[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 144
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: M (L3 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Anders has some issues, Anders has some more issues, referenced past abuse, Fenris has some issues with Anders’s issues
Notes: Anders is so far from okay, he couldn’t find it with a chart and a telescope.
Fenris threw Artemis a wry look as he passed the three of them, clearing a path for the mage trio with a few strategically placed glares, gestures, and, in the case of one particularly drunk templar, a light shove.
The stairs were slow going, and Anders’s head lolled, cheek resting on Cormac’s head. At the top of the stairs, Fenris looked between doors, ear twitching. "Which one is Jethann’s?" he asked.
"That one." Cormac pointed with his free hand. "I’m assuming nobody’s supposed to be in there, but try to keep the blood and guts to a minimum, please."
Fenris chuffed, amused, as he opened the door. "There will be no need for any blood and guts, it seems. The room is unoccupied." He held the door as the brothers manhandled Anders through it and closed it behind them, as they deposited the healer on the edge of the bed.
"It’s almost Orlesian in here," Anders laughed, sprawled across the enormous bed and squinting up at the tassels on the canopy. "But, I’m still cold. I’m cold and I’m empty, and it’s just making me colder."
"You’re so full of booze you’re sweating," Cormac muttered, checking under the bed for a chamber pot.
Fenris handed him one from behind a screen on the other side of the room.
"Thanks." Cormac crouched next to the side of the bed closer to Anders’s head. "Hey, Anders? Move this way. You’re going to throw up, and I don’t want you getting it on the sheets."
"I’m not throwing up." Anders looked confused, but he moved anyway, so he could reach to kiss Cormac’s forehead. "I haven’t had that much. I’m not sick."
"No, you’re throwing up. You just haven’t noticed yet." Cormac looked over the bed at Artie and raised his eyebrows.
Artemis caught that look, his own eyebrows knitting in counterpoint to Cormac’s. It took him a moment, but then he realised what that look meant. "Oh. Oh! No. Not happening. You know how it ended last time."
Anders and Fenris shot the brothers twin looks of confusion. "You’re doing that thing again," Anders said, pausing to lick lips he could barely feel. "That thing where the two of you have half a conversation without saying anything."
"Er, well," Artemis muttered, "I’m not sure you want to hear the other half of the conversation."
"Is this a mage thing?" Fenris asked. "Are you thinking of magey ways to make him vomit?" Artemis nodded, and Fenris narrowed his eyes. "Please tell me these magey ways don’t involve force magic."
Anders turned round eyes on Artemis. "You’re going to smack me into a wall until I puke?"
"What? No!" Artemis shook his head vehemently, hard enough that it made Anders’s stomach lurch dizzily just watching him. "Less shoving and more, um… pulling?"
It took a moment and then another for Anders’s saturated brain to process that.
"Except… well, you know my aim," Artie went on, fussing with a fold in the sheets. "I’d likely pull out more than just vomit." Which was more graphic than he wanted to be, but it had the desired effect when Anders’s face turned a particular shade of green. "Teeth. Intestines. Maybe a spleen."
And Anders knew how it felt to have his insides on the outside. He pictured that a little too well, and he turned towards the chamberpot, his lunch abandoning ship. Anders, thankfully, could aim, even this drunk, and managed to empty his guts into the chamberpot, without hitting Cormac or the floor.
"That was revolting. Why would you—" He paused to throw up again.
"Because if you get much more drunk than you are, you’re probably going to die," Cormac pointed out, with a warm smile, tugging on a bit of Anders’s hair. "Look at how much of that is liquid. Did you even eat, before you got here?"
"I ate!" Anders protested, oddly coherent and rational, for a moment in the wake of that. "I think. That might have been yesterday. Your brother throws a wild party, but I was expecting something a little more solid than cheese and grapes for something like this."
"How much did you drink?" Cormac asked. "Do you remember?"
"Lost count when Cullen started stepping on Serendipity’s toes. Haven’t had that much at once, since Amaranthine." Anders’s face twisted, like he was either going to throw up again or cry, and he clutched the front of Cormac’s robe with one hand. "I liked being a Warden. I miss Nate and his father’s fucking dungeons. I miss doing something that mattered, and seeing it matter."
"Dungeons? I thought you didn’t like dungeons," Cormac joked, wondering if he was going to have to make a point of murdering a Warden.
"It was different. Wasn’t really on purpose. We were drunk, and he didn’t want to know, and I didn’t want to see, and… It was … We just did it. Laughing. A drinking tour of the dungeon." Anders smiled wistfully. "He believed us, after that — well, Solona and Oghren. They … Never mind. It doesn’t matter. The only dungeon I ever enjoyed."
Anders’s stomach clenched, and he curled back around the chamberpot, choking up more watery bile. Artemis grimaced and studied the bed’s canopy, counting tassels. Vomit. Vomit was disgusting. Vomit was disgusting enough when it was his, and far more disgusting when it was someone else’s. He rubbed soothing circles along Anders’s back.
