[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 337
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Isabela ♀, Sebastian ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Discussions of Page Six, why we cannot just stab Velasco, and Sebastian in a dress
Notes: Isabela has some troubles, involving an Antivan pirate of some repute. Sebastian continues to have opinions about both Isabela and Page Six.
Anton stepped into the sitting room, where Isabela was drinking tea with his sister and her chantry boy. "Oh, look who’s here! Time to change the locks again," Anton teased, slipping into a chair and pouring a cup for himself.
"I knocked this time. Bodhan let me in." Isabela winked and flicked a slice of sugar into Anton’s tea. "Guess what?"
"You’re on your way to see Anders?" Anton raised his eyebrows, feigning innocence.
"No! Well, not this time, anyway. As I was telling your sister, Castillon’s back in town, and I’m not waiting around for him to stick a knife in my ribs. We’re going to get him, before he gets me."
"I mean, but it’s murder! And she’s a thief!" Sebastian protested.
"And you’re devoted to an institution that wants to imprison and torture your girlfriend," Anton pointed out. "We all make questionable choices, and I kind of like the benefits on this one. Isabela lives, and one of the nastiest pirates of the Waking Sea gets chopped into little bits and dumped in the harbour. Also, if I kill him, I get his stuff. I’ve heard he has very nice stuff."
"That’s the hope, anyway," Isabela said with an insouciant shrug. She blew on her tea, loudly, before taking a sip. "Unfortunately, Castillon’s holed up somewhere in Kirkwall. I haven’t been able to find him. I do know where Velasco is, however. That’s his right hand. We just have to make him tell us where Castillon is." She fidgeted with her kerchief and the way it sat on her head. "Somehow."
"Ah. Good to know you have it all planned out then," Sebastian huffed.
"Well, I haven’t worked out all the kinks," Izzy snapped, desperation creeping into her tone. Her gaze slid to Bethany, and she smirked. "That’s what I have Bethy for."
Sebastian met her grin with a blank look. She couldn’t decide if that was because he didn’t understand what she was implying or because he’d elected to pretend not to.
"And anyway, I do have a plan! Step one, we go to Velasco. Step two, something exciting happens. Step three, profit!"
Sebastian sighed into his tea.
"Well, do you have a better one?" Izzy asked him.
Anton held up one finger. "We could poke him with something sharp until he talks?"
"You’ll just end up killing him," Isabela sighed.
"That might not be as much of a problem as you think," Bethany reminded her.
"Anyway, if we kill him and search the body, we might find something," Anton put in, "necromantic nuttery aside."
"It is not nutty!" Bethany protested.
"Or we could find nothing and get nowhere," Isabela pointed out.
"Can’t we just ask this Velasco where his boss is? Nicely?" Sebastian asked, looking back and forth between Isabela and Anton.
"He’s not going to reveal anything willingly," Isabela sighed, crossing her legs and stirring her tea with one finger. "I can’t risk him getting suspicious and alerting Castillon. But…" She jabbed her wet finger in Anton’s direction. "What if you were to take me to Velasco and pretend to betray me?" She glanced at Sebastian. "Or you, I suppose, but I think Anton’s more convincing. You say you’re giving me to Castillon for gold, and Velasco takes me to him."
"And we follow you to the hideout," Anton finished, catching on.
"Exactly," agreed Isabela. "Once Castillon shows himself, we’ll take care of him." She sat back, half sprawling on the couch, looking terribly pleased with herself.
The front door slammed open before Bethany — or Sebastian — could respond. Bodhan greeted whomever was at the door. "Is she here?" replied a familiar voice, a voice belonging to the most neurotic of the Hawke brothers. "Varric told me she came here. Izzy!"
Anton eyed Isabela curiously. "Did you draw a penis on his stairs again?"
Izzy set down her tea and held up her hands in surrender. "No, I learned my lesson after the one time."
Artemis found them and scowled at Isabela from the doorway, the Gazette in one hand and some sort of fabric clutched in the other. Bethany saw the look, saw the Gazette, and nearly choked on her tea.
"Did you enjoy this week’s Page Six, brother?" she asked, batting her eyelashes. Next to her, Sebastian made a strangled sound that he tried to turn into a cough.
"Hush, you," Artie told his sister, pointing at her with the Gazette, his face reddening. He shifted to point at Izzy instead. "I know you did this."
"What? What did I do this time? Did they publish that one I wrote about the Arishok?" Isabela looked delighted. "I knew they’d come around to that one eventually!"
Cormac coughed and stepped around Artie, entirely careful not to touch him at all. "No, the other one. The one about me."
