[ Master Post ]
Title: Adventures in Cuisine Via Hawke: Apples, at Last (6/6)
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters:Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Fenris ♂
Rating: G- (L1 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: A few questionable turns of phrase
Notes: Bethany, of course, is once again the sane and sensible Hawke.
Bethany made her way across the Lowtown market, buying the things best bought in the morning — vegetables, milk, and other things that were best bought and used in a day. Her brothers would buy other things, come evening — bread and other day or even week-old goods that would no longer be good by the next day. Still, she kept an eye on the goods, judging whether there would be anything left, later.
As she came to the fruit stand, she thought she recognised the back of the elf haggling with the shopkeeper. "Fenris! How lovely running into you, here! I’d have thought you shopped in Hightown!"
Fenris didn’t reach for the sword at his back, but at the sound of his name, his muscles tensed as though readying to. "Good morning, Bethany," he said as he handed over his coins to the shopkeeper, who counted them meticulously in her palm. "Lowtown is less convenient but also less expensive. I do not mind the extra walking."
When Fenris noticed the bundles of food Bethany balanced on her hip, he held the bag of apples he’d just bought in front of him, almost as a shield. The last thing he needed was more Hawkes and food.
"You’re not here to bribe me too, are you?" he asked, eyes wide and ears twitching. "Because I don’t think I can handle any more Hawke cuisine." Carver had left behind a few spots of vomit that Fenris hadn’t bothered to clean. He doubted the corpse in the foyer would care, and maybe it would deter other unwanted guests.
"Don’t worry," Bethany said. "These aren’t for you, and Artie isn’t getting near anything that needs to be cooked."
"Cooking," Fenris muttered. "I honestly don’t see why you bother. Good food is just as good raw, and I’ve heard the Orlesians use sauces to hide that it’s gone over."
"I heard that was the Antivans," Bethany replied, with a smile. "Orlesian sauces are much too dependent on milk."
"Why can we not just live on preserved meat and apples?" Fenris asked, aborting a gesture of frustration as the sack of apples slid down in his grip. "Apples are what we are meant to eat. Clearly. Even if I can’t get the good apples from Tantervale anywhere in this fish-foul city of stench and hopelessness."
"I’ve never been to Tantervale!" Bethany’s smile grew brighter. "Is it a nice place, or have they just got good apples?"
"I’m afraid I didn’t stay long in Tantervale, itself. A very human city. Very human. I don’t believe the dwarves had a hand in it at all, which I suppose is less unusual in the Marches. The market was lovely, though, all bright-coloured banners." Fenris shook his head. "All the same, not a place I could stay, for long."
Bethany nodded, adjusting her grip on her goods as she started walking with him to the next stall. "More of a place to visit, then? I’ll add it to my list, though I’m afraid that list is getting quite long. Perhaps en route to Nevarra…" She stopped herself before she could start talking about her research. The Lowtown market was too loud for any real in depth intellectual conversation, no matter how politely she was certain Fenris would nod along. "I’ll have to try one of their apples and see how they compare to their Fereldan cousins."
They made more polite conversation as they shopped, and Fenris gradually relaxed the more time that passed that this Hawke didn’t offer him any of her food. He bid her goodbye why she was still poking around the vegetable stalls, and she waved as he headed over the bridge into Hightown,
Bethany checked the coin left in her purse. One more stop, she decided. She was in the mood for some tarts…
Anton was slumped against the wall of the house, sitting on the wall around the stoop, when Bethany got home. "What am I going to do with this?" he complained, looking up from the dagger he was using to clean his nails. "I missed an amazing opportunity, because Carver was too busy losing his lunch to come with me. I didn’t even want to take him, but I needed a sword."
"Is this why Fenris asked if I was trying to bribe him?" Bethany asked, setting down her shopping basket.
"Maybe." Anton spit into the street below. "I attempted to open negotiations with food. And then I attempted to open negotiations with Varric. And then Carver decided to open negotiations, because he’s a whiny little shit who didn’t want to go along anyway, and he ended up throwing up all over Fenris or something."
"Apples, Anton. He likes apples." Bethany shook her head and laughed. "Specifically, apples from Tantervale, but you might be able to convince him with spiced apples or a decent apple wine."
Anton sat up, one hand shielding his eyes from the sunlight as he peered up at his sister. "Apples? Seriously? How did find this out?"
"Magic!" Bethany answered, wiggling her fingers in front of his eyes. "Now hurry up. Didn’t you say this needed to be done by today?"
Anton didn’t knock this time. He suspected Fenris wouldn’t answer if he did, and honestly, he wouldn’t blame him, not after the parade of Hawke-and-food-related disaster that had marched through here this past week. Anton still thought the sword at his throat was a bit much, however.
