[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 250
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Natia Brosca ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Dick jokes, sibling rivalry, Cullen wishes he’d stayed in his office
Notes: Anton’s quest for dragons in the undercity!
"Have I mentioned, this month, how much I dislike being underground? Because I feel like maybe I haven’t said it, and the gods have forgotten. That or this is some absurd punishment for fucking instead of working." Anders inched closer to Cormac, nearly tripping both of them.
"You spend most of your time underground, pretty thing," Cormac reminded him. "That whole working in Darktown thing? Just… you know…?"
"The door of my clinic is like ten feet from an ocean view. It’s practically outside," Anders groused. "I’ve got the cleanest air in all of Darktown, which is absurd, because I have a sewer hatch just on the other side of the door."
"I’ve heard of your clinic," Cullen said. "You do good work."
"Oh. Thank you," said Anders, who looked more wary than grateful. He wasn’t sure how he felt about word of his clinic reaching any templars, even if it was just Cullen. "The cats are a big help, you know. They do most of the work."
"Well, I imagine they’d make better nurses than the dog," Cullen sighed, squinting into the near-dark. He kept one hand on the hilt of his sword. "He would just slobber all over them."
"I’ll have you know," Anton called back from up ahead, "that Mintaka makes a perfectly good nurse. He’s looked after me many times when I was sick. That’s healing slobber."
Cullen shot a fond but weary look at his husband’s back.
"Forgive my brother," Cormac said to the group at large, "he’s a little… enthused at the idea of dragons. If I wasn’t standing there when he was born, I’d think we adopted some bastard Pentaghast."
"You take that back!" Anton demanded. "I do not want to slay dragons! I want to befriend dragons!"
"He wants to interest dragons in his swordsmanship, doesn’t he?" Cormac deadpanned at Cullen, who cleared his throat and studied the wall.
"Probably. I try not to think too much about that." Cullen sighed.
"I bet he’s not the only good swordsman down here," Natia chimed in, eyeing Cormac.
"Swords? No. My speciality’s polearms," Cormac replied with a grin, reaching behind him to run a hand down the front of Anders’s robe, before squeezing the side of his thigh, appreciatively.
Natia coughed into her fist, her hand not quite hiding how red her face started to turn or the way her stare lingered perhaps too long on Cormac’s hand.
From up ahead, Anton called back, "Please save the wielding of polearms for when we’re out of here. And for when I am out of earshot."
"Polearms, hmm?" said Natia. She eyed Cormac and Anders speculatively. "I don’t know about polearms, but I’m good at wielding two weapons at once." She arced her eyebrows suggestively.
Cullen found himself hoping they’d find that dragon.
"I should introduce you to our friend Isabela, if you didn’t meet her in the tavern after the last dragon," Cormac joked, hands still thoroughly engaged with parts of Anders just shy of the ones he shouldn’t have been manhandling in public. "She’d be exceedingly entertained to find someone else with such an enviable talent."
"Just what I need. Someone else of Izzy’s enviable talents and questionable proclivities," Anders sighed, nudging Cormac with his hip, as they walked. "You know, there are a lot of exciting things down here, besides dragons. Ancient magical texts. Histories of the height of the Imperium. Good stuff. Sure, it’s interspersed with demons, gigantic rats, and the walking dead, but it’s a small price to pay for works of such historical and educational importance."
"Demons?" Cullen looked rather pale, suddenly — a dramatic shift from the blush he’d been trying to ignore, as it crept up his cheeks, the longer the preceding conversation went on. Isabela. Dual-wielding.
"Nothing we couldn’t handle, although that one did get a little sticky. Who knew we needed a sword that badly?" Anders shrugged, dismissively, but his eyes were somewhat apologetic, as he kept them on Cullen.
"You mean the one Artie pummelled for suggesting unspeakable and incestuous filth? Yeah, that was a little much." Cormac laughed. "Demons, though. Can’t trust them. Shouldn’t try. Kind of amusing to let them talk, sometimes, though. They say the strangest things." He shook his head.
"Big boats," Anders deadpanned.
"And she’s still not sorry about that, you know." Cormac grinned. "I’d be worried if she was."
Cullen wasn’t sure he wanted to know. He suspected they were talking about Isabela again, and he was certain it would sound just as terrible in context. "I would much rather a dragon than a demon," said Cullen. "They don’t try to trick you into anything. They just try to eat you, and there’s something refreshingly honest about that."
"This is a point," Anders said, "though a demon is less likely to kill you just by sitting on you."
