[ Master Post ]
Title: Rhapsody in Ass Major – Chapter 390
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Carver Hawke ♂, Cullen ♂, Varric ♂, Isabela ♀, Aveline ♀, Anton Hawke ♂, Cormac Hawke ♂, Artemis Hawke ♂, Anders ♂, Fenris ♂, Ella ♀, Keran ♂, Ser Marlein ♀, Merrill ♀, Samson ♂, Bethany Hawke ♀, Sebastian ♂, Nathaniel Howe ♂, Zevran Arainai ♂
Rating: M (L2 N0 S0 V3 D0)
Warnings: Canon-typical violence
Notes: The cleanup begins. Cormac gets punched a whole lot. Sebastian is entirely irritated by everything.
"Blessed art thou, o Mythal, who has seen us through this day," Cormac breathed, looking around and taking stock of the situation. Anders was still sleeping off the flames; Fenris looked like he was going to lose his lunch again if he still had a lunch to lose; Artie was still right beside him, standing, even, if barely; Cullen was bleeding; Aveline had a broken arm; that lady templar with the notes, whose name would come back to him in a moment, looked about as grey-green as Fenris; Merrill was using Anders for a pillow… That had been much closer than anyone wanted it to be.
"Artie?" Cormac looked shaken. "I love you more than anything in this world or the next. And I am so, so fucking glad you’re not dead. But, we’re down a healer, and I’m not doing as good as I should be. Would you please punch me in the jaw, so I can go put Aveline’s arm and Cullen’s face back together as best I can?"
Artie eyed his brother up and down. "If you’re looking to be punched, you have another brother better suited for the job, but… all right." With one more glance at Fenris to double check that he wasn’t dead, Artemis straightened and tried not to overthink just how hard this punch should be. His fist caught Cormac’s jaw, knocking his head to the side. "Sorry!"
Cormac’s hands flashed green as he grabbed Artie’s face, running a quick wave of healing down his brother, before following up with a kiss to the forehead that he had to stand on his toes to deliver. His toes, which were still not entirely unbroken, apparently. "What are you sorry about? That’s exactly what I asked you to do."
"Impulse," Artie said, sagging into the warmth of healing, even if it didn’t touch the bone-deep tiredness he was feeling. "It’s what I’m used to saying every time I smack you into things."
"Cormac, maybe when you’re done putting little butterfly kisses on the scratches of the brother who doesn’t need your help, you could come over here and do something useful?" Anton sounded annoyed, but more than that, he sounded panicked. But, that was the order of these things, and he knew it. Cormac always went to Artie, first.
"Keep your pants on, Anton. I’m moving." Cormac shot another glance at where Anders lay, surrounded by Tranquil. "How bad is that?" he asked, coming up on Cullen, who seemed to be hyperventilating and entirely supported by Anton.
"It’s bad." Anton looked grim.
"Then I’m really sorry about uglying up your husband," Cormac apologised, taking Cullen’s face in his hands. "Don’t fucking smite me, Cullen. Do you hear me? I’m trying to fix your face."
The skin knit together first. That was always easy. The gash in Cullen’s gums closed up, his lip became a continuous line, once more. Cormac worked steadily, if slowly, and after a while, the swelling stopped getting worse.
"Cullen? Smile for me." Cormac squinted at the fresh pink scar that wound up from Cullen’s lip, and cursed when it split again. "Almost. You’re doing fine."
"I’m liking it," Anton said, after a moment. "It’s dashing. Heroic, even. It’s the kind of thing you could use to entice swooning noble ladies."
Cullen shot Anton a watery-eyed glare, as more weak healing pulled the scar a little tighter.
"I think that’s all I’ve got." Cormac shrugged. "I’m sorry about your face. You probably want to see Anders, once he stops doing corpse impressions."
Cullen gurgled a sound of acknowledgement, licking his teeth and prodding his lip with the tip of his tongue, tracing the ragged edge. He poked the edges with his fingers before Anton pulled his hands away. This was what he got for not wearing his helmet, wasn’t it?
"Stop touching it," Anton said. "I promise it only enhances your rugged good looks, and you’re in one piece. I’d kiss you, but I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you."
Cullen gave him a sceptical look and carefully shaped his next words. "It hurts much less now. I don’t think the pain would be a problem—"
"Pain? Oh no. I meant you’d swoon. Overcome at my slightest touch."
Cullen’s glare said he was less than impressed.
"No? Fine, you can swoon later."
Isabela propped up Aveline as they approached Cormac. Aveline had the pale, tight-jawed look of someone in pain, and the wild-eyed look of someone who would punch another someone just to be rid of it.
