[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 251
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: M (L2 N3 S3 V0 D0)
Warnings: Black humour, something that could have been angst if it wasn’t these two, mild smutting
Notes: Late-night, semi-serious conversation, in bed. Revelations, confessions, everything’s not all right, and it never will be, and that’s just fine.
When Anders slept in Cormac’s bed, it was his choice, the same as when he slept in his own bed, or really when Cormac slept in his bed. They weren’t together every night. A lot of nights, but not every night. Anders didn’t even sleep, every night, which Cormac gave him a lot less trouble about than he’d been expecting, but then, Cormac slept the strangest hours, in the oddest places, left to himself.
But, Anders was free to come and go as he chose, with heavy doors to keep out intruders — to keep out templars. It was still a lightless hole he lived in, maybe less so since Varric had gotten him the fungus lamps, but it was his lightless hole. His home, his decision to stay in it, his choice to be with Cormac. And he had no doubt that Cormac would let him stay, even if they never shared a bed again. And somehow, as much as it hurt to imagine anyone doing that for him, it made him want to stay with Cormac all the more. Sometimes, they’d tease — the errant ‘you owe me’ — but it was never serious, never more than a promise that when the terror of the moment was over, there would be that dance of hands and flesh and reassurance they were both still alive after whatever idiot decision that had been.
Sometimes, Anders cried, and if he said he wasn’t, Cormac would say only one tart thing, and then pretend that was true, just telling stories and making terrible jokes, while Anders kneaded Cormac’s chest hair like a cat, making the occasional squeaky choked-up laugh. Cormac said he sounded just like a kitten, and Anders would mutter something about dirty secrets. Sometimes, Cormac cried, great heaving sobs, but very rarely, when he didn’t have some immediate and obvious reason, like Anders’s tongue buried in some fresh, deep gash in his flesh. And Cormac screamed for more, howled for Anders to tear him apart and wept to be made whole. And Anders trusted him, completely, trusted that Cormac would never ask him to break something he couldn’t fix, knowing Cormac was already in so many ways irreparable. They both were.
"Cormac?" Anders breathed, the name barely a sound in his mouth, but Cormac heard, anyway. He always did.
"Mmm?" Cormac had learnt to pretend he hadn’t woken up like a shot, brain fully engaged, and ready to lay down death on anything that came near his family in the night, or any other time of day. It had been discomfiting to Artie, when they were young, so he taught himself to sound half-awake.
"Just… hold my hand." Anders’s voice was tight, like he’d woken from a nightmare, or maybe hadn’t slept at all.
Cormac curled his fingers firmly around Anders’s hand, tucking his elbow into Anders’s elbow, and pulling this ridiculously tall mountain savage against him. "Hey, I’m right here," he promised, lips pressed to Anders’s shoulderblade. "I’m right here, pretty thing."
"I want to go home," Anders choked out. "I just want to go home."
"So, we’ll go. Anton can keep the city from burning down for a couple of weeks. I promise you, Anders, you say the word, and we’ll go. I’ll have to come back, of course, eventually, but I can go on holiday with you. I can take you home." And that was the thing — Cormac couldn’t stay away from Kirkwall. Even going for a few weeks made him nervous, but he had no doubt that Fenris could take care of Artemis for that long. Especially now, with Danarius dead. All he had to do was keep Artemis out of the Gallows.
"There’s nothing to go back to." Anders shook his head. "I was twelve, Cormac. Twelve. No one wants me there. I’m a mage. I don’t belong there. If there’s even a there still there."
"From Kassel, aren’t you? It’s still there." Cormac sounded a little confused — not about the mage part, that much was obvious, but the idea of there no longer being a ‘there’.
"Sort of. I’m said to be from Kassel. It’s where we could have letters sent. But, Kassel’s a city," Anders explained. "And we’re from the other side of the river, where the farms were. The river had the docks along one side, to both sides of the city, but the other side was the lakes. Lake, when the floods came. It’s good land, but it’s dangerous. So close to the city, it wasn’t as bad for darkspawn, but, you know, it’s the Anderfels. There’s a reason all of Thedas uses our words for them. There’s always stories of little farming villages disappearing — lost to the floods, the wind, or the darkspawn. I never saw it, but there were a lot of things I never saw."
"Just glad I wasn’t your first Rivaini, or you’d have a terrible opinion of all of us," Cormac teased.
"You’re not even Rivaini, Cormac, you’re as Fereldan as dogs and dogshit." Anders tried to laugh and wound up coughing, instead.
"Arf." Cormac bit Anders’s shoulder. "Grr."
Anders cackled, quietly. "Bloody doglord."
"Maybe a little. I’m not Anton, though."
"Thank the Maker. I don’t know what I’d do." Anders shook his head.
"Probably not get naked and cuddly," Cormac pointed out. "Have I mentioned how much I appreciate it when you’re naked? That you give me that incredible view of every sharp line of you, every jagged scar, the way that little bit of hair on your chest turns the light gold along the edge of this one right here…" Cormac moved his hand to run a finger down one of Anders’s scars without letting go of Anders’s hand.
