[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody In Ass Major – Chapter 167
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anders ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N2 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Drowning in sap
Notes: Cormac and Anders sort things out. Mostly. Sort of.
Anders decided he’d take a bath upstairs, in Cormac’s room, where he could open the windows and enjoy the evening breeze. Which, honestly, was likely to be pretty cold, but the water would be warm enough to make up for it. He just needed to not be in the cellar for a little while, and Fenris was right — he really did need to wash. This was terrible. It wasn’t the first time he’d gone a week without washing, but it was the first time in a very long time, and the memories weren’t pleasant ones.
He came up from the cellar, because it was quieter and less ostentatious than using the front door. He could almost convince himself he belonged in that grand house, when he didn’t have to look at the entranceway. The tower had been similarly flamboyant, in some places, and he’d certainly lived there long enough. He paused, in Cormac’s doorway, the subtle smell of the room washing over him. Maybe he wouldn’t open the windows, after all. Closing the door, he took a look at the bath and swore. He’d forgotten why he always bathed in the cellar. There was no pump, up here, and the water had to be hauled from the kitchen. The estate was old, but he’d forgotten it was that old. Never much had to think on it, really, since he’d moved into the cellar, where the water was just outside the bedroom door.
Maybe he’d just sit down a moment, he decided, eyeing the bed. Yes. He’d just walked across Hightown, and he was going to sit down a moment, before he tried to carry water up the stairs.
Cormac kissed his brother goodnight, in the hall, and made his way upstairs. He wasn’t expecting much. Anders had been shut in that room for a week. He thought he might insist that Justice speak to him, tomorrow, just to see if there was anything else they needed — that the cats needed. He paused in the hall, thinking that he’d left his door open when he went out, but maybe Bethany had closed it. Shaking his head he walked into the room.
Anders. Anders was asleep on his bed, looking like something the dog had dragged in.
Cormac closed the door, quietly, trying to catch his breath. It was over. It was finally over. He knelt beside the bed and ran his fingers through Anders’s greasy, tangled hair. "I missed you," he whispered.
"Mmmf?" Anders opened his eyes to Cormac’s face, and for a moment he forgot everything, forgot he’d locked himself in the cellar, forgot what he and Cormac had done to make him want to. In that moment before remembering, he smiled.
It was as Anders was wiping crusted drool from the corner of his mouth that he looked around and remembered. "Cormac," he began, propping himself up on his elbow. "I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I… or well, maybe I do. I just… I should have listened to you. You didn’t deserve that. I…" He’d been worried about what to say before, but now words just poured out, not all of them making sense but punctuated now and then with the words ‘I’m sorry’.
And somewhere in the middle of it, Cormac realised that Anders was blaming himself for all of it. "Anders, Anders, no. I’m sorry I let that happen. I knew something wasn’t right, but… All I could think of were the times you looked at me like I’m pretty sure I was looking at you, and you trusted me anyway, and we were usually all right. And we’re all right now, aren’t we?" Cormac cupped Anders’s cheeks in his hands, finally noticing the scraggly golden beard that would likely be impressive after another week or two. "Did I hurt you?" he asked again, knowing Anders had said no, at the time, but also knowing Anders might not have been all there.
Anders swallowed past the tightness in his throat, blinked back the dampness gathering at the corner of his eye. "No," he said, cupping one of the hands on his cheeks. "No, you didn’t hurt me." He wanted to call Cormac an idiot for being so patient, so kind, even after all this, even after Anders had hurt him like that. He turned his head to press a kiss to Cormac’s palm. "And yes, we’re all right." And he was surprised by how true that was, by how much better he felt just from seeing Cormac. "Aside from the fact that I’m stinking up your bed," Anders added with a wry laugh. "Didn’t quite make it to the bath."
"You could be covered in wyvern shit, and I don’t think I’d care, right now. You’re lucky you got me and not Artie in the end, you know that?" Cormac teased, tugging at Anders’s ear. "Shit, Anders, I went up to take a piss and you were just gone, when I got back. Justice told me you didn’t want to see me, and I knew I fucked up. Of course, that was also the longest piss I think I’ve ever taken. Or the longest time I’ve ever tried to take a piss, anyway, what with that stupid potion." He laughed and rested his forehead against Anders’s chin. "Don’t ever let me drink a whole pot of tea before one of those, again. That’s an accident waiting to happen, and it will put Anton to shame, I’m sure."
