[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 152
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anders ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀
Rating: M (L3 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Implied klismaphilia, discussion of future smut; anti-Fereldan sentiment, ANTON NO, BETHY EXTRA NO, too much dog
Notes: Cormac and Anders have an almost-serious conversation. Bethany finds something extremely disappointing in her wardrobe.
Cormac wrapped his arms around Anders, from behind, pressing his cheek against the back of Anders’s shoulder. "So, at Anton’s party…" Anders tensed in Cormac’s arms. "Were you serious?"
"Don’t know what you’re talking about," Anders said, rubbing Cormac’s knuckles, nervously. "I was drunk. I said a lot of things."
"Going to be like that, is it?" Cormac pressed a kiss to Anders’s shoulder and let go, sitting down on the edge of the bed to take his boots off. "That’s fine. You just… Something you said. Something about the look in your eyes. You want it, we’ll do it. Just tell me."
Terror flashed across Anders’s eyes and he looked away. "What did I say?" Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe he didn’t actually say what he thought he’d said. Maybe he hadn’t been that drunk.
"Something about hot water. Not being empty any more." Cormac was intentionally vague. There was a fine line between Anders confessing an actual desire and Anders drunkenly trying to destroy himself, and this one was weird enough that Cormac wasn’t sure which side of the line it was on.
"Fuck." Anders sort of crumpled to the floor, resting his forehead on the edge of the bed, as the world spun.
"Not real, then? Just you being drunk?" Cormac reached out to stroke Anders’s hair. "I’m fine either way. After all the shit you’ve done to me against your better judgement, it’d take more than that to shove me off."
"No, I… Andraste’s tits aflame!" Anders snarled against the edge of the bed. "Yes, okay? Yes. I want it. But, I don’t expect it. I don’t need it. It’s not—" Anders inched back and curled down onto himself, resting his head on his knees, and Cormac slid off the bed to sit next to him, rubbing his back. "It’s not going to be pretty. It’s actually pretty fucking disgusting."
"Would it be terrible of me to tell you I was turned on by the part where you told me if I did it right, you’d slosh when I fucked you?" Cormac looked faintly amused to be having this conversation. This really wasn’t something he’d expected out of Anders, but anything that could make Anders look like he did talking about this, the other night, was worth doing at least once.
"Did I say that? Shit, I said that, didn’t I?" Anders choked out a shaky laugh. "Are you having me on, or…"
"Anders, pretty thing, we’re talking about my knob. When am I ever having you on, when it comes to my knob?"
"There was that one time," Anders muttered.
"That doesn’t count. I wasn’t having you on. I was just wrong." Cormac still felt kind of shit about that time, really. But, he supposed there were benefits to doing a healer. However bad he managed to break himself, Anders could probably fix it. And much better than he could fix himself.
"And what if you’re wrong about this?" Anders asked, still mumbling into his lap.
"Then it’s fucking horrible and we never do it again. Come on, like we haven’t had that happen before?" Cormac could count at least six things that had sounded amazing at the time, but had ended terribly. But, those were his ideas and all the damage had been done to his body. Anders didn’t much go in for things that were likely to end horribly — at least when he wasn’t terrifyingly drunk. And those were times Cormac mostly hadn’t seen. Those were, all told, probably why Justice objected so strongly to the drinking, from what he’d gathered.
"Yes, but it’s not— You don’t— It’s different." Anders didn’t really want to explain. There were things that had been done to him, things he’d done to himself, things he’d invited people to do to him. But, this one thing. It had been done right exactly once. It had been horrible, in the aftermath, but in the moment… He tried not to think too hard about that.
"Anders, your eyes. I’ve never seen that look on you before. All these years, and not once. I don’t know how much of that was the drink, but if it puts that look on your face, I’ll do it." Cormac wasn’t sure how this had become him talking Anders into Anders’s own idea, but it seemed like something that needed to happen. "I’ll wash the sheets, myself, when we’re done. No matter how badly it ends. No matter what you get on whatever. I have how much money? If we can’t clean it, we’ll burn it and I’ll buy you a new one. I don’t even care about the sheets, the furniture, whatever."
"Why are you so good to me?" Anders asked for what was probably the hundredth time. Every time Cormac did something unexpectedly sweet, there was that question again.
"Same reason you’re so good to me. Nobody fucks us like we fuck us." Cormac laughed. "That and some sappy shit about your smile. Blah, blah, warm and fuzzy."
"You’re turning into a tree, as you age, Cormac. One of these days, I’m going to wake up next to a sylvan." Anders’s laugh sounded a little less strained, this time.
"Yeah, but just imagine the morning wood." Cormac tried so hard not to laugh, little snorts and choked sounds sneaking out.
Anders finally sat up and just looked at him, blank-faced. "Did you just— Really. Maker damn it, Cormac, that is the worst pun." He snagged a pillow and swatted Cormac upside the head with it.
