass all night!" yet another templar laughed.
"That is not a lady!" Johan jabbed a finger at Cormac.
"He’s quick, isn’t he?" Cormac joked, to Isabela.
"Well, the ladies aren’t going to see you sitting on your ass in the corner, are they? Go dance with the man, and give Carver a seat to put that pretty girl in." The first templar held out a hand to Merrill. "He talks about you all the time. You’re a Dalish scholar, right? Studying human culture?"
Cormac coughed into his hand, trying to hide the hysterical laugh that bubbled up in his chest. "Human culture and ‘swording’. That’s… yes. That’s what she’s here to study."
Isabela howled with laughter, making no attempt to conceal her amusement.
Merrill giggled into her hand. "Ooh I got that one!" she said, sounding pleased with herself. "Usually I miss the dirty jokes!"
Carver glared at Cormac, cracking the knuckles of his right hand. Before he could punch his brother, however, Johan rose reluctantly to his feet and stepped in front of Cormac, unwittingly blocking Carver’s trajectory.
"All right," muttered Johan, sizing up Cormac. "I guess we’re… um." He tried to figure out where to put his hands on Cormac’s waist.
Cormac just grabbed the templar, as if he were dancing with Anders, and swept him out onto the floor, in a clatter of stumbling and platemail. "You lead, yes?" he asked, smiling at the young man. "I can follow. I can also lead backward, so you look like you know what you’re doing, if that helps."
"He’s going to find a way to traumatise all the recruits, isn’t he," Carver muttered, slumping into the now-vacant seat. He pulled Merrill into his lap before one of the other templars could offer. She wriggled until she found a spot where his armour didn’t poke at her rump. At least, she was assuming that was his armour.
A few tables over, Donnic stumbled back with two more bottles. Cullen was still dancing with Serendipity, and they’d already emptied their drinks.
"Is… is it me," Donnic slurred, plopping into his chair, "or are there two Cullens now? Do we have to drink when each of them steps on Serendipity’s toes? That’s… that’s a —" They all paused to take a shot. "—that’s a lot of drinking."
Jethann snickered into his drink. "Ooh, guardsman! I never would have taken you to be such a lightweight."
Back at the bar, Aveline watched her husband in dismay and ordered a drink for herself. "Is this what it’s like for you?" she asked Fenris.
"Every party," the elf replied, "but picture Donnic sitting in Jethann’s lap instead."
"I should be upset by that. I’m sure of it." Aveline eyed the table speculatively. "I’d be much more upset by Anders, I think. I find that’s frequently the case."
Fenris tapped his glass against Aveline’s. "That’s not just you."
As they watched, Anders scooted his chair a little further toward Donnic. Or maybe it was away from Jethann. Either way, he seemed spectacularly drunk. Fenris reflected that he’d only actually seen Anders anywhere near this drunk twice, and both times had ended in semi-public sex. Of course, he’d also seen that from mostly-sober Anders, as well, so perhaps that wasn’t really related.
Anders said something to Donnic, and Jethann laughed uproariously.
"And you wonder why people try to pay you, when you walk in, here!" Jethann teased.
"No, I don’t. It’s because I’m gorgeous." Anders grinned, lopsidedly. "Gorgeous, well-used, and very, very picky."
"And you complain about me…" Jethann rolled his eyes and snorted, picking up one of the bottles Donnic had brought back.
"I complain about you, because I’ve had to clean up the aftermath of your profession. From you." Anders tried to stretch his legs, and kicked the table. "Besides, you’re an elf, and I’d break you in half. And you’re not even that cute for an elf. Of course, I’m spoilt by the beauty of the Dead Wolf of Halamshiral, so…"
"The ‘Dead Wolf’?" chuckled Jethann. "Is that a stage name? Not a very good one, unless he’s catering to necrophiliacs. And, honey, you’re welcome to try to break me in half anytime. Greater men than you have tried and failed."
"Doubt that," Anders muttered, with a smirk.
