[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 336
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Varania ♀, Theron Mahariel ♂, Kallian Tabris ♀
Rating: T (L2 N2 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Artie looks good in a corset, Theron looks better in those smalls, accusations and objectification from total strangers
Notes: Artemis goes shopping for lacy underthings, and winds up with twice the entourage he actually brought along. Page Six continues to haunt our heroes.
Fenris found himself cautiously eyeing strange, frilled garments, as he waited for Artemis to wedge himself into whatever that thing was. He wasn’t sure he quite understood the shape of it, but he was equally sure that Artemis would look exquisite in it. That seemed to be the way of things. Artemis and his sister seemed to have all the sartorial sense, in the family. As opposed to Cormac, who wore women’s clothing, or Anton, who wore Orlesian styles. Orlais seemed to have an investment in making clothing as complicated as possible to wear.
His attention returned to the moment, when Cormac reached over his shoulder and snatched the lacy red smalls he’d forgotten he was holding.
"Oh, those are perfect!" Cormac laughed, holding them up to get a better look. "That is my colour. And I’m going to prove it once and for all."
"Not where I have to see it, I hope," Fenris muttered, ears twitching as he glanced back toward the curtained alcoves.
A familiar face poked around a curtain, but it wasn’t the face Fenris was waiting to see.
"I thought that voice sounded familiar!"
Fenris squinted at the speaking elf. "Theron?" The elf beamed back at him, vallaslin curving around his smile. "What are you—? Oh, that’s a stupid question, isn’t it." Fenris sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Aneth ara, Fenris!" Theron replied. "Aren’t you with the wrong Hawke?" He eyed Cormac curiously before spotting the smalls in his hand. Theron’s ears perked up. "Oh, those are a good choice! I just picked out the same style in blue." Theron held the curtain aside to prove it, and Fenris didn’t quite shield his eyes in time. "See?"
"Unfortunately," Fenris muttered, not quite sure where to look. Those smalls really were quite racy.
"Theron, stop traumatising the other shoppers," Kalli said, appearing as though from nowhere.
"Ooh!" Cormac cocked his head and gestured for Theron to turn around. It wasn’t that he was all that interested in Theron, particularly, as that it was a good chance to estimate how that cut would fit on himself. "Let me see the back!"
Theron turned, peering down over his own shoulder. "It’s a good fit, isn’t it?"
"It is. I’m having second thoughts about how they’re going to fit on me." Cormac held up the red pair again, with a contemplative look.
"Well, they do come in shem sizes," Theron assured him, tugging the curtain closed to squeeze back into his trousers. "I never took you for the lace type."
"I’m … not, really." Cormac laughed. "But, I’ve been promising Anders for years, now."
"Creators, the thing that man wears… I’m not sure I’d let him make any clothing decisions for me." Theron laughed and stepped out, a pile of smalls in his hand. He dropped them on a nearby table. "Those don’t fit. Do all shem have huge asses? I can’t say I spent much time looking."
"No, it’s just that you elves have no asses," Cormac teased.
"I protest. Without an ass, I’d have nothing to sit on," Fenris muttered, despite trying very hard not to listen to the exchange.
"Theron has a very nice ass," Kalli insisted. "Just right for smacking."
"And I don’t doubt he gives you plenty of cause," Cormac laughed.
"If my ass seems flat to a shem, it’s because of all her smacking," Theron replied with a wink at his wife. "Not that I’m complaining. Ma vhenan, what do you think of these?" Theron plucked up another set of smalls, a piece of cloth that lived up to the name.
Kalli raised an eyebrow at the scrap of fabric, hooking a finger around the g-string back. "Mythal’s tits," she said. "That’s skimpy even for you, Theron."
"Oh, not for me!" Theron said, grinning from pointed ear to pointed ear. "I have enough black smalls. For him." He tipped his head.
Fenris grimaced, assuming they meant Cormac. But then Kalli was giving him a speculative look. "What?" Fenris blinked at her, at Theron, and down at the smalls. "Absolutely not." His ears twitched in different directions. "No."