Fenris stood over the three of them, arms folded, unwittingly taking up a bodyguard’s stance. His mind was still on the thought of dungeons. He’d never seen Kinloch Hold, but that was how he pictured it, a glorified dungeon. He wondered when that had changed, when he had stopped seeing the Circles outside Tevinter as a positive thing.
"You could still be a Warden, you know," Artemis said softly, waiting until the sounds of puking had died down before looking back at Anders. "Technically, you still are a Warden. Solona would take you back or you could join another branch."
Anders made a face somewhere between a cringe and a smile. "I can’t," he murmured. "Justice and I… have too much to do, here." He huffed a laugh, and it echoed in the chamberpot. "Though Maker knows what good we’ve actually done. Nothing has changed. If anything, the situation has gotten worse since I’ve gotten here, and I…" He ran a hand through his sweaty hair. "It’s not enough. I’m not doing enough."
The hand Artie had on Anders’s back moved up to squeeze his shoulder. "You’ve done plenty," Artemis assured him. "Alrik? Karras? And there’s Cullen. And Carver! Two templars on our side we didn’t have before. It just takes time."
"I’m cold," Anders complained, again. "Cold and empty. Getting emptier." A dazed laugh spilled out of him, and he pressed his fingers to his lips — a quick spell to get that vile taste out of his mouth. "I just want to be warm. I just don’t want to be empty any more. Makes my fingers hurt." He reached back, twisting until he could stroke Artemis’s face. "Would you do that for me, Artie? Would you keep me warm? Fill me up until I ache with it? Fuck me so hard my belly sloshes?"
Fenris almost bolted for the chamber pot at that, his hands clenching until his knuckles turned white.
Cormac saw it, and put down the chamber pot, standing slowly. "Fenris, do me a favour? Water and something to eat. There’s probably cake or sausage, by now. Whatever looks like you can grab a lot of it, without anyone thinking anything of it. I promise my brother will still be dressed, when you get back."
Fenris nodded, throat bobbing as he swallowed, and then he was out the door.
Artemis tried to smile for Anders, but his eyes were too wide, too round for it to be believable. "I… er." He didn’t know how to respond to this. Was Anders asking—? No, he couldn’t be. He gently squeezed the hand stroking his cheek even as he turned his round eyes on Cormac, eyes pleading for his brother to help.
Cormac eyed the bed, judging the space between Anders and the footboard, before he tossed himself onto the bed with a bounce. "All for my brother and none for me?" he teased, running a hand down Anders’ side. "Come on, pretty thing. You know there’s nothing we won’t do for you. Blankets first." He tugged the bottom of the blanket up and draped it over himself and a bit of Anders, but there wasn’t enough blanket at the bottom of the bed. "Artie? A little help? Warden sandwich?"
"My favourite kind," Artemis said with a relieved laugh. He cuddled closer on the other side of Anders, pulling the blanket as far as it would go and wrapping an arm around Anders. "Warmer?" he asked against a feathered shoulder.
"Better," Anders murmured, huddling under the blanket and trying to cling to them both at once.
Fenris found them like that when he returned with a platter of food. He set the tray on the end table, eyeing the cocoon of mages. Everyone was still clothed under the blanket as far as he could tell, and he perched at the edge of the bed, meeting his mage’s eyes over Anders’s shoulder. "I have… food," he informed them, gesturing awkwardly at the platter.
"Okay, this was poorly considered," Cormac admitted. "Less blankets, more sitting up. Artie? Help me with this." He tossed the blanket back, ignoring the disgruntled whine from Anders. "Need you to sit up, sweet thing. If you can’t do it, we’ll move you. I know it gets hard to find up, some nights, Maker knows I’ve been that drunk."
Anders looked preposterously sulky about the entire affair, but managed to drag himself more or less upright, and Cormac nudged him until he turned and backed up into the headboard. "Twice as cold. You’re terrible."
"I am not terrible. I’m getting the blanket out from under you, so I can put it on you. We’ll keep you warm while you eat." Cormac tugged at the blanket, trying to pull it out from under Anders, at least, and drape it over him.
Artemis helped his brother manoeuvre mage and blanket, and he tucked himself in against Anders’s side again, back to the headboard, one hand rubbing warmth into Anders’s sweaty back.
Fenris laid the platter on the bed in front of the mages and squeezed in next to Artemis, getting a tassel in the face for his effort. "Jethann saw me gathering food," he rumbled. "He was… tetchy about the thought of crumbs in his bed."
"I’m tetchy about the thought of crumbs in his bed," Artemis sighed. "I need to work out a spell to force magic crumbs out of sheets, preferably without unmaking the bed."
"If this ends at all like your mage-floors," Fenris sighed, picking up a fairy cake from the platter, "then please at least wait until I’m out of the bed before you try it."
"Please," Anders muttered, face twisting. "Right now I’m associating Artie’s force magic with puking, so could we not?"
Cormac reached for the glass of water, before Anders could get a hand on it, and warmed it. No sense in putting cold water into the mage who thought he was freezing. "Less things going out. More things going in."
Anders grinned. "Oh yeah?" He ran a hand up Cormac’s thigh. "More things going in, hmm?"