"That one was Howe’s favourite, too. Well, kind of. There was more of it then. It was straighter." Anders didn’t make the obvious point — that he’d been lacking the most obvious scar, then, the one that interrupted most of the others on his chest.
"So, I’m not the only one?" Cormac teased running his fingertips down to trace swirls on Anders’s belly.
Anders looked over his shoulder. "Your entire family. Cullen. It must be the worst kept secret in Kirkwall, by now."
‘It’, not ‘they’. "The one you don’t want me touching," Cormac guessed. "That’s really it, isn’t it?"
"Yeah. I’m not really big on explaining how I walked away from that. The others, magic would have been enough. That one… Justice wanted to live, so we did. I’m not saying I didn’t, but what I wanted had nothing to do with what happened. No man should have survived that. No man, no mage, no magister. But, here we are." Anders curled around Cormac’s arm.
"Justice," Cormac whispered against Anders’s back, "thank you."
"We killed them all. They thought they knew what we were, but we killed them all. Do you know what metal smells like when it catches fire? Because I do. The fire took everything. Looked like a dragon had gotten us all." The words spilled out of Anders on distant, dizzy breaths. "I worked at it, but the flesh wasn’t mine any more, and he fought me. For years, I’ve been working on my heart. It’s mine, again. Another few years and maybe I’ll trust it without his help. The scars set too long. I’m not what I used to be."
"You’re all I’ve ever known you to be. Kind and strong and gorgeous. So fucking patient with me. You telling me you’d have been any less of that before?" Cormac teased, nibbling at Anders’s back.
The word hung between them for a long moment, before Anders spoke again. "I was stronger, prettier, healthier. But, I wasn’t kind, and I wasn’t patient. Not then. Maybe, before that, but you’d have to ask—" He laughed bitterly. "No, I don’t even know if he’s still alive — not that he’d admit it if he was. I don’t know if they made him Tranquil. I was determined, maybe. But, I wasn’t kind. I may still not be kind, but I suspect I am just."
"You are the sweetest thing ever to crawl out of the wreckage of Andraste’s word, and I am including my brother in that assessment, because he is such a damnable asshole," Cormac insisted, rubbing Anders’s belly.
"So am I, Cormac. Just not as much to you." Anders buried his face in the pillow. "What about the at least three times I called you ‘Karl’ and then stole all the blankets and kicked you onto the floor, naked?"
Cormac shrugged, hooking his knee over Anders’s hip. "Grief. Also, it was seven times. It’s not like you covered me in rashvine, while I was sleeping, like Artemis did."
"Yet, you still sleep with both of us. I openly dispute that I am the patient one of us, at this point."
"I may be patient with you, but who’s patient with me? Who doesn’t do things like put fucking nettles in my bed when I fuck up?" Cormac rested his head against the back of Anders’s shoulder again. "To be fair, he is my brother, and brothers are supposed to do shit like that."
"Why would I put nettles in your bed? For one, I sleep in it." Anders looked over his shoulder again and swallowed before he spoke again. "And you’re good to me."
"I’m decent to you," Cormac corrected. "I don’t treat you so differently to the way I treat Isabela or Anton. You’re part of my family, Anders. Other people don’t get to talk shit about you, in front of me, unless they are equally related, and there’s really no one related to us with anything shite to say, at this point, except maybe Carver, and he’s just looking for an excuse to punch me. I make sure you have what you need. I drag you out on stupid expeditions where we all almost get killed."
"You found me in a sewer and bought me breakfast. I threatened you, I hit you, I cried all over you, and you just kept showing up with food and keeping me warm. You gave me a home, a real home that’s actually mine, where I can be alone if I want to be. You don’t just give me what I need, you look after me — you remind me to eat, you make me sleep, you make Justice sleep. You let me get ink stains all over your good robes, because I forgot what I had on my hands." Anders finally rolled over, so he could see Cormac’s face, instead of just his ear. "You deserve so much better…"
"I really prefer you not dead. Let’s start there. I found you in a sewer and bought you breakfast, because I was kind of worried about you being dead, if I didn’t. And as I recall, it was a pretty good guess. Eating and sleeping are also part of this not dead thing. Threatening me, hitting me, and crying all over me? I have four siblings, Anders. This is just another day with the Hawkes. A home? You’ll remember we made an offer to Fenris, too. The two of you didn’t really have anywhere else to go, but he’s a stubborn prick and you actually like me, for some reason." Leaning in, Cormac kissed Anders under the chin. "I deserve better? Where exactly am I going to find better than what I have? I have a family that I love, I have the money to care for them, and I’m a nobleman in one of the most important ports in all Thedas. On top of that, I’m the apostate son of the infamous Rivaini apostate-mercenary Malcolm Hawke, and I look exactly like him. Everyone knows who I am, and they all have suspicions about what I am. It’s… there is no ‘better’ from here. This is more than I have any right to hope for, and I’d really like it if you stuck around, while it lasts. While I still have something to give."
