[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 257
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Fenris ♂, Carver Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Sibling rivalry, mentions of children
Notes: Carver attempts to impress the importance of family upon Fenris.
Carver waited, in a gate arch, a little way down the road and over it from his brother’s house. He was not walking into Artemis again, after what had happened the last time they were in a room. But, Artie had to go out, eventually. Or Fenris would. He could catch Fenris outside. The book was thick in his hands, and a shitty read, really. He’d spent the last two hours trying to get into it, just to be less obviously lurking, but it was impenetrable and polemic. Actually, it rather reminded him of Fenris, which, he supposed, was a good thing. Of course, he supposed Fenris wasn’t impenetrable any more. And that was just what he didn’t need to be thinking about, right this moment. Gross.
Just as he was about to try the book again, Carver caught sight of Artemis coming out of the inlet surrounding his door, with a giggling woman on either arm. That was something he’d never expected to see. But, a second glance told him that one of those women was Orana, their housekeeper, and the other one looked familiar, but he couldn’t place her. They were probably dragging Artie out for his fashion sense or his ability to count apples or something. That or they needed something cleaned. Sometimes he wondered why his brother even had a housekeeper, but that was a thought for another time.
As the ladies led his brother across Hightown, Carver slipped out of the nook and made his way to the door, knocking loudly enough to be heard upstairs. With Orana out, it would probably be a bit, before Fenris realised he had to answer the door himself. He waited a moment and then knocked again, as a reminder.
Then Carver waited. And waited some more. He swore under his breath and raised his hand to knock a third time when Fenris opened the door and nearly walked into his fist.
"Futue!" Fenris swore, eyes crossing to look at the fist in front of his face. He took a step back, and Carver lowered his hand, fumbling for an apology. "What is this? Were you hoping I was Artemis?" Fenris eyed Carver and the bruise that was half his face. A small smile pulled at his lips. "Hoping to give him a matching bruise, perhaps? I hear yours, at least, was deserved."
Carver scowled down at the smug elf. "No, I was actually looking for you. Not to punch you, despite evidence to the contrary."
"Ah, then you are smarter than you look." Fenris tilted his head, fingers drumming against the door-frame. "Now, why were you looking for me? Does this have to do with Cullen?"
"Anton refuses to discuss Cullen with me, despite the fact I’m the one bringing him news." Carver went to cross his arms, but the book was in his way. "I’m here to bring you this, and to talk with you about … something else. I don’t really want to bring it up on the doorstep." Actually, he really didn’t want the door slammed in his face.
"A book." Fenris looked confused, but finally stepped out of the doorway.
Carver, unlike so many of the Hawkes, did not spend much time in this house, and his eyes wandered as he stepped into the front hall. "I’ll explain the book, later. The important thing is that you have it. You, ah… You might want a drink for this. And to sit down."
"What’s happened?" Fenris’s ears canted back and his face grew hard.
"Nothing you have to kill anyone for. At least not yet." Carver rocked back on his heels and looked up at the ceiling. "Just get a drink and sit. You’ll understand, in a minute, but I want to make sure you’ve got brandy in your hand before I say anything, because you’re going to need it."
Merrill, Fenris thought. It had to be something about Merrill, and Carver just didn’t know any other elves. The thought was comforting, and he probably would need a drink, if this was going to be some strange story of sexual perversion and unintended pregnancy. He gestured for Carver to follow him and made for the lounge. There would be rum, in the lounge. It seemed like a rum occasion, suddenly.
Fenris considered just grabbing the bottle, but he figured he might as well start this with some level of decorum and poured himself a glass. "Rum?" he offered Carver.
Carver perched on the edge of a chair, book clutched in his hands, and mulled that question over with all the seriousness of making a life-or-death decision. "Yes," he decided in the end. Better to have it and not need it, he supposed.
Fenris poured a second glass and pressed it into Carver’s hand. He sat on the couch across from his brother-in-law. "So," he said, tugging at one ear. "I am sitting, alcohol in hand. Does this suffice, or does it actually have to be brandy for you to tell me what’s going on?"
"Rum is good," Carver said, fingers drumming along the side of his glass. "As for why I’m here, it has to do with our family, yes. Or, more specifically, your family."
Fenris’s grip tightened around the glass in his hand. Family. Outside of the Hawkes, he had only one living family member he knew of. Unless… Carver couldn’t possibly know about Danarius, could he? Fenris took a drink. The rum, he decided, was a good choice.
"Your sister, actually," Carver went on, trying to figure out how best to present the idea.
"What has she done now? Burned down a pub? Started selling the alienage into slavery?" Fenris snapped, glaring over the rim of his glass, before he emptied it down his throat and poured again. Carver was right. He did need a drink.
"No, no. She hasn’t done anything bad." Carver shook his head and took a sip of the rum. "She’s trying to get her kids back from Danarius’s estate. She can’t go back to Tevinter, now that he’s dead, and they’re… she says they’re why she’s here. That he threatened to sell her kids as slaves, if she didn’t do this. Congrats, by the way, you’re an uncle."
"That’s not what she told me," Fenris snarled. "How do you know she’s not just lying to protect herself?"
"What good would it do? She just wants to find a way to bring them to Kirkwall, before anyone figures out Danarius isn’t coming back. I don’t really see where lying about that would do her any good." Carver shrugged. "Besides, I don’t really remember you being in a mood to hear anything from her, at the wedding. Not that I blame you. I’d have been just as pissed if my sister pulled some shit like that."
Fenris’s glare told Carver just how ‘pissed’ he still was. "And why should I trust her? All those months of trading letters, she never once mentioned any children. You’d think that would have come up."
Carver shrugged, genuinely at a loss there. "Maybe she was afraid to?" he offered. "She said she didn’t believe you wrote those letters. When Hadriana didn’t come back to Tevinter, Danarius probably grabbed Varania’s kids as collateral. I don’t think I’d blame her for being extra careful."
"So, what," Fenris growled, "you two sat down over tea and talked about how much I’d ruined her life?"
"Well," Carver floundered. "There was tea, but…" Carver flinched at Fenris’s next growl. "Please don’t bruise the other eye. I have my good looks to consider." Carver set down his rum on the end table and ran a hand through his hair. "Look. I don’t know her. Maybe she is lying, for all I know, but if she’s not? What if you are an uncle? You’ll miss out on the chance of knowing family that hasn’t yet stabbed you in the back."
Fenris looked down at the drink in his hands, giving it the full force of his brooding. It was dangerous to think about. The last time he’d dared hope for family, it had nearly gotten his real family, the Hawke family, killed. "And the book?" he asked gruffly.
Carver handed it over and hoped it wouldn’t end up tossed across the room. "A wedding present from Varania. You know, just in case it turned out you actually existed."
A gift. She’d brought him a gift. It didn’t seem to be the kind of thing one could get in Kirkwall, for all that this was a port city, and it didn’t much seem like the kind of thing one would find in the Imperium, except that was very definitely an Imperial binding. Even when he couldn’t read, he knew the way books were put together, and they weren’t the same, here. You didn’t generally bring a gift to someone you meant to kill, he knew, but… she hadn’t given it to him, then. What if this were just some way to get back into his good graces, to keep him put until she could summon more reinforcements? But, that really made no sense. Danarius was dead. There was no one left who cared what happened to him — or at least, no one from his old life.
"I do not want to see her, but I will speak with Varric. I may have a way to do this simply. I will speak to you about this, when I am certain whether it is worth trying." He wouldn’t explain the plan. Not yet. He wouldn’t let on to anyone who might tell Varania that he’d taken possession of Danarius’s estate, and was in the process of having it transferred to Kirkwall, mostly for liquidation.
"You think Varric can help?" Carver looked a little surprised, but then, Varric could help with some very strange things.
"Varric has some friends who may be willing to assist in ways I will not discuss." Fenris sipped his rum. "If there are such children, they will become known to us, and then we can make a decision."