[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 352
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Isabela ♀, Cullen ♂, Varric ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Inappropriate sausage humour, codpieces
Notes: Anton throws a sausage party, truly the event of the season, whatever Cullen might think of it.
Anton was already flitting between tables, checking the signs, adjusting the number of glasses stacked behind each assortment of drinks, when Cullen got home, still dressed in plate. Cullen took in the endless trays of sausages and sausage toppings, before wondering if maybe he shouldn’t have stayed late at the office. But, Anton was holding another grand celebration, and it simply wouldn’t do for Cullen not to at least make an appearance. Perhaps a few drinks would settle him — he did usually enjoy these things, except for the endless supply of Orlesian women eyeing him like meat. The theme, tonight, would not help with that.
"There you are, Captain!" Anton purred, turning away from the table to reveal the rest of his outfit — which wasn’t that unusual for him, aside from the much larger than usual codpiece — all sleek black and deep reds, colours all the Amells looked good in. "I was starting to worry you might not make it!"
It was still early enough that the thought would have been ridiculous, if Cullen wasn’t well aware of the hour-long argument he was about to have with Anton about his own codpiece. He generally trusted Anton with his wardrobe, and Anton was very rarely wrong, but the theme parties… Anton had a way of dressing Cullen to match him, and Anton wanted to be seen, adored, admired, and objectified. He’d been getting better at more subtle things, for Cullen, but this time, the point of contention would be the codpiece, and Cullen could feel it, just looking at what Anton had on.
"Of course I made it," Cullen said, guardedly cheerful as he tried to think of a way he could convince Anton to let him stay in his armour. His armour, which had skirts that left everything to the imagination, whether Meredith would approve of him representing the Order like this or not. "Like I would miss a second of this… affair. This glorious affair."
He tried not to stare too much at Anton’s codpiece, but as his husband, he supposed he was allowed to stare a little. Trying not to look wary was another matter, and something Cullen failed at spectacularly, judging by the look on his husband’s face.
"You look worried," Anton pointed out, adjusting plates almost as meticulously as his brother would have. "No need to be worried, Captain. I know my sausages, and I have, of course, only chosen the best." He offered Cullen an exaggerated wink that was the opposite of reassuring.
"The best of sausages, perhaps, but the best for those sausages? That remains to be seen." Cullen choked out a laugh and rubbed his thumb and forefinger along the tops of his cheeks.
"Upstairs with you, o ye of little faith! I know what you like!" Anton looked melodramatically offended as he leapt toward Cullen, shooing him up the stairs with a few well-placed swats that clanked against the templar plate.
Once in their room, Cullen eyed the outfit on the bed, suspiciously. It seemed almost reasonable, with subtle templar-themed embroidery on the shirt and largely unexciting trousers. He began to unbuckle his armour as Anton brought out the last piece. The codpiece.
Anton waited until his husband was stripped nearly bare, before presenting the thing, if only to keep him from walking out of the room, the instant he saw it. It wasn’t nearly the masterpiece of cod-artistry that he was wearing, but the ruffled front both drew attention and concealed everything of note — a means of showing off but showing nothing. And really, given what he was wearing, it would likely pass almost unnoticed, among the guests.
Cullen eyed the thing suspiciously, comparing it with Anton’s considerably more ostentatious model. This was almost… well, he wouldn’t say ‘tasteful’. ‘Tasteful’ and ‘codpiece’ were not words that went together. "Hmm."
"Hmm ‘good’ or hmm ‘bad’?" Anton prompted, waving the codpiece back and forth.
"Hmm ‘that’s still ridiculous but not as bad as I was expecting’," Cullen replied. When he took the codpiece from his husband, Anton considered it a victory, his grin nearly blinding.
"Ridiculous? Please. You know you’re just there to make me look good."
Teasing tone aside, Cullen knew that that was more or less true, and he was fine with it. He shooed Anton out of the room. "Go on and see to your party. I’ll be down to make you look good in a few minutes."
"So, I don’t get a taste of your sausage, before the party starts?" Anton smiled slyly, running his hands over as much of Cullen as he could manage, before he got slapped away.
"You can lick the horseradish sauce off my sausage later, Anton. Right now, you are about to have guests, and I know you don’t want to leave the Antivans alone with the wine, or Isabela with the silverware." Cullen took some pity, as Anton continued to make sad eyes at him, and pulled his husband in for a warm, slow kiss. "Thank you for not picking something outrageous, this time."
"I said I know what you like, and I wasn’t kidding. More to the point, I wasn’t wrong." Anton winked, groping Cullen just a bit more, before he headed downstairs again, a smug smile firmly in place.
"I didn’t say I liked it," Cullen muttered, as the door swung shut.