"Cormac Hawke, you ignorant shit, you will have something to give until you’re good and dead, and we both know it. You just— I don’t even know how you do it. I’d say magic, but I’m a mage and you don’t see me doing it." Anders took a breath and Cormac cut him off.
"Yes, I do. Every day." Cormac tucked his head under Anders’s chin. "One of these days, I’m not going to be there to catch you, and you’re going to work yourself to death. Don’t even tell me it’s not possible. I watched you almost succeed."
"That’s not what’s going to kill me, Cormac, I promise."
"Please don’t die, Anders. Please don’t make me choose." Cormac curled tighter around Anders, knowing that when it came down to it, he’d always put Artemis before any of them, himself included. Himself, especially. But, Carver…
"There’s no choice for you." The smile was clear in Anders’s voice. "I know what you have to do, and so do you. My point, you breathtakingly sexy fool, is that I’m not going to work myself to death, with or without you."
"Am I going to regret taking you at your word?" Cormac grumbled, tipping his head back to nibble at Anders’s neck.
"I hope not! After all this, to think of you being disappointed in my survival!" Anders pulled back just enough to look Cormac in the eyes. "Sounds terribly familiar, really."
"Sodding queynt." Cormac shoved Anders back far enough to get a good look at him. "I’m not going to be disappointed if you live. There are things you could do that would make me regret not stopping you, but I’m not going to regret your continued survival."
"Even if?" Anders asked, not finishing the thought.
"Yeah. Yeah, even if you make me—" Cormac studied Anders’s face. "Can you please not do that? Or the other that?"
"I can’t imagine why I would do either one." Anders’s eyebrows lifted. "I’m— I’m not… It’s not going to be like that. I’m not going to do that to you."
Cormac touched Anders’s cheek, brushing back a wisp of hair caught in the stubble along his jaw. A thousand things he could say, points he could make, flashed across his eyes, but he settled on, "Weren’t we trying to sleep?" He pressed his lips to Anders’s, feeling that long, lean body relax against him, after a moment.
Slowly, Cormac nibbled along Anders’s lower lip, tongue occasionally flicking against the chewed-ragged edges, until Anders responded, catching him in a long, demanding kiss that left them both panting.
"You taste like death," Anders teased, catching his breath.
"Not really faring much better, yourself, you know." Cormac pinched Anders’s hip, slipped his leg between Anders’s thighs.
"And this is the opposite of sleeping, especially if you keep going like that."
"Is that a complaint?" Cormac asked, nibbling Anders’s neck.
"No, it’s not a complaint," Anders groaned, tipping his head back to invite more of the same. "But, it will be, in the morning."
"Mmm, then maybe you should roll over and go back to sleep," Cormac teased, tracing a line up Anders’s spine with one finger.
"No," Anders said, first, nipping at Cormac’s eyebrow. Then, "Maybe. With you inside me?"
"I’m not sure if I should be offended that you think that’ll put you to sleep," Cormac drawled, squeezing a hand between them to stroke himself to attention, "but I think that can be arranged."
Anders purred, rubbing his chin against the top of Cormac’s head. "What did I ever do to deserve you?"
"Threatened to kick my ass the first time you laid eyes on me," Cormac joked. "I’m a sucker for a mage with righteous wrath."
Anders rubbed a hand over his eyes, cheeks flushing slightly. With a breathy laugh, he rolled over, pulling Cormac’s arm around him. "Rub my belly."
"In a minute, tomcat. I need that hand for a bit, yet," Cormac reminded Anders, pressing his knob against Anders’s very, very nice ass. That was something Cormac had noticed, over the years — that old coat fit Anders better and better, as time passed, and the suggestion of a shapely bottom became much more of a factual statement. As tired and ragged as Anders had looked lately, it was still an improvement over when they’d met.
Huffing like he’d been greatly inconvenienced, Anders let go, letting himself relax as Cormac eased into him. "Cormac?" The name slipped out in a long, slow breath.
"I need you."
"I’m so sorry." Cormac laughed against the back of Anders’s shoulder, hand finally splayed across Anders’s belly, tracing the faint lines of muscle.
"Asshole," Anders scoffed, reaching back to swat Cormac sharply across the ass.
"Gaping asshole," Cormac corrected, sucking in a sharp breath and grinding into Anders. "And you love it."
"I do." Anders pressed his face against the pillow, laughing, as he reached out to pull another pillow to his chest.
"I still think you could fit your fist," Cormac muttered, nibbling at the edge of Anders’s shoulderblade.
"That’s have, not are," Anders pointed out. "And you’re crazy."
Cormac snorted. "Tell me something I don’t know." He picked up a slow, gentle rhythm, barely moving, rocking his hips in time to the lazy circling of his hand, as he listened to the soft sounds Anders made, relaxing against him. It wasn’t what either of them usually meant by ‘fucked into unconsciousness’, but it would do, for now. Cormac couldn’t find it in him to complain, as Anders drifted off, in his arms.