Anton kicked aside a bit of rubble, coming to a stop in front of a passage that had caved in on one side. "Looks like damage from the earthquake," he sighed, running a hand through his hair. "If there’s a dragon, we’re probably closer."
Anders’s eyebrows crept up towards his hairline. He exchanged a concerned look with Cormac and leaned in. "You don’t think—? That can’t be from the ‘earthquake’, can it?" he said in a low whisper. If so, they were going to need to have a Word with Artie.
"Natia!" Cormac tipped his chin at the rubble. "Is that recent?"
One of the other dwarves was closer, and he shook his head. "Not if it looks like this. That’s more than a century old. If there’s a dragon down here, it didn’t get in this way. Or if it did, it’s been down here a real long time."
"Andraste’s shapely buttocks," Cormac muttered, with a wink at Anders. "What are the chances this is another high dragon? If it’s been down here this long…"
"Maker, no," Cullen sighed. "No. Did I say no? Because no. I refuse. There is not a high dragon under the Chantry. If there is a high dragon under the Chantry, the Commander can come get it, herself."
"I don’t know, Cullen. Do you really think she can do it without you? You’ve got a bit of a reputation, at this point," Anders teased.
"You weren’t there. All I did was stab it in the neck. You just need somebody else to stab it in the neck, this time," Cullen huffed. "Ask your lover. He was there. He did a lot more damage than I did."
"My lover?" Anders asked, eyeing Cormac. "Is that what you are, then?"
Cullen turned several shades of vibrant red. "Well, that’s … usually the word for someone… to whom … you … make…"
"Fuck." Cormac grinned. "To whom you make fuck. I’m your fucker, pretty thing, as ever I’ve been."
A pair of dwarves closer to Anton looked back at them over their shoulders before leaning in to mutter to each other.
Cullen was still turning colours. "That’s… well, er, what… what do you call him then?" he asked.
"Usually, I call him ‘Cormac’," Anders replied. "Though I have more colourful names for him whenever we make fuck."
A rock hit Cormac’s shield, just in front of his face, courtesy of Anton. "Stop talking, both of you," Anton groaned. "This is not how you lure out a dragon."
"Are you sure?" Cullen asked. "Because I would love for a dragon to breathe fire on my face right about now, thank you."
Anders leaned into a doorway that was definitely too small for a dragon, eyeing the contents of the room. "We might be coming up on something. That looks religious, but the important parts are busted off. Probably one of the Old Gods, but possibly a dragon cult. Looks like part of the ceiling fell in, so I can’t be entirely sure, without spending an inordinate amount of time excavating. Which I do want to do. Just not right now."
"Excavating?" Natia raised an eyebrow. "Is that what we’re calling it now?"
"Hey, hey, he’s always interested in that kind of excavating," Cormac shot back. "Wardens are amazing. Have I mentioned that, this week?"
Natia eyed Anders, thoughtfully, but her gaze returned to Cormac. "Just Wardens, hm? Sounds like you keep up pretty well."
"Can we not talk about what my brother sounds like with the Warden? Yes, Champion, of course! Why would anyone want to talk about that? Oh, thank you, my people, you all show me such love and respect!" Anton didn’t even turn around, stopping short to disarm a trap. "Oh, good. Spikes."
"I hate to tell you this, Anton," said Cullen, "but this isn’t looking very dragony." He eyed a column half-buried in rubble. "Or stable, for that matter. Old, unstable, Tevinter ruins. Maybe that’s what caused the earthquake?"
"Hush, Cullen," said Anton as he straightened. "Don’t spoil my dreams."
"If a certain elf were here," Anders said, "he’d be grumbling about magisters and how they ruin everything." He lagged behind the group, peering at what he could of the ruins as he walked, pausing to trace a finger over an inscription. It was difficult to make out the letters in the gloom, and what letters he could read didn’t form any Tevene words he knew.
"Magisters do ruin everything. Particularly my brother’s lawn," Cormac reminded him. "I’m glad he decided to go with something a little more entertaining and durable, this time, though."
"Lalala!" Anton shouted, and the dwarves flinched, watching the walls. "I do not hear you discussing Artemis’s lawn furniture!"
"Oh, please, Anton. Like yours is any less scandalous." Cormac scoffed.
"Yes, but it’s mine. However many of you have used it, you’ve all cleaned up after yourselves. I don’t have to think about it. His lawn furniture? He lives with his elf. There’s really no question of who’s using that." Anton swung out of the archway ahead of them, pressing himself back against the wall. "What was that about no dragons?"
