[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 206
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀, Varric ♂, Jethann ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Kallian Tabris ♀
Rating: M (L3 N3 S3 V0 D1)
Warnings: Dick jokes, prostitution, awkward flirting
Notes: Theron makes an ill-considered pass. Anton is amused. Artemis is not going to be able to stand up in the morning. Fenris wonders at the wisdom of his decisions.
Dwarf and pirate bent back to the door as Theron backed away. He’d certainly ask Kalli about it later, but right now he didn’t need those images. Instead, he wandered over to the curly-haired gentleman hovering by the bar, watching more than participating in the party.
Theron ordered a drink, casting a glance back at Fenris to see him raptly watching Artemis’s corner of the room. He smirked and said, "The Hawkes certainly know how to throw a party, don’t they?"
"I, er, it’s… um… it’s an experience," Cullen smiled awkwardly, just glad that his brother had gone back to Gwaren. He couldn’t imagine Branson in a room as full of elves as this one. "Have, ah, have we met?"
Theron held out his hand. "Theron Mahariel. Call me Mahariel, everyone else does, since there’s just the one of me. Of course, to hear my wife tell it there can only be one of me, or the world would end."
Cullen laughed and shook the offered hand. "One of Anton’s friends, then? I’m surprised I haven’t heard your name before. I’m his husband, Cullen."
"Oh, you’re Anton’s templar!" Theron smiled wickedly. "And no, as delightful as it sounds to be one of Anton’s friends, I barely know him. Artemis and I… It was a long time ago."
Cullen remembered the toast. "Oh! Oh… That’s… I mean… And you’re here? With your wife?" It sounded dreadfully awkward, but he figured he’d have to introduce Anton and Solona, at some point. After all, they were related.
"Of course!" Theron said. "Where else would I be? I have only fond memories of Artemis, and Kalli — my wife — got along famously with Fenris. Of course, not as famously as she’s getting along with Anders right now, I suspect."
Cullen thought he must have misinterpreted that suggestive arch of an eyebrow. He couldn’t be implying that his wife and Anders were… no. Certainly not with such an easy smile. "Uh."
"Granted, it’s rather easy to get along with Kalli," Theron said, pausing to thank the bartender as he slid him his drink. "Well. Unless you’re wrong, really. Then it’s rather easy to get on her bad side, but if you’re there, you generally deserve it, you know?"
Theron waved his hand as he took a drink. "Oh, but you don’t want to hear about that." He glanced down at Cullen’s nearly-empty glass. "So what are you drinking, Ser Cullen? I don’t want to be the only one here with a full glass."
"It, er…" Cullen lifted his glass and squinted into it, as if he’d forgotten. "It appears to be some sort of pear cider." That he could answer with some amount of certainty. Whatever it was, it tasted like pear, and it wasn’t cordial. He would not be drinking cordial, tonight. Not here.
Fluttering his fingers at the elf on the other side of the bar, Theron ordered another round for Cullen. "What are you so nervous about? It’s a party. At the worst, someone’s going to get drunk and use the accommodations!"
A flush shot across Cullen’s face and he finished the drink he was holding, before picking up the next glass. "It’s a Hawke party," Cullen pointed out. "That’s not a ‘worst’, it’s just an expectation." He preferred to avoid becoming part of the ‘accommodations’, although they were in a brothel, so there were likely more exciting things than him, upstairs. Not to mention more exciting people in this very room.
Every time the drums shook the floor, Theron noticed, Cullen would glance around the room, as if looking for something or someone. Theron considered asking him what he was looking for, just to see how dark he could make the man blush, but then Kalli staggered back out into the main room, cheeks flushed and hair tousled as she straightened her clothing. She caught Theron’s gaze and sent him a grin and a wave.
Isabela and Varric had moved away from the door but stayed locked in conversation a few feet away, within spying distance. Anders waited a few minutes before emerging after Kalli, and Theron greeted him with a wolf-whistle and a round of applause.
Cullen was halfway through his next pear cider already, and he convinced himself he wasn’t seeing what he thought he was seeing. "Hawke party," he muttered to himself. "Right."
Anders’s face was still in his hands when Isabela grabbed him by one arm, pestering him with — well, exactly the sort of questions he’d come to expect from Isabela. He looked right at her and licked his fingers, before swaggering off into the crowd, hoping to catch Fenris and ask how things were… progressing.