"You look like you’re going to hit me," Cormac noted, turning to Aveline. "That’s good. That’ll get this done faster. Just remember that if you knock me out, though, this isn’t getting done at all, because it’s not like Anders is standing up."
Aveline nodded and gingerly held out the broken arm, for Cormac’s inspection.
"Is he all right?" Cullen asked, words still a little awkward as he tongued at his teeth to make sure they were at least stable, if not quite where he expected them.
"He does that, sometimes," Cormac said, with a shrug. "Hey, Izzy, take her wrist and pull?"
"I thought you were trying to get you hit, not me." Isabela took a gentle grip on Aveline’s arm.
"This is going to hurt," Cormac assured Aveline. "Hit me. It’s my fault, not Izzy’s."
"What you mean I don’t get to take advantage of the fact that I’ve finally got the perfect ex—" Aveline’s face turned stark white, and she rocked back on her heels. As Cormac reached out to steady her, her fist slammed into his chin.
Aveline just kept punching, and the healing raced down her arm, the bones setting in something like the right place. Finally, Cormac fell, gracelessly sprawling across the stones, so he hit his head on Anton’s ankle.
"And now we’re down both healers," Anton muttered.
"Just give me a minute. I can’t feel my hand and all my teeth are loose," Cormac groaned, using the last of the magic he had to settle the sudden swelling in his face. "Are you two all right? Where’s Merrill? How’s Fenris?"
"Cullen’s looking better than you are, right now," Anton said, crouching to poke at Cormac. "Then again, Cullen tends to look better than you anyway."
"I hope so. I’d be worried about you if you thought I was better looking than the brave slayer of dragons you married," Cormac joked, squinting dizzily up at his brother.
"Is this your way of asking to be punched again?" Anton asked sweetly. He patted Cormac’s cheek instead and looked around for the elves he’d asked about. Merrill still looked ghostly pale under her vallaslin, but she was awake and sitting, smiling tiredly up at Carver. "Merrill is looking less dead, which is always good, and Fenris… well, he’s stopped puking. For the moment. About as white as his tattoos, though."
Behind him, the red lyrium in Meredith’s shape still simmered, and Anton still half-expected her to stand back up, raving about blood magic. The Gallows were eerily still in the aftermath. "It’s over," he said. "I think. You don’t have plans to blow up anything else, do you? You know Artie’s gonna start on cleaning the place as it is, and…" Anton trailed off at the sound of hurried footsteps and wheels on stone.
"Ah, shit," sighed Varric as he pulled a cart full of hammers to a stop. "We missed the fun, didn’t we? I knew that was gonna happen." He eyed the stones underfoot with their new bronze designs. "Where’s Meredith?"
Next to him, Nathaniel squinted into the crowd, looking first Meredith and then for — oh, there was that idiot mage. "He’s not dead, is he?"
"Our Anders? No." The thick Antivan accent came from behind Nathaniel’s shoulder, and after a moment, Zevran untangled himself from the heap of hammers in the cart and hopped down. "He’s a healer. Why would he be dead?"
"Because he’s got all the common sense of a nug," Varric muttered, watching Cormac try to stand up.
"I think that’s an insult to nugs," Nathaniel sighed. "How’s the healer, Champion?"
"I don’t know." Anton shrugged and finally reached down to haul Cormac to his feet. "How’s Anders?"
"Well, he wasn’t dead the last time I looked," Cormac admitted. "It’s not the first time he’s done that. Panics, sets the world on fire, blacks out from overexertion. He’s probably fine. I just hope nobody knifed him, while I wasn’t looking. Speaking of, where’s Sebastian?"
Nathaniel’s jaw squared. "I’m going to shove my boot so far up his ass, if he’s anywhere but where I left him…"
"We had to move him," Carver chimed in. "The metal was catching up."
"I’m still going to kick his ass," Nathaniel grumbled. "This fucking job — you can’t let one death turn your head like that. I made that mistake. He can’t afford to. But, if he’s still alive — if he’s going back to Starkhaven — I’ll go, too. Someone’s got to keep an eye on that idiot, until he grows into leadership. Not that I’m the prime example of doing it right, but my father, apparently, was the prime example of doing it wrong. I like to think I’ve taken a lesson."
"There he is," Varric tipped his chin toward where Bethany crouched over a dusty, bound figure.
Anton helped Cormac over to Anders, in the mean time. Someone had to make sure they’d have a healer to take care of the rest of them, come morning. Zevran followed at a respectful distance.
Squaring his jaw, Sebastian glared up at Nathaniel as he approached, trying to look as dignified as one could covered in dust and tied up. "You can save your threats," he said. "The murderer must answer for his crime."
