[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 278
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Merrill ♀, Orana ♀, Varric ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Former Tevinter slaves, dick jokes, beer
Notes: Anders is nobody’s master, but none of them quite believe that.
By then, Anders had finally wrestled Justice back, blue striations flickering before fading away. He took a moment to just kneel there and breathe, feeling the slide of sweat down his temples. Finally, he stood and smoothed down his coat and feathers, clearing his throat and smiling. "Right," he said with a too-cheery smile. "Where was I?" He scanned over the line of elves until he spotted the one who had called him ‘master’.
The elves seemed a little more reluctant to speak to him, after that, but he just kept working his way down the line, eyeing a pair of children who looked oddly familiar. Whose face was that? Zevran’s? No. That was going to bother him, until he figured it out. As he made it to the end of the line, exhausted and starting to feel the numbness creep in from the tips of his fingers, the front door swung open again, and two figures stood outlined in the daylight.
"Honey, I’m home!" Cormac called out, and his voice echoed off the walls. He and Merrill carried sacks from the market, and a small cart sat at the bottom of the stairs, with more.
Merrill leaned around Cormac to get a better view. "Fenris? Would you get the beer from the cart? I don’t think I can pick it up."
Bodhan scoffed and slapped Varric on the back. "Can’t send an elf to do a dwarf’s job! Come on. We’ll get it."
Varric swallowed and stepped back. "Now—"
"I promise you I can pick up more than Varric can. I can pick up Varric. I could probably use Varric as a weapon, if called upon to do so." Fenris raised an eyebrow at Bodhan and led the way down the few short steps.
"Apples, bread, and beer first!" Cormac declared, making his way to the front of the line Anders was finishing up. He handed one sack and then the other to the first elf. "Help yourself and pass it back. Find somewhere to sit down, although I think my brother’s cleaning, so you may want to sit on the stairs. We’ll get you something to drink in a minute."
The elves readily obeyed, peering at each other and the sacks of food curiously. The two children Anders couldn’t place huddled together, the boy tugging at his sister’s sleeve. She had to be his sister, anyway, with those green eyes and that red hair. "Estne dominus noster?" he hissed, looking at Cormac.
The little girl shook her head. "Nescio," she whispered back.
Fenris shook his head vehemently. "Non est!" he said, cutting his hands through the air, and Anders agreed with a grimacing nod. "Fasta vass, non est!"
Artemis paused in his scrubbing to eye them curiously. "What was that about?" he asked Fenris. "I’m… well, aside from ‘I love you’, the only words I know in Tevene ought not to be repeated in front of children."
Orana leaned in. "They were asking if Cormac is their new master," she answered. "I am sure from his tone you could tell that Messere Fenris answered with a vehement ‘no’."
Merrill crept up beside Fenris, to get a better look at the children. "Fenris? I think these may be … You know your sister has children, don’t you?"
Fenris’s eyes widened and a chill shot down his spine. "Ridiculous." But, was it? That red hair, the green eyes, the way the girl looked almost exactly like he remembered Varania, when they were young.
"Think about it," Merrill said, handing him an apple, before offering another one to the children. "Maybe ask them."
Fenris took a bite of the apple, to avoid saying anything at all, for a bit.
Cormac was showing off, again, sparks of electricity and flurries of snow leaping from his fingertips, as he told stories to the elves on one side of the stairs. Bodhan had sent Varric back to find something to put the beer into, once they’d gotten the barrel into the house, on the assumption that it was Varric’s house, and he’d know where to find that sort of thing.
Flashes of light reflected off the elves’ wide-eyed faces as Cormac cast, and they watched raptly, apples and bread held close to their chests as they ate. Fenris gnawed on his apple but barely tasted it. That little girl’s smile and braided hair tugged at a memory, and it was like an itch at the back of his brain. And he was better off not scratching, he thought, after the disaster that was meeting his sister.
Varric was kind enough to interrupt his thoughts, sauntering into the room with all manner of cups and goblets — even a couple of small bowls — balanced in a battered old shield he was using as a tray. "Hey, Shouty," he interrupted Cormac. "If you’re going to be the entertainment, at least let them have some alcohol first."