Cullen drew his sword and Cormac shielded him, as he ran into the room, with Anton hissing after him, "Don’t kill it! Don’t piss it off! Cullen! No!"
But Cullen saw the glint of its eyes in the torchlight, and he swung on instinct with a roar of defiance. He was the Dragonslayer, and he would protect his idiot husband! His sword hit the creature solidly in the neck. Too solidly, from the way the blow jarred his arm.
"Maker’s blighted balls," Cullen swore as he took a step back, angling his shield in front of him as he shook out his sword arm. The dragon hadn’t even budged. In fact, the dragon hadn’t moved. At all.
"Dammit, Cullen!" Anton hissed. "Dragon ambassadors, remember? That is not how you ambassador!"
"And that is not how you dragon," Cullen replied, gesturing at the still beast with his sword. He kept his eye on it, still tensed to move even as he spoke. "Hey! Can we get some light in here?"
Anders’s fingers flicked and a wisp darted into the room, glowing. Once lit, the dragon was much more obviously an excellent statue, adorned with gems and silver, as well as equally well-carved attendants. "Urthemiel," Anders noted. "I’d know that representation anywhere."
Cormac laughed and stepped forward, bringing his own light to bear. "Is that… traditional?" he asked, as the blue glow lit upon what appeared to be a very large assortment of other carved objects, on the curved shelves in the wall behind the enormous statue. Some of these, he recognised, and some seemed to be intended for things he had never considered.
"Of course." Anders grinned, making his way past Cullen. "There are a number of facets of Urthemiel. The temple in Minrathous is primarily dedicated to architectural design and urban planning. Beauty on a very large scale. In other places, he’s worshipped as a god of more… intimate beauty, vanity and sexuality." He gestured at a shelf of dildoes, all of a particular design, adorned with various extraneous endowments.
"Those look…" Cormac cleared his throat and eased his way into the room. "…familiar."
Anders looked again, and a nervous laugh spilled past his lips.
"Oh. Nope. Don’t want to know," Anton groaned, covering his eyes with one hand and waving the other. "Not only is the dragon a lie, but my brother is talking about things again. This is not how I wanted this expedition to go!"
Natia eyed the different stonework with a studied eye. "Oh, Gytha would love this," she said, examining the shelf Anders had gestured towards.
Cullen chanced a glance at that shelf, not because he wanted to, but because he needed to be sure that the only thing dragon-related in this room was the impression sculpture he’d so valiantly attacked. For Anton’s sake. He was relieved to see only the usual shapes, albeit in disturbing proportions.
"You know Gytha?" Cormac asked, climbing up on the altar, to get a better look.
"Cormac… maybe you shouldn’t…" Anton started.
"Because the last time we found an altar to the Old Gods you peed on it, and that was such a great idea?" Cormac shot back. "What’s the worst that’s going to happen, I’m going to get buggered within an inch of my life by an ancient god? It’s not like that’s not happening three nights a week, anyway, and you know it."
"I object to this characterisation of myself as ‘ancient’," Anders protested. "You’re welcome to keep up the ‘godly’, though. I could get to like that."
"Just for that, I should pee on this one, too," Anton grumbled. "But, I won’t. Because it’s got a dragon." He thought about it for a long moment. "What about this dragon? Can I have this dragon? It’s not like it’s going to eat the neighbours. It’ll look great in the yard."
"You sure you really want to be flashing around ancient Tevinter religious art in a city controlled by templars?" Anders asked. "I mean, you’re married to the Knight-Captain, but it still seems like tempting fate."
"But it’s a dragon," Anton said, as though that countered all of Anders’s logic. "We could put it in the garden with the rest of the Tevinter-themed furniture."
Cullen massaged his forehead and finally slipped his sword back into its sheath. "It doesn’t have an ancient curse on it or anything, does it? That’s the last thing the backyard needs. Goatilda activating an ancient curse and summoning a demon or something."
Cullen had the horrible mental image of a demon possessing the goat and promptly shook the thought from his head.
"But dragon," Anton said again.
"But goat," Cullen countered.
"Well, boys," said Natia as she inspected the rock and dirt covering parts of the ruins, "I hate to disappoint, but I think this is the only dragon we’re going to find under here."
Anton’s shoulders slumped. Cullen patted his back. "Technically you did find a dragon," Cullen assured him. "I’m sure it counts."