[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 357
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Varric ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Theron Mahariel ♂, Varania ♀, Paivel ♂, Natia Brosca ♀, Gytha ♀, Sebastian ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Inappropriate sausage humour, codpieces, Sebastian is much too drunk for this party
Notes: Anton vs. Orlais. Fine elven craftsmanship. The introduction of Andrastian sausage. Varric to the rescue.
Anton caught the Orlesian’s hand, twisting it subtly but painfully as his thumb dug in to the base of the palm. "Perhaps messere is looking for Serendipity or Jethann? I’m certain I’ve seen them both, tonight. They’re good friends, you know, and neither one can resist a good party." A flick of his wrist and the mask and codpiece staggered back, trying not to spill wine. "But, attempting to fondle the host’s husband, in the midst of the festivities? Perhaps you’d like a cup of Nevarran black, before you have any more of that wine."
Anton’s voice never raised above a conversational volume, and the entire exchange took merely a few seconds, but a good quarter of the room observed it, all the same. And that was half the game, he knew. To establish the limits of his tolerance, without making a scene, until the time for a scene was right. He didn’t expect the Orlesians to respect his word any more than they respected Cullen’s obvious, terrified disinterest. But, eventually, some fool of higher status would try their luck, and Anton would make a spectacle of them. And then, it would stop — or at least it would be more subtle, and probably a lot less upsetting to Cullen.
He put an arm around his husband’s waist, and pressed a quick kiss to Cullen’s cheek. "No one but me, Captain. I’m just waiting for the one I need to duel, to stop this. Demons or not, I won’t let them have you."
"My hero. Just tell me you’re not going to swoop down from the balcony," Cullen sighed, showing all of his affection and exasperation in that one breath. He could certainly slap around a few Orlesians if he needed to, but not with the same politesse as his husband. With the Orlesians that was important, if irritating, and Cullen was more than happy to let Anton deal with them.
Anton looked up at the balcony and the chandelier contemplatively, and Cullen’s next sigh was almost completely exasperation.
"Anton, no," he said.
"Eat a sausage." Cullen stoppered Anton’s protest with… where was the label for that particular piece of meat? Oh. Had they circled back to the Ander chorizo again? Cullen’s cheeks coloured while Anton obligingly chewed.
"Not bad," Anton decided, licking his lips. "I love it when you distract me with sausage." Somehow, Anton pressed himself tighter to Cullen’s side.
"Your codpiece is digging into my leg," Cullen muttered, reaching for a labelled sausage. Anything other than the chorizo, which made him think of — but he wasn’t thinking of that. "Stop that, before you rub the gilding off."
"Might be worth it. I can afford to have it re-gilded," Anton purred, helping himself to another slice of chorizo.
"Yes, but will it be worth the Orlesians seeing the gold stain you’ve left on my hip?" Cullen asked, taking a bite of … something dark and strongly herbal. He poured himself a glass of wine to chase the flavour.
"Are you suggesting I should be leaving gold stains on your crotch-cravat?" Anton asked, taking a sip from Cullen’s glass, and then handing it back.
"Please don’t be leaving gold stains on my anything," Cullen said, but Anton’s attention was already elsewhere.
And, really, Cullen wished Anton would look at him the way he was looking at Theron’s crotch in that moment. Anton squeaked but wisely paused to swallow before speaking. "That is glorious. And unfair. Why did I not think of that?"
Cullen looked again and — ah. Theron’s crotch-dragon. "And please don’t leave gold stains on his crotch either, no matter how beautifully clad." And beautiful was not the word Cullen would have chosen, but he knew Anton would, the way his eyes sparkled.
"That is excellent craftsmanship," Anton called out, approaching Theron and interrupting him in the middle of whispering a stream of filth in his brother’s ear, filth Anton cheerfully pretended not to notice. "Wherever did you get that?"
A hand still lingering on the small of Artie’s back, Theron turned, puffing out his chest when he saw where Anton was looking. "Well, I was born with this excellent piece of elven craftsmanship — oh, you mean the codpiece."
Artemis glanced between then, confused, until he remembered to look down. He then rolled his eyes and left to refill his glass.
After a moment of confusion, Cormac followed, trailing Natia and Gytha, who were exchanging stories of the ‘Pillar of Passion’ and laughing uproariously.
"I think the piece in your cod is more my brother’s interest. Possibly more than one of my brothers. There’s an implied question there, and I’d really rather you didn’t answer it." Anton winked and squeezed Cullen’s bottom. "I’ve got more than enough to play with, and I don’t need to know how many of my brothers are playing with you."
"Well, to answer the question both more and less explicit, it’s Ilen’s work, same as Paivel’s. We wanted to make sure we were showing off the true glory of the Dales to all the less-cultured people here, tonight." Theron smiled brightly. "I mean, just look around you! The Orlesians still hide their faces in shame that they’ve never come close to our wondrous works, even after looting Halamshiral and taking everything apart. They’re right to be ashamed. I wouldn’t show my face in public either."
"Paivel’s?" Anton repeated, tilting his head curiously. "I don’t believe I’ve seen this other finely-crafted codpiece."
Theron tilted his head in the direction of another Dalish elf, who hovered uncomfortably around the Nevarran plates with Varania. Anton had noticed him but not the startlingly detailed halla’s head over his groin, its antlers following the curve of his hipbones and disappearing behind his back.
"Oh my," said Anton, both eyebrows shooting up. "Is that what happened to your halla?"
Theron nearly choked on his sausage. "Elgar’nan, I hope not, or Paivel has some explaining to do. And no, I do not plan to strap an aravel to the poor man’s codpiece."