"The stud farm one? I didn’t think they’d go in for the horses!" Isabela looked even more amused. "I told you I was good enough for page six, Anton!"
"Actually, it’s … both of them. I rather thought it was Anton and Carver, but Sebastian’s so certain, aren’t you, pumpkin?" Bethany smiled at Sebastian, who looked like he was trying to sink through the chair and the floor.
"You thought that was me!?" Anton looked horrified. "That was obviously not me. Either one of them. And it can’t possibly have been those two. Where’s the screaming? What about the earthquakes?" he paused, contemplatively studying his brothers. "Although there was that game of spin-the-bottle… I mean, that did kind of happen, but… not… like that."
"Absolutely not like that," Cormac agreed, face tightening a little around his eyes.
"I didn’t write anything with the two of them, but now I wish I had!" Isabela laughed.
"Well, it was obviously written by somebody who was there for that!" Artie insisted, on the verge of stuttering. "The spin-the-bottle game, that is. Not the — the fictional thing that happened in here!" He shook the Gazette, its pages flapping. "Unless you’re implying that Varric wrote this, which… well, he might, just to make me sputter, but I doubt he would — would subject himself to it long enough to write in such… detail." Artie started pacing, threatening to wear a trail in the rug.
"Spin-the-bottle?" Sebastian repeated, voice sounding a little strained. The way they were talking about it, the way Artemis was looking everywhere except at his older brother… "You played a game and the two of you…?" He gestured between Cormac and Artemis. He prayed they’d misinterpret the dismay on his face.
"Oh yes," Izzy purred, leaning forward in her seat. "Artemis climbed right into Cormac’s lap. It was glorious."
"It was gross," Anton protested.
"Glorious," Izzy insisted. "I still think about it when it’s just me and the stallion."
"That is gross," Artemis replied, face scrunching. "And I only did that to gross out Anton." Which was at least partly true.
"It worked," Anton drawled.
Sebastian bit the inside of his cheek, determined to focus on the pain instead of that image, the image of Artie in his lap, lips on his like in that story and — no, nope. Not again.
"Anton’s just jealous I didn’t kiss him like that," Cormac joked, smirking at the brother in question. "He got up on the table for it and everything."
"What? That—! No!" Anton leapt out of his seat, teacup still in his hand. "Okay, yes, I was on the table, but it was because I was too lazy to walk around it for you. I might have gotten up if it was Fenris."
"You know, I’m glad I smacked you in the mouth." Cormac eyed Sebastian. "You had brothers. Were they like this?"
"I don’t… I can’t say I was ever in a similar situation with either of my brothers." Sebastian moved his head before his eyes caught up, and oh, that was Artemis just to the side. He wasn’t looking at Artemis. "I don’t really expect I’ll have the experience."
"I bet you it was Donnic," Isabela interrupted. "You know, he acts all charming and do-gooder, but I bet you he writes for Page Six on the side, when Aveline’s not looking. They don’t work the same shift, you know. He’s got the alone time for that kind of writing."
"Donnic?" Cormac blinked. "Of everyone at that table, you pick Donnic?"
"Well, it’s not like it was going to be Anders. He’s much too sweet on you to pull something like this. And could you even imagine Merrill? It’s much too literate to be Fenris, and I don’t think Cullen could think it without bursting into flames." Isabela shrugged. "It’s Donnic."
"No, it’s you," Artemis insisted, eyes narrowed on Isabela. "You’re just trying to throw us off the scent. Who will you implicate next? Corff? Is that what he does between pouring drinks?"
Izzy tapped her chin. "Now that you mention it…"
"No. No, I don’t mention it. Corff is not perving on my brother and me. That is a whole barrel of ‘no’."
Bethany’s teacup didn’t quite hide her snickers. "Really, Artie, it could be anyone. Someone might simply have heard about the game and filled in their own details."
Artemis looked, if anything, more horrified. "Heard about? Are people talking about that? Does all of Kirkwall know about that?"
"I didn’t," Sebastian assured him in a strangled voice, still not looking at Artemis.
"Artie, sit down. Have some tea." Bethany gave him a stern look that reminded him of his mother in that instant. "You could shake the ground with your pacing alone if you go any faster."
"Can we please not talk about my brother shaking the ground, after that?" Cormac groaned, pressing his hands against his eyes.
"Okay, instead let’s talk about how somebody’s trying to kill me, and we’re going to kill him first!" Isabela offered, grinning.
"You mean other than my brother? Because I’m pretty sure Artie’s going to kill you." Cormac pointed out. "But, if it’s somebody else, I’ll totally save you from them, so Artie can do it, himself."
"That’s so sweet of you!" Isabela grinned wolfishly at Artemis.
