[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 207
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Kallian Tabris ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Subtly smutty humour, a bit of a scare, corpse jokes
Notes: Bethany saves Cullen from a very elfy fate.
Out in the middle of the room, Cormac shot another glance toward the back corner. That was an earthquake, and he could feel the difference. He thought he might check if it was Fenris’s turn or if he’d lost count and had it come back around to him. But, as he took a step in that direction, Bethany grabbed his shoulders and turned him around.
"Cormac, leave him be," Bethany sighed, and Cormac froze.
Did she know? What was she thinking? The worst of everything ran through Cormac’s head — but no, if she knew, he’d be in a lot more pain. They wouldn’t be having this conversation. Fenris appeared in the corner of his vision, behind Bethany, waiting for some signal that things had gone wrong.
"We all know what he’s doing, but he’s doing it on purpose. You know what he’s like, and I just saw Anders checking on him. He doesn’t need you checking on him. He’s getting married, tomorrow." Bethany laughed and shook her head. "Come on and get me another drink. Let’s go save Cullen from those elves. It doesn’t look like Anton’s helping."
"Anton is never helping," Cormac pointed out, linking his arm with his sister’s, and speaking loudly enough for Fenris to hear. "And you’re right he doesn’t need me checking on him, if Anders just did. He’s just my little brother, you know? Maybe you don’t. You’re the youngest. I worry about him. And I promise that if I have to worry about you, before your wedding, I’ll send Isabela."
Fenris gave Cormac a barely perceptible nod and retreated back to his corner in time to see the latest elf saunter out of the alcove. Fenris ducked in after him, finding his fiancé propped up against the barrier, a lovely sweat-soaked mess. Artemis’s whole face brightened when he realised the elf walking towards him was his elf.
"Amatus…" Fenris began.
Artie draped his arms around Fenris’s neck, pulling his elf close against him, and Fenris set aside his next words in favour of a kiss. "Is it your turn, Fen?" Artie asked against his lips. "Come to remind me whom I belong to, mm?"
"You, mage, belong to no one," Fenris said, his smile soft as he brushed back Artie’s sweaty hair. "But who you belong with is a different matter." It was an important distinction to him, one he’d had a hard time grasping when he’d first started learning the language.
Past Artemis’s shoulder, Fenris could see through the illusion into the main room, and he watched Cormac with his arm around Bethany’s shoulders.
"Your brother was going to come …" Fenris cleared his throat, "‘check on you’, but Bethany stopped him. They’ve gone to get a drink. I wonder if he’ll make it back for the next set, or if we’ll have to skip ahead to Theron."
Artemis’s eyes narrowed. "‘Stopped him’? What do you mean ‘stopped him’? Did she just happen to run into him or did she know he was coming over here? Oh Maker, does she know what ‘here’ is and what we’re doing?" He went from blissed-out mage puddle to vibrating with nerves in a matter of seconds.
"Oh, she knows what you’re doing," Fenris assured him, with a teasing nuzzle against the fluff on Artemis’s chin. "But, she completely misunderstood what he was doing. She thought he was worried about you. She—" He couldn’t help himself, and a laugh slipped out. "She told him you had to be well, because Anders was just here to see you. But, I have no question that she’s sure of the rest of it. You never were subtle about your tastes, were you?" He paused. "But, she knows and she told Cormac not to worry."
Artemis wasn’t sure if he should be relieved or horrified at this. "Oh Maker," he groaned, burying his face in Fenris’s neck. That was his little sister, but she probably wasn’t surprised, not after living with him for as long as she had.
Fenris pressed a kiss to Artie’s cheek. "But you should come visit with the guests soon before anyone else misses you too much."
"Am I not already terribly missed? I think I should be insulted."
Fenris chuckled and tilted Artemis’s chin up, their lips meeting.
At the bar, Cullen looked like he was hoping to melt through the floor. The addition of more Hawkes had done nothing to stem the tide of flattery and flirtation, although Cormac, at least, was a good deal more tart about it.
"Oh, with those shoulders, I have no doubt he’s a good swordsman, talented in his swording. I hear one has only to ask Sebastian about the truth of that! But, I’ve heard he’s a little rough on tingling sensations and earth-shaking good times." Cormac grinned wickedly. "You’ve already gotten the best of the shem, at this party," he told Kalli and Theron. "Though I’ll let the two of you argue over which one I mean."
Kalli turned her nose up. "I don’t know what you’re talking about. Shem. Tch. Why would I?"
Theron leaned back and nodded at Cormac.
"Going to play it like that, are you? I guess I’ll just have to ask my brother later."
"—and Anders." Cormac paused, grinning wider. "You didn’t really think I missed that, did you?"
Anton’s eyebrows shot up, and he darted a look at Theron, who didn’t so much as blink.
"Which one’s Anders?" Kalli asked innocently. "Is he the scruffy Warden? A bit too hairy for my taste." She primly took a sip of Theron’s drink.
"I don’t think you were the one doing the tasting, from what I understand," Theron said, and Kalli glared at him over his tankard.
Cullen made a choked sound in the back of his throat and looked around, desperate for an exit. At least the focus was off him for the moment.
Bethany appeared beside him, distressingly quietly. "Come, let’s slip away, while they argue. You can dance with me — at least, I assume you can. You can dance, can’t you?"
"I, er…" Cullen shot a glance at Anton, who was still fully engaged with the elves and his brother. "Well, I’m not drunk, this time. Have we danced before? I think we have."
"Oh, my, you were very drunk, indeed." Bethany smiled warmly and led Cullen away from the bar. "Come, tell me all about what’s been going on with you, lately. We barely have lunch any more."
"Blood magic. Demons. At least if you believe half the reports that come through." Cullen pulled Bethany into his arms, almost absently, and followed her lead. "I don’t think half the reports come from people who would know blood magic from a butcher shop." He held her as she dipped herself, and went on. "If you know anyone in the mage underground — don’t tell me; I don’t want to know — but, if you do, would you please tell them that non-lethal methods would be just as effective. It’s very difficult to correct poor behaviour in dead men. I am trying to convince my men of the same. A live mage is far more useful than a corpse." He rambled on, as she led him through the steps of the dance.
"Well, that depends on the mage and how you use the corpse," Bethany replied, chuckling when Cullen blanched, stumbling. She led him back into the rhythm of the dance and added, "That was a dark jest, perhaps, but I do so love watching your face turn all these different colours. Your point is a good one, however, not that I know any such mages myself."
Her expression and delivery were pleasant enough that Cullen almost believed her. "Of course," he said.
Drumming filled the room and shook the floor, and Bethany spun him this time as he looked around. Over his shoulder, she watched the hidden alcove. Her brother slipped out minutes later, wrapped around his elf. Fenris smoothed back Artie’s tousled hair, whispered something that made his smile widen, and Bethany thought they looked disgustingly happy.