"Ha!" Isabela crowed, jabbing a finger at Varric, and then holding out an open hand.
Anton was distracted from his brief search of the room for Artemis, when Cullen’s nearly glowing blush caught his eye. His brother was probably fine. His husband, however, had been cornered by the Dalish couple. "No cordial?" he teased, stepping up to the bar, beside Cullen.
"Not in front of your brother," Cullen grumbled, with a half-hearted glare at Anton.
"Ooh! Both of them!" Kalli grinned like a ravenous bereskarn, and elbowed Theron, who cast a contemplative eye on Anton.
"‘Both of them’," Anton said, stepping right into the conversation without breaking stride. "The answer to the question: ‘who are the most gorgeous men in the room’?"
"Don’t encourage them," Cullen muttered to him behind his glass.
"Well, at least the most gorgeous shem," Kalli said with a wink at her husband.
Theron took a breath as though to argue but looked around, noticing that a certain other Hawke wasn’t in the room, at least not as far as anyone else could tell.
Anton laughed. "Checking the room for prettier shem?" he asked. "Do I need to get back on a table?"
"Maybe I misspoke," Cullen said to Anton, "but I could have sworn I said ‘don’t’ before the words ‘encourage them’."
"Did you?" Anton asked, all innocence. "My mistake. These drums drown out all the words I don’t like."
They also drowned out Anders’s words to Fenris, but then Fenris was only half listening. Fenris understood that he was asking about Artie, at least, and without taking his eyes off the mage in question, he told Anders, "See for yourself."
Anders was about to protest that, but looked up and realised he could see perfectly well, if he followed Fenris’s eyes. He couldn’t remember the elf’s name, but Anders knew he’d cured the man. He’d run the same spells on everyone coming in to the building, just to be safe. And then he’d taken a nap on a couch and told Cormac to wake him up if anyone else came in.
The elf slipped out of the alcove, first, looking like he’d come out of the door beside it, of course, and Anders ducked in, before anything else could happen. Just to make sure.
"Artie?" Anders paused just far enough in not to be seen from any angle but the correct one. "You need anything? Healing? Potions?"
Artemis leaned against a wall, in danger of becoming a limp puddle of a mage, albeit a grinning, happy puddle. "Oh, hello, Anders! Enjoying the party?"
"You know I always enjoy a Hawke party," Anders said, stepping in a little farther to get a closer look at Artie. Anders ran healing magic over him just in case, even if Artemis didn’t look to be in any pain, and the blue glow lit their small alcove. He pressed a stamina potion into Artie’s hand too after seeing how shaky he was on his feet.
"Oh, I know you do," Artemis said, words heavy with suggestion as he toyed with a feather at Anders’s shoulder.
"Now, you really should rest," Anders said. "Just for a bit. Give that potion and the healing a chance to settle, and —"
"Relax, Mother, I’ll be fine," Artie teased.
"Don’t tease the Warden," Anders shot back, poking Artemis in the nose, "or you’ll need a lot more than one stamina potion, and you’ll miss half the party." He squeezed Artie’s bottom, before backing out, with a wink, to rejoin Fenris, at the table.
"Are you next?" Anders asked, as his ass hit the chair.
"No, not yet. There’s another prostitute, first." Fenris shook his head. "I feel like I should be much more disturbed by all of this. I understand that this is not a respectable thing to do, but… when has this relationship ever been respectable? We’re upsetting half of Hightown just going to the market, together. I don’t think we will ever meet expectations, but I can’t help but wonder if this might not be tempting fate."
"I may not have spent much time out in the world, but according to the books I’ve read — admittedly most of them were in Tevene — consorting with prostitutes, the night before the wedding is almost expected." Anders shrugged, watching an elf make his way through the crowd, toward them. "At least among noblemen. I don’t get invited to noblemen’s weddings, unless we’re talking about Hawkes. Lowtown weddings are different. No one can afford a party like this."
Fenris still found himself wondering at the wisdom of this idea, but that was a concern he often had around Hawkes, especially one with large blue eyes and more nervous habits than he could count. Another elf joined Artie in the alcove as Fenris watched, and next to him, Anders tried not to be obvious about watching too. To the rest of the room, Fenris, at least, looked like he was staring at Anders instead of just over his shoulder.
A flash of memory cut across Fenris’s vision — another party, other dark shapes moving together in the corner — but it was gone the moment he blinked. He smirked into his drink when the floor trembled again.