"Eat something, and I’ll think about it," Cormac grumbled, wondering how, exactly, this had even come to pass. Where was Justice for all this?
With a sigh, Anders snatched up a sausage wrap and began to eat it in the most ridiculous impression of eroticism Cormac had ever witnessed.
"Is that supposed to be hot?" Cormac asked.
"No, it’s just supposed to remind you there’s something else we could be doing, if you didn’t insist I eat first. You know it’s probably all coming back up, right?" Anders huffed, with a mouthful.
"Isn’t. You got everything that’s coming out out of you, already. I made sure of that before we tried putting anything back in. You’re the healer. You really think I haven’t learnt a few things, all these years in your bed?" Cormac kissed Anders behind the ear.
"That you didn’t learn in my bed. My clinic, maybe, but not my bed." Anders stuffed the end of the sausage into his mouth and kept talking. "I’d remember if you’d gotten that drunk in my bed."
Artemis stole the rest of Fenris’s fairy cake, stuffing it in his mouth.
"There are others, you know," Fenris pointed out, gesturing at the platter. "There are others, and the plate is closer to you."
"And yet, I wanted yours," Artemis replied sweetly. "Besides, we should save the rest for Messere Warden Stamina over here."
Fenris huffed and took another fairy cake anyway.
Anders reached for more water but couldn’t figure out how to drink it in as suggestive a manner as he’d eaten the sausage wrap. He watched Cormac out of the corner of his eye anyway. "Speaking of Warden stamina," he said as he set the glass down, "I wonder if three of you could keep up with me." He glanced at Artie and Fenris in time to watch the elf nearly choke.
Artemis laughed weakly. "That would be a great deal hotter if I hadn’t just watched you throw up in a chamberpot." He patted Fenris’s back as his elf continued to wheeze around cake.
"I’d like to remind you that you peed on my hand, during our first night in the same bed." Anders huffed and picked up a cake, licking the frosting of the top. "Brought back some fond memories… And a whole lot more I wish I didn’t remember."
"Fond memories of someone whizzing on your fingers? Messere Howe, again?" Cormac asked, with a laugh, trying to keep the conversation away from the other half of that sentence.
"Yes to Howe. Not my fingers." Anders raised his eyebrows suggestively and stuffed an entire cake in his mouth, very effectively shutting himself up.
Fenris looked up, surprised. He opened his mouth and then closed it, trying to look away, but his eyes kept darting back to Anders’s face. Anders shot him an inquisitive look, and Fenris had no answer.
"This isn’t a Warden thing, is it?" Artemis asked, pinching the bridge of his nose. He had jumbled memories of the first half of his first night with Anders, but he did remember the peeing part. Moreover, he remembered the comment Anders had made about getting pee in his ass but not on his floors. He hadn’t been quite sure how to parse that statement, and years later, he still wasn’t sure. "Because I know the Wardens supposedly have some sort of secret joining ritual, and I really hope that isn’t it. I’ll never be able to look my cousin in the eye."
Anders snorted. Around the cake, he asked, "Have you ever even met your cousin?"
"No, but my point still stands. And you haven’t said no."
Anders simply smiled and plucked another cake off the platter, licking off more frosting and not saying a word.
"Anders, please tell my brother it’s not a Warden thing. Andraste’s tits aflame, tell me it’s not a Warden thing." Cormac shook his head and blinked at Anders. "Not that I’m objecting. Just… doesn’t seem a reasonable basis for a secret society."
"Fucking Howe until he pisses himself? No, it probably isn’t. Still funny." Anders laughed, still not quite answering the question, and finished the glass of water. "You know, Fenris, you could keep me warm, too. There’s enough space in my lap. We could be a giant pile of glowy and magical. You’re magical too, now, with your runes. I guess you were magical before, too, being a rune."
"I’m not getting that close to you, healer. Not while you’re this drunk." Fenris shook his head and held up a hand. "Mages are bad enough. Drunk mages are just dangerous." He pinched Artemis’s hip. "Especially this one."
"Never stopped you before." Artemis smirked and nudged Fenris back with his elbow. "And I’m… glad to hear none of that is involved in the Warden Joining ritual thing. Because if pee is involved in that in any way, we should sign up Anton. He could have taken on the Archdemon single-handedly."
Fenris’s eyes crossed as he thought about it.
"Peeing. On the Archdemon." Anders tilted his head. "Would that make the situation better or worse?"
"Depends on if it’s Warden pee, I guess," Artie said, shrugging. He looked inward for a moment, brow furrowing. "Why are we talking about this?"
"We went from ‘pee’ to ‘Anton’," Fenris informed him, licking a bit of frosting off his thumb that he’d missed. "It was a natural progression." He picked up the platter and set it back on the end table, still within reach if anyone wanted to poke at more food. "And stop giving me that look, mage. I’m not climbing into your lap."
"I’ll climb into your lap if you want," Artie offered, resting his chin on Anders’s shoulder. "I’m less prickly anyway."
"I’m not cuddling with him from this angle either," Fenris informed them. "I’d like to keep a sober mage between the drunk one and myself. That the sober one is Artemis is a novelty."