[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 189
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Isabela ♀
Rating: T (L2 N1 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Booze, Orlesian diseases, shirtless Hawke is shirtless
Notes: Isabela decides it’s time for a beach party, because Anders is looking a little pale. Anders, however, protests that it is perfectly natural for him to be pale and this is a terrible idea.
According to Anders, there were two reasons Isabela would visit his clinic. Both involved needing a healer, either for traipsing about the Wounded Coast or for more… personal reasons. From the way Izzy cocked her hip against the doorframe and batted her eyelashes at him, Anders’s money was on option number two.
Anders ushered out his last patient, an older woman with a case of the sniffles, and pressed the fingers of one hand to his forehead. "Let me guess," he sighed. "You either have a nasty itch or it burns when you pee."
Isabela tutted and swatted his arm but didn’t deny either statement. "Can’t a girl just visit a friend in the… dank old dungeon he calls a clinic?"
Anders didn’t let his mind wander at the word ‘dungeon’. "She can, but that friend might be suspicious of her."
"Fine, so maybe I came because I need a little something from your magic fingers." Isabela flicked her hand dismissively. "But, you, my friend, aren’t looking so very deliciously bright and sparkly, today. What’s wrong? You and Cormac have a —"
"There’s nothing wrong between me and Cormac." Anders ran through the same barrage of spells he used at the Rose. He didn’t really want to know exactly what was wrong with Izzy, this time, because he just didn’t need to know that much about what she got up to. He made a note to heal Cormac, later, though. Possibly sooner— before he got anywhere near Artemis.
"Then it’s this dreary hole in the ground getting to you. Where’s the sass, Sparklefingers?" Isabela wrapped an arm around Anders’s waist.
"I left it in my other pants. I do have more than one pair, you know." Anders started putting things away, just moving around Isabela, rather than trying to remove her. He knew that would degenerate into a slapfight, and he just didn’t have the energy. "Was there something else you needed, or can I go back to work?"
Isabela watched Anders flit about, her hands on her hips. "You know what I need, Sparklefingers?" she asked.
"A boat?" Anders suggested tiredly. "Pants?"
"Yes to a boat, no to the pants. They just get in the way." She shrugged one shoulder. "But no. What I need is a day on the beach, and so do you. When’s the last time you got any sun?"
"I went outside the other day!" Anders said, a touch defensively. "On the way to the Hanged Man!"
Izzy clucked her tongue. "That doesn’t count! You were outside on the way to being inside!"
"Well, that’s generally how it works, isn’t it?"
Isabela rolled her eyes and grabbed his hand. "You. Me. Fresh air." She tugged him towards the door, strong enough to pull him in her wake.
"But—!" Anders gestured wildly at his empty clinic. He had bandages to roll and potions to make, and a patient could walk in the door any minute.
"That’s not the butt I want from you, Anders!" Isabela teased. "What do you think? Should we stop and get Artie? I think we should stop and get Artie."
"I— but— Izzy!" Anders tried digging in his heels, but Isabela, as always, had ways of making him move. "I have work! I don’t need to be outside! I need to be working! I have patients! There are more empty bottles than potions!"
He continued to protest, fairly continuously, all the way upstairs and across Hightown. Isabela knocked at the door, while Anders continued to ramble about the needs of the patients in his empty clinic. She announced to Orana that they were here to collect Artemis, and Anders continued to insist he needed to be brewing and writing.
Orana glanced at Anders and gave Isabela an amused look, receiving an expressive shrug in return. She giggled and went to find the requested Hawke.
Artemis appeared in the doorway and eyed Isabela’s smile and Anders’s scowl. "My, this looks like a dangerous combination," he said, fingers drumming against the door. "To what do I owe the dubious pleasure?"
"I could bring you less dubious pleasures, you know," Izzy said, as subtle as always, and Artie smiled indulgently. "Or perhaps more dubious, depending on your view of horses."
Anders made a choked sound and sent Izzy a scandalised look. "What she means," Anders sighed, "is that she plans to drag me along the Wounded Coast and wants to drag you along too, perhaps disrupting whatever work you were doing as well."
Artemis perked up. "The Coast? Hoping the healer can make it less ‘wounded’?" Anders laughed indulgently as though he hadn’t heard that before. "Or are we hunting slavers? Bandits? Dragons? Please no dragons."
"Hunting the sunlight," Izzy said. "Sparklefingers is looking a bit pasty." She patted Anders’s shoulder.
"I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to look pasty!" Anders protested. "Mage of the mountainous north? Where I lived in a town full of pasty white people? You know what’s really popular up in the north? Big floppy hats. To maintain that doughy complexion."
