[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 249
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Varric ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Dick jokes, dragon noises
Notes: Word of the Maker’s wrath striking the Chantry has spread. Dwarves and dragons are suspected, in the aftermath.
By morning, word of the Maker’s wrath had spread. Whatever that had been, it had shaken the walls of the Chantry straight down into the vaults, and left no trace. Some said it was the Maker expressing his displeasure with the state of Kirkwall. Others blamed the dwarves. The dwarves thought it might be an ancient dragon’s nest stirring after centuries dormant. Either way, the vaults were being cleared into the Viscount’s Keep, until whatever structural difficulties the Chantry had could be sorted.
Anders heard the rumours from his patients all morning, and by the time Cormac brought down lunch for half of Darktown, he’d had a while to consider it. "So, you don’t think the Chantry thing’s more dragons, do you?" he asked.
"I almost hope it is." Cormac had heard of it, in the market. "Dragons, I can deal with."
"He hopes it’s dragons," Anders deadpanned to the woman rolling bandages at his side. "You don’t think it might have been a certain apostate with a talent for earthquakes doing terrible impressions of Andraste and Shartan, do you?" He wouldn’t come out and say it — not in front of all these people — but he’d definitely be willing to suggest it.
Cormac laughed. "What? That’s— every time the ground rattles is not the fault of mages gone wild." It couldn’t possibly be his brother. Artemis would never … well… There was that one time. And that other time. And the time they both got arrested. But, no. In the Chantry? Artie nearly imploded when he’d run his mouth about how he and Anders had left a mark on the place. Several marks. Several dripping marks.
Despite how quickly Cormac denied it, Anders could see his mind moving as he thought about it. "Not always," Anders agreed, "but in my personal experience…" He shrugged meaningfully. Artie and Fenris lived close to the Chantry. What were the chances of an earthquake in Hightown not caused by a certain apostate? "But perhaps we should ask someone who lives in the area. Perhaps after lunch. Earthquakes and the Maker’s wrath aside, it has been quiet today."
Fenris looked like he’d been up all night, when he came to the door, and the first words out of Cormac’s mouth did not improve that situation.
"Didn’t you used to have a pretty girl to answer the door?" Cormac asked with a grin. "I was looking forward to getting a giggle out of her. Now I’ll have to settle for getting a giggle out of you. That sounds much more difficult, even when you’re not making scary faces. My brother keep you up all night?"
"Yes. He did. And I was enjoying the warmth of my bed, until you knocked." Fenris glared. "And Orana’s taken a few days holiday. I think she’s taken Evie up the coast. Would you like to explain to me why I’m no longer lying down, or would you have me guess?"
"Oh, we’re just checking in," Anders said, leaning on the doorway. "A few of my patients mentioned a terrible commotion near the Chantry. Something about the Maker shaking the ground with his wrath. Since you are more or less around the corner, we were wondering if you or Artie experienced any of the, ah, ‘aftershocks’."
His expression was innocent and politely curious, and Fenris didn’t buy it for a second. "I did feel the earth shake," Fenris drawled, one ear sticking out more than the other. "More than once. But, well…" He gestured upstairs, the barest smirk pulling at his lips.
Anders squinted at Fenris, but the damned elf was much too good at keeping a neutral expression.
"You know, even after all these years, I’d have thought at least one of you would have the sense of propriety to avoid banging at Andraste’s door in quite that manner." Cormac looked a little too amused. "You did, didn’t you. It’s not dragons or dwarven mining expeditions gone awry."
"No doors were banged or banged at," Fenris replied. "We do have that much propriety between us. Why would there be banging at doors, when we have so many more interesting options?"
"Because I know how my brother gets, when he’s drunk. Ask him about the time he got arrested for having his pants off in a public place, back in Lothering." The look on Fenris’s face told Cormac he hadn’t heard that story yet. "Oh, did he not tell you that one? Even our dad was impressed."
The look on Fenris’s face also said that he didn’t quite know what to do with this information.
