[ Master Post ]
Title: Assing it Up – Chapter 30
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Artemis Hawke ♂, Fenris ♂, Orana ♀, Evantia ♀, Varania ♀
Rating: T (L2 N1 S0 V0 D0)
Warnings: Shirtless Fenris, sibling rivalry
Notes: A visit from Varania, who is everything a sister should be.
Shaking his head, Artemis directed Fenris where and how to stand. Evie resumed her pose long enough for Fenris to copy it. And, really, that cleared up a few things, the way the lines of shoulders and chest knit together, where the waist narrowed. Looking at Fenris, Artemis was reminded of why he’d chosen his husband as his subject in the first place. His elf was already a work of art.
"Okay. Um. Just try to hold still for a bit?" Artemis said as he stretched his fingers. He resumed casting, the magic trickling instead of rushing to his fingers now.
Holding still was something Fenris was genuinely excellent at. Thousands of days spent motionless and naked, at the side of another mage, for much less entertaining purposes. This was, after all, his husband — his mage — crafting something in his image. That was new. He didn’t think anyone had made art of him, aside from the bounty posters. And this was definitely no bounty poster. He’d been found. He belonged here, in Kirkwall, with this mage who … really asked so little of him, and gave so much.
"That’s impressive," Evie whispered, after a few minutes. "How does he do that?"
"We’re Tevinter. Things are different, there." Orana shrugged, never having considered that standing perfectly still might be something not everyone could do. She scooped a bit of soft cheese onto a slice of apple and pressed it against Evie’s lips, only to get her fingers bit, playfully.
"This is good. Is it Orlesian?" Evie asked, eyes still tracing the lines of lyrium along Fenris’s back.
"Antivan," Orana replied, getting some for herself.
Fenris felt himself start to fade, still perfectly aware of every sound around him, every motion, but less focused on them. In his mind, he could see the garden done in statues of himself and Theron, with Artemis stretched in the grass in the shadows of them. Not the worst design. They’d have to rearrange some of the furniture, though, he thought.
It was almost unnerving how still Fenris held himself while Artie worked. For the short time she’d posed, Evie had been fidgety, shifting her weight and pausing to scratch her nose. But Fenris was perfect and perfectly still.
Slowly, the statue changed as the stone expanded, shrank, shifted, the movements less violent and jerky than they had been before. Evie and Orana watched, rapt, trading bites of cheese and fruit, holding their breaths when the stone moved too fast or a piece started to crumble.
"Yay!" said Evie suddenly, startling Artemis out of his concentration and making the whole sculpture shift slightly clockwise. At his questioning look, she pointed. "He no longer has boobs."
Orana hid a snicker behind her shoulder and quieted her with more cheese.
"Okay, yes, that deserves a yay," Artemis admitted, pleased with the overall shape of the statue. The ears were still a bit ridiculous, but…
"Fenris? Artemis? Orana?" A voice echoed through the empty house, eventually spilling into the yard, followed by Varania. "Oh, here you are! I just thought I’d come by and…" She paused as Orana and Evie pointed further into the yard. Her eyes followed and landed on her brother, shirtless, in some heroic pose.
"Are you kidding me?" Varania muttered, before the cackles overtook her.
Fenris blinked, ears jutting at awkward angles as he became aware of another voice behind him that was neither Evantia nor Orana. Still, he dared not turn around. Artemis seemed to have finally gotten into a rhythm, and he didn’t want to disrupt that.
"That’s your brother, right?" Evie asked Varania. "Maker, is your entire family good looking?"
For a moment, Artie stood as still as Fenris. Slowly, he eased his magic away from the stone, the excess of energy tingling under his skin. "Your brother is helping me practice," he said, one hand twisting in his hair. "He is… being a very big help."
"I’m sure," Varania guffawed. She eyed the vaguely elf-shaped stone. "Are those ears?"
"Yes," Artemis said, looking skyward.
Varania gave the statue another appraising look. "Are you sure?"
"It’s — I’m doing the best I can!" Artie sputtered, face and ears red again.
Orana offered Varania an apple slice. "You should have seen it back when it had boobs."
Artemis turned a helpless look Fenris’s way, only to find his husband still posing, perfectly still. "Fen. Love. You can relax for a minute. Defend my artwork to your sister."
Fenris turned, eyes flashing, took a deep breath and then just looked confused. That wasn’t a command, and even if it was, he didn’t have to obey it. "It’s much better than it was," he assured Artemis. "We can work on the ears, tomorrow. They are… still better than the fragments on the floor, last week."
Varania watched her brother’s face shift — she’d seen that look time and time again, among the Tevinter refugees. But, this wasn’t the time to say something about it. There was no purpose to embarrassing Fenris. "On the … floor?" she asked, taking the slice of apple from Orana.
"They looked like wings," Evantia filled in. "Like some great swooping thing."
"I suggested Messere might wish to attempt geese. They were truly very good wings," Orana said, with a smile.
"Thanks for the support," Artie drawled. "I am trying to work on my… finesse, when it comes to magic. It’s still difficult to do delicate details, and the way your ears taper…" He shrugged helplessly. "It’s the same reason the sculpture doesn’t have fingers." And he liked Fenris’s fingers and Fenris’s ears. He was determined to get them right in time.
Fenris walked to Artie’s side again, looking a little less wild-eyed as he wrapped an arm around his husband’s waist. "You are improving," he repeated. "Do you remember teaching me how to read and write? And how often I wanted to throw the inkpot into the wall in frustration?" He kissed Artemis’s cheek and watched his expression soften. "If you had patience enough for that, you have patience enough for this."
"I am starting to understand your frustration a little better," Artie sighed, patting Fenris’s arm. "So, Varania, did you need something or are you here to visit and add to my mortification by elves?"
"Oh, I am really much more interested in mortifying my brother," Varania said. "I’d apologise for mortifying you in the process, but I think it’s part of my familial duty."
"I am beginning to understand the … peril? Of having a sister." Fenris smiled wryly at Artemis. "When I was just borrowing yours, I never understood the true dangers, but now that yours has helped me recover my own… Perhaps I should not have been so quick to laugh!" He raised an eyebrow at Varania. "What are you doing here, besides being horrified at my admirers and their affections for my shirtless condition? If you’re free the rest of the afternoon, I could remove my trousers, and pose again."
Varania’s hands flew up, defensively. "However many years I haven’t seen your spindly partridge-legs, I could do with more!" She laughed. "My purpose, whatever its side benefits, was to remind you of Paulla’s birthday, next Washday. I’m sure she’d very much like to see her uncles for the occasion. In fact, she’s been asking all week if you’ll be there and if she can have honey cakes."
"I’ll make the honey cakes," Orana volunteered. "Such a sweet girl! I always like the opportunity to spend an afternoon with her."
"Well, her aunties are welcome to come to the party, as well," Varania invited. "I think Theron and his little ones are coming down the mountain, as well."
"It seems you’ll be able to slip off for your own party, when you’ve had enough of the children, Amatus," Fenris joked, squeezing Artemis’s hip. "I’ll be there," he assured Varania. "And I’ll bring my husband, but I decline any blame if he slips off for a few drinks with the fathers at the party, after an hour or two. He’s just not cut out for this sort of thing, I think, but he does try."
"And it matters so much to us that you do," Varania said, accepting another sliver of apple and cheese from Orana. "It’s good to have a family, again. Especially now that it has a chance to mean something."