[ Master Post ]
Title: Adventures in Cuisine Via Hawke: A Broken Bottle Between Friends (4/6)
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anton Hawke ♂, Varric ♂, Fenris ♂
Rating: T (L1 N1 S0 V2 D1)
Warnings: Drunken stupidity, shirtless elf, mention of a past killing
Notes: When food fails, it’s time to bargain with whiskey.
Anton walked into Varric’s suite and slumped into a chair without so much as a knock, all long, sprawling limbs and melodramatic sighs.
"No luck?" Varric asked without even looking up from the sentence he was writing. He knew Anton had been planning to head out to the coast today, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what had gone wrong.
"I’m beginning to wonder how the elf has lived this long, if he’s this picky," Anton replied, resting his head on the back of the chair and addressing the ceiling. "Granted, I understand not touching Artie’s cooking — I would doubt his survival instincts if he had — but who the fuck doesn’t like chocolate?"
Varric half-listened, tapping his lip with the feathered end of his quill. He frowned down at the unfinished sentence, trying to decide how to finish it. "Hey. What’s another word for ‘frustrating’?" he asked.
"Fenris," Anton muttered.
Varric chuckled and finally set down his quill, twisting in his seat to address his friend. "You know what your mistake has been?" he asked. Anton eyed him and shook his head. "You’ve been trying to bribe him with food. Let me handle this. I have just the thing." He smiled sweetly. "Provided you reimburse me, of course."
Anton swore under his breath. This elf was getting to be expensive.
Unlike the horde of Hawkes, before him, Varric did not knock. Instead, he let himself in through a broken window at the side of the mansion and came around to the front hall, taking an inventory of the destruction and half-decayed corpses along the way. "Hey, Fenris!" he called out, from the bottom of the stairs. "Come down and have a drink with me! I got lucky and came into a bottle of a very nice imported Fereldan whiskey, and I thought I’d share it with the drunkest elf I know!"
"The only elf you know," Fenris grumbled, staggering out of his room, half-dressed and leaning on a hefty warhammer for balance.
"I know plenty of elves," Varric assured him. "But, none of them have quite the appreciation for the lady liquor that I see in you."
Fenris grunted something that could have been agreement, one hand wiping over his face. "I’m trying to decide if I should feel honoured," he said, but he gestured Varric towards the sitting room, the one that stank the least of corpses.
Varric already considered that a victory, and he started composing an instruction manual in his mind for the hapless Hawkes: ‘A Treatise On How to Handle Elves’. Though rumour had it that Artemis had certain… other, related experience that Varric wasn’t going to touch.
"Sit down before you fall down," he told Fenris, grabbing a pair of glasses from the sidebar on his way to a chair. He dusted them out with the tail of his tunic. "Have you already started drinking for the night? I feel like I’m late to a party." Balancing both glasses in one hand, Varric poured for both of them.
"Hardly a party, unless you count the corpses." Fenris took a glass and sat, waiting for Varric to drink first.
"Cautious," Varric noted. "That’s good. I’m not trying to poison you, of course, but I’d probably say that even if I was." He took a long swallow of the whiskey, and then stared at the glass. "I’ve been had. It’s good, but I’ve been had. It’s not Fereldan at all, it’s Nevarran, and if I think about it for a few minutes, I can probably tell you the distillery."
"Is that a dwarven talent?" Fenris asked, sipping a bit of the whiskey and swishing it from one side of his mouth to the other a few times, before swallowing. "A comprehensive knowledge of the origins of alcohols?" He paused and took a few breaths through his mouth. "And this tastes like licking wet rocks, but I like the bite."
"Do you make a habit of licking rocks, wet or otherwise?" Varric teased. He put his free hand up, palm out. "Hey, what a man — or elf — does in his free time is his business, but…"
"I could find you a rock to lick, if you like," Fenris asked, narrowing his eyes in mock irritation. "Then you can tell me if I’m wrong."
Varric sucked his lips between his lips to keep from smirking. "You know, Broody," he said, swirling his glass, "from anyone else, I’d take that as a come-on."
Fenris blinked. "What?"
"Nothing." Varric half-leaned out of his seat to top off Fenris’s glass, and the elf took another drink without breaking stride.