"But it would show off those tattoos—"
Another voice filtered out from a curtained alcove. "I think we have a winner!" The curtain pulled open to reveal Artemis wearing a grin and little else, a grin that froze when he took in the tableau in front of him. "And… there are other people! People I know!" His ears and cheeks flamed red as he pulled the curtain back, covering everything but his face.
"Oh, no, no. Not so fast, Earthquake Boy." Theron attempted to wrest the curtain from Artie’s grip. "Even if you’re not letting them see, you should let me see. I’ve seen you in less."
"Theron, if he means you to see, he’ll show you." Cormac laughed. "Come on, we’re not fifteen any more, and he can push you down a flight of stairs without even looking."
Beside him, Fenris growled, watching Artemis’s eyes for some cue as to whether he was supposed to object to this. If it was anyone else, he’d be across the room, already, but Theron… he wasn’t sure.
Artemis tugged at the ends of his hair and peered sheepishly up at Theron.. "All right, but only because you’re wearing less than I am. Nice colour, by the way." Cheeks still burning, Artie let Theron pull back the curtain.
"He looks good in this! Fenris, you didn’t tell me how good he looked in one of these!" Theron stepped in and closed the curtain behind him, still talking. "Ooh! Rings!"
A squeak and a stumbling sound could be heard from behind the curtain, which fluttered.
"Theron, don’t manhandle my brother in public." Cormac sighed, picking through the pile Theron had set aside. If they were all too big on the elf, Cormac thought he might find some styles that would fit him better.
A woman nearby shot Cormac an odd look, but he paid it no mind. People looking at him funny was just part of being him.
"Yes, please don’t, Theron," Fenris called out. "I’d like to get some use out of that corset before you get stains on it. I’d like to have at least paid for it."
"Fenris?" The voice came from behind them — from the door to the sewing room. "What are you doing here?"
No. Couldn’t be. Fenris looked over his shoulder in dawning horror. "Varania?"
"Hello!" Cormac turned, suddenly, still holding two pairs of knickers, one in a bright red and the other in mint green. "How have things been working out for you, then?" He paused and glanced at Fenris. "It’s just your sister, Fenris."
"Yes. It’s my sister. What if it was your sister?" Fenris stuffed his hands behind him, as if he hadn’t been looking for a pair of smalls to go with the corset Artemis was trying on.
"If it was my sister, she’d tell me these would make my ass look fat," Cormac said, taking a closer look at the green pair. "Don’t mind him, Varania. He’s bad at having family. Even mine. Well, no, I guess he’s very good at having my brother, or that’s what I’m told." He laughed, trading the green pair for another pair in red.
Kalli bit back a snicker as Fenris glared at Cormac. "And I suspect he’s here for the same reason anyone comes here," she said. "For a bigger selection of smalls." She plucked up the flimsy black number Theron had suggested earlier. "We were just thinking that this one would show off his figure."
Fenris passed a hand over his eyes, a strangled sound escaping his throat. "No. I am not here for… no. I am here with Artemis, who is, I suspect, currently being defiled by her husband."
"Defiled…?" Varania tilted her head.
Behind the curtain, there was another thump, a laugh, and then a hand was shoving a scantily clad elf out of the alcove. Varania struggled with a response to that.
"You are… underwear shopping with your husband… and his brother." Varania glanced at Cormac. That was his brother, right? It was hard to keep track.
"Brother. Accountant." Cormac shrugged. "My siblings buy exotic things. I make sure we can afford them. You should’ve seen Anton and his absurd Tevinter garden accessories. I wasn’t sure how we were going to afford my sister’s fall wardrobe, that year." He shook his head.
Varania nodded sympathetically. That was an arrangement she could understand, though one that usually fell to parents, in families that didn’t hire it out. "Tevinter… garden accessories?" She wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
"Don’t ask." Fenris rubbed his face. "Please don’t put ideas like that in my sister’s head."
"Why in the world not? You put them in my brother’s head, as I recall." Cormac smiled impolitely at Fenris, ever the somewhat fatherly figure, when he wanted to be.