Donnic, meanwhile, was still recovering from the words Anders had whispered to him. He leaned back in his chair, eyes glazed, but the chair tipped too far, spilling him out onto the floor with a heavy crash.
"I think that’s your cue," Fenris told a mortified Aveline.
She wiped a hand over her face. "Yes. Yes, I suppose it is," she sighed. Aveline allowed herself one last, long pull from her own drink before setting it down and marching over to her husband, who was flailing on his back like an upside-down turtle.
Fenris grunted at the barkeep for another drink as he watched Aveline hoist her husband off the ground, hands under his armpits. His own drunkard sidled over to him, but Fenris caught his wrist before Artie could take his drink.
"No," he told the mage.
"But," Artemis whined, eyes pleading. "Just one drink. Please?"
"No." Fenris slid the wine out of Artemis’s reach. "Anders is drinking enough for the two of you, which is not usually how this works." He tipped his head in Anders’s direction. "If this ends in him screwing your brother over a table, I’m leaving."
"Really?" Artie teased. "That’s usually how you know you have a party." He looked longingly at the wine in Fenris’s hand but stopped trying to take it. He frowned, eyeing Anders and Jethann and the way they were sloshing drinks everywhere. "Maker, how drunk is he?"
"Artie, c’mere, you look sober!" Anders called out, waving to him, while Aveline glared and dragged her husband away from the table full of empty bottles and its drunken inhabitants.
"You should meet Artie," he said, turning back to Jethann. "He’s adorable. Until he gets drunk, and then he’s just…" Anders couldn’t find the word that went there, but the dazed smile on his face said it all.
"Aren’t you … dating his brother?" Jethann asked, always amused at the peculiar foibles of noble families.
"We’re not dating. It isn’t serious." Anders shook his head, and immediately regretted it. "But, yes, I’m doing his brother. And I’m pretty sure Cormac’s a better fuck than I will ever deserve."
"No one ever really ‘deserves’ Cormac," Artemis cut in, righting Donnic’s chair and sitting in it. "Er… hello, Jethann. Long time no… yes. Hello." He frowned at the array of bottles in front of him and started to organise them by height. He could feel Fenris watching them from the bar. "And how much have we had to drink, tonight, Anders?"
"You two know each other?" Anders looked momentarily scandalised. "Of course you do. You’ve got a thing about ‘elven culture’. Did you—? Oh, tell me you didn’t. Oh, please don’t tell me you fucked Jethann. I mean, he’s lovely, and I pay him just to hang out, sometimes, but… please don’t. Tell me you didn’t. Tell me I — I must’ve healed you since then, right?"
"He can’t afford me, Anders, you shit." Jethann kicked Anders’s chair. "And I was looking forward to that one, so if it bothers you, maybe you should just heal me now, so you don’t have to worry. Not that I have anything. If I did, you’d have seen me sooner." He rubbed his face drunkenly, and then grinned at Artemis. "Long time, indeed. Looks like you save your visits for the special occasions — when Tony’s doing questionable things to himself and others."
Artemis choked out a laugh. "Those wouldn’t exactly be special occasions," he said, "which I… suspect you know, considering how often Anton comes here. Er. Stays here. Hangs out here. Yes." Maker smite him, he was still a babbling mess in front of this elf, even years later, with a gorgeous fiancé and enough coin in his pocket to rent Jethann for a week. "And I’ll have you know that I could afford you now, if I wanted to," he added in one great rush. "Change in fortunes. I even have boots without holes in them." He also had a house in Hightown, but for some reason that felt like the greater victory.
"Ooh, is that so?" Jethann purred. Anders jumped in his seat and giggled. "Care to make up for lost time?"
"I hope you know that’s my leg your foot is molesting," Anders told Jethann. He snickered and swayed, laying his cheek on Artie’s shoulder.
"Er." Artemis looked back and forth between the drunks. Usually he was on the other side of this equation, and it was all very surreal. He patted Anders’s shoulder and considered stealing his drink.
"My mistake," Jethann purred, and then Artie was the one jumping in his seat.
"That was not my leg," he squeaked.