[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 208
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Anders ♂, Aveline ♀, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Sebastian ♂, Varric ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Kallian Tabris ♀, Gytha ♀, Orana ♀, Varania ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Dick jokes, dad jokes, brotherly ribbing
Notes: Artie, stop tidying things into oblivion. You’re supposed to be getting married.
The garden was decorated in subdued colours, garlands of flowers and Dalish art on the trees and tables. Everything was precise, down to the spacing of the seats, the number of glasses on each table, the way the bottles faced. People had already begun to arrive, starting with Merrill, who was strangely unaccompanied. Theron and Kalli had come in on either side of Isabela, the three of them grinning like they’d solved some great mystery of the world. Varric showed up with the woman from the dildo shop, and Fenris nearly choked on his tongue.
"Did you give it to him, yet?" Gytha asked Fenris with a wink, as Cormac and Orana parted around the four of them standing almost in the doorway, each carrying a tray from the kitchen. "This is the lucky guy, isn’t it?"
Varric blinked up at Fenris, almost curious, but not enough to ask. He knew what Gytha did for a living — everyone in the Guild knew what Gytha did. But, the elf was buying? That was going in a book somewhere. He wondered if that was some new side-effect of the lyrium, after all these years.
"I’d say we’re both lucky," Fenris said, "though myself more than him." And he was lucky today overall if not in this particular moment, judging from the look Varric had just given him. He fidgeted with the embroidered hem of his tunic, missing the solid weight of his sword at his back. "And… yes, I gave it to him. I believe he was pleased." He glanced at his fiancé, the tilt of his brows almost making this a question.
"More than once," Artemis replied, just to watch Varric’s face twist.
New voices echoed down the hall, and Fenris glanced back, trying not to look disappointed when the female voice he heard was Bethany’s. Artie squeezed Fenris’s arm. "She’ll be here," he murmured, and Fenris nodded.
"Fenris!" Bethany sang out, as she swept in with Sebastian and Aveline at her sides. "Are you taking good care of my brother?" she stepped around the two of them and kissed each of the couple on the cheek, as Varric led his date out into the garden, with a wink.
"I do not see any tidying. I must be doing something right," Fenris joked, with a sly smile. He held out a hand to Aveline. "Where’s Donnic?"
Aveline took his hand in both of hers, for a solid shake. "I’m going to fetch him in a bit — not even really dressed for this, yet, and the Maker only knows what Bethany’s decided I should wear."
"Oh, you’ll look lovely, Aveline. You know I wouldn’t put you in anything foolish." Bethany shook her head.
"But, Donnic’s still on duty," Aveline said. "I can’t have the city overrun with thugs, just because you’re getting married."
"Andraste forbid." Fenris’s eyebrows arced up.
"You’re not going to do anything crazy, are you?" Sebastian asked. "I shouldn’t have to ask this, but after Anton… Hawke weddings…"
"Then you should be worried about him, not me," Fenris pointed out. "The craziest thing I intend to do is introduce my husband to my sister." He looked over his shoulder again. "If she ever shows up. She said she’d be here, but it’s a long way from Qarinus."
"Don’t worry, Sebastian," Artemis said, waving his hand, "swinging in from balconies is so last year."
"And yet, somehow, I am not reassured," Sebastian sighed. Bethany squeezed his arm.
Artemis was certain he had a response to that, but he found himself distracted, watching the guests mill about the chairs and setting them askew. "Oh come on, Varric," he muttered under his breath. "He could at least put it back correctly after knocking it over."
Fenris wrapped an arm around Artemis’s waist and turned him to face away from the chairs. "I’m sure someone will sit in that chair just the same. And then you won’t have to look at it."
Aveline glanced at Sebastian. "I have a feeling he’s been too busy organising things to plan anything crazy."
"You assume I’m incapable of multitasking," Artie protested.
"Being crazy while planning crazy?" Aveline arced an eyebrow. "There’s a thought."
"Still not reassured," Sebastian mumbled.
Heeled footsteps clacked against wood down the hall, and Artemis looked up, nudging Fenris in the ribs. A strange elf hovered in the hall, eyes wide and hands folded in front of her as she looked around, red hair catching in the sconces’ light.
Fenris’s breath caught. "Varania?" The strange elf turned, and for a moment he saw the little girl she once was, hair in a long braid down her back, cheeks softer, eyes less guarded.
Bethany followed their stare and smiled, tugging on Sebastian’s arm and pulling him towards the rest of the guests. "We’ll leave you to your plotting," she told the couple, gesturing for Aveline to follow them.
"It really is you…" Varania’s voice was thick with either fondness or bitterness, and from the look in her eye, even she wasn’t sure which.