And that would never stop giving Fenris chills. Every time someone said Cormac reminded them of the elder Hawke, Fenris needed a few breaths to settle himself. "What are you doing here?" he asked stupidly.
"I… work… here?" Varania blinked. "Are you sure you’re all right, Leto?"
Fenris’s cheek twitched at the name. "Do not call me that," he said, though he tried to keep the edge out of his voice.
"Well, brother-accountant," Theron said, grinning at Cormac. "Please tell me you’re buying that!" He pointed at Artie’s curtained alcove.
Cormac cocked his head at the curtain. "I think I still need the approval of one more elf, before I add that to the budget. Namely the one who’s supposed to be enjoying it." He squinted sidelong at Theron. "Fenris, am I buying that?"
Kalli rolled her eyes at the hopeful look Theron turned Fenris’s way. Fenris still felt unsettled, but he pushed it aside. He’d been getting used to pushing it aside. "A part of me is tempted to say ‘no’ just to spite you," Fenris drawled, crossing his arms over his chest, "but I’d only be spiting myself as well. Yes, Cormac, we are buying that."
It wasn’t the sort of thing he’d wanted to discuss in front of his sister, but if she worked here… well, she’d have to know anyway.
Theron barely tempered his glee when he noticed his wife shaking her head.
Varania eyed her brother curiously, completely uncertain how to react to any of the things potentially being implied.
"It’s, ah… Theron and Artie have been friends since we were kids," Cormac explained, quickly. "At least we’re all dressed, this time. Yes, yes, Fereldan barbarian dog-lords, bathing in rivers." He shrugged. "Hence why we ask the man who’s supposed to be enjoying my brother, as opposed to the one who’s just giving him a hard time."
"That’s not the only hard thing I’ll give your brother," Theron joked, and Kalli cracked him across the bottom. "See! I told you she smacked the ass right off me!"
"Your family is rather unusual, Fenris," Varania said, with a tiny smile.
"Yes. Yes, it is." He looked pointedly back at her. "How are your— How is your family?"
"Merrill’s taking care of them, while I work. She’s been teaching Paulla some rhymes in Elvish. They’re very pretty." Varania smiled.
"If Merrill’s teaching Elvish rhymes, you’d better ask her for translations!" Theron laughed. "The things I’ve heard that woman rhyme with ‘mi’nehn’!"
"I remember you tried to teach me some Elvish rhymes once," Artie said, again drawing aside the curtain. Theron pouted when he saw that Artemis was wearing considerably more clothing than before, corset folded and tucked under his arm. "But Elvish and I never really agreed with each other. I don’t think we got very far." He shrugged sheepishly and fidgeted with the corset’s rings.
Theron’s grin was devilish. "On the contrary—"
"Let me guess: ‘you got very far’ in another sense," Kalli interrupted. Theron’s grin climbed impossibly higher, and Kalli shook her head in fond exasperation.
Artemis tugged at a reddening ear. "Let’s try not to give my poor sister-in-law the wrong impression, shall we?" he asked, his shoulder nudging Theron’s as he walked past.
"And what impression would that be?" Theron purred, catching Artie around the waist.
"Nope! Not in the middle of the shop." Cormac pulled Artemis back from the arm around him, both hands landing just above Theron’s arm and lifting Artemis about a foot off the ground. "That is not yours, Theron. Get your own."
"Venhedis," Fenris swore, in exasperation.
"Fenedhis," Theron said, at the same time, watching how easily Cormac moved. He’d never quite realised the nerdy little teenage mage had grown into the sort of barbarian dog-lord who could just sling people around like stunned nugs.
"Your accent is horrible," Fenris muttered, with a surprised glance at Theron. "Have you been learning Tevene from Anders?"
"I promise you that’s an unvoiced fricative," Theron shot back. "It’s also an Elvish word. The ‘fen’ is the same root as your name."
"Oooh!" A noblewoman’s voice cut through the language argument. "Two strong boys and their elves. You two going to put on a show for us?"
