[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 192
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Isabela ♀, Cormac Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N1 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Anton’s garden furniture, Cullen jokes, Anders sucks at tanning
Notes: That is not a colour people are supposed to be, Anders.
Anders looked down the coast, to where the sun had begun to come down. "You know, it’s really hot out here. And it’s the gross kind of hot. I just shoved ice into my trousers. I wonder if…" He stretched an arm behind his chair and then raised it behind where Isabela sat. The sand trembled and a sheet of stone rose up, curling over them, to block some of the sunlight. Immediately, the shadow began to cool, and Anders liberally littered the ground with ice. "Oh, good. That does work," he sighed, stroking a healing hand over his skin again. The red faded out into a sickly golden colour, more like jaundice than a tan.
Isabela’s eyes took a moment to adjust to the shade. "What did you just… What colour is that? A second ago, I thought you were burned."
"I’m a healer." Anders shrugged. "What good is it if I have to sit through a sunburn?"
"Yes, but you’re … that’s…" Isabela fished through one of the pockets on her belt until she came up with two coins, a copper piece and a sovereign. "Most people turn this colour." She held up the copper piece. "Not this colour." She held up the sovereign.
"You’re both Rivaini," Anders pointed out. "Besides, gold is worth more."
"Ooh, Sparklefingers, if we’re talking bodies as currency…" Isabela said, trailing off and rubbing the coins together in her hand.
"I feel like I should be insulted by this analogy," Artemis said, blinking up at the rock Anders had summoned, squinting as his eyes adjusted. "And that’s one use for rock armour. That’s not gonna fall on us, is it?"
"It shouldn’t," Anders answered, closing his eyes and enjoying the breeze that wafted up from the water, "provided a certain force mage doesn’t start poking at it."
"A certain force mage was watching the clouds a minute ago," Artemis huffed, "and the rock is blocking his view."
"A certain force mage is going to end up with sand down his trousers if he keeps complaining," Anders replied without opening his eyes. "A certain force mage is also a decent primal mage and can move the rock out of his own way."
"I wonder what a certain pair of mages who can magically move rocks have found to do with Anton’s precious garden," Isabela speculated, wringing her damp shirt and soaking it in ice water again, before putting it back around her hair.
Anders swallowed a little too soon and coughed. "Anton’s garden?"
"Don’t pull that with me, Sparklefingers. If I know, you know, and we both know because of Cormac, at the very least." Isabela pointed out, slicing another lime.
"Oh, but I wouldn’t use magic on the stone, there." Anders conceded that Cormac was a proper reason to have been in the garden, as opposed to the reason he’d originally found it. "I might break something very expensive, and then I’d have at least two very angry Hawkes breathing down my neck for all the wrong reasons."
"I, on the other hand, have no idea what you’re talking about," Artie said unconvincingly. "Gardens? What gardens?"
Isabela guffawed, peering around Anders at Artemis. He smiled innocently. "Have you and Broody been taking a romp around the gardens?" she asked. "I’m surprised we haven’t all run into each other back there!"
Anders laughed weakly. "It’s a big garden," he reminded her, pointedly not looking at Artemis.
"Yes," said Artie, "and the… flowers… are quite lovely." He cleared his throat and shut himself up with a pull of rum.
"Flowers. Yes. Because that’s what you’re looking at, back there. Are those the flowers carved into a certain set of benches, perhaps?" Anders teased, safely having no idea if Artemis had found that part of the garden, yet.
"Oh, I know those flowers. Not very much to look at, but very useful." Isabela shifted in her seat, attempting to display herself even more appealingly.
Anders reached out and held a hand over her belly. "Not that useful. We’re mages."
Isabela squealed as the handful of grease splashed across her skin, and Anders continued to smile pleasantly up at the rock overhang.
"But," Anders went on, "I’m sure Artie has a good view of some of the other flowers from some of the garden’s seating. Do you find the benches comfortable, Artie?"
Artemis’s cheeks burned as though the sun were still on them. Cormac had shown him the trick with the benches a few weeks ago, and Artie nearly broke the one they were on. "Reasonably comfortable," he said, squirming a bit in his chair. "If, perhaps, not as sturdy as they look."
While he wasn’t looking, Isabela used Anders’s tunic to wipe off the grease. "I have to wonder just how many Hawkes have sat on those benches," she said.
