[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 350
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: M (L2 N3 S3 V0 D0)
Warnings: PFFT, eww, sucks to the neighbours, Cormac you are not a sylvan
Notes: Magic and an understanding of motion. Then, a serious conversation.
Cormac gave a few more slow, grinding thrusts, his hand rubbing warm circles against Anders’s lower back. "You all right, sweet thing?"
Anders nodded. "Yeah, I—" His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open as he clenched hard around Cormac. "Can’t stay like this," he panted, gritting his teeth. "Tell me you have more than one chamber pot in here."
"No, but I have magic." Cormac laughed. "I think we can fake it."
"You’re out of your mind, and I don’t want to get up," Anders muttered.
"Yes, but the sooner you get up, the sooner I can clean off the bed, so we can get back into it, clean and warm, and stay there until the crack of noon," Cormac reminded him. "No, Justice, we’re staying in bed ’til noon, if there’s no emergency. He needs it, and that means you do, too."
Anders laughed, and then the tears came again. Sniffling, he patted Cormac’s leg. "I can’t get up unless you do."
Cormac eased himself out, slowly and gently, watching the ripple of Anders’s muscles as he moved. A sudden dismayed squawk from beneath him set off a flurry of spells, after which he sank onto the bed, beside Anders. "You’re covered. Do what you need to. I’m just going to lie here and stare at the inside of my eyelids, for a little bit. Sorry about the timing. I did mean for you to get up, before I did that but…"
"What did you even…?" Anders squinted back over his shoulder.
"Barrier. I’ll hit it with ice, when you’re done, and then I’ll figure out if I’m dragging that out to the sewer, or if I’m just going to lob it over the garden wall and then dispel the ice." Cormac chuckled.
"You wouldn’t," Anders choked out, between his own spells.
"Please. It’s the LeClair estate. You know I would," Cormac huffed, stretching his legs. "I want you to know I have never appreciated your stamina in quite the way I do, right now. If I ever move again, it will be the work of a god."
"Or, you could sleep, and I could heal you in the morning," Anders offered, one hand pressed to his no longer distended belly, as he forced the last of the fluid out of himself, with a spell designed for exactly that. Well, approximately that, anyway. It was a good one for food poisoning, really.
"You’re so good to me," Cormac purred.
"I’d ice this myself, but I don’t think I can aim at this angle." Anders admitted after a moment.
Cormac sat up and froze the contents of the barrier before releasing it, and Anders crawled out of the puddle of questionable fluids to sprawl across a drier part of the bed. "Magic," Cormac said again, heaving the frozen lump onto the window sill. "Magic and an understanding of motion."
"You’re really going to—" Anders started, but Cormac had already let go, squinting after the ice ball.
A loud thump echoed up from outside. "Yes!" Cormac cheered. "Take that one to heart!" He turned back to the bed to find Anders icing the fluids up out of the mattress, and he grabbed the chamberpot to sweep the ice chips into.
After a few minutes of both of them working at it, the bed was dry and, as promised, warm. Cormac tucked the chamberpot under the edge of the bed and slid under the blankets to join Anders, who wrapped tightly around him, almost at once, shaking.
"Empty again," Anders complained.
"Fix that in the morning. Roast pheasant and cheese salad and barley noodles with fig paste and pickled dates…" Cormac purred at the thought of the feast. "I know what you like."
"Yeah, you do," Anders choked out, eyes tearing up again. "Why? Why do you do this for me?"
"You’re my family, Anders. Why wouldn’t I?" Cormac chuffed against Anders’s neck. "I just also happen to like to bone you. As often as either of us can manage it. You’re kind; you’re gorgeous; you unapologetically believe in the right of all people to determine their own fate, regardless of any accidents of birth; you’ve got the libido of a stag in rut… What’s not to like?"
"Well, when you put it like that…" Anders said with a watery smile. Even that he couldn’t maintain, and he held Cormac as though he were a lifeline. He sucked in a deep breath, making sure his voice was steady. "Cormac, you’ve stood by me, when I gave you every reason to turn away. Just remember, whatever happens, I wanted you to know that."
"Whatever happens?" Cormac pulled back, twisting until he could see Anders’s face. "What, are you expecting something to happen? Because if you are, I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen to both of us, not just you. Unless this is the part where you turn into a bad romance novel, and tell me I’m too perfect, so now you have to leave. Which is shit, by the way, if you were thinking it. I hate those books. And didn’t I just promise you’d never be alone again?"
"Oh please. I’m not the tree. And for someone who hates those kinds of books you seem to know an awful lot about them." This smile wouldn’t stay, either, but this time it resolved into something less broken, more resigned. "It’s just that… it’s just you and me, you know. The mage underground is all but destroyed, and those left have turned to blood magic as their only option. There’s no way the city will take our side now, and Meredith knows it. I’m out of hope, Cormac."
"First we take Kirkwall, then we take Thedas." Cormac grinned, tossing a leg over Anders’s hip. "If Meredith were to meet with an accident, I think Cullen’s the obvious choice of replacement. He is the knight-captain. We put that kind of power in charge, and things change. It’s not much going to matter what the people think of apostates, once the Circle is in better hands. Once people come to trust the Circle, again — which they don’t right now, because Meredith is terrifying, but they’re afraid she’s right — then they’ll start to come around to the idea that maybe it’s not mages who can’t be trusted, but assholes. And we’ll have less mage assholes as there’s less of a reason for them to be. There’s hope, but maybe only if we shove hard. Just once."