Anders laughed weakly, pressing his face into Cormac’s hair. "I’ll make a note of that," he teased, wrapping an arm around Cormac’s neck. "The Hawke horseradish is a dangerous thing as it is." His laugh turned a touch hysterical. "Though now every time I say the words ‘dangerous thing’, I think of the word ‘saarebas’. The Hawke horseradish is saarebas." And really, how tired was he that that not only made sense to him but seemed unnecessarily funny.
Cormac nearly choked on his tongue. "No. You may not speak about my knob in Qunlat, because that will just make me think of Fenris, and that’s not… no. How about Antivan? I’m sure you can think of some fine Antivan words for it. Or I could just go haul the water for a bath, and we can forget all about you talking about my knob, and I’ll just wash you until you sparkle, and then we can go to bed." He paused. "I know there are a lot of nights I go to bed without you, but… I think that was the first time my bed’s ever felt empty. I missed you." The last few words were oddly mushy, as Cormac started to choke up, unexpectedly.
Anders clutched Cormac tighter, pressing a kiss to the crown of his head. "My absence hasn’t made you less of a sylvan, I see," he murmured, but his tone was gentle. "I missed you too." Which was true, even if he only had a handful of memories from the past week. He wished he could promise Cormac that it wouldn’t happen again, that he would never react like that again, but he knew better than to make such promises.
Anders leaned back, tipped Cormac’s face up with a finger under his chin. He only hesitated a moment before bending in for a kiss, just a simple one, a brush of lips and nothing else. If Anders’s hair was dirty, he could only imagine how terrible his breath was.
Cormac melted into the kiss, gasping as Anders pulled away. "Do you mean it?" he asked. "Would— Will you let me?" He was afraid to move, afraid to do anything that might set Anders off again. But, Anders had kissed him. Kissed him without that strange, wrong look in his eyes. He was afraid to imagine what it might mean, if only because he’d be so disappointed if he were wrong.
Anders shrugged one shoulder, reaching for words. "Yes?" he said, suddenly uncertain. "Just… not all at once. I have to — I want to — get used to it again." He thought of Karl, of the promise he’d never gotten to keep, and the ache was still there, buried in his chest, but that’s all it was now. An ache, not a roiling pain. Smiling sadly, Anders cupped the back of Cormac’s head, seeing him and only him.
"Tch, don’t look at me like that," Cormac teased, shoving Anders’s cheek, gently. "I’ll think you’re getting sappy or something. I thought I was the sylvan around here." They’d just come back from the edge of something he didn’t want to stare too deep into, and he wasn’t going to let Anders fall back into that hole. At least not until he’d had a bath and a proper night’s sleep. "Just one more, gorgeous, and then I’ll go draw water. Can I have one more?" He paused, for a moment. "Are you coming to bed with me, tonight? Not that I won’t draw the bath if you tell me you’re not, but… I just want to know how happy I’m supposed to be about this. I don’t want to catch myself halfway, if I should be giggling like a giddy idiot."
Anders chuckled softly, fondly. "Maker forbid me from ever telling you not to act like an idiot, especially a giddy one." He leaned in for another brush of lips, this kiss just as chaste as the last one but lingering just a beat longer. "And yes, I’ll stay here tonight. Wouldn’t want your bed to keep feeling empty. That’s an awful lot of bed to leave unoccupied."
There was still a tiredness in the set of his shoulders, even in his teasing, but that hollow look was gone from his eyes. Smothering a yawn, Anders pushed himself up from the bed, winding an arm around Cormac as he stood. He kept thinking of Fenris’s words. The elf was probably right; whatever this was, he couldn’t keep describing it as ‘nothing serious’. Maybe ‘less serious’ or ‘not that serious’.
‘Almost serious’. He pressed a kiss to Cormac’s cheek and smiled.
An hour later, Anders was clean, damp, and exhausted. He hadn’t quite managed to shave, because he kept dropping the razor in the water, but finally, Cormac had just done it for him, and with a minimum of teasing. A minimum of teasing, a minimum of groping — Cormac had just held him and helped him wash, and was now helping him into bed. A clean, warm bed.
"Open the window?" Anders yawned, curling up on the side of the bed away from the door.
"You sure? It’ll get cold just before the sun comes up." Cormac stood beside the bed in nothing but a towel.
Anders nodded, sleepily. "Yeah, I’m sure. Just need some air."
"You want me to get the cats?" Cormac asked, as he opened the latch and punched the frame until the window swung open. The one in this room always stuck.
"No cats. Cats tomorrow." Anders stretched out an arm in Cormac’s direction. "Just you."
"Just me," Cormac agreed, draping the towel over a chair, before he slid into bed and wrapped himself around Anders. They were asleep in minutes, Anders wrapped up in the blankets and Cormac wrapped up in Anders.