[ Master Post ]
Title: The Care and Naming of Hawkes: Cormac
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Malcolm Hawke ♂, Leandra Amell ♀, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Malcolm Hawke’s A+ parenting, children, children peeing on things, pregnancy/birth
Notes: Among the common people of Ferelden, accidents, disease, and malnutrition frequently end the lives of young children. The tradition, therefore, became to name a healthy child in their second or third year. Malcolm Hawke’s second child is due within days, by the time he takes his first to the Chantry, to be named. The tradition continues, and the second takes the nameless place of the first, until it is his turn.
The baby was about two, when his father took him to the Highever Chantry to be named — a big ceremony with ten other kids, about the same age. Most of them came with both their parents, but the baby had only his father, because mummy had to stay at home with the pink-faced lady from over the road. It was because of her belly, the baby knew. Mummy’s belly kept getting bigger, and there was going to be another baby, and that was why he had to have a name before it happened.
The big lady with the funny hat asked his father’s name, and got an answer the baby wasn’t expecting. "Malkhazi Kestrel."
"And this child? Who will this child become?" she asked, taking the baby off his father’s hip.
"My son will be called Cormac, for the hero who fought off the Chasind," his father said, and the woman with the funny hat held the baby up in the column of light that angled through the back window of the Chantry.
"Let this child be named in the eyes of the Maker, and may the Maker’s light be upon him for all time," the lady with the hat intoned, and the baby could hear the scratch of quill and parchment from somewhere to the side. The shift in position made him feel funny, and he squirmed, but the lady kept talking. He didn’t like not being on the ground, but at least he didn’t feel the twisting in his stomach when his father held him. "From a child of the Maker comes another child. Let this one be known as Cormac, son of Malkhazi Kestrel."
The baby, quite done with being held in the air, proceeded to squirm more, peeing down his legs and the white gown he wore. Finally, the lady with the funny hat handed him back to his father, who seemed to be struggling not to smile. The lady with the funny hat looked like this might not have been the first time this had happened.
Malcolm carried his dripping son home, tucked under one arm like a sack of potatoes. The baby — no, Cormac, now — knew perfectly well how to hold his water, Malcolm knew. For the love of Andraste, the boy was already learning to read. But maybe the ceremony had been a little much. All the incense and being swung about in dusty sunlight. Still, once they were outside, he let himself laugh. It seemed the boy had an opinion about the Chantry already, and not one Malcolm could find it in himself to disagree with.
He opened the door onto the sound of Leandra roaring at the midwife. "I don’t want to drink the stupid tea! I want my stupid husband here so I can kick him in the jollies! This is his fault!"
"I’m afraid kicking me in the jollies is going to have to wait, my stolen princess." Malcolm called from the front of the house, as he made his way back, to find clean clothes for Cormac.
"What stupid name did you give our child?" Leandra demanded. "I’m sure you named him something barbaric. Something no self-respecting noble family would—" She growled and heaved the teacup she held at the wall, but the midwife deflected it, and after a bit of swatting and failing to catch it, landed it on the floor unbroken.
"Of course I named him something barbaric. It’s a good Fereldan name. The name of a barbarian hero, even." Malcolm handed the boy a fresh robe, as he spoke. "I had him recorded as Cormac."
"At least it’s not Orlesian," Leandra grumbled, as the midwife went to make more tea.
"Why would I pick something Orlesian? You and your father have Antivan names. You call me by a Fereldan name. It seemed like a good idea to give our son a good Fereldan name, since we’re living in Ferelden."
"This had better be a daughter, Malcolm!" Leandra shouted. "This had better be a daughter or I’ll twist your knob off, and you can bear the next one!"
The midwife was frozen in the doorway with a fresh cup of tea, when Malcolm stepped out of the other room, his son back on his hip. "She was like this for the first one, too," he told the horrified-looking woman. "But, she decided to keep trying for a girl."
"You’re a brave man, serah," said the midwife, shaking her head.
"Not as brave as she is," Malcolm said with a smile. "I’m going to take the boy outside, before this gets any louder. We’ll be right out back. Just shout down if you need anything."