"I remember you…" An awed smile crossed Fenris’s face. He couldn’t remember anything, but suddenly he remembered this. "We played in our master’s courtyard, while mother worked. You called me…"
"Leto. That’s your name." Varania still looked tense.
Fenris stood, stunned, for a few moments, feeling the weight of the name. "I don’t remember," he admitted, sadly, after a while. "So much is gone." The corner of his mouth quirked up apologetically, and he gestured toward the garden. "You look tired from the journey. Sit. I’ll get you a glass of wine and something to eat. I’m so glad you’re here."
Varania glanced around nervously, again, eyes landing on, then tearing away from Artemis, after a pause.
"Don’t worry. It’s ours." Fenris held out an arm to his sister and gestured to Artemis, with the other hand. "This is Artemis. We’re to be married, today. A husband, a house of my own — would you ever have dreamt it?"
Varania’s eyes darted back to Artemis, recognition blooming in them. "You invite your own trouble, Leto," she breathed, knowing the name from her own studies.
"Artie!" Cormac’s voice drifted in from outside. "Varric keeps knocking shit over! Can I tie him to a chair? Tell me I can tie him to a chair!"
"If you’re not tying him down, can I?" Gytha whooped with laughter.
"What is he knocking over?" Artemis called over his shoulder. "Is it just the chairs? I hope it’s just the chairs." To Varania, he smiled and offered his hand. "It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Varania. Make yourself at home." He wondered if that was the best advice considering her home was in Tevinter, but she offered him a weak smile and shook his hand. "Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to make sure no one is making a mess. I apologize in advance for my brothers." Artie backed out of the door as he spoke. As he disappeared around the corner, he shouted, "You know the rules, Cormac! If you can catch him, you can tie him up!"
Fenris shook his head in fond exasperation. "Come out into the garden," he told Varania, ushering her towards the door.
Leto. The name bounced around in his head. He tried to make it fit, tried to think of it as his, but it was like a tunic he’d outgrown. Perhaps it had fit once, but not anymore.
Varania followed him out into the sun, eyes still a shade too wide as she looked around.
Anders approached them, as Artemis chased him from where he sat on the corner of a table. "Yes, Artie. I know. Tables are not for sitting," he called over his shoulder, before turning back to Fenris. "Is that your sister?"
"Yes, she is. By which I mean, no, you can’t." Amusement spread across Fenris’s face as he looked up at Anders. "Varania, meet Anders. He’s a healer, which is a very good thing, as I understand it."
"Banned from flirting with sisters, still? You’re merciless, Fenris. And I’d like to point out I haven’t actually flirted with anyone’s sister, as far as I know. Or at least no one whose siblings I knew. Brothers. I’m terrible about flirting with brothers." Anders held out the hand that wasn’t holding the wine glass. "I flirt with your brother all the time. It makes him crazy."
"From the stories, I thought he was crazy, anyway," Varania replied, still quiet, as she shook Anders’s hand.
"‘Crazy’ is relative in Kirkwall," Anders replied, giving her hand a friendly squeeze. "So I suppose I make him crazier."
"He has that effect," Fenris drawled.
"It’s why I get invited to all the best parties," Anders said with a wink at Varania. She replied with a small smile and looked down at his feet. "Do you want a drink?"
Varania looked back and forth between Fenris and Anders. "Do I want one? Certainly. But I should probably hold off, for the moment. Perhaps after the ceremony."
In the background, Varric shouted at Cormac, from inside a barrier spell, while Isabela lounged on the top of the bubble, eating grapes. Cullen looked on in horror, as Anton tried to explain.
"It’s totally normal," Anton insisted. "It’s also Artie’s wedding, and Varric’s a little thick-fingered, today. Keeps dropping shit. So, Cormac’s just trying to keep our brother from losing his mind, before the ceremony. You should ask them about the stuff they used to do to each other, when we were all kids."
"This is not normal, Anton," Cullen insisted.
"If it’s not, it’s just because mages don’t have families, under the current regime. Tell me this doesn’t go on in the towers?" Anton switched his own glass with Cullen’s.
"I…can’t." Cullen snorted. "That would be completely normal, if we were in Kinloch Hold."
Varania arced an eyebrow at Cormac’s barrier, at Anton’s words. She’d heard rumours of how mages were treated in the Free Marches and Ferelden, and she hadn’t expected such an open display or talk of magic.
"The towers?" she asked Cullen. "Are… are you a mage too?"
A nervous laugh barked out of Cullen before he cleared his throat, composing himself. "I — no. No, I’m not a mage."
"He is the opposite of a mage," Anders said.
"Templar," Cullen explained. "I’m a templar. Knight-Captain Cullen." He introduced himself to Varania, and she found herself shaking another stranger’s hand.