"If I were to guess, I would think all but one. I suspect Ser Templar is perhaps not terribly interested in the finer features of the stone. Unless he hasn’t realised what they’re for, yet." Anders cackled, imagining it. "Do you think he and Merrill still think that’s just a lovely rose garden? Do you think they’ve even wandered that far in?"
"You know," Isabela said, a sly look taking hold of her face, "I could make sure Merrill knows what those benches are for. I’m sure she’d find them quite funny."
"Artie? Give me a reason not to traumatise your little brother, or I’m going to encourage this idea." Anders looked gleeful at the thought of Merrill introducing Carver to Anton’s delightfully obscene lawn furniture.
"I’m the last person who would talk you out of traumatising Carver," Artemis replied, covering his eyes with his hand as he laughed. He was pointedly not thinking about his other younger siblings and their… enjoyment of the garden, but the thought of Carver sitting on the benches without a clue what they were for made his shoulders shake with laughter. "Do you know Seneschal Bran complimented Anton on the garden at the wedding? ‘My wife’s been looking for a swing like that’ he said. ‘Do you know where I could get one?’ Cullen looked like he was going to piss himself. It was amazing."
"Wasn’t that Cullen’s mother in the garden with him, though?" Isabela asked, around a slice of lime. "I’m sure that’s what that was. Although, I guess the idea of the Seneschal’s enjoyment might be a little much for the poor dear. He’s so cute! Cullen, I mean. Bran’s kind of a tosser. How did Anton ever manage to keep something so delightfully adorable?"
"By being devastatingly rakish, no doubt." Anders stuffed another handful of ice down his trousers. "I get the sense Cullen’s got a thing for ‘bad in a good way’. As opposed to good in a bad way, like certain members of his order, or bad in a bad way, like some others."
"You knew him back in Ferelden, didn’t you? What was he like?" Isabela rested both elbows on the arm of her chair.
"Useless. He was useless. Too scared of his own knob to cope with Solona flirting with him. Convinced that he could do good and right, and just oblivious to how much bad and wrong went on. He was a kid." Anders shrugged. "I didn’t really know him. We were only both there for maybe a year or two? I had my own problems, and he didn’t make himself one of them." He paused to pour a handful of ice water into his mouth. "And then Anton got to him. You see what he’s like, now. All grown up and married to a cardsharp." He skipped over the ugly parts of the story. He’d missed those, and he didn’t figure Cullen really wanted the worst of it getting around. And wasn’t that a thing — he actually cared what Cullen thought about anything.
"And officially part of the Hawke family, the poor sod," Artemis said, raising his drink. "I almost feel sorry for him: Knight-Captain of the Templar Order, and he unknowingly marries into the magiest family to have ever maged in Kirkwall."
"You know Varric’s writing a story about it?" Isabela said, toying with one of her earrings. "Changed the names and a few details so no one gets in trouble. He says the Hawkes make great drama."
"Huh. And here I thought we excelled more at comedy," Artie said, head lolling along the back of the chair to glance at her.
"Slapstick, certainly," Anders added, "considering the number of times Cormac’s been punched."
"To be fair, he usually deserves it," Artemis replied, hooking a finger in the bowl of rum and journeybread and frowning when he only found a few soggy crumbs left.
"Usually," Anders agreed. "And the rest of the time, you deserve it."
"This is true."
Cormac didn’t get back from the Bone Pit until late in the evening, and he was surprised not to find Anders downstairs, still working. Probably another emergency, then. He’d make a pile of sandwiches and leave half on the nightstand, he figured, so Anders wouldn’t have to think about getting food.
What he hadn’t expected was to find Anders upstairs, passed out in his bed, with the windows thrown open, looking some truly atrocious colour. At first, Cormac wondered if it was something about the sheets, but he’d seen Anders on these sheets, before, and never quite that shade. He set the sandwiches and beer beside the bed, and then sat down.
"Hey, gorgeous?" He shook Anders’s shoulder, gently.
"Mmrph?" Anders’s eyes slid open. He rolled onto his back, smothering a yawn with his hand. "Hey, mage-shoulders," he replied with a lazy smile. "How was the Bone Pit? Any more deadly curses or have you strangled the Orlesian?"