"Good plan," Fenris muttered around his apple, plucking a cup from Varric. There was beer enough for everyone, and he could use the drink.
Varric handed out cups to the elves like a hawker selling his wares.
Anders picked up a small bowl three times, and every time it slipped through his fingers. Faint traces of blue flickered under his skin, or at least he thought he could see them, and he wasn’t sure if it was the numbness in his fingers keeping him from taking something to drink from or Justice objecting to the beer. Beer, he was sure, was safer than anything else in this house, right now.
"C’mere, pretty thing," Cormac said, leaning back against the wall with a teacup of beer in his hand. "I’ll hold it for you. How fast did you try to go through them?"
"Too fast, obviously," Anders muttered, glaring at his hands, as he made his way across some scattered chunks of stone to slide down the wall, next to Cormac, resting his head on Cormac’s hip.
Cormac crouched down. "Drink from the cup, in front of company, gorgeous," he joked, holding it in front of Anders’s face.
"You…" Anders stopped trying to talk and took the cup in his teeth, tilting his head back. It worked better than he feared it might, and he only missed his mouth a little bit.
"I am amazing," Cormac said, snatching the cup and getting up for another drink. "You need to sit down for a few minutes."
Orana was speaking quietly to Fenris, by the barrel of beer. "Elaiodora says they’re from the kitchen, and no one knows their parents. That’s not unusual, but if there’s any chance Merrill’s right, never mind your sister, you owe it to these children, messere. Would you have them grow up never knowing what happened to their mother?" She would never have spoken that way to anyone, even a couple of years ago, but this was Fenris, who had come a long way, but knew what he was seeing. He had started out much as she had, much as everyone off that ship still was, and she wasn’t afraid to push him to do the right thing.
Fenris sighed, pressing his fingers into his eyelids until he saw stars. "No," he muttered, ears pressing flat against his skull. "You can stop giving me that look. I’ll reunite them with their mother — assuming she is their mother, which is something I will need to be sure of first." The last thing he wanted was to even think about his sister, let alone see her again.
"And if she is," Orana went on, unperturbed by Fenris’s sour expression, "that makes you their uncle. That might be your niece and nephew over there, Uncle Fenris."
Fenris made a frustrated noise somewhere between a whine and growl and bent to refill his cup.
Merrill managed to coax Artemis away from his cleaning long enough to have a drink with the rest of them. The goblet she pressed into his hand was better suited to rich wine than to watery beer, but he supposed it was a safer alternative than the bowl that was left.
"It’s just beer," Merrill insisted, taking his hand and tugging him over to join the group.
‘Just beer’ was still more alcohol than he’d had all week, but he supposed one drink wouldn’t hurt.
After a few teacups of beer, Cormac waved everyone away from the pile of golem parts and started compressing the smaller chunks into easy to roll stone spheres, pulling in as much of the broken pottery and other detritus from the room as he could. The elves watched, concerned and amazed, muttering among themselves.
One of the elves got up and dashed across the room to get more beer and another roll, bringing them to Anders, who still sat dizzily against the wall. He looked up with a surprised smile.
"Thank you," Anders said, confused, as he accepted the roll and the goblet, before tapping the stack of books beside him, invitingly. The elf leaned down to pick them up, and Anders stopped the man. "No, no, I mean sit down. Tell me about yourself. Who are you? They call me Anders."
Frightened, the elf knelt at Anders’s feet, eyes on the floor. "Yes, master. I am called Troilus."
Anders split the roll he was holding and offered half to Troilus. "Break bread with me, Troilus. Least I can do, since you went to the trouble to get it. I don’t think I’m standing up for a few minutes, yet."
"Yes, master." Troilus took the half roll, but still didn’t look up from the floor.
Anders took a swallow of beer and set the goblet aside. "Not ‘master’," he said, holding the rest of the roll in his teeth as he pushed up one of his sleeves and slapped at the back of his forearm until the scars showed white, while the rest of his skin reddened. "Never ‘master’."
Troilus’s eyes were drawn to the sudden flurry of motion, and he recognised the lines. Iron cuffs, most likely. But, that made no sense. The man was human, and he had magic. "I don’t understand," he said, brows knitting.
Anders smiled at him over his beer. "You’ve never been this far south before, have you, Troilus?"