"Too bad," Anton sighed. "I would have paid to see that."
On the other side of the room, by a tray of Fereldan sausage, Sebastian tried to explain himself to Artemis, while Cormac poured wine for the lady dwarves. "You are a very good looking man. For a man. And listening to Varric… er… talk about you, I started thinking that maybe I should expand my thinking." Sebastian took the bottle from Cormac and poured another glass for Artie. "I mean, maybe we should get to know each other a bit better."
"So, explain this to me again?" Natia asked Cormac. "He’s the kind of religious where he can’t do the do, but he’s going to marry your sister, except he’s making the moves on your brother?"
"Pretty much." Cormac nodded, handing a sausage roll to Gytha. "These are great. Almost every city in Ferelden’s got sausage rolls in the market. They’re almost the base flavour of Ferelden. No matter where you go, there they are."
"Get to…?" Artemis echoed, blinking owlishly at the glass Sebastian was offering him before hesitantly taking it. Sebastian seemed to take that as some sign of approval, because he sidled closer. "Um. Hold on a moment. Just to be sure the drink hasn’t addled my brains… you are Sebastian, correct?"
"Then this drink has addled my brains." Artemis squinted distrustfully down at the drink in his hand.
"Perhaps you are simply overwhelmed," Sebastian suggested, hand lighting on Artie’s arm. "Why don’t we go somewhere quieter? For your health, of course."
Gytha snorted. "Of course," she said into her drink.
"It might be better for your health, Sebastian, if you keep my brother in my line of sight." Cormac smiled impolitely around Artie’s shoulder, reaching between them to grab a loop of onion sausage.
Sebastian eyed him, looking uncertain for a moment. "I believe that is up to your brother," he said, tilting his chin proudly up.
"I’m… fine here. Sebastian." Artemis still looked more confused than anything. "But thank you for your concern."
"Ah. Well, I suppose it would be a shame to miss any of the party, anyway." Sebastian hand-picked a particularly plump sausage and offered it to him, holding it to Artie’s lips.
Artemis’s eyes crossed as he looked at the bit of sausage before taking it between his teeth just so Sebastian would stop holding it there. As Artie chewed, he turned a desperate look Cormac’s way.
Cormac raised an eyebrow at his brother, eyes suddenly serious. This was it, then. He was going to have to perform a daring rescue, without looking like a jealous lover. And then Varric walked past.
"Varric! Come sit by us!" Cormac called, waving over the storyteller. As one might expect, Varric had hollowed out one of his own books for a codpiece, and more than a few Orlesian hands had tried to pick it up to read.
Varric made his way to the table of Fereldan sausage, taking a seat on the tiered decoration at the corner of the table. "What news?" he asked. "Other than that every beautiful woman here is clearly following you around."
"Varric, I will hit you with a dildo," Gytha threatened, and Varric held up his hands in surrender.
"Things are getting a little exciting here," Cormac said, leaning over to explain the situation to Varric.
"You’re shitting me." Varric looked between Artemis and Cormac.
"Just watch for a minute, and you’ll see." Cormac took a bite of sausage and scanned the crowd. Still no Anders.
"He really is," Natia chimed in, nodding.
"Can I get you some more wine?" Sebastian asked, looking for a bottle that hadn’t been emptied already, but having difficulty looking away from Artie’s face.
"C’mere, Nervy," Varric said, holding out a hand. "You look like you need a real man."
Gytha choked on her wine and Natia patted her back.
"Uh." Artemis had trouble forming words with his jaw hanging open. With an audible click of teeth, he finally remembered to shut it. "I… Wine is… No. I’ve had enough of… whatever was in this drink." Artie considered his options — his two equally absurd options — and decided that Varric was likely the safer of the two. Likely. Hopefully. "Thank you, though. Sebastian. Uh. Yes." Artemis pressed his glass into Sebastian’s hand and edged away from him towards Varric.
With a wink and a grin, Varric patted his lap invitingly. Artemis eyed him and then Cormac, and then looked around desperately for his husband. Not finding him, Artie let Varric pull him into his lap, to Sebastian’s disappointment.
"My hero," Artemis said, wrapping his arms around Varric’s neck like a heroine in an Orlesian novel. "I thought you’d never ask." He took the opportunity to pet Varric’s chest hair, which was even silkier than it looked.
Sebastian frowned down at his own chest, which remained hidden from view.
From across the room, Bethany shot Cormac an inquisitive look, to which he shrugged and tipped his chin toward Sebastian. She pinched the bridge of her nose and fell back into conversation with Varania, on the horrors of sisterhood.
As Cormac kept an eye on the situation, still introducing the dwarves around him to the delightful taste of Fereldan sausages, Anders and Fenris appeared at the entrance to the room, each a little weak-kneed and distinctly not leaning on the other. Cormac was sure he was very sorry he’d missed whatever had gone on, downstairs, even if dazed and contemplative were not the anticipated looks, after something he assumed hadn’t involved trousers. Cormac shot Anders a somewhat distressed look, and Anders tapped Fenris’s shoulder, gesturing across the room.
It took them a bit of time to arrive, by which point Sebastian was sulking and Varric was feeding Artemis perfectly round slices of sausage, off the point of his knife, sliced one-handed, as the other hand supported Artemis on his lap.
"Varric, what is my husband doing in your lap?" Fenris asked, assuming there was a perfectly reasonable and non-sexual explanation for this — primarily because he was sure Varric wouldn’t look so amused, otherwise.