[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 147
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Isabela ♀, Branson ♂, Cullen ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Mia ♀, Cullen’s Mum ♀, Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Sebastian ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Varric ♂, Serendipity ⚧
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Branson meets the Stallion, ANTON NO, heroic entrances, religious humour
Notes: Isabela wins again. Oh, and Anton and Cullen get married.
"You what!?" The shrill squawk could be heard all the way down the stairs. Wasn’t one of the regulars, Corff knew, because none of them sounded like that when they were surprised. Maker knew, enough of them had been surprised in this place, enough times.
Branson stood in the doorway of Isabela’s room, half-dressed, trousers unlaced, and clutching his shirt to his chest. "You want to do what, with what? That’s — that’s—"
"You’re just not as adventurous as your brother, are you?" Isabela teased. Not that Cullen had ever taken her up on it, but he hadn’t run screaming from the room.
Branson’s eyes went from large and round to huge and round. "That’s— no- that— WHAT." He sputtered for a bit longer. "That is part of a horse. That doesn’t— You’re a very beautiful woman, but that is part of a horse."
"Ah, as observant as your brother, though," Isabela purred, toying with the laces of her cinched top, drawing even more attention to her spectacular cleavage. Distracting as it was, Branson kept backing away. "You’re not leaving, are you?" Isabela asked with an exaggerated pout. "The fun was just starting!" She gestured with the… toy, making it wiggle, and a full-body shudder wracked Branson.
"I’m… just…" Branson never finished that sentence. He stumbled backwards towards the stairs, then stumbled down them, holding his trousers closed. He darted past the bar, past Corff and Edwina, eyes wide and face pale.
Corff and Edwina exchanged a look, and Corff sighed, sliding a coin to her across the bar.
Branson had at least managed to do up his trousers’ laces by the time he made it to Hightown, but he was no less wild-eyed as he threw open his brother’s bedroom door. "HORSE!" he shouted in accusation.
Anton sat up, like a shot, daggers in both hands. He was crouched ready to launch himself across the room, when he finally registered who had walked in. "Andraste’s tits, Branson, do you have a death wish?"
Cullen was already awake, and slightly more dressed than his brother. He put down his sword, with a dull thunk against the wall, and went back to checking the fit of his trousers. "Where?" he asked. "How drunk are you, that you’re charging in here — where, I might add, you could have walked into something I’d have had your eyes out for — yelling about horses? They’re not that exciting, as I recall, or have the years away from Honnleath scrambled my perceptions?"
"No," Branson groaned. "That— girl. She— You know exactly what I’m talking about, Cullen! She called you ‘adventurous’!"
"That ‘girl’," Anton corrected, still crouched nude, with his daggers, "is Captain Isabela, the Pirate Queen of the Eastern Seas. Also my business partner."
"Well, your business partner has a horse penis!" Branson all but shrieked.
Cullen shushed him. "Be quiet, will you?" he hissed, cutting a glare at his brother before turning back to the mirror. "Or do you want to wake our mother and sisters with the words ‘horse penis’?"
Branson’s mouth clicked closed, face flushing, and Anton snorted, finally easing out of his battle crouch. "You knew," Bran said, voice considerably softer. "You knew she had a horse penis and didn’t warn me."
"I told you not to do it," Cullen said, a bit tetchily. "You went with her anyway. And now you’re blaming me? You had an entire brothel to choose from! Most of which I’m sure was horse-penis-free!"
Anton slid back into bed, stifling his cackles against his pillow. "Welcome to Kirkwall!" he told Branson.
Branson turned tomato-red, like a snittier, half-dressed version of his brother, and threw up his hands. "This entire city is disgusting." He stormed back out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
"He’s not wrong," Anton pointed out, pulling the blankets up over his head. "Is it that time? Do I have to get up? Is your brother going to be drunk for our wedding?"
"No drunker than your brothers," Cullen said, fretfully trying on another shirt. He’d decided weeks ago, but suddenly nothing looked right.
"My brothers aren’t going to be drunk at all. One of them is … something. There’s a healer involved." Anton groaned and re-sheathed his daggers, pulling the pillow over his face. He still had no way to describe what was going on with Cormac and Anders, but as far as he was concerned, one of these days, one of them was going to slip, and it was going to degrade into a nauseating romance, complete with bursts of magical flower petals.
"You should probably get out of bed," Cullen suggested. "Unless you mean to show up naked to your own wedding." He paused. "Anton, no. Stop thinking it."