"You walked right into it." Cormac cackled and toppled to the side, landing on his boots. "You set that one up and left it wide open. Did you really expect me not to take it?"
"You’re fucking horrible." Anders landed another thump with the pillow.
"Yes, but I’m a wonderful fuck." Cormac grinned.
"Yeah, you are." Anders tossed the pillow back onto the bed and crawled up over Cormac to nibble on his ear. "Weren’t we going to bed? Because this is a lot less soft than I remember either of our beds being."
Cormac laughed again, and Anders swept him up, standing to toss him onto the bed.
"Merciful Andraste!" Cormac bounced and clutched at the sheets, as Anders went to let the cats in. "I weigh like two of you!"
"Yeah, but you’ve been feeding me. It catches up."
Bethany had decided on the blue dress, the one with the silver trim, for her evening out with Sebastian, but when she ducked into her room to lay it out, she found Mintaka sitting in front of her wardrobe and blocking her way. His teeth were bared in a growl, the fur at his neck and back sticking up in tufts, his stare intent on the wardrobe’s door. And that was new. All these years with a dog, and he’d never once growled at her clothing.
"I’m sure the furniture is very sorry for whatever it did, old boy," Bethany soothed, reaching down to stroke back Mintaka’s spiked-up fur, pausing to rub a velvety ear between her fingers.
Mintaka looked at her and huffed in a way that almost sounded annoyed. There was a sound like creaking wood from the wardrobe, and Mintaka’s growls turned to full-on barks. Bethany narrowed her eyes. Were her brothers up to something? "Is there something in the wardrobe, boy?" she asked, speaking loudly enough to be heard over the barking. "Alright, let’s a take a look."
"Please don’t open the door!" begged a voice from inside the wardrobe.
"Oh my," Bethany said dramatically, "has the furniture learned to speak?" Not one of her brothers. "Is my wardrobe possessed and possibly crinkling my nice dresses?"
Mintaka wagged his tail, in amusement, panting happily. It was what they’d come to refer to as the dog ‘laughing’.
"Come out, and perhaps you’ll be spared, depending on the condition of my eveningwear," Bethany commanded, winking at the dog, who barked happily.
A man eased himself out of the wardrobe, stiffly. "My legs are cramping! Please, just let me go!"
"Reach back into that wardrobe and bring out the dress that matches my eyes. It’s a Nevarran cut, with silver trim." Bethany lifted her chin, gazing imperiously at this burglar who stood almost as tall as Carver. "Hang it on the door, and we will see if you will be walking away from this."
"Please, serah," the burglar began, shifting hangers and looking for something… with silver trim… that was… er… He looked back at Bethany. Blue. He thought her eyes were blue.
"That’s ‘messere’, to you," Bethany remarked, blandly, looking bored.
"Right. Messere. Er…" He found a blue dress with silver trim. He had no idea what a Nevarran cut looked like, but at least the colours were right. Mintaka barked once more, on principle, and the burglar jumped, the hanger clattering against the door as he tried to hook it over the top. "Here. Here’s your dress. Please call off your guard-dog-monster!"
Bethany looked down her nose at him, waving him to the side so she could take a look at the dress. The man shrank against the wall, Mintaka following with teeth bared. "If you’re lucky, I won’t call the other dogs," she said sweetly, stepping forward to run her hands along the dress. She clucked her tongue, finding the skirt and tulle underskirt crumpled at the bottom. "Look at this," she sighed, smoothing out the fabric. She narrowed her eyes, peering closer. "Is that…? Did you stain my dress?"
The man whimpered. "Please, messere. I shouldn’t have come here. It was an honest mistake!"
"I believe it’s the definition of a dishonest mistake, serah," Bethany said, fingers flicking at her side. "But, I think I will be kind. I will give you until the count of five to remove yourself from the building, before I release the hounds."
Mintaka barked and pranced merrily, knowing exactly what Bethany was up to, as the burglar’s eyes widened. The man looked around the room, watching dogs inch out from behind every piece of furniture, peeking in from the doorway. The house was full of dogs, as far as he could tell, and it was pure luck that only one of them had caught up with him.
"One…" Bethany began, holding up a finger.
The burglar bolted for the door, stumbling to avoid the illusory dogs, and Bethany followed him out, as he ran down the hall to the stairs. "Two," she called after him.
Once he was halfway down the stairs, she laughed and called out, "Five!" A horde of mabari seemed to swarm in from every doorway, and Mintaka led the lot of them after the man, as Bethany leaned on the balcony rail and cackled. The burglar ran screaming from the house, howling about the crazy Fereldan nobles and the house full of dogs. Mintaka followed him into the street, nipping at his heels.
Cormac appeared at his sister’s shoulder, glaive in hand. "I heard screaming. Should I be concerned?"
"Screaming that wasn’t from you, you mean?" Bethany teased, smile wide. "And no need. Mintaka just happens to be a very good watchdog."