"From what I can see, that ‘murderer’ just saved this city from a lunatic," Nathaniel said, making no move to set him free. "You know, the longer you posture, the longer I’m going to keep you tied up. At this rate, I’ll be dragging you into Starkhaven like this. That sounds like more work than I want to do, so how about you save us all the trouble?"
"I’ll try to keep him out of trouble, Warden," Bethany said, barely keeping the amusement out of her eyes as she patted Sebastian’s arm. He looked terribly offended.
Across the courtyard, Anders didn’t so much stir as jolt awake, eyes wide and wild as he looked around, levering himself up on one elbow. Courtyard. Gallows. The stink of smoke and the taste of metal. They’d been fighting for their lives, and then… what? He couldn’t remember.
"I told you! The Healer’s alive!"
Anders flinched at the shout, but when he looked, it was only Zevran — …wait. Anders’s gaze dropped to Cormac, who was looking ragged around the edges. And the middle. "I missed something," he said, even as healing sputtered to life at his fingertips.
"Don’t you dare cast that," Cormac warned. "You will die. You did it again, and you haven’t been out nearly long enough to be trying that."
"Did…?" Anders looked up in confusion.
"Does he really not remember?" Zevran looked surprised. "Anders, you started an amazing fire. Flames reaching the heavens. It’s why I ran into dear Nathaniel in the depths of Lowtown. He said he was there to get hammers to beat down some ancient Tevinter statuary that had picked a fight, down here. Even from the market, I could see the fire reaching for the gods, themselves. But, we were too late getting back. No fire. No statues. Which is a pity, I was really hoping to see those."
"Your anti-magister tactics got the better of you, again," Cormac said, kneeling and looking greatly relieved he no longer had to worry about staying upright. "I tried to take care of the worst of things, while you were out, but Fenris and Merrill aren’t looking so good. They’ll have to wait, though. You cast again, now, and you’ll go right back down."
"I have potions," Anders argued, groping around for his bag.
"No, you don’t. I took them, when you fell. We’ve already used all of them." Cormac reached out and brushed the hair out of Anders’s face. "Meredith’s… if not dead, definitely not currently a threat. We’re alive. I suspect we may have lost a few templars, in the fighting, but no one whose name I knew. We did it, and we did it because of you, once again."
"And in other news, that little old lady you had me watching out for — she never came out. If she got out of that building, it was by no exit I could discover," Zevran told Cormac. "I feel like I should return some of the money you paid me for this terribly simple bit of babysitting."
"Why? Go buy my cousin some more kids, or something. Tell her it’s a gift from the family." Cormac grinned, lopsidedly, as half his face didn’t quite keep up with the other half.
"How generous!" Zevran said with a wicked smile. "I might do just that. We have an anniversary coming up, you see. Last year, I tied myself up in ribbon, but she was… less thrilled than I’d hoped."
"The children might be the safer alternative," Anders said, one side of his mouth creeping up in a smirk. He cupped the side of Cormac’s face, his touch gentle against half-healed bruises as he tried not to look as concerned as he felt. "You look fairly terrible," he said.
"I already told him as much," Anton cheerfully told him. "I compared him to… hm." Anton’s head tilted as something finally clicked. "My husband just got promoted, didn’t he? Essentially?"
"Ah!" Zevran turned to him with a grin. "So you’re that Hawke. How does it feel to be married to the Knight-Commander of Kirkwall?"
Anton shuddered visibly. "Horrifying. That’s how it feels. You use that title, and I still see Meredith." He squinted at Zevran. "What do you mean ‘that’ Hawke?"
"Why, the Champion of Kirkwall, of course. You are the Hawke everyone has heard of." Zevran smiled slyly. "Has anyone ever told you how much you look like your cousin? I have heard she also had a fondness for a certain plate-clad someone."
"You have heard?" Anton asked.
"In bed, of course." The sly smile evolved into a wicked grin. "She is very imaginative. I imagine you are, as well."
"Dragon noises," Cormac muttered, gathering Anders into his arms and forcing himself to stand.
"Can we not talk about that in public?" Anton chuckled and looked away.
"You really set yourself up for that one," Anders chimed in, as he folded himself over Cormac’s shoulder, unhooking the glaive to pass it to Cormac. "If you didn’t want us to hear it, you should have considered being quieter."
"Oh, that’s a lot from you!" Anton scoffed.
"You’ve never heard me. Your brother, however, could raise the dead with his screaming. And he doesn’t complain when people talk about it in public."
"As exciting as this discussion is, I need to talk to Ser Cullen, and then I need to get Anders back home. I’m not really expecting any screaming for another ten hours or so, because I would really like to sleep until I actually stop being tired." Cormac staggered forward, one hand on Anders’s thigh and the other gripping the glaive for support. He stumbled back toward Cullen.