"Stan— Stanton, what are you wearing?" Cullen’s mother sighed, picking at the laces on his shirt.
He’d grown up ‘Stan’, because that had been what she wanted to name him, but his father won the coin toss for his first name. He’d have had both, either way, but the order might have been different. And speaking of the order, that was why he wasn’t ‘Stan’ any more. They’d insisted on calling him ‘Cullen’, because it was his first name, and it took him a year to get the hang of responding to it. And now, it was what everyone but his mother called him, because she didn’t give her son that name, Godric Rutherford! Cullen could still hear the way she used to say that to his father.
"What am I supposed to be wearing?" he blustered, flapping his hands to shoo her away from his shirt. "It’s a very nice shirt. It’s a very nice outfit! Anton and his sister helped me pick it out! Bethany understands fashion!" He didn’t even try to suggest that Anton did, because as well as Anton dressed, it was a very, very different part of society he was trying to appeal to, and Cullen did not need to look like a dashing smuggler on his wedding day, however much Anton might have approved. Actually, he was willing to admit he’d looked quite good in that outfit. He’d gone back and bought it, later in the week, with every intention of surprising Anton, the day after the wedding. Anton had gotten very much into acting out scenes from those appalling Orlesian books, and Cullen had one, somewhere about a pirate and a fisherman that sounded like a delightful start to their married life.
"You could have picked something more Orlesian. Orlesian fashions are all the rage, this year, even in Gwaren!"
His mother tried to brush imaginary dust off his embroidered cuffs, and Cullen flicked his hands again. "I look terrible in Orlesian fashion. I do know this. I have tried to wear it. Anton prefers me in Tevinter cuts, but I am a Knight-Captain of the Templar Order, and I am not going to be caught in Tevinter clothing! What kind of message would that send? No. The Marches have a style of their own. I’m wearing it. It looks good on me."
"It looks dirty! You look like a farmer!"
"Mother, my entire family are farmers. So what if I do look like a farmer? Which Bethany assures me I don’t. Light linen with green silk accents and gold and brown embroidery is not farm-friendly attire."
His mother tsked and looked ready to natter on, but Mia took pity on the groom and intervened. "I don’t think you look like a farmer, Cullen," Mia said. "Even if the goat over there isn’t helping you win this argument. But you make a very handsome farmer groom. "
Cullen groaned and glanced back at the lime tree and the pen with Goatilda. He’d almost forgotten about her in the flurry of activity, and he could just see the tips of her horns past the sea of chairs and the guests still milling about. "Never mind the goat," he said. "But just… don’t get too close, if you value that dress. You remember. I’ve lost good trousers that way."
Mia chuckled and tugged on their mother’s arm. "Come on, Mum. Let’s go have a seat. I’m sure Cullen is nervous enough without you nagging him."
"I’m not nagging!"
"I’m not nervous!"
Mia smiled sweetly, a smile that said she didn’t believe either of them. Another tug on Mum’s arm, and they went to sit with Rosalie and Branson.
Under the lime tree, just out of range of the goat, Artie nudged Cormac. "Have you seen Anton at all today?" he asked. "I went to check on him an hour ago, and I couldn’t find him for the life of me." He tugged at the sleeves of his tunic, trying to get the seams to sit right. "One of the sleeves turns more than the other one. Have you noticed that? Do your robes do that? It’s very distracting."
Cormac wrapped an arm around Artie’s shoulders. "My robes are so heavy, they have their own relationship with gravity. The seams pull down." He took one of Artie’s hands and pressed it to the centre of his chest, and just breathed deeply a few times, waiting for it to catch. "As to Anton, I haven’t seen him since Cullen carried him out of the Rose, last night. He’ll be here. He’s not going to ditch his own wedding."
Anders had leaned against the tree, beside them, feet so far out his head was even with Cormac’s. "Are you sure? I might ditch my own wedding, if Sebastian was performing it."
"It’s all about face," Cormac replied, shaking his head. "He’s not going to do anything that would lower his standing, and walking out on his wedding to the Knight-Captain would get him run out of town."
He glanced over at where Serendipity and Isabela were resting their glasses on Varric’s shoulders. The dwarf looked torn between offence and amusement. "See? Serendipity and Isabela aren’t concerned. Look at them whispering. Anton’s just being stupid or something."
