[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 210
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Carver Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Aveline ♀, Cullen ♂, Donnic ♂, Fenris ♂, Gytha ♀, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Sebastian ♂, Varric ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Meredith ♀, Varania ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D1)
Warnings: Family arguments, brotherly facepunching
Notes: And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… We said there was a wedding in here, somewhere!
"Artie! Fenris!" Aveline’s voice echoed through the house, before she appeared at the back door, on the wrong side of an enormous pile of corpse-filled platemail. "I should have come sooner. Is everyone all right? Damn it, Donnic, why did I let you talk me into this dress? We could have been here half an hour ago!"
"Forgive me," Donnic said wryly as he stared about at the devastation. "You’re right. We should have been prepared for this eventuality."
"Mm, you should have come here earlier," said Varric, eyeing Aveline’s blue dress, as he helped Gytha off the ground from behind a heap of chairs and platemail. "You would have slain them with those legs."
"Lech," Aveline huffed.
"It’s half his charm!" Gytha laughed and draped an arm across Varric’s shoulders.
Anton poked his head out the back door. "Found our missing brother," he said. "And my husband." He tilted his head towards the hall behind him. "Justice, do you think you could maybe stop Justicing for a second, so I can borrow Anders? Either Carver has a concussion or he’s just being a dick on principle."
"My money’s on both," Aveline muttered.
Artemis finally unwrapped himself from around Fenris, and Fenris cupped his cheek, pressed a kiss to his lips, and pointed his mage into a chair, recognising the fine tremor in his hands that said he’s overextended his magic.
The blue glow that crawled through Anders finally dimmed and sputtered out, and the fire faded away, leaving Anders looking like he’d been solidly punched between the eyes. "What?" he asked, as Cormac stopped emitting an indigo light, beside him.
"My brother’s been hit in the head," Cormac pointed out. "Apparently, he’s acting like a dick. I’m not sure where that’s abnormal for Carver, but if you’re all right, can you have a look? I’m pretty sure the worst is over, so if you just want to sit down and stare into space for a while, I can go screw his head back on."
"Maker, no, Cormac. You shouldn’t be allowed to heal papercuts," Anders groaned, leaning on the glaive he was still holding, before he pulled himself together to go check on Carver.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my best friend. I ‘shouldn’t be allowed to heal papercuts’." Cormac shook his head and continued to compress Danarius, the stone hissing and squealing as it burned the blood and the tile of the patio. "Headcount!" he called out. "Everyone who’s still standing where I can see them! Anyone who’s not still standing… somebody tell Anders."
Fenris looked around at their guests, counting so Artemis wouldn’t need to, though he suspected Artemis was counting anyway. But the numbers skittered away from him when he spotted Varania, pale and trembling in the corner, looking like she would have fled if Sebastian didn’t have a hand on her arm.
"Fenris," Artemis said, noting Fenris’s clenched fists and the object of his stare. Artie reached for Fenris, but his elf was already stepping over broken chairs and stalking towards Varania. He was fearsome sight with his blood-smeared face and flickering brands.
"I had no choice, Leto," Varania explained, trying to position Sebastian between them.
"Stop calling me that!" Fenris snapped. "How could you do this?"
"He was going to make me his apprentice, if I did. I would have been a magister. But—"
He didn’t let her finish. "You sold out your own brother to become a magister?" Fenris snarled, inches from Varania’s face.
"Your sister’s a mage?" Merrill asked, looking at the two elves in surprise. "That’s lovely! There are never enough of us."
"There are always too many of you," Fenris snapped, eyes never leaving his sister.
"You have no idea what it’s been like for us, what I’ve had to do, since Mother died…" Varania held her ground, afraid and angry, as her brother’s brands lit blue. "This was my only chance t—"
"And now you have no chance at all." One of Fenris’s hands curled in the collar of Varania’s dress, the other hand rising up, threateningly.
"Please don’t do this!" Varania pleaded, hands leaping up, defensively, if uselessly. "Tell him not to do this," she begged of the small crowd around them.
"Don’t kill your sister, Fenris," Cormac called out from where Carver had just punched him in the face — or the shields, anyway — the eyeroll almost audible in his voice.