A couple of hours passed, and the bottle dwindled, Fenris telling more and more absurd stories as time went on. "… It wasn’t that I was afraid of him, or afraid to kill him, but I wanted to at least buy some food, before I had to lose myself in the wilderness, again. Coming up on the mountains. Didn’t want to go in without at least something. So, this guy’s there, asking around about me, and I’m right next to him, wearing a dress and bonnet I stole off the laundry line, up the road, hoping the bonnet would hide my— my face…"
Varric was laughing so hard, he could barely breathe. "I’m still not over you in some peasant dress," he choked out.
"It was a better fit for the neighbourhood than a ballgown!" Fenris snickered and poured another drink for himself — the last one in the bottle. "Last drink. I’ll get some wine in a minute."
"So, did he spot you? Don’t leave me hanging! This is great!" Varric guffawed.
Fenris sipped the whiskey. "He did not. I bought a cheesecloth and a sack of road pudding mix, and then I flirted a bit, so he would follow me. Killed him in an alley, on my way out of town, and left his heart on his chest, so they’d know it was me."
Varric’s shoulders shook with silent laughter as he clapped a hand over his mouth, trying not to squirt alcohol out his nose. That was bound to burn. "I’m sorry," he said. "I’m just stuck on the ‘I flirted a bit’. I didn’t realise you knew how, or did this dress give you special abilities?"
Fenris huffed, trying to sit up from the sideways sprawl he’d fallen into. His ears twitched, the left one higher than the right, and that was something Varric was noticing more and more when Fenris drank. "I can flirt when I wish!" he said, defensively enough for Varric to know he was full of shit.
Varric barked out a laugh that filled the room. "Broody," he said between cackles. "The other day, when Artie was drunk off his ass —"
"—you’ll have to be more specific."
"—the most recent time Artie was drunk off his ass, he said something to you about…" Varric cleared his throat and arched his eyebrows. "…not tasting any ‘elven cuisine’ in a long time, and you told him to ask his brother."
"His brother brought me some Dalish delicacy that’s less a delicacy and more a staple, the further north you get." Fenris still didn’t get it. "If he was asking me to cook for him, he’s still wrong. I am not an elf, as most people think of elves. I have no ‘elven tastes’."
"You also have no clue," Varric pointed out, eyes wide with the realisation that even after having laid out the point fairly plainly, Fenris didn’t catch it. He started to wonder if it was a language problem. "When’s the last time you flirted with someone?"
"Right before I killed that man." Fenris shrugged. "I have no need to flirt. That just seemed the most convenient way to dispose of a slave hunter."
"And what, pray tell, qualified as flirting?" Varric asked, swallowing the last of the whiskey in his glass.
"I watched him over my shoulder and swished my hips like a prostitute, as I walked away." Fenris glared across the top of his glass. "Happy? It’s not like I could talk. He’d likely have noticed I was me!"
Varric almost felt bad for the clueless elf, but Fenris was giving him some great material. Artemis certainly had his work cut out for him, though. "Come on, stop pouting and finish your drink. We’ve only just started!"
"M’not pouting," Fenris mumbled, pouting, as he tossed back the last of the whiskey.
When no one answered on the second knock, Anton decided to let himself in, one hand on a dagger as he slipped in through the window, the same window Varric had entered through, judging by the bootprints in the dust.
"Hello?" he called out, knowing better than to sneak up on a tightly-wound elf with sword. "The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it’s time for murderous elves to wake up and greet the day!"
Anton peered into the sitting room and ducked back just in time to avoid a pillow in the face. "I don’t think that’s why they’re called ‘throw pillows’!" he called into the room.
A distinctly unelfy groan answered him. "You know what else has the word ‘throw’ in it?" Varric asked, voice more gravelly than usual. "‘Throw up’. This is also relevant."
"Oh. Oh, no. Oh, no no no." Anton stalked into the room, disbelieving and disappointed. "I send my archer to go get me a swordsman for a run, today, and now both of you are too drunk to stand up? Screw you, Varric. I’m not paying you back for the bottle, if this is what it gets me. I’m taking the twins."
Fenris groaned and rolled out of his chair, falling to the floor, before he pulled himself up, wearing clothes that didn’t seem to be his. From where Anton was standing, it looked like he was wearing Varric’s jacket, but backward. "You are trying to poison me," Fenris groaned, dully, clutching the side of the chair for balance, one of his ears sticking almost straight out to the side. "Next time I’m going back to wine."
"Useless!" Anton shouted, storming toward the door. "Absolutely useless! What am I even paying you for!?"
"You’re not, remember?" Varric called after him.