As they talked, Artemis followed Varric’s path of destruction, righting chairs, neatening tables, and muttering under his breath while Bethany helped him. Off to the side, Sebastian watched, the furrow between his brow somewhere between dismayed and resigned.
Neatening glasses, Artemis looked around, counting the people there. "Where the Blight is Carver?" he sighed.
Cormac wrapped his arms around Artemis, resting his chin on his brother’s shoulder. "Washing chamberpots, I bet. It’s Carver. He’ll be here, as soon as he gets his hands out of the bucket." He tapped a tiny spark against the tip of Artemis’s nose. "Calm down. Sit down. Let me get you a drink — just one. You look like you’re about to start vibrating."
Artemis’s nose crinkled at Cormac’s touch. He forced himself to relax, to stop drumming his fingers against the table. "Not vibrating. Nope. Not on my wedding day." Leave it to Carver to end up cleaning chamberpots on a day like this. "I’m tossing him down the stairs for this."
"I think you should. Do you want me to ice the floor at the bottom?" Cormac laughed and gave Artie a quick squeeze, before he stepped back. "Wedding. I can’t believe it. Mum would be having heart failure. Dad would be so proud of you." He grinned across a couple rows of chairs. "Hey, Anton, got any impressions of Dad, for the occasion?"
"You should be doing them. You’re the one that looks like him!" Anton insisted. "But, yeah, that might be a little creepy. You’re a little too much like him, sometimes." He made his way over to Artemis, patted his brother on the cheek, and fumbled a coin with that hand, catching it as it bounced off Artie’s shoulder. "What’s this? You’ve got money falling out of your ear? No wonder you can afford to have a wedding like this. Watch out for that templar, though." Anton pointed at Cullen with two fingers, and a card appeared between them — the Angel of Death — and he handed it to Artie. "You never know what’s going through a tin bucket’s tin bucket."
Cullen choked on his wine, coughing into his fist, as Anton went on.
"But, a day like this is about family, my boy. Your family, his family — he’s got a cute sister. Keep your brother away from her. Brothers. You know, maybe you should suggest a veil."
Varania pressed a hand to the side of her face, to hide a smile, as another elf came out of the house, carrying two crowns of flowers.
Orana put the first crown of lilac, lime, and crocus on Fenris’s head, as she passed. "Evie’s going to be late, I’m afraid, but she sent these over for both of you."
"I recognise the lime. Do I want to know the others?" Fenris asked, eyeing the other crown. "Varania, this is Orana. I’m supposed to say she’s my cook, but I think it’s more proper to say she’s my steward. Orana, this is my sister, Varania."
"Your steward." Varania blinked, twitched an eyebrow, but otherwise didn’t react.
"She keeps us both in line," Artemis said as he stooped to let Orana set the second crown of flowers on his head. "And don’t worry. The flowers don’t mean anything terrible."
"Reassuring," Fenris sighed, suddenly sympathising with Sebastian. Artemis fussed with his crown until it felt like it sat evenly, then kept fussing with it until Fenris chuckled and took his hand.
Artie toyed with a lime blossom on Fenris’s head. "They’re good colours for you," he teased. He looked around again, still looking for a brother who wasn’t there. "Maker dammit," he muttered. "Is everything set, Orana? Perhaps we should just start. Carver will get here when he gets here."
Fenris smoothed his thumb over the back of Artemis’s knuckles. "There’s still time," he said. "Your family should be here. Even if that family is Carver."
"I’ll send a runner. If he’s in the barracks, he’ll be here soon. I doubt anyone’s going to want to have that argument with me, if he’s not." Cullen handed his glass to Anton and headed back inside. "I should only be a few minutes. Don’t worry about starting without me. I’ve been to my own wedding. I know what one looks like."
"Yes, but your wedding ended with—" Anton started, with a glance over his shoulder.
"Anton, no! Not in front of your brothers!" Cullen called back.
"They already know I found the hottest ass in the entire Order," Anton called after him, receiving an exceptionally rude hand gesture in return.
Cullen got lost three times, trying to find the front door, but at last he made it out. Glancing down the road, he held up a coin and called for a messenger, and in a moment, a grubby child appeared. "I need you to run to the Gallows — do you know how to get there?"
The urchin nodded, and Cullen went on. "Go up the stairs on the left, and tell the guards that Ser Carver is required in Hightown, and he knows why. Let them know the Knight-Captain sent you, and if Carver isn’t here in half an hour, they’ll be dealing with me."
Aveline ducked past him, clapping him on the shoulder as she passed. "I’ll be back before Carver gets here. Got to go get Donnic."
"Yes, Knight-Captain!" the urchin crowed, attracting the eye of a group of men who’d been having a quiet conversation a little bit up the road. The urchin ran down the street toward the bridge.