Anton slipped out from a shadow Bethany hadn’t even noticed. "What did he do? Fart on the man?" He slipped his knife back up his sleeve.
"Even I am not so cruel as to let Mintaka do that," Bethany replied, tossing her hair over her shoulder, "though that is one way to dissuade a burglar. Especially a burglar who stains my favourite dresses." She would have to send them to Anton’s cleaner and take a look at what dresses had survived the assault. "Mintaka found him in my wardrobe."
Anton thought of Meredith’s wardrobe and what it’d looked like from the inside. "Poor sod," he muttered.
Mintaka came bounding up the stairs, looking thoroughly pleased with himself, stump of a tail wagging. He flopped next to Anton, who bent to scratch behind his ear. "There’s a good boy," Anton cooed. Mintaka flopped even further, shamelessly exposing his belly for Anton to scratch. "Putting the fear of dog into burglars!"
Cormac shook his head. "This guy didn’t ruin any of your dresses, did he?" He knew how Bethany was about her gowns, and he also knew how expensive they were. Maker, if they were his gowns, he’d be like that about them, too, at that price.
"Oh, I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be cleaned, but I still have to be sure nothing’s torn." Bethany sighed, quietly. "How did he get past you, Anton? I thought you were the best."
"I am the best." Anton grinned. "But, you’re assuming he had to get past me to get to you, which, in this house…" He shook his head and looked inquisitively at Cormac.
Cormac sighed and realised he’d be going over the accounts again, that night. "Tell me what you want. Tell me what we need.Then I’ll figure out what we can actually afford."
"Afford? We’re concerned about that?" Anton looked surprised.
"Between the garden and the way Hubert’s completely unable to handle the mine or the miners? Yeah. And he’s ripping me off, again. Thinks I’m too Fereldan to notice. I’d say I’m not sure how he’s still in business, but I know the answer to that. I’m standing right here." Cormac sounded more than a little aggrieved about that.
"Too Fereldan. Because as an Orlesian merchant, he’s so much more intelligent," Bethany scoffed. "I’ve known indebted gamblers with better financial sense." She paused. "I’ve been reading your mail. I wanted to see if I could afford to skim enough to buy a new dress for Artie’s wedding, before the collegium pays for the last book."
"Pay me back, and it’s yours," Cormac sighed. "I just have to convince him to sell me his half of the mine, but when you consider that I own half, and I’m getting about a third of the profits, I can see where that wouldn’t be an economical choice, except for the part where he’s running it into the ground."
"I wonder what would happen if he died," Anton muttered, contemplatively.
"Anton, no." Cormac groaned and leaned on the balcony rail. "At least not yet."
"You know I could—" Bethany started, with a faint smile.
"Absolutely not. No. Both of you. No." Cormac held up his finger to each of them, in turn, as if he were talking to the dog. "Speaking of necromancy, do you still have the, ah…" Cormac cleared his throat. He had no idea what word went there. ‘Remains’ sounded too much like what they would have been, had he and Artie not been quite so upset. ‘Remains of the remains’ just sounded stupid. And none of them really wanted to spend too long thinking about their mother, and how all that had ended.
Bethany didn’t need him to finish that sentence to understand what he was asking. Quentin. A name neither of them was about to say. "Of course," she said with a serrated smile. "In a lovely little ring box inside my dresser. Do you need it for something?"
Anton sat on the floor, arms around Mintaka, and peered quizzically up at them. "I have no idea what the two of you are talking about, and that’s always a cause for concern."
"I just want to study it. Dad… I only did that once before, and not quite like, well, that. Dad didn’t really let me look too much at it. I’m kind of curious about some things." Cormac shrugged, not being intentionally vague, just that he really had no idea what he was actually looking for. "It’s not that important. It’s just been bothering me, ever since." He shot a look at Anton. "That’s funny, I’m usually concerned when I can tell what you’re talking about."
Anton grinned. "That’s only because you don’t know enough to be concerned about the rest."
"You can have it," Bethany told Cormac, waving her hand. "I haven’t found a use for it, yet, but maybe you can. Hold on." She glided back into her room, face twisting at the sight of her crumpled, stained dress still hanging from the wardrobe door, and plucked the ring box from her dresser. Padding back out into the hallway, she handed the box off to Cormac. "Here you are! Consider it an early nameday present. Don’t say I never give you anything."
Cormac leaned in and kissed his sister’s forehead. "You’re the best, Bethy. I’m going to go back to the accounts. Just yell if you need me to kill something."
"If I need you to kill something? We’ll be in a lot more trouble than just a burglar before that happens," Bethany scoffed. "Anton, come take a look at something and tell me if you think your laundress can get it out. That man in my wardrobe stepped on the skirts of the dress I meant to wear tonight."
"I don’t think she can clean it, that fast." Anton shrugged apologetically, and stood. "Cormac, I’ll get back to you about the house. I have to look at some things, but we definitely have to do something about the windows in the dining room. That’s probably where this guy got in. That’s where I’d get in."