"Hello, Fenris," Anton said, smiling down the blade at the scowling elf. He held up the box with his most recent offerings. "I come with—"
"No. We need to talk."
"Indeed we do! About this fantastic opportunity I believe I started to explain to you—"
"I am not putting anything else in my mouth given to me by a Hawke," Fenris said, his stare and grip steady.
"More for me, I suppose," Anton conceded, opening the box to reveal four small apple tarts. "I’d still like it very much if you’d bring your sword to bear for me. There’s more profit in it that’s inedible. Gold, jewels, maybe some nice furniture…"
"Do I honestly look like I have a use for fine furniture?" Fenris asked, gesturing to the corpse-laden floor, with his free hand.
Anton took the distraction to disarm the elf. "I prefer not to conduct business at swordpoint."
Fenris’s hands lit as he grabbed at Anton, who darted back, plucking a tart from the box. "And I prefer my home to be Hawke-free. We don’t always get what we want, do we?"
"I don’t suppose we do. But, this arrangement could solve both of our problems. I wouldn’t be standing in your house, and you’d be pointing a sword at something much more profitable than some young rake from Lowtown." Anton sank his teeth into the tart, with a sound that entirely exaggerated the deliciousness of it. "My brother had no hand in these. They’re from the bakery between the market and the Rose District."
"That is obscene," Fenris protested, one ear twitching in annoyance. "I have heard enough men make such sounds in my life, but never for a pastry."
"Then you clearly haven’t had one of these pastries," Anton said. He took another bite, his whole body sagging into the motion.
Fenris’s scowl didn’t soften, but his nostrils flared, head tilting. "What is that?" he asked, knowing he shouldn’t encourage the fool, but that had smelled like—
"Apple," Anton said through a third bite before shoving the rest of the tart into his mouth. "Apple tart. And they’re for you, you know, so you can try one. In fact, if you try one and don’t like it, I’ll officially consider your palate a lost cause."
"And you will give up these negotiations? You and your siblings? And… your acquaintances?"
Anton put his free hand over his heart. "I swear on Uncle Gamlen’s grave," he said.
"Your Uncle Gamlen is alive."
"Yes, but for how long? You’ve met the man."
Fenris shook his head, considering the open box in front of him. He could survive one tart if it meant Anton would leave. Daintily plucking one from the box, he studied it, feeling the grease of the crumbly crust spreading into the whorls of his fingertips. That was, without question, diced apple. It was covered in some sort of sauce — a spiced, sweet sauce, if his sense of smell was accurate, but it was definitely apple. "Cooking," he scoffed, taking a bite.
Anton stood motionless, as the elf chewed, waiting for some signal of whether to keep talking or start running.
"This is acceptable." Fenris’s ear twitched, as he took another bite, and the tart crumbled into his palm. He would not speak of the fact that it was more than acceptable, that it was, perhaps, one of the best things he’d put in his mouth since he’d left Tantervale. And before Tantervale, there was nothing he’d eaten worth speaking of. "Now, what is it you are attempting to cajole me into with these … ‘tarts’?" He eyed Anton as he licked the rest of the tart off his palm.
"Adventure! Daring deeds! And a whole lot of stuff we can nick and sell. The storm, last night, delayed the pickup. I can still see the ship waiting from the cliffs. If we get to these guys before the ship comes in, they’re sitting on a few sovereigns worth of goods, at least. I keep waiting to intercept something worth more, but you can’t get greedy around the Coterie."
Fenris licked every last bit of crumbs and sauce from his palm before reaching for another tart, regarding Anton contemplatively. "Coterie, hmm? And Carver was more willing to brave Artemis’s cooking than this expedition up the coast?"
"I don’t know if ‘brave’ is quite the word," Anton replied archly, "which is why you were my first choice in the giant-sword-wielding department."
Still munching on his second tart, Fenris leaned his sword against the wall, still within easy reach, and took the box from Anton. He held it under his chin to catch the crumbs. He waited until he was done chewing to speak. "When would you be departing?"
"Whenever Your Efliness wishes to," Anton said, putting on his most charming grin, "provided Your Elfiness wishes to within the next few hours."
"Let us do this quickly, and have it done. I suspect there is wine I have yet to uncover, elsewhere in this ruin, and I had intended to spend my evening searching for it." Fenris considered the last tart. These were really quite good, and he would almost regret eating the last one, but better he should eat it than that it should go over. "Where did you say you got these?" he asked, thinking that if Anton was right about the profits to be made, today, he might invest in a larger box of them, to go with his wine.
"The bakery by the Rose District," Anton told him, trying to hold back a smug smile. "You’ll know it by the smell."
"I would be pleased to stand by anything that did not reek of fish in this revolting city," Fenris grumbled, cramming the last of the third tart into his mouth, as he picked up his sword and gestured toward the door.