[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 190
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Isabela ♀
Rating: T (L2 N1 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Shirts are overrated, Anders has a vomit button
Notes: Isabela finally gets a look at Anders, shirtless.
Anders sighed and stood long enough to shrug off his coat, hanging it on the back of his chair. "There. Happy?"
"Getting there," Isabela purred, reaching over to pour more ice down Anders’s shirt. "You never take that off! In all the years I’ve known you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you shirtless, and I’ve seen an awful lot of you. What have you got, an awful Fereldan tattoo? Some drunken bet that ended in the worst mabari the world has ever seen?"
"Ice. I’ve got a lot of ice under my shirt." Anders reached for another piece of sweet, drippy journeybread, which was finally beginning to soften up. "What do you care? Artie’s gorgeous, and if he’s not enough, you’ve got Cormac, when we get home. And, Maker, whatever that was you’d better not have given it to Cormac."
"You’re a healer," Isabela pointed out. "What’s it matter? And no, I don’t think I did, because I know the sexiest, if whiniest, healer in all of Thedas, and I showed up on his doorstep as soon as there was a problem! Why wait?" She settled into a drink of rum and lime juice. "I still think you’d be sexier still without the shirt."
"You don’t want to see him without the shirt," Artie said before taking a sip of whiskey. He caught Anders’s eye, and Anders saw the start of a mischievous smile behind that bottle. "He has a third nipple. It’s horrifying."
"He does not!" Izzy laughed, even as she gave Anders a speculative look. "…he doesn’t, does he? Anders?"
Anders grabbed a fistful of sand and threw it at a cackling Artie. "No, I do not! Ass."
"No, no he doesn’t really," Artemis said, brushing away the sand and schooling his expression. "He doesn’t have three nipples. He has six, like a cat."
"If only," Anders laughed. "I’d mind the one less if I had five more! I’m not sure how your brother would take that, though."
"You’ve got a nipple that should be minded, do you? I don’t remember that. I remember quite clearly two that you very much liked having pinched!" Isabela’s hand flicked across Anders’s chest, and he arched backward, trying and failing to push himself into the back of the chair.
"Izzy! Don’t!" The chair tipped back, and he batted Isabela’s hand away, before it rocked forward again.
"Oooh! Touchy!" Isabela curled up in her chair, returning her attention to her rum. "All right, Serah Mindful Nipples. I’ll be over here with the limes. Give us some more ice?" She grabbed another handful of it, dropping it into the bowl of lime slices and rum. "Any other guesses about what’s under that dingy tunic, Artie?"
"Oh, I know what’s under it," Artemis answered, taking another piece of journeybread. "A nice stomach and a tattoo of his and Cormac’s initials with a heart around them. Between the six nipples. It’s quite embarrassing, even if the artistry is good."
"If I did have a tattoo," Anders said, swiping the whiskey from Artie’s hand, "it would say ‘don’t listen to the Hawkes. They’re all assholes’."
"Oh, I’m sure that tattoo would say something about Hawkes and assholes," Isabela teased, batting her eyelashes. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, letting the sun hit her face.
"I would laugh at that," Artemis said, brow furrowing, "if I didn’t have three younger siblings I don’t want that applied to. And don’t say it, Izzy. I know you know more about two-thirds of those siblings than I need or want to know."
"Your sister’s pretty hot, but Cormac’s already warned me off with threats of things I didn’t want to know magic could be used for." Anders held his hands up, defensively, drink still clutched in one. "Besides, she just looks like you, but with more boobs and less stubble."
"I’m telling Bethy you said that," Isabela teased, grabbing a bit of journeybread that fell apart in her hand.
"I’m absolutely certain I won’t be the first to have pointed it out." Anders grinned and stretched, before picking up the journeybread bowl and taking a swig of the rum-sludge in the bottom. "They do look alike. Look at him and tell me they don’t!"
Isabela leaned across Anders to get a closer look at Artie. "Oh, it’s close, but she’s much prettier." She leaned on Anders’s thigh, and the melt from the ice in his shirt pooled around her fingers.