"Oh, Maker, Cormac. Really?" Artemis groaned, shuffling into view. He rubbed at one eye with the heel of his hand, squinting at the trio in the doorway as though the sunlight behind them pained him. "Can we not tell that story? I had finally sufficiently blocked it from my memory, and there you go, digging it up again."
Anders raised his hand. "I’d like to hear the story."
Fenris sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Artemis, drunk and pantsless? I suspect I know the story."
"In my defence," said Artie, holding up one finger. "Cormac was every bit as pantsless as I was." He thought about how that sounded, and his ears turned red. "Coincidentally."
"And just as arrested, too. In fact, it cost extra to get me out because I, er, knew the guard in question. I knew her in a rather pantsless sort of way, which I suspect is part of how she knew to look for me right there. What I didn’t know is that this little shit was getting pantsless on the other side of a stack of crates from me. He wasn’t even an elf, Artie! Andraste’s parted heart!" Cormac shook his head. "In both our defences, we were really quite drunk. The kind of drunk that makes getting banged against the back of the pub by someone you’ll never see again sound like a good idea."
Anders was extremely familiar with that kind of drunk, not that he’d admit it in front of anyone but Cormac. There were even people who’d seen him that drunk. There were people who’d fucked him that drunk. But, somehow, he never got arrested for it. He was, he realised, also a lot quieter than Cormac, which might have had something to do with it.
Artemis muttered something about how he found some humans perfectly attractive too, and Anders coughed into his fist. He wasn’t sure if it was his grin or Artie’s words that earned him that scowl from Fenris. Likely both.
"So," said Artemis, "is there a reason you two are standing in our doorway, telling embarrassing stories? And do I want to know this reason?"
"They were wondering if we had any new embarrassing stories, Amatus," Fenris told him archly. "New stories, certainly, but I do not know if I’d be embarrassed by them." He looked terribly pleased with himself. "I’d say they were stories equally lacking in pants, but, as I recall, we kept ours mostly on."
Artie’s entire face coloured, eyes bugging. "Oh."
"Yes, ‘oh’," Anders teased. "The Chantry closet is surprisingly spacious, isn’t it?" He grinned.
"All of Kirkwall is talking about dragons, dwarves, or the Maker’s wrath hitting the Chantry, last night. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting you to take that talent out in public." Cormac grinned. "On the other hand, if there was anything from the Chantry vaults you wanted to read, now is probably the time to ask Anton to pick it up for you. The vaults are being evacuated into the keep, because of ‘temporary structural concerns’."
"Assuming this wasn’t dwarves or dragons, you’ve done non-Chantry scholars a great service, and at least one of them might like to service you in return. Possibly both of you. Maybe at the same time, but definitely not in the Chantry." Anders rested his chin on Cormac’s head and stretched his arms down over Cormac’s shoulders, eyes still on Artemis.
Fenris looked like he might burst into flames — just a subtle twitch of one eye and one ear.
"That would be him offering, not me," Cormac pointed out. "Sorry, Fenris, but it would take a lot more than that to get me to service you."
Fenris looked immeasurably relieved, and Artie rolled his eyes with a snort. "I, on the other hand, do enjoy a good servicing," Artemis said with a coy grin. "Particularly from any of the three gorgeous men clogging my doorway. Speaking of gorgeous men, would one of them lend me some healing? My head feels ready to split open, and I’d hate to get brain-matter on the floor. I only just washed it yesterday."
"Andraste’s vengeance?" Anders drawled, squeezing enough past Fenris to throw some magic at Artemis’s head.
"Whiskey’s vengeance," Artemis replied, shoulders sagging in a relieved sigh. He followed the pull of his sagging body and rested his head against Fenris’s shoulder, muffling a groan against the skin there. "Maker. Haven’t drunk quite that much in a while." Fenris hummed and reached up to pat the head on his shoulder.
"Out of practice?" Cormac asked, looking some combination of amused and concerned. "I suspect I should be impressed. Who’d have thought you’d get out of the habit of drinking yourself into stupidity and back out the other side into absolute genius?"
"He’s drunk himself into genius?" Fenris looked surprised at the idea, and briefly wondered if that moment in the Deep Roads counted. That had certainly gotten them here, so it had been a good idea, if an exceedingly drunken one, and he’d never managed to find a way they could have gotten together that didn’t involve both of them being too drunk to stand up.