"You’d be even more adorable, a few shades darker, you know," Isabela teased, sneaking a pinch under Anders’s bottom.
Anders squeaked and looked entirely put out. "Tell me you’re bringing whiskey," he sighed at Artemis, finally accepting that he was doing this, whether he liked it or not. Which he didn’t. And he meant to complain until someone got sick of it and sent him home. But, if he had to go, there was going to be whiskey, and Justice could just cope. "This weather is unreasonable. It’s damp. It’s damp and hot, and we’re not even down to the docks, yet. There is sweat running down the inside of my leg." He could handle the heat, but he was accustomed to a somewhat less soggy heat, and he’d spent fifteen years in Ferelden.
Artemis raised an eyebrow, looking more amused than sympathetic. "Hmm, you are looking a bit pasty," he said, peering closer at Anders’s face. "And cranky. Sun and whiskey, then. I’ll grab some whiskey, and then we’ll grab some sun."
Anders kept up his whining all through Kirkwall and past the city gates. He brought everyone’s attention to how much he was sweating, to the fact that he had a rock in his shoe, and that the humidity was making his hair frizz. Artie ended up opening the whiskey en route, just to shut him up.
It almost worked. It at least worked while Anders’s mouth was occupied with the bottle, which wasn’t nearly enough, and Isabela wouldn’t stop dragging him along by the ring on the front of his coat.
Finally, Isabela found a spot that wasn’t a cliff overlooking the sea, but a little inlet, where the water washed right up into the sand — a popular spot for smugglers, from the assortment of rough furniture and half-empty chests stacked around the remains of a fire. She dragged out a couple of chairs, settling them firmly into the sand, and then went back to pick through the chests.
"Oh, look! We’ve got rum!" Isabela lobbed a bottle toward the chairs, and it sank into the sand with a light ‘pliff’. "Limes… Ooh! That’s journeybread! Soak it in the rum, and it turns into an amazing dessert!" She threw a few more things that weren’t food any more into a box that seemed to be full of tattered pants, before grabbing another empty chest and loading it up with just the things she wanted, before dragging it out by the chairs.
"Give me some ice, Sparklefingers!" Isabela demanded, pointing at the chest. "We can have cold rum and fruit and cake!" She unpacked the bag of journeybread into a bowl and broke it up, before pouring rum over it.
Artemis eyed the chairs and food critically, unsure how he felt about taking some stranger’s cast-offs, especially the more edible variety. The rum, at least, should drown out the ‘essence of smuggler’ that might linger on the journeybread. When Izzy offered him the bowl, Artie made a face but plucked out a piece. Before putting it in his mouth, however, he fortified himself with a swig of whiskey.
Anders was already chewing on his own piece and lounging in one of the chairs, long legs sticking out into the sand. The sun was strong, but it was pleasant, he admitted to himself. He bent to tug off his boots just so he could stick his toes into the sand.
Isabela watched him relax and smirked. "Still rather be in the clinic?" she teased.
"I don’t sweat quite this much in the clinic," Anders muttered evasively.
"You’d be less sweaty in less clothes," Isabela pointed out. "Leather isn’t really ideal attire for a day on the beach."
"There is a pool of sweat in my trousers, but I have no intention of airing my sweaty balls anywhere near you, given what you were just in my clinic for," Anders grumbled, casting an ice spell over the chest. The jagged sphere exploded as it dropped and struck the bottom, and he grabbed some of the ice chips and poured them down his shirt.
"And what was I in your clinic for?" Isabela asked, taking out one of her knives and slicing a lime.
And that was a question Anders hadn’t actually taken the time to know the answer to. "Well, since you’ve stopped complaining about it, I’m assuming it was one of the things I usually fix at the Rose. Which is not something that will ever belong anywhere near my balls, sweaty or not."
"But, since you’ve healed it, it wouldn’t be!" Isabela pointed out with a wide smile, tossing a slice of lime to Artie.
Artemis caught the slice with one hand, the other reaching up to pull his tunic over his head. Isabela wolf-whistled, and Artie gave her a sarcastic bow. "It’s not a bad idea," he told Anders as he looked about, trying to decide what to do with his tunic. "Less clothing, that is. Unless you want to keep dropping ice chips down your pants." He popped the lime slice into his mouth so he could fold his tunic and drape it over the back of a chair.
"Careful, Artie," Anders said. "You might give Izzy ideas."
"She already has the ideas," Artemis said around the lime. He plopped into the chair next to Anders. "I don’t need to give them to her."
"The man is not wrong," Isabela said, openly ogling Artie’s bare chest.