Cormac’s face darkened. "I’m just here to keep the elves from manhandling my brother in public."
"Brother?" The noblewoman’s eyebrows rose, but she hid a titter behind her fan. It was an elegant fan, blue with silver designs, of the sort Bethany would covet. "Ohh, I see. A fellow Gazette reader," she said with an exaggerated wink.
The Gazette? Was there a new issue out?
"We… read it on occasion," Artie replied, confused. "My brother also manhandles me on occasion and needs to stop doing that in public." He wriggled in his brother’s grip and twisted to give him a flat look. He’d been sure to add the words ‘in public’ for his brother’s benefit.
"Oh, by all means carry on," the noblewoman purred as she eyed them up and down. "I admire such… brotherly affection."
"Such… what?" Artie blinked. He would burst into flames if he blushed any harder. "No. No, we actually are brothers. That handsome elf right there is my husband." Artemis pointed at Fenris, who looked much too wickedly amused by this situation.
"I don’t know what he’s talking about," Fenris said, somehow able to keep a straight face.
"By which he means this handsome elf, right here," Theron offered, with a luminously wicked smile.
"Either way, this is my brother, and he’s married to an elf. Not me. Obviously. Because we’re brothers." Cormac tossed Artie over his shoulder like a sack of turnips. "And he’s my little brother, so of course I embarrass him in public as frequently as possible."
"Artie’s not that little, even for a shem," Theron teased, leaping out of the way of Kalli’s next swat.
"But, what’s this about the Gazette?" Fenris asked. "I’m afraid I haven’t seen the latest."
The noblewoman eyed Theron. "Did you say ‘Archie’? The other one’s not Corwin, is he?"
"Cormac," Cormac corrected. "And my brother is most definitely not ‘Archie’."
"Hmm, no, I think I’m right." The woman giggled behind her fan again. "I think the Gazette’s got you, this week. How fortunate am I!"
"What do you mean?" Artie asked, face draining of colour. "Cormac, tell me what she means. No, put me down, and then tell me what she means."
Fenris cleared his throat. "Messere, you wouldn’t happen to have a copy of this week’s Gazette with you?"
"I do," Varania answered instead. "I haven’t read it yet, but a customer left a copy here and neglected to pick it up. One moment." Varania disappeared around a display of stockings and reappeared a moment later, brandishing the Gazette like a flag. "What page should I look for?" she asked the noblewoman.
"Page Six, of course," she answered, to Artie’s horror.
"Oh no. Oh no. Nope. No."
"What." Cormac set Artemis on his feet, and stepped in front of him. "Fenris, why do I feel like I need to have a chat with Isabela?"
"Possibly because you can’t imagine anyone else fantasising about your ‘brotherly love’? It’s not the only thing she fantasises about, but it comes up. Usually, it’s all four of you, though." Fenris paused and looked at his sister. "It’s not all four of them, is it?"
Varania couldn’t hide a smile. "This is terrible! It reads like one of those Orlesian books! ‘Blighted by True Love’ or some nonsense…" Still, her eyes didn’t leave the page. "My, is it warm in here?" she asked, finally, passing the paper to her brother.
"It’s the blistering furnace of my rage," Cormac assured her.
Fenris scanned the page, eyebrows creeping higher with each sentence. Well. The beginning of the scene was familiar, set in a particular tavern, at a particular table, in the middle of a particular game of spin-the-bottle. "It appears to be written from, ahem, ‘Archie’s’ perspective."
Fenris was still only halfway through the story when Artemis snatched the Gazette to read for himself. "I wasn’t finished with that," he said mildly, watching Artemis’s eyes grew wider by the second.
Whiskey. Forbidden lust. Neurotic narrator. "I am going to kill Isabela," he said, voice deceptively calm, if a higher register than normal as he passed the broadsheet to his brother. "I am not like that."
"You’re a bit like that," Fenris corrected, meeting Artie’s glare with a smile. "But perhaps shopping for undergarments in your brother’s presence is not where you should be, if you’re trying to convince the public you’re not… you know."
Artemis was glad to be out of the corset for this.