"He’s drunk himself into my bed. I’m a genius." Anders grinned. "If he’d actually boned me, then I could say he’d drunk himself into genius."
"So I… drank genius into me instead?" Artie asked. "Not sure that works." He tilted his head up to rest his chin on Fenris’s shoulder instead. Fenris growled at the reminder of said boning going on between Anders and Artie, but it was a half-hearted growl at best. Artie kissed Fenris’s neck, tip of his tongue teasing along a line of lyrium as he wrapped his arms around Fenris.
"Wait," said Artemis, brow crinkling. "Did you say some of the rumours involved dragons? Did you check on Anton before coming here?"
"Oh, I’m absolutely sure I won’t find him. He’s probably up at the Merchant’s Guild, yelling about an expedition and trying to get Varric to use whatever pull he’s got to make it happen." Cormac shrugged. "I figured it would be much funnier to just … not tell him, if he hasn’t figured it out. Kind of hoping Carver doesn’t make the connection. I didn’t have testing my shields on my list of things to do for the week." He looked confusedly down, for a moment, and then back up at his brother. "We’re… both over thirty, you and I. And he still punches me when he hears about you getting laid in new and exciting ways and places. Or at all, really. How is it my fault that you have an exciting sex life, at this point in our lives? How was that ever my fault?"
Anders coughed. "It is your fault, at least some of the time, now."
"Yeah, but Carver doesn’t know that, and Creators preserve me if he ever figures it out." Cormac laughed.
Artemis laughed nervously, eyes a shade too wide. Considering how often Carver just… barged into rooms, he would be lying if he said that wasn’t a concern. "I suspect I would scold him for it, if I didn’t find the idea so amusing."
Fenris tried and failed to hold back his grin. "Does that mean you would like to get laid in more new and exciting places, Amatus? Purely for the sake of getting Cormac punched?"
"Well, not purely for that reason. That’s just added incentive."
Anders shook his head at Cormac. "See, this? This is why I’m glad I have no younger siblings."
Varric was, oddly enough, in the middle of a business meeting, when Anton barged in. It was a Hawke thing, he’d noticed, just throwing doors open with no thought given to what might be behind them.
"We have to move the press," an elf was saying. "The Knight-Commander’s getting—" She cut off and looked as the door hit the wall.
"Varric. You have friends. You have friends who might comprise an expeditionary force into the Undercity." Anton jabbed a finger at Varric, grinning.
"Why in all Thedas do you want to take an expeditionary force into Darktown?" Varric looked equal parts annoyed and confused. "And I’m in the middle of a meeting. What is it with you Hawkes? Don’t you ever knock?"
"It’s not like you were going to be fucking. You haven’t had an interest in the entire time I’ve known you." Anton shrugged. "But, there’s talk of a nest of dragons under the Chantry. I want to find it first."
"You expect me to send you down there with a team of some of the best surfacers in the profession, to walk into a dragon’s nest?" Varric rubbed a hand across the bridge of his nose. "I know you probably just woke up, so I’m going to ask. Have you had a drink yet? Maybe you should have a drink. Or four. And then consider this further. One, it’s a rumour. Two, if it’s correct, dragons. I am not sending Natia and her people down into dragons, Anton. Surviving that once is good luck. Twice would be the act of a god who is suddenly paying more attention than they’ve been in centuries."
"Please," Anton huffed, waving one hand dismissively. "Did I tell you we got here on the back of a dragon? Well. We got to Gwaren and then got here by boat, but still. A dragon. I’ve not only survived two dragons, I practically used one as a steed." He was grateful dragon-lady wasn’t here to hear that, or he doubted he would survive after all. "If anyone should be hunting down a potential under Kirkwall, it ought to be me. You know. As Champion."
The elf Anton had cut off looked back and forth between the two of them, wide-eyed and concerned.
"You sound way too eager," Varric said. "I’m a little concerned."