And that was a decent thought, Cullen as Knight-Commander, but Anders shook his head against the pillow. "Meredith needs to go," he agreed, "but she is as much a symptom as a cause for what is wrong with the Order. She’s already had Cullen investigated, imprisoned even. Even if she found nothing, the whole incident still affected his reputation. What if something happens and Elthina appoints someone other than Cullen? Would we really be any better off?"
"So, maybe we shove a little harder," Cormac ground his hips against Anders’s thigh, "we can clear out the upper ranks entirely." He wasn’t sure how he felt about assassinating the Grand Cleric, as annoying as she was — as honestly threatening as she was. He just… didn’t think killing religious figures was generally wise, regardless of their gods, just in case those gods decided to start paying attention. On the other hand, by the Chant itself, she’d strayed from the Maker’s path, and she wasn’t actually doing the job she’d been given, so whatever she called herself, perhaps she wasn’t shielded by her god, but only by her faith. It didn’t sit right with him, but other options sat worse.
Anders pulled back far enough to look at Cormac. "Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?" he asked, expression guardedly neutral. He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about it, if Justice hadn’t thought about it, but thinking and admitting were two separate things.
"What, that I stay right here and rut against your thigh until I’m raw and the last potion wears off?" Cormac smirked and rolled his hips again. "Oh, you meant about Elthina. I don’t like it, but I’m not sure there’s another way out of this. I mean, the Divine’s half likely to bring down a march, anyway. Meredith’s pushing to Annul, and at some point, that’s finally going to go through, no matter what Orsino has to say about it. Maybe it’s not the best, but we’re running out of time, and we know an Antivan Crow. … former Crow."
"You… want Zevran to assassinate the Grand Cleric," Anders said. It felt dangerous just to say it aloud, but he had to, to make sure he’d heard that right, to make sure his ears and brain weren’t playing tricks on him this time. He looked over his shoulder, just to reassure himself they were alone.
He considered that, for a moment. Meredith, Elthina, their underlings all out of the way. Brutal, but it would free up the right people. And yet…
"She’s a symbol," Anders said. "Or she would become one if assassinated. Symbols are useful, but her death might be useful to the wrong people."
"So, it has to look like an accident. Almost makes me wish we’d let the Qunari have her." Cormac nuzzled under Anders’s chin again, speaking quietly. "But, we’ve lost everyone else, you say. If they decide to come for us, now, nothing’s going to protect us, but us. I can’t imagine Meredith’s going to continue to allow mages in her city that aren’t under her direct control. I think she’s going to pick that fight with the First Warden, and I think we might not survive it, so we’d better get our hits in quick. If she gets an Annulment, every mage in Kirkwall dies. I don’t expect there will be a tower here, again — just an outpost of the Order. She’s pushing for a return to the pre-Chantry mage-hunting days, and as soon as the Divine realises what’s happened, there’s going to be an Exalted March, to wipe out everything in Kirkwall, but it’ll be too late, by then, for you and me and every other mage here. I don’t think we have a choice, any more."
"We don’t," Anders agreed, and in the back of his mind, Justice echoed his agreement. "Even if we save Kirkwall, what of the other mages? The other Circles? I can’t pretend there wouldn’t be consequences." There was no way this wouldn’t end in a war, even — especially — if they succeeded. There was too much anger there, under the surface, anger Anders knew too well. But, perhaps, a war was exactly what Thedas needed. Like rebreaking a bone so it could heal properly.
Anders pulled Cormac close again, buried his face in Cormac’s sweaty hair. "He’ll still be here, you know — Justice — long after you and I are gone. Sacrifice doesn’t mean the same thing to a spirit. He’ll just go back to the Fade."
"He doesn’t seem to mean to let you die, you know. The two of you are going to outlive me by a very large margin. Centuries from now, you’ll still be there. Still righteous and beautiful and good. And if you’re really lucky, maybe he’ll have learnt to let you sleep, by then." Cormac laughed, one hand kneading the tense muscles in Anders’s back. "You’re amazing, and I will never regret a moment I spent with you. Even those times you pushed me out of bed."
"There is something seriously wrong with you, you know that?" Anders said, knowing Cormac would hear the smile in his voice. Idly, he traced the lines of Cormac’s back. "But you’ve been a better friend than I ever thought to have." The words came out choked, half muffled by Cormac’s hair. Despite everything that had gone wrong in his life, Anders must have done something right to end up in this man’s life and his bed.
"Pretty thing, if it’s taken you this long to notice there’s something seriously wrong with me, maybe you’re a little less intuitive than I give you credit for. I thought maybe the part where I beg you to cut me until I come would have been a sign, there," Cormac teased. "But, somehow, you’re still here in my bed. My very own bed contains a gorgeous revolutionary. How did I get so lucky?"
"Because your bed is more comfortable than mine," Anders teased, stretching his legs as far as they would go, toes curling. He wriggled down the pillow far enough to press a kiss to Cormac’s lips. "Thank you, Cormac. For being every bit as insane as you are."