"You sound just like Dad," Anton choked out, trying not to laugh.
"Fen." Artemis was on his feet again, one hand gently squeezing Fenris’s raised arm. "I know you’re upset, and with good reason, but… please don’t kill her."
A muscle in Fenris’s jaw twitched. "Why not?" he growled. "She was ready to see me killed!"
"Because she’s your sister?" Artemis said. "Pissing you off and getting you in trouble is kind of part of the job description of being a younger sibling. Ask Cormac. Maker, ask Carver."
"That is not the same thing!" Fenris said, ears pressing flat to his skull.
"Maybe not, but… Fen, look at me." One hand still curled in Varania’s collar, Fenris obeyed, looking at Artemis. His raised hand lowered in inches, and Artie offered him a sad smile. "She’s your family. Quite possibly the only original family you have left. Do you really want to kill her on our wedding day?"
Fenris’s eyes squeezed shut. He finally uncurled his hand from Varania’s collar, shoving her back. "Get off my lawn," he told her.
"I know you fought for us, to free us, to bear those marks," Varania said, stepping away, "but what did he do to your magic, Leto? How did he take that from you?"
Merrill wrapped an arm around Varania’s shoulders, leading her away, quickly. "Don’t be silly," she said, cheerfully, "Fenris isn’t a mage."
"No, he isn’t, but Leto was." Varania looked back over her shoulder, one more time, as Merrill led her out.
"You must be remembering wrong," Merrill insisted, loudly enough to be heard, and then lowered her voice. "Don’t tell him that. He has a bad relationship with magic. Where are you staying? Do you need any help, now that they’re all dead?"
The patter continued, low and calming, as they vanished into the house.
"I’m sorry," Cullen said, shaking his head and then wincing. "I went out to send the message, and I don’t know what happened."
"Don’t be sorry," Anders suggested, patting him on the shoulder. "Just be glad you’re alive."
Cormac finally stepped around Carver to pick up the tiny, almost-clear gem from the pool of drying blood against the back of the house. He slipped it into a pocket, beside the amulet he’d meant to give Fenris. Maybe later. After he had the gem set in the dragon’s eye, which seemed to be missing a gem, anyway.
Fenris stared at the space where Varania had been, trying to rearrange her parting words in a way that made sense. No. He wasn’t a mage. He had never been a mage.
This time it was Artemis nudging Fenris into an empty seat, righting the crown on Fenris’s head that had shed most of its flowers in the tussle.
Sebastian approached Bethany, tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "So much for a normal wedding," he said.
"To be fair, it wasn’t a Hawke’s fault this time," Bethany replied. "I promise our wedding won’t be like this. But… come armed, just in case."
"Our wedding?" Sebastian repeated, a smile twitching at his lips.
"My mistake, were you not going to marry me and take me back to Starkhaven, to destroy your political rivals?" Bethany batted her eyes at Sebastian. "Pity. I was almost looking forward to that. I’m so dreadfully tired of Orlesians."
"I would like to call your attention to the fact that my amazing, brave, heroic little brother still isn’t married," Cormac called across the lawn. "And since that’s what we’re here for, I think we should get on with it, before anything else happens, so that we can then get out and let these two get used to being married. Which no one is going to be standing up, after, because I know what Anders got you guys."
Varric cleared away what was left of the chairs, with Theron’s help, and Isabela went to see if any of the alcohol could be rescued. The fire had burned hot, but it hadn’t gone as far as it might have, if the day hadn’t been so damp. It was never dry, in Kirkwall, and for once, Fenris was glad for it.
"Don’t worry, Artie! We’ll get you a new garden!" Anton assured his brother, as Sebastian took his place, just in front of where Danarius’s blood still soaked into the scorched ground. "A real garden…" Anton’s eyebrows wiggled suggestively.
Artie took Fenris’s hand, threading his fingers through his elf’s, and the two exchanged tired smiles. "Still want to marry me even when the place is such a mess?" Fenris teased.