"And I would be concerned about a dragon nesting under Kirkwall," Anton said. "Especially a dragon nesting under the Chantry. Weren’t there rumours about some cult or other thinking Andraste had been reincarnated as a dragon? We don’t want that happening here, now do we?" Though the look on the Grand Cleric’s face might be worth it.
"Dragon cults. In the Marches. What is the world coming to?" Varric shook his head.
The elf looked up, finally sure of something. "It wouldn’t be the first time. You ever hear about that Cult of Urazara business?"
"You should write about it for the Gazette," Varric suggested. "With all this going on, I bet it would sell."
"And if it sells papers, it’s got to be something people want to know. Like whether there’s a dragon under the Chantry. The people are going to want to know that! And who better to take care of the problem than the Champion?" Anton grinned, entirely sure of himself. "No, really. Who are they actually going to send down there? City guards? The templars? Well, I suppose if they send the templars they’ve got the Dragonslayer. I could also have the Dragonslayer. In fact, I have the Dragonslayer about three nights a week."
"Stop. Enough." Varric held up his hands. "If I get you Natia’s people, do you promise not to tell me about having the Dragonslayer? I don’t want to know. Just don’t get anyone killed, Anton. I’m serious."
"Please. You know who you’re talking to." His broad grin did little to assure Varric. "And if you’re so worried, you could join me. No dragon is a match for you and Bianca."
Varric barked out a laugh, trying to shoo the Hawke out of his office. "Just because I’m a dwarf doesn’t mean I like tunnels, you know," he said. "Considering how often you Hawkes send me into them, I think you forget."
"You sound like Anders," Anton sighed. "Speaking of, bringing a healer might be a good idea…"
Varric’s door shut in his face.
When he finally found Cormac dealing with whatever paperwork from the mine, again, Anton leaned into the doorway and knocked on the inside of the wall. "Dragons," he said. "You can handle dragons, right?"
"I don’t know what you’re planning, but Anders and I are going with you, if it involves dragons. I will not have my little brother painted onto the wall of a cave and baked on with dragonfire." Cormac didn’t even look up from the notes he was writing in the margin of the month’s expense sheet.
"Well, good, because that’s exactly what I was going to ask you." Anton grinned as if he’d won, somehow. "Varric apparently knows a very nice girl with a very talented team of underground trackers, and we’re going after the dragon under the Chantry."
Cormac put up his quill and opened his mouth, about to point out that there was no dragon, and it was their brother’s fault, but a bit of stomping around below Darktown could be fun, with a group like that. Maybe the dwarves would have some comments on the construction. It wasn’t like there would be an actual dragon. Demons, maybe, but not a dragon. "You know if we walk into a nest, dragons are going to die, right? There’s really no help for that. You piss one off, and it’s going to try to eat you. And walking into one’s bedroom is going to piss it off."
"Quite possibly," Anton conceded. "But then, I like to consider myself a dragon ambassador. And not because I’m going to ‘wrap my thighs’ around any dragon we find," Anton rushed to add, narrowing his eyes and pointing at Cormac. "Don’t even say it."
"Say what? That I heard you yelling at Bethy about Cullen making dragon noises?" Cormac looked over his shoulder and blinked innocently.
Anton cleared his throat but otherwise did not let his embarrassment show. He’d heard Cormac yell much worse things after all. "They were dragon noises," he insisted. "She thought they were ox noises, but she was mistaken. Clearly she does not appreciate dragons enough. But you appreciate dragons, so let’s go."
"Clearly I do not appreciate dragons in the same way you appreciate dragons." Cormac laughed and got up. "I have to get my boots and my glaive. Go warn Anders we’re going to need him, and maybe we’ll get out of here before sunset, not that it’s going to matter underground. Do you have a sword coming with us? Your, ah, delightfully dragony husband, perhaps? Our brother’s significantly less delightful or dragony husband? Aveline, perhaps?"
"We are bringing your most dragony of brothers-in-law," Anton replied. "By which I do mean Cullen, even if Fenris does a better impression of a dragon’s growl. Now go. Arm and boot yourself. I’ll meet you downstairs."
He grinned like a kid on Wintersend as he went to fetch Anders.