By the time Cullen mustered the courage to come back downstairs, wearing a codpiece that was, as far as he was concerned, worse than an arrow pointing to his knob, Anton already had his hands full with a few Orlesians. And with Izzy, who was wearing more pants than he’d ever seen her in, and more in her pants than he ever thought to see.
"Good evening, Isabela," Cullen said, trying not to stare.
"Hello, Captain," she greeted him, grinning with none of the embarrassment that plagued him. "Aren’t we looking splendid? And I do mean ‘we’. You look marvellous, of course, but I am rather delighted with this particular outfit. Fran’s versatility always amazes me."
"Versatility," Cullen agreed, still determinedly not staring, despite how openly Isabela was staring at his crotch. Although, to be fair, Izzy was usually staring at his crotch. "Yes."
A whoop of laughter announced the arrival of Cormac and Anders, the two of them cackling and shoving at each other, as they staggered into the ballroom. Anders was rather tastefully dressed in Warden colours, aside from the steel griffon jutting from his crotch, and Cormac wore a deep red, with black accents, and a golden codpiece with what looked like a barrier rune on it, in brilliant red. Perhaps Anton had been right, Cullen thought. He would hardly show up at all, with these absurd and obscene displays around him.
"Cullen!" Anders called out, waving, as he headed over. "Let me see what Anton’s gotten you into this time. Is it terrible?"
"You take that back!" Anton insisted, from where he was trying to keep the wine all facing the same way until Artemis arrived and had a few glasses. "My taste in knob-wear is amazing."
"It’s… ah…" Cullen felt his cheeks redden as Anders, of all people, studied his crotch. "It’s really not that bad."
"No, it’s really not. Looks a bit like you’ve got a cravat in your fly, but it’s surprisingly tasteful, for Anton." Anders looked amused, but lowered his voice. "He picked good colours for you. Look around — you’ll blend right in with the tablecloths."
"What—?" Cullen knew exactly what he meant, but hadn’t realised Anders had a clue about that.
"I’m observant," Anders pointed out. "And you might have said a few things that suggest I’m right. You’ll look like part of the furniture, unless you introduce yourself. You’ll be fine."
And Cullen relaxed at that assurance. As Knight-Captain, he knew how to command attention when he needed to, but he didn’t need his crotch to be demanding that attention for him. "Ah. Of course. Thank you. Have you tried the…" He cast around, looking at the assorted plates. "…chorizo? It’s from the…" He tilted his head to read the label in front of the plate. "Er. The Anderfels." He flushed and proceeded to shove a piece of chorizo into his mouth to shut himself up.
Anders gave him a dry look. "Not recently," he said. "How’s it compare to the Fereldan horseradish?"
Healing sprang to Anders’s fingertips when Cullen started to choke. He patted Cullen’s back.
"Sorry," he said. "I hear that’s a common problem with Anders… chorizo."
"Not helping," Cullen wheezed, massaging his throat.
"Is someone already choking on sausage?" Isabela asked Anton, nudging him with her elbow. "I knew this would be my kind of party!" She grinned around a piece of sausage of her own.
"The Knight-Captain is choking on sausage, in the presence of a mage. Now, there’s a Gazette headline waiting to happen," Varric chimed in, relieving Isabela of her drink.
"Headline?" Isabela asked, raising an eyebrow. "I think that’s waiting for Page Six."
"After what you wrote about my brothers, I’m not sure I want you writing about my husband, Izzy," Anton warned, helping himself to a slice of wine-cured Antivan sausage, skewered with cheese and an olive.
"What she wrote about your brothers?" Varric inquired, looking all too entertained at the idea. "What was it?"
"Do you remember that dreadful, incestuous Page Six? Well, Sebastian made an excellent argument that it was intended to be about two of my brothers," Anton explained. "A bit more literate than I tend to expect from Izzy, but very much her sort of theme all the same."
Varric nearly choked on his wine, realising that Anton was talking about the story he’d written about the elder Hawkes. "Your brothers? You don’t say? I suppose there was that game of spin the bottle… That’s really nudging the bounds of politesse, Rivaini." He glanced at Isabela, waiting for her to call him on it.
"What can I say?" Isabela said with a sharp smile. "Some stories are begging to be written."
"And then burned," Anton drawled, pressing a slice of kielbasa to her lips to get him more quiet. "And then never mentioned again."
"Like that masterpiece on Meredith and Orsino?" Varric suggested. "I believe Meredith had a similar opinion on that one."
Izzy hummed around the bite she was chewing on, perking up. She covered her still full mouth with one hand and asked, "Did you invite the Knight-Commander? I would love to see her in codpiece. There’s a joke in there about Swords of Mercy that I am desperate to make."
"I would rather my husband didn’t die of shock," Anton said, "but chances are the chorizo will kill him first anyway."
"Is that a yes?"
"An invitation might have been sent. Whether she did anything other than burn or shred it seems regrettably unlikely."