"Why not? At least one thing ought to go according to plan today." He pressed a kiss to Fenris’s cheek, and they rose from their seats. "But first, Izzy, have you salvaged enough alcohol for a pre-wedding drink? If I have ever needed one, it’s now."
"Shall I make that two?" Isabela asked, eyeing Fenris as she pulled out a wine bottle that had survived the wreckage.
Artemis didn’t bother counting steps this time when they finally took their place in front of Sebastian. Just as Sebastian was about to begin the ceremony, he paused, a voice from inside the house cutting through the gardens.
"Oh, Maker, what now?" Artemis muttered, recognising Meredith’s voice.
Cullen and Carver moved first, crossing the heap of platemailed corpses to stand in the open doors that led back into the house, and Cormac and Anders followed shortly blocking the rest of the exits into the garden. "It’s a wedding, Commander. Just let them get married. I’ll explain everything," Cullen said, shaking his head.
"My brother’s wedding," Cormac added. "My brother’s wedding that was apparently in the way of an invading Tevinter force. A magister showed up, with slavers! Slavers! In Kirkwall!"
"I think the more concerning part is the magister in Kirkwall," Carver pointed out. "A dozen men jumped us, on the way into the house, Commander. The wedding party saved us both. Bunch of elves and my pansy brothers, mostly."
"Yeah, well, your pansy brothers just beat down a Tevinter magister and burned his corpse before the demons could come," Anders added, leaning on the doorframe.
On the other side of the couple, Aveline lunged forward, like she might have a few words for the Knight-Commander, but Donnic held her back. "Don’t get involved, pumpkin. We didn’t get here until it was over."
"The pillar of flame hanging over this house caught the attention of the neighbours, and they sent for the Order. We can’t just have mages unleashing forces of destruction all across this fair city, can we?" Meredith’s smile was brittle as she searched the faces before her for any sign of prevarication.
"Absolutely not, Knight-Commander. But, you’ll notice we’ve solved the problem. You’re welcome to examine the bodies we haven’t yet burned, once my brother has finished getting married." Cormac’s smile was entirely pleasant, if one didn’t look too closely at his eyes.
Meredith gave Cormac a measuring look before peering past him at what she could see of the wreckage, her stare lingering on the corpses. She must have recognised the armour as Tevinter, because she didn’t argue or insist she be let inside. She listened to Sebastian speak for a moment before saying, "Very well. I will be in the hall, and I expect an explanation — a full explanation — when the ceremony is over."
"That’s charitable of her," Anders muttered as she stormed away.
"I wonder if I should be hurt that she put in an appearance at this wedding and not at mine," Cullen muttered back. They turned back towards the gardens, still blocking the doorway just in case.
"Andraste’s tits," Cormac muttered, under his breath, "can you imagine if something under the city had recognised the power?"
"I could, and I’d really rather not. I think we saw enough of the like that one time with Corypheus." Anders laughed nervously, watching Fenris and Artemis. "They look so happy, or at least, as happy as a couple’s going to look in the burned out wreckage of their garden."
"You mentioned Corypheus earlier, Anders. Another magister? What was that about?" Cullen asked, eyes still on the wedding. He was so grateful, in that moment, that his own wedding had been substantially less dramatic. Hawkes, though. He’d learnt that with Hawkes, one had to expect the utterly unpredictable and absurd.
"Maker, Captain, don’t ask," Carver groaned. "Worst family holiday in the history of Thedas. Started with possessed dwarves and ended in lunatic Wardens and some mouthy Darkspawn who thought he’d visited the Black City."
Cullen blinked at Carver, opening and closing his mouth a few times before landing on the right words. "You know, because it’s your family, I don’t doubt a single word of that." He considered prodding Anton for details later, unsure if he really wanted them.
"Except they’re your family now too, Captain," Anders reminded him, clapping him on the shoulder.
"Yes. Well. Do me a favour, Cormac, and never invite me on your family holidays."
Applause filled the garden as Sebastian gave his final blessing, and Fenris pulled Artemis down into a kiss, knocking the crown on his head askew. Artie laughed against his lips, holding him close, and for a moment he forgot about the mess, about the bodies and the smear of magister left on his wall.