"Malcolm Hawke, don’t you dare walk out that door!" Leandra shouted, and Malcolm handed Cormac to the midwife, taking the cup of tea from her.
"Would you take him down to the garden? It seems I need to go get kicked in the jollies." He smiled warmly at the midwife. "You might want to let him walk on his own. He’s got a certain displeasure at being held up too long. I’ll come right down and get you as soon as she’s settled."
"Are you sure—"
"Absolutely. Last time, we didn’t even have a midwife, and your assistance is much improving the situation, but this is the part where I need to have a chat with my wife that Cormac doesn’t need to see." Actually, he didn’t want the midwife to see it, or they’d be on the run again, before morning.
With an uncertain nod, the midwife took Cormac out to play, and in minutes, the outraged shouting from upstairs had stopped. Malcolm appeared at the top of the stairs and made his way down. "Come down, if she starts screaming, again," he said. "There’s a thing — she’ll never let you do it — but there’s a thing that helps. Besides kicking me soundly in the jollies, which I expect I do deserve. I went along with this plan."
Later that night, Cormac was still awake, squinting at the pictures in one of his father’s books. It was the big one about the magic lady hero who fought off the bad magic guys from the north. He couldn’t read all the words, but he knew a lot of them, and the pictures helped him figure out where he was in the story — he knew how the story went. Andraste, he knew, putting his finger on the word. That was her name. And now he had a name, too. His father said he had the name of a different hero, and he wondered how to spell it and if that was a story he could read, too.
His father appeared in the doorway, shadow falling across the wall, holding something wrapped up in a shirt, but he couldn’t make out what it was. "You reading the story of Andraste, again?" he asked quietly.
Cormac nodded. "Why doesn’t she know the guy is bad?" he asked. "Why does she go with him?"
"People aren’t always bad," Malcolm said, kneeling on the floor on the other side of the book. "Sometimes, they start out good, and they get bad later, but you already like them too much to notice."
"So, he turned bad, later?" Cormac asked, still trying to figure out the bundle his father held.
"Maferath thought he was doing a good thing for his people. He didn’t know he turned bad, either, and that’s why nobody noticed," Malcolm explained, leaning forward to put the bundle in Cormac’s lap. "But, enough about Andraste and Maferath. This is your brother. He doesn’t have a name, yet."
"Is he the baby, now?" Cormac asked.
"You have a name, so he’s the baby now." Malcolm smiled at his sons. "He’s a very special nameday gift from your mum and me, so you have to take very good care of him and help him grow up to be big and strong like you."
Cormac’s face lit up and he squeezed the baby to his chest. "Mine?"
The baby squeaked curiously at him, nose wrinkling.
"You have to be gentle with him! Don’t squeeze like that." Malcolm adjusted Cormac’s grip a few times, until it seemed about right. "Hold him like this. I’ll teach you how to take care of him, just like I used to take care of you. We’ll do it together."
"Mine." This time, Cormac sounded reverent as the baby made some quiet burbling sounds and dozed off again.
"Come on," Malcolm said. "It’s time for all of us to get some sleep. Your mum’s sleeping on the bed by herself, tonight, so we’re going to sleep on the floor next to her. I’ll carry the baby. He’s heavy."
Cormac was going to protest, but herealised his father was right — he couldn’t get up with the baby in his lap — and let him take the baby. He usually slept wedged between his parents, but things had changed now. He had a name. He had a baby brother. The baby should get the middle, he decided, curling up on the blanket on the floor, because he was big and strong, now, and the baby needed to be safe.
- Yes, Cormac could read and mostly understand kids’ books (and books intended for a semi-literate peasant population) by the time he was two. Yes, that’s unusual. No, it’s not impossible.
- He also has a holy goddamn terror of being picked up by pretty much anyone except his dad, which Rhapsody readers know persists well into adulthood. FUCK! ANDERS! PUT ME DOWN!
- The next (and possibly final) chapter will be Artemis’s naming, assuming I get off my lazy and actually write it. I don’t like kid!fics; I don’t read kid!fics; I probably shouldn’t be allowed to write them.