Artie licked rum off his fingers and matched Isabela’s stare. "You’re certainly not the first to point it out," he told Anders. "Any time she introduced a friend to the family, that friend assumed I was the twin brother, not Carver. I tried to convince Carver I was, once. Told him he was adopted and that we were going to trade him in when we found someone who looked more like Bethy." Artemis sat back, sucking bits of journeybread from his teeth. "Bethy stopped introducing her friends to us after that."
Anders gestured at Artemis. "As I was saying about Hawkes being assholes…" He shook his head and took a swig of whiskey.
Artemis grinned and toed off his boots, kicking them towards Anders’s.
"Usually I have to play Strip Wicked Grace to see this much of you," Izzy said.
"Sorry, am I showing too much ankle?" Artie asked. "I don’t want to scandalise Serah Mindful Nipples."
"When have I ever been scandalised by you?" Anders asked, between swallows of icy rum. "Isn’t it usually the other way around? I tell terrible stories about your brother, and you make the most delightful faces."
"Oooh! You’re evil!" Isabela’s fingers darted up and tweaked Anders’s nipple, before she dropped back into her own seat, and he curled forward, dropping his drink and heaving everything he’d drunk so far into the sand between his feet.
"Not. The left one." Anders groaned and kicked sand over the pool as it soaked into the ground. "I’d have healed it then, if I knew it was going to end up like that, but now it’s too late." Muttering something about Howe and why, he pulled off his shirt, finally, throwing it in Isabela’s face, as he sat up. "A few more since the last time you were anywhere near unclothed parts of me," he muttered trying to shake the sand out of his bowl.
Artie tucked his feet under him, face twisting. "Are you all right?" he asked. "And… less important but still relevant: you didn’t get any puke on my shoes, did you?" He made a note of where Anders had thrown up. Even if he couldn’t see it, he wasn’t about to step anywhere near it.
"I’m fine. Your shoes are fine. Stop making that face."
Isabela slipped the tunic off her face and balled it in her hands. She took in the naked torso she’d been trying to picture for years, littered with scars she hadn’t pictured. "I see," she said. "So… no extra nipples, but you almost lost one? Tough luck, that."
"And no Hawke-related tattoos," Artie pointed out, still curled awkwardly in his chair. "More’s the pity."
"I’m not getting your brother’s name tattooed on my ass. I’m not getting any tattoos. The scars are bad enough, but I might be able to pass them off as something else. Tattoos? No one’s ever going to forget those." Anders helped himself to another bit of journeybread as the sun beat down on his chest. "You know why I almost lost a nipple? Because noblemen are weird and stuck up, even when they’re Wardens."
"I don’t know, I thought the Hawkes were sort of the opposite of stuck up. What would you call that? Perpetually slumming?" Isabela teased. "You and Cormac have an accident in the bedroom?"
"No! … Hah. No. It was before I got to Kirkwall. I was in Amaranthine, at the time. You remember the big thing about the Howes? Well, apparently Rendon Howe had a son, and his son was … maybe a little less of a completely horrible individual. Still a whiny git who wouldn’t admit he liked dicks, when he was sober. I pushed him a little too hard one day, and he stabbed me. It was pretty stupid."
"He stabbed you in the nipple?" Artemis asked. "Maker."
"Right?" Anders huffed. "The stupidest part was that I didn’t bother healing it, mostly to piss him off. Couldn’t feel it the last time you grabbed it. Definitely feeling it this time."
"And now you can throw up at will." Artie nodded. "That would have been good to know at Anton’s bachelor party when you ended up so obscenely drunk. As obscenely drunk as I usually get at those things. A tweak of the nipple, and off you go."
"Can we not talk about that?" Anders groaned, letting his head loll over the back of the chair. One hand cupped his scarred nipple defensively.
Isabela snickered, biting her lip. "He’s like a faucet," she said. "The right nipple turns him on, and the left one turns him off."
"I don’t know about that, Izzy. They’ll both get you bodily fluids. One’s the one you probably want. One’s the one you don’t." Anders had to laugh. The whole thing was ridiculous. "And Cormac does know that. I don’t know why he didn’t try it. But, I promise he knows. You should ask him why."
"You didn’t!" Isabela looked scandalised and delighted.