Artemis glanced at them and hummed, looking less than convinced. "I suppose so," he said. "But still. Anton committing to someone, even if that someone is Cullen? That’s a big step, and I’d be more surprised if he didn’t get any last minute jitters. You know how long it took for him to even acknowledge that he and Cullen were together." He darted a look at Anders. Anton hadn’t been in half as much denial as Cormac. "Anyway. Looks like most everyone’s here. We should get to our seats before Fenris gets tired of saving them."
Fenris sat with Carver and Bethany, legs stretched lengthwise across four seats, or as much of four seats as he could stretch his toes across. He smiled pleasantly at every noble who eyed him distastefully. "Ah, good," he said as the mages filed in, curling his legs in and sitting up. "I was about to auction off Anders’s seat."
"We still can, if you want," Artie said, taking the seat by his fiancé. "Front row. Might catch a fair price."
"Don’t worry," Artemis said, peering around his brother at Anders, "we’d share the winnings with you."
"We would?" Fenris muttered.
"Well, I didn’t say how much we’d share," Artemis whispered back.
Cullen finally started to look nervous, standing in front of Sebastian, by himself. Where was Anton? It was like him to be ‘fashionably late’, but never when he was the host! Sebastian looked pityingly at him, as if he should have seen this coming. He glanced around and spotted Serendipity, who just winked and nodded. Something was … not wrong, but possibly regrettable. What was Anton doing? Cullen considered demanding to know what Serendipity knew, but that would be a useless endeavour that would end in him looking like twice the ass.
He heard the sound before he registered what it was, and Sebastian had already turned around. An arrow broke two tiles on the patio as it pierced the ground beside him, a rope leading back up to the roof of the mansion. Without thinking, he stepped back and drew the sword off the back of a seated templar. Not his own, but it would do. Maybe the Carta, or worse, the Coterie, had decided to take issue with the wedding of Anton Hawke. That seemed distressingly likely, actually.
Still, he didn’t cut the rope. No point. Whoever that was wanted to make an entrance, and cutting the rope would just make them land out of range of his sword.
A figure all in black and red stepped to the edge of the roof, grabbed the rope in one gloved hand, and slid down, slinging itself off the rope at the perfect moment to land firmly beside Cullen. "I have come to claim my bride!" the figure declared, tossing aside an Orlesian mask, and pulling Cullen into a deep dip that nearly laid him on the ground.
"Anton!?" Cullen sounded surprised, but not entirely horrified.
"Were you expecting someone else?" Anton asked, winking at his ‘bride’.
"I wasn’t expecting you. Not from the balcony. Anton!" Cullen clutched at Anton’s arm as they swung upright again. Anton kept an arm around Cullen’s waist, that damnable smirk close to his face.
A smattering of laughter and applause filled the garden, though Cullen could feel his mother’s horrified stare from here. Red. His face had to be red.
Sebastian, on the other hand, neither laughed nor clapped. He stared at them, lips pressed thin. "Are you going to treat this as a joke?" he asked, voice pitched low so as not to be heard by the crowd. "Because if you are, I want no part in it."
"On the contrary," Anton said, "I claim my bride with the utmost sincerity!"
"Please stop calling me your ‘bride’," Cullen groaned.
"You accepted the goat dowry. You’re the bride, by definition."
Sebastian closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, muttering a prayer for patience. When he looked up again, it was to catch Bethany’s eye. She smiled sweetly, almost imploringly, and he heaved in a sigh before he began the rite.
"Good thing they didn’t have the ceremony in the Chantry, after all," Anders whispered to Cormac, still wiping away tears of laughter. "That has a balcony too!"
"Merciful Andraste’s glorious ass," Cormac sighed. "I can’t imagine the Grand Cleric would have been any more thrilled with that than Sebastian looks. And this also explains the rest of why we weren’t invited to Aveline’s wedding. She didn’t want us giving Donnic bad ideas."
"You know, Sebastian’s awfully judgemental for someone running around with Andraste’s face tied to his crotch. I can’t imagine the Maker approves of that use of his bride," Anders joked, a little louder than necessary.
Bethany leaned forward over the row of seats between them, and slapped Anders in the back of the head.
"Well, she did marry her own barbaric betrayer, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a chaste political marriage. Andraste was totally a polygamist, and the Maker didn’t seem to mind it then, so I’m not sure he’d mind the introduction of Sebastian’s crotch, now." Cormac leaned forward to dodge Bethany’s hand.