Cormac groaned and reached for the beer, again. "No, no deadly curses, no giant spiders, and sadly, no strangled Orlesians. The miners are trying to figure out if they can force him to sell, though. I’m more worried about them getting fired if they try." He leaned down and kissed the tip of Anders’s nose. "So, you’re very yellow. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but you look like you’ve been bathing in saffron."
"So I’ve been told," Anders sighed. He noted the sandwiches by the bed and considered sitting up. The bed was making a good argument for staying down, even if the heat made him stick to the sheets. "And it’s called a tan. Maker." Anders probably did need more sun if everyone was only just now noticing this.
"No, sweet thing, it would be a tan if you were tan. You are not tan. You are yellow, and I’m a little concerned. I’m pretty sure that’s not a colour people are supposed to be." Cormac took a swig of beer and set down the tankard. He rubbed Anders’s cheek, petted his shoulder. "And you’re radiating heat in a way that is … unusual. It’s not warm like you’re usually warm — and I swear you complain about the cold, because you’re an inhuman temperature, half the time. Do I need to get you some water? I brought sandwiches and beer, but I’m not sure that’s going to help."
"Mm. Water sounds good. So do the sandwiches and beer, at some point in the near future." Anders waved his hand in the direction of the food. "It’s hot out, you know. Even by the beach. I shoved ice down my pants, it was that hot."
"Ice down your pants? And I wasn’t there to take advantage of this sudden change? Oh, what a day for me to have gone up the mountain," Cormac sighed, grabbing the pitcher next to the bed and deciding to be lazy about it. He cast an ice spell into it and only melted about half, leaving what would likely continue to be cool water for a few hours, yet. "And what were you doing on the beach? Has the charm of sewer-living finally worn thin?"
"Thought I’d try my luck pirating," Anders replied archly. "Izzy dragged me out of the clinic, and we kidnapped your favourite brother. Although really, they kidnapped me more than anything. Found some chairs… rum… It was quite lovely, actually. Aside from the sun and the yellowness, anyway. And Izzy and Artie were both shirtless, so the ice down my pants served an extra purpose." Anders sat up, moving sluggishly, and drank straight from the pitcher, icy water dribbling down his chin.
"Both of them shirtless? And this didn’t end with anyone sitting in your icy-cold lap? Maybe you are slowing down with age. Andraste’s tits, are you sure you’re okay?" Cormac teased, reaching out to smear the water across Anders’s overheated chest. "I certainly wouldn’t have been sitting there, frosty-cold and all by myself. Not with that much booty to plunder, as Izzy likes to say. Not that I’d be … Hm. Well, I suppose with the two of them, only one would actually be available to me. Remind me why you’re not availing yourself of the Ass-Pirate Queen? She’s been eyeing you forever."
Anders purred at the splash of cold water on his chest. "You forget that I have already availed myself of the Ass-Pirate Queen in the past. Or rather, she availed herself of me. Pirate Queen she may be, but she doesn’t have the Hawke ass." He reached around to pat the Hawke ass most readily available. "And you don’t know why she was in my clinic to begin with. Speaking of…" Anders twisted his fingers, and they glowed blue, magic washing over Cormac’s skin.
"My brother’s balls," Cormac sighed. "Again? You don’t get paid enough for this. I don’t get paid enough for this." He didn’t stop rubbing Anders’s chest, though, hand moving slowly down between the scars to settle on Anders’s abs, instead. Slightly less scarred. Substantially more likely to elicit further purring. "So, what do you think? Sandwiches first, and then I’ll have you for dessert? I wonder if you taste as lemony as you look, today."
"I’m more likely to taste like sweat and sand, but you’re more than welcome to check." Anders offered Cormac another lazy smile. Another long sip of water, and Anders set down the pitcher, reaching for a sandwich. He sat back against the headboard, humming at the taste of food and the feel of Cormac’s hand on his skin. "You know, it occurs to me I should have healed Artie just in case."
"Don’t worry about Artie. If she just came to you, today, he’s fine. I’d know." Cormac grinned and shifted, kneeling across Anders’s thighs as he grabbed a sandwich for himself. "And don’t tell him we had supper in bed. He’ll implode. Just suck right up into his mind. I’ll shake the crumbs out later, and he can yell about the rug, instead." One hand continued to trace idle circles on Anders’s belly.