"What can I say? I’m a giver." Cormac continued to eye Isabela warily. "So, who do I have to kill to preserve your limited virtues for the later entertainment of my younger siblings?"
"Castillon’s back for the book," Anton filled in. "You know, the one we gave to the Qunari?"
"The one you gave to the Qunari," Cormac pointed out. "Which was a good move, by the way. I really thought we were going to walk out of there without a fight, for about five seconds."
"Anyway, the man is back, and his intent is ill. And we’re going to use Isabela as bait, to lure him out." Bethany smiled serenely.
"We? Tell me that means you’re coming along." Cormac smiled slyly at his sister.
Bethany’s grin was wicked. "Why not? I could use a day out in the city. Fresh air and all that. Pumpkin?"
Sebastian half jumped at the address, eyes darting about guiltily even though he’d done a good job of not staring at Bethany’s brother. "Yes, Sunshine?"
"Care to join us or does the Chantry require your services today?"
"What?" Isabela huffed. "Choir boy? He’ll just try to keep me from gutting the bastard! He might even try to trade me in for real."
"I might help him," Artie said with narrowed eyes. It was, quite possibly, the only time Artemis remembered agreeing with Sebastian.
"I will gladly lend my assistance," Sebastian said, setting his teacup down on its saucer, "if only in the hopes of finding a more peaceable solution."
"Peaceable?" Izzy repeated, her stare sharpening. "And this from you?"
Sebastian finally let himself look at Artemis. "You know, turning her in for real might not be a bad idea, after all."
"Did I threaten to throw you to the Qunari, when there were still Qunari to throw you to? No? Then maybe you can do Izzy the same favour. The man’s no damned good, and I wouldn’t sell you to him in drag, however tempting it might be both to be rid of you and to see you in a dress." Cormac looked much too calm, and his smile was chillingly just slight of pleasant. "Wouldn’t he look good in that silver tea gown with the blue sash, Artie?"
"Oh! That’s what I want for my birthday, Beth!" Isabela grinned, leaning over to wrap herself around Bethany’s arm. "I want Chantry Boy in a silver tea gown! And can we make him recite the Chant for us, too?"
Bethany’s eyes sparkled. "Cormac? Can we afford a tea gown in his size?" Bethany asked.
"Wait, what?" Sebastian glanced around the room in horror. "No, no, no. I don’t need a tea gown."
"But, just think!" Cormac teased. "She’ll sit still for the Chant, if you wear it. You’re doing the Maker’s work." He smiled in that manner that only older brothers do.
"And now that we’ve hooked up my ex with my sister’s boyfriend, I think we have somewhere else to be, don’t we? Tell me we do." Anton looked at Isabela. "Where are we going to find this Velasco?"
"Velasco’s been spending his nights at the brothel, enjoying its many splendours," Isabela replied, still sizing Sebastian up as though trying to calculate his gown measurements. "That’s where we’ll find him."
"The brothel?" Sebastian repeated, looking considerably less thrilled with this situation.
"There you go, Artie!" Anton said with a pained smile. "You can visit Jethann while we’re there. He was asking about you, last time. Well, you and Fenris. You and Fenris and acts I don’t need to picture."
Artemis folded his arms across his chest, tilting his chin up defiantly. "I’m not going," he said.
"Aw, but, Artie," Izzy wheedled, "I thought you’d love to come to the brothel!" Her grin turned wicked. "And in the brothel."
"The brothel is exactly the last place I should be seen in with my brother right now," Artemis snapped. "And you can make all the dirty puns you want, Izzy. I’m still mad at you."
"I know," Izzy sighed, resting her chin on her fist and fluttering her eyelashes. "And it’s adorable. Like an angry, fluffed up kitten."
"I am not—!" Artemis cut himself off with a growl, colour rising high on his cheeks. He held up one finger in admonition. "I’m leaving." Artemis spun on his heel and stormed out the door, not daring to make eye-contact with Cormac as he left.
"And now we’ve lost Messere Earthquakes and the power of smashing things flat. Shall we go, before we lose anyone else to this delightfully witty banter among friends?" Cormac looked less than entirely thrilled with the situation.
Sebastian finally registered what Cormac was wearing. "And what is this about me in a dress, when he’s wearing Chantry Mothers’ robes? That’s sacrilege, you know!"
"This is exactly what I’m talking about," Cormac muttered, pointing at Sebastian. "And they’re not Chantry Mothers’ robes, they’re my robes. I doubt any of the Mothers have robes that would fit me. I am not a small man."
"Are we going?"Anton asked, standing up. "I think we’re going. Anyone who’s coming along, now’s the time."