[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 370
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anton Hawke ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Carver Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Cullen ♂, Fenris ♂, Merrill ♀
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Puns, horrible puns, worse puns, dreadful flirting
Notes: More swording and spooning.
Carver leaned forward, setting his bowl on the edge of the table, before scooping Merrill into his arms, as he stood. "Well, thank you for the lovely demon-filled afternoon, but I, for one, have had enough of swords and spoons, for the day, and I’m taking this beautiful woman with me, before you fill her head with worse ideas than she has on her own. Captain, I’ll see you in the morning, assuming you survive another night with my brother."
Merrill waved at them cheerfully, peering over Carver’s shoulder. "Back to the swording!" she said, just to hear Carver groan.
"Demons, hmm?" Anton asked, all smiles even as he checked his husband over. Cullen didn’t have the nightmares as often now, but he still had them. He would probably have them tonight, judging by the empty bottle by his feet. "That does sound exciting. And like the sort of thing I’ll only pretend to be sorry I missed."
"I think my ice cream needs more whiskey," Cullen declared, and Anders obligingly handed him another bottle.
Anton eyed the whiskey, eyed Cullen. "Anders, I don’t suppose I could charm you into making another bowl?" Anton tilted his head back to bat his eyelashes at the mage in question.
Anders hummed, tilting his head as though putting serious thought into this. "Depends on what you mean by ‘charm’."
"Please, nothing involving swords," Artie sighed. He reached for Fenris’s bowl again, but Fenris grabbed the bowl and held it just out of reach, the sword still in his lap. Fenris answered Artie’s pout with a sharp smile.
"Oh, I don’t know, I thought maybe I’d go down on one knee and recite Orlesian poetry," Anton said, with a smile.
"I don’t think that counts as ‘charming’, Anton. ‘Tormenting’, perhaps. ‘Coercing.’ If I make a bowl for you, do you promise not to say anything Orlesian, for the rest of the night?" Anders reached for a pitcher of cream and another bowl.
"But, what if Cullen wants to hear some of the excellence of Orlais?" Anton replied, hands clutched in front of his chest, as he batted his eyes innocently.
"Then I’d advise taking it upstairs, or at least into a closet, like most of your adventures in Orlesian excellence." Candied orange, whiskey, and filberts went into the bowl, and Anders swirled it and froze it, before passing it off to Anton. "Dragon noises and accusations of ass-banditry are more than enough for my delicate sensibilities."
Cullen choked on a mouthful of ice cream and scoffed. "You. Delicate sensibilities."
"But clearly not delicate hearing, or he’d be deaf by now," Fenris mumbled into his ice cream. He took another bite, the ice cream mostly melted on his spoon. "Do I want to know about the ass-banditry?"
"I’m sure it’s exactly as bad as it sounds," Artemis cheerfully replied, finally managing to grab the bowl away from Fenris. The elf huffed and let him hold it, swatting his mage’s spoon away with his own every time he took a bite.
"If by bad, you mean devilishly wicked, you are correct," Anton said. "Anders, this is delicious, by the way. Why have we never had this before? What’s the point of having so many mage siblings, otherwise?"
"I apologize for failing in my brotherly duties," Artie drawled.
"Not you. You’d probably set the cream on fire."
Artemis scowled but looked offended when Fenris nodded in agreement. "This is why we have Orana," Fenris said. "You know that as well as I. And thank you for taking the bowl. My fingers were getting cold." They engaged in spoon warfare until Fenris managed to sneak a spoonful past Artie’s defences.
"Wait, wait, this is on me?" Cormac looked outraged. "What about Bethy?"
"Ice cream," Cullen pointed out, "not frosted zombies."
"Hey, now," Anders protested, "I learned this from a necromancer!"
"That… elf." Cullen looked less than entirely amused. "I’ve seen elves, before. I’ve seen elves since. I’m still not convinced that was an elf. Some strange spirit sent to torment us all, more like."
"He was kind of a shit, wasn’t he." Anders smiled fondly. "I liked him, though."
"No wonder," Cullen muttered. "You’re kind of a shit. Still. Present tense."
"Is that any way to talk to the man who’s going to make you Knight-Commander?" Anders teased.
"Are you… wooing my husband?" Anton asked, wrist pressed against his forehead, as the cold finally caught up with him.
"I might be, but he started it, getting all spoony about my swording." Anders re-froze his own bowl and sat down in Cormac’s lap, to eat.
"I assure you there was no spooning or spooniness in your absence," Cullen told Anton gravely.
Artemis foisted the bowl on Fenris again, who proceeded to scrape it clean. "You need mittens to eat this," Artemis said, rubbing his knuckles together. With no mittens handy, he went with the closest thing available, shoving cold hands up Cormac’s sleeve just to hear him squeak.
Cormac squawked, trying to leap out of his seat, but foiled by Anders’s weight in his lap. He cast a flash spell in his sleeve, not enough to burn, but a biting burst of sudden warmth. He put his own bowl in Anders’s lap, grabbed Artie’s hair, and licked his cheek. "Creators, you little shit, I thought you stopped doing that when you were twenty-two!"
Artie whined, shoulder scrunching up in an attempt to shield him from any more licking. Artemis rubbed his cheek on his sleeve, the whine still caught in his throat. "And I thought you’d stopped doing that ten years ago, you bigger shit!"
"Please don’t lick my mage," Fenris said. "That is my job." Fenris licked a stripe up Artie’s other cheek, earning the same reaction, complete with squirming.
"Eww! Cold tongue!"
"Too much tongue," Anton declared, "and not enough of it mine." He held out his hand to Cullen, who seemed to have slid down into a whiskey-flavoured puddle with knees in the seat of his chair. "Come husband, let us retreat to the boudoir, where we may put our own cold tongues to excellent Orlesian uses."
"I prefer the Fereldan uses for your tongue," Cullen grumbled, grabbing Anton’s hand and heaving himself out of the chair. He set down the bowl, but kept the bottle. "But, perhaps the Orlesian uses for the whiskey."
"Gentlemen," Anton said, with a quick bow, "dragon noises to follow." He turned to lead Cullen out, just in time to almost crash into Bethany, coming in.
"Isn’t there a spell for that?" Bethany asked her brothers. "Something to make it less loud in the back hall?"
"Less loud, you say?" Fenris said. He tipped his head at Anders and Cormac. "Perhaps you should teach it to them."
"You don’t even live here," Anders huffed.
"No, but I live in the same city. It is enough."
"I do live here, and I agree with Fenris," Bethany sighed. She examined the empty bowls curiously but didn’t ask. "One spell for volume, one for earthquakes, and we are set. I can continue my research in peace."
Artemis tugged at one reddening ear. "There’s nothing for the earthquakes. Trust me, I’ve looked."
"Artie?" Bethany raised an eyebrow and flicked her hand. Cormac’s shield flickered out. "Yes, there is. And once he’s back on, he’s got his own version. Don’t you remember, when we went chasing after that book?"
The memory dawned across Cormac’s face. "Oh, balls, Artie. She’s right. There’s an — I have an anti-magic field. I just almost never use it. It didn’t even occur to me. I’m sorry. I’m such an idiot. All these years…" He looked sick and grey. "I’ll see if I can get some runes made for you."
The red drained from Artie’s cheeks, and so did the rest of their colour. "That’s— You can—" Artemis looked at Cormac, at Fenris, and looked like he was about to be ill.
"Amatus?" Fenris asked carefully.
Artie had done so many stupid things through the years, trying to shut off that part of him. Drinking, more drinking, one particularly unpleasant occurrence involving magebane… Not so long ago, he would have seized what Cormac was offering, but now?
"Amatus, please don’t turn off the earthquakes."
Now Artie just laughed, apparently. He kissed Fenris’s cheek and shook his head. "Thank you, Cormac, but no."
Cormac shifted Anders over a couple of inches so he could lean to the side and kiss Artie’s cheek. "I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but I’m glad you don’t want them."
"As to the noise," Anders said, with a shrug, leaning forward to re-use Carver’s bowl, "even in the tower, we had nothing for that. There was no spell for silence, just a lot of determination."
"And that is something Anton and I both lack — a determination to be quiet." Cormac laughed and then licked the last bits of cream and candied fruit out of the bottom of his bowl. "I mean, he’s a married man, doing his own husband, in his own house. Where’s the incentive?"
"And here I thought I gave him enough incentive," Bethany blithely replied.
"That would be incentive enough for me," Artemis agreed. "Which is why I’m glad we have our own earthquake-proof home."
Fenris purred his agreement, holding his mage tight against him and nibbling at one round ear. "I don’t think we’ve tested our house’s resilience yet today," he growled in Artemis’s ear. "That seems a travesty."
"It is! Perhaps that is something we should fix?"
"Are you two going to wander off for some swording too?" Anders asked. "Spooning and then swording. That appears to be the theme."
"Well, I’m up for some swording, after this," Cormac volunteered. "Or at least a nice, long staff duel. Mmm, mages and their polearms…" He swooned sideways, before realising he’d missed Artie entirely and landed his head on Fenris’s shoulder. "Uh, hm. Make a bowl of that for my sister, yeah? An advance apology for what we’re about to do."
"I gave you earplugs, didn’t I, Bethy?" Anders asked, holding out a bowl of the same tea and mint blend he’d made for Merrill.
"Thank you again for those." Bethany cracked a smile as she took the bowl. "They’ll keep me from making my brothers wish I’d killed them, until I move to Starkhaven. Assuming I move to Starkhaven." She rolled her eyes. "His devotion isn’t even to the Chantry, not that it’s to Starkhaven, either. He’s just so attached to Elthina. I think if his parents weren’t dead, I might slap them a bit. He’s to be wed! He’s to take on the rulership of a city! And what is he doing? Protecting a woman who’s trying to martyr herself! It’s ridiculous!"
"Just remember, Bethy, you’re in it for the crown," Cormac teased.
"And hopefully to get him to stop offering me his sausage," Artemis added, face twisting like he’d tasted something sour. "Assuming he even remembers doing that."
"I don’t think he even remembers that night existed," Bethany sighed. She smoothed out her ice cream with the flat of her spoon before taking a bite. "Which for his sake, is probably safer. I do wish someone would try his ‘sausage’, however, just to prove it exists."
"Don’t look at me," Artie muttered. Fenris’s teeth continued to worry at Artie’s ear. "I have an elf about to throw me over his shoulder, and I am already quite a fan of his sausage."
"And you’ve only room for one sausage?" Anders asked. "Your appetites have changed."
Artie’s face turned a splotchy shade of red. "Not in front of my sister," he squeaked.
"This isn’t news," Bethany replied, happily occupied by her ice cream.
"Perhaps we should adjourn, before this becomes more than just loud noises and turns into a floor show, instead," Cormac suggested, as one of his knees finally went numb.
"Mmm, yes." Bethany nodded. "Perhaps you should go and leave me with all this candied fruit and cream. I like this idea quite a bit."