While I’m at it, you know another thing that’s great about Dragon Age 2?
You’re poor as shit.
So many sword-n-sorcery fantasy stories are about princes, princesses, nobles, aristocrats, royals. The people with the cash, the status. The haves, screwing the have-nots. Heck, even Dragon Age: Origins concerned itself with royal succession and the politics of the Banns and courtly intrigue and who would take the throne of this tiny backwater country.
But in Dragon Age 2, the Hawkes are broke. So broke. Desperately, painfully broke. I mean, yeah, you’ve got noble blood in you, but so what? Blood don’t mean a damn when every sewer-rat coughing up blood claims to have been a Bann or a Teyrn or a dwarven prince or whatever.
Oh Carver stop being so embarrassed you’re totally into the tshirt plus red sheet cape cosplay
if for no other reason than now you have satin red sheets
and captain america is the only other person who can weild thor’s hammer
I mean Carver HAS to be Thor have you seen their arms
and Merrill and Captain America don’t get references together
Taking a deep, steadying breath, Carver opened the door. On the stoop bounced a small, squealing creature, who clutched a red and blue-painted pot-lid and was wrapped in what was possibly Mrs. Marethari’s American flag. Merrill.
“Carver!” She hopped up and down in obvious delight. “You look perfect!”
Carver blushed and adjusted his hat. Helmet. Whatever. “I look stupid.”
“But Thor is kind of stupid,” she said seriously. “So you look—“ Merrill’s gaze fell somewhere around Carver’s bicep and seemed to get stuck there. “Perfect.”
Carver cleared his throat. Suddenly he was glad he hadn’t let Merrill convince him to wear tights.
“C’mon,” he managed, tearing his eyes from Merrill’s exposed lips. “Let’s go before—“
“Nice get-up, little brother!” There was a flash of a camera going off from the top of the stairs. “Now turn around. Everyone on Facebook will want to see the front too.”
“Hawke!” squealed Merrill. Carver groaned, wishing not for the first time that she wasn’t always so happy to see his brother. It made her squealing for him seem… less important somehow. “I didn’t know you were coming too.”
“He’s not,” snapped Carver. “Let’s go—“
“Nonsense!” Garrett slid down the bannister, and dismounted with a flourish that made Merrill clap her hands in glee. Carