[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 259
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Carver Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Aveline ♀, Fenris ♂, Isabela ♀, Merrill ♀, Varric ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Sibling rivalry, shouting about past sexual conquests, mild slut-shaming, threats of violence
Notes: Slutty Hawke and the Unexpected Whore: yet another game of Wicked Grace
The night was young, yet, and the first pitchers were still sitting on the table, half-full, when Carver came up the stairs. He could hear Cormac’s whooping laughter, and debated just going back down and leaving, but what kind of man would he be, for that? It was a black eye. It was a black eye he’d gotten in such an appalling way that he couldn’t imagine word of it having gotten further than maybe Fenris and Anders. The scandal attached could ruin the family, he was sure.
And so he forged ahead, carrying his tankard into the light of Varric’s suite and taking his usual place at the table, next to Merrill.
"That shiner’s been a long time shining, Junior," Varric called down the table. "What’d you do, walk into a door?"
"Walked into a fist, more likely," Aveline grumbled from a few seats down.
"Oh! That’s exactly what Carver said when he told me the story!" said Merrill, grinning broadly. She wrapped an arm around his and leaned in to kiss his cheek. "Were you there, Varric?"
Carver sputtered, tugging at his ear, and Varric quirked an eyebrow at him from the head of the table. "No, Varric wasn’t… Could we not talk about this?"
"Maker," Artemis mumbled, frowning at Carver from down the table. "I thought you were going to have Anders look at that?"
"Anders was busy," Carver muttered, staring down into his cup instead of looking at his brother. He hadn’t seen Artemis — or, rather, Artemis hadn’t seen him — since the making of his black eye.
Artemis wiped a hand over his face, guilt twisting in his stomach. That was his little brother. With a black eye. A black eye that he had given him. That wasn’t how things were supposed to work, no matter how much of an ass Carver was being. "Anders?" he said, turning pleading eyes on the healer. "Could you heal my idiot brother, please?"
Anders hummed discontentedly, eyes still on his cards as he flicked a hand down the table, healing trailing from his fingertips. "I just want you to know, Carver, that you’re extremely lucky Artemis got to you before I did. If I’d been there — if you’d said that to me — I think I might have thrown you off the balcony and then kicked your balls up into your eyesockets. You can’t just say shit like that to people."
The table went still. Anders almost never threatened violence. Whatever Carver had said was clearly worth the hit he’d taken for it, and the eyes travelled down the table from Anders to Carver.
"You said it was a barfight!" Merrill exclaimed.
"Wait, wait, wait." Varric held up his hands. "Am I to understand that Slutty Hawke over here punched you in the face? Like, not with magic, but with his actual fist?"
Cormac choked on his drink and struggled not to dribble it into his lap as he tried to swallow around the laugh caught in his throat.
"Wait, wait, what do you mean ‘Slutty’?" Artemis sputtered, looking wildly up and down the table.
"So it wasn’t a barfight?" Merrill asked, eyes wide and hurt as she stared up at Carver.
"Uh," said Carver with his usual eloquence.
"I am not slutty!"
"Well… technically," Carver fumbled to explain. "No?"
"Fenris, tell Varric I’m not slutty!"
Fenris was too busy leaning over his drink, half-drooling with his heaving laughter. "Well… technically," he hiccuped after a while, parroting Carver. Artie swatted his arm.
"So what happened then?" Merrill demanded. "What did you do?"
"If I’m ‘Slutty’," Artemis interrupted again, kneeling on his chair to better lean over the table and stare down Varric. He pointed at Cormac. "Then what is he?"
"Extremely loud." Varric poured himself another pint.
Cormac mangled a few words between wheezes, as he caught his breath. "Anders, tell my brother he’s a slut."
"Artie, you’re a slut," Anders said, still squinting at his hand, now at a different angle. "And so’s Cormac."
"Not disputing that." Cormac held up his hands.
"Well, at least there’s only the one whore at the table," Aveline threw in, leaning forward to glare up the table at Isabela.
"You’re right, I think." Isabela nodded. "But, it’s not me. I don’t get paid. I was, however, paying Anders, back in Denerim."
"For all the Orlesian diseases you picked up, no doubt," Aveline grumbled.
"Oh, no, for that delightful electricity trick, and Maker, but the man’s hung like a Qunari!" Isabela cackled and tossed a coin into the pot. "If he was still selling, I’d still be buying."
Varric put his cards face down on the table. "Hold on, hold on," he said, patting the air with one hand. "Slutty punched Junior in the face, and Anders was a whore? Shit, why am I not writing this down?" He cast about him until he spotted parchment and quill and got up from the table to make a grab for them.
Artemis turned to give Cormac a mournful look. "This is it. I’m going to be known throughout history as ‘Slutty Hawke’. ‘The Tale of the Champion and His Slutty Brothers’, is that what you’re going to call your next book?"
Aveline was still processing what Isabela had just said. She wasn’t sure what bothered her more, the ‘paid Anders for sex’ part or the ‘hung like a Qunari’ part. "Why do I even come to these games?" She sighed and threw down her cards, leaving the table. Whether she was leaving the Hanged Man altogether or just getting a stiff drink, it was hard to tell.
"I was thinking maybe, ‘The Brothers Hawke: Shouty, Slutty, and Stabby’." Varric spread his hands, palms out, as if spreading the words across the cover of a book.
"Hey, that’s Champion Stabby, to you," Anton said, apparently pulling a cracker out of Isabela’s cleavage, before sticking it into his mouth.
"You know he’s still telling that story about us coming out of Lothering like I’ve got fish sauce in my beard," Cormac muttered, adding another coin to the pile.
"Hey, you’re larger than life! I had to add a few flaws to make you more approachable!" Varric protested.
Cormac looked up slowly and then squinted up the table at Varric. "Did you just call me fat?"
"That’s exactly how I tell it. ‘Hawke rolled into the fray like a gigantic pudding covered in gravy.’ It’s more dramatic that way. Especially the part with the ogre."
"You are getting a little soft in the middle, Mage-Shoulders," Isabela said with a wink and a smile.
"Does it have to be gravy? Couldn’t it be chocolate, instead?" Cormac complained, even as Anders’s hand slid off the table and into his lap.
"Who would notice, if I covered you in chocolate?" Varric asked, picking up his tankard. "You’re the same colour as Orlesian dark. A gravy will at least show up. Gotta have a little contrast in there."
"In which case, I demand a buttercream." Cormac jabbed a finger at Varric.
Carver tried desperately to focus on his cards. "Sometimes, I really hate my family," he muttered.
"That’s not true," Artemis told him, waving one hand. "You love us, you cranky sod."
"Oh, everyone here loves the Hawkes," Isabela said. "Some of us a couple nights a week." She winked at Artie just to watch his nose scrunch up. Anders hummed in agreement around his drink, his hand still hidden under the table.
"It’s still not happening," Artemis reminded Izzy. He pointed at her and looked down the table at Varric. "She should be Slutty!"
"Should be?" Izzy huffed, putting a hand over her chest. "And here I thought I was already doing a good job of it."
Fenris looked at Anton, his cards still in hand. "Where even are we, in this game?" he asked, shrugging his shoulders.
Anton studied the pot and his hand, then glanced around the table. "Draw. I’m pretty sure we’re at draw."
Cards were drawn and hands rearranged, and most of the table kept their eyes off the way Cormac squirmed in his seat as he considered.
"Anders, if we both lose this round, I want you to know it’s entirely your fault," Cormac managed, as he tossed another coin toward the centre of the table.
"You mean it isn’t always? For shame! I should be trying harder." Anders chuckled as a spark dissipated through the cloth of Cormac’s robes.
"Maybe you’d try harder if he was paying you more." Carver did not look thrilled with the evening’s revelations as he folded and cast a disgusted look at Cormac.
"You keep looking at me like I didn’t know," Cormac said, eyes catching Carver’s. "Did you think this was a surprise? But, then I already know how little you think of me."
"Angel of Death!" Anton tossed the card onto the table, as the next draw began.
"I think exactly as little or as much of you as you deserve," Carver said coldly, cards slapping against the table.
"Carver," Merrill whispered, sliding a hand into the inside of his elbow and squeezing.
"Don’t start," Artemis said, face pinched. "Not unless you want another black eye." He was starting to feel less guilty about that bruise he’d put on Carver’s face, now that he remembered why he’d put it there.
"Now, now, I just healed that," said Anders. Not that he wouldn’t mind seeing Artie throw a punch at Carver. He’d been terribly disappointed to have missed the first one. Varric looked back and forth between the brothers, ready to take notes.
"Oh, sure," Carver sneered. "Everyone defend Cormac, like he doesn’t have enough shields. I didn’t even say anything!"
Anton tipped his chair back, looking down the table at his brother behind everyone’s backs. "I don’t care how much shit you give Cormac. I don’t really care how much shit you give any of us. But, by the Maker’s hairy balls, do it with some grace! The problem’s not the shit, it’s that you’re making a fool of yourself delivering it!"
"There are, without question, more tasteful ways to deliver shit, particularly in the Orlesian fashion," Isabela grinned wickedly. "Even the foulest thing can pass, if you make it seem obvious enough. I’ve even seen shit made almost appealing, not that I’d want to sit at a table with that sculptor while he worked!"
"And speaking of shit, our brother is a bird-mage of some sort and managed to dump shit in almost every drink that got near my lips for six months, when we were young. Don’t sling shit in this house, unless you’re ready to eat it." Anton shook his head and sighed. "And I still can’t believe you did that to me, Cormac."
"I still can’t believe you tried to get Artie buggered by a bull!" Cormac shot back.
"I’m telling you, it wasn’t supposed to go like that! There was supposed to be a fence in the way!" Anton’s chair clacked against the floor as he sat forward again, arranging his hand one last time. "Besides, he’s fine, isn’t he? And he was, then, too! And you get to take the credit for being the hero, there."
"Oh, yeah, the credit. You should’ve been the one with rashvine in your bed, not me!" Cormac snagged an olive from one of the bowls on the table and slung it at Anton’s head, amusement playing around the corners of his mouth.
"Rashvine?" Fenris asked, brows furrowed. He looked askance at his husband.
Artie’s face twisted, looking somewhere between guilty and amused, and he ducked his head to smirk behind his cards. "Rashvine nettles," he confirmed. "In his chest hair."
Varric gasped in horror, pressing a hand flat over his chest where his tunic opened. "For shame, Slutty. And this for the one who saved you from bull riding — by which, of course, I mean the bull riding you."
"Still don’t understand that," Anton agreed, one hand up in the air as he shook his head.
"And I still don’t understand what your obsession with turnips was," Artie huffed, "but you don’t see me judging you for it."
"No. Nope." Carver shook his head emphatically. "We are not talking about the turnips."
"If it makes you feel better, I’m judging both of you," Cormac said, tossing his cards on the table. Four songs. "I’m also winning this hand."
"You did fucking not!" Isabela leapt up, knocking over her chair as she leaned over the table.
Anders leaned to the side to see Anton around Isabela’s rack. "You and me should talk turnip-crafting some time. I’ve got some great ones from the tower. I wouldn’t be surprised if your husband did, too. It was that kind of place." Anders grinned, and then remembered why Cullen wasn’t at the table, and the grin fell sharply on one side, face turning suddenly apologetic.
"Did I not just say we are not talking about turnips?" Carver groaned.
"You said ‘the’ turnips, implying Anton’s. I’m not talking about Anton’s turnips. I’m talking about Fereldan turnip carving traditions of Lake Calenhad." Anders grinned at Carver.
"Right," Carver muttered. "Then let me add: we are not talking about turnips. Any turnips, Fereldan or otherwise."
"What about horseradishes?" Anton asked. "Can we talk about those?"
"I don’t understand," said Merrill, ears drooping. "Carver, I thought you liked turnips?"
"Not after my brothers have handled them." Carver took a long swig of his drink. "Or my parents."
Anton’s eyes glazed over for a moment. Then he pointed at Carver. "That we are not talking about."
Isabela swore as she threw down her cards. Three knights. So close.
Anton spread his cards on the table. "The end of days is nigh. Cormac beat me in a hand of Wicked Grace."
"Oh, come on, I’m not that bad! This isn’t the first time!" Cormac complained.
"It’s really not," Varric agreed, "but you do it so rarely, it’s worth paying attention to. Something in the stars."
"Perhaps it is a fortunate alignment that will resolve some greater universal ills," Fenris muttered tossing his cards into the pile and casting an inquisitive glance at Anton. "Or perhaps they are just stars."
"Oh, I’ve got the resolution for some greater universal ills," Anton joked, leaning back, "riiiight here. And Sebastian’s talking to the Grand Cleric, not that I expect to need her assistance, by the end of the week."
"Does the displeasure run so deep?" Fenris asked. "I wouldn’t have thought you’d want to advertise."
"Deep enough to need addressing." Anton nodded and gathered the cards, shuffling again, before he passed the deck to Cormac. "And I’m not talking about the resolutions I keep in my trousers, for once, but that goes pretty deep as well."
"I have absolutely no idea what the two of you are talking about, but I definitely hope it involves a troupe of naked Qunari acrobats," Isabela chimed in.
"We have gone from turnips to knobs," Carver complained even more loudly than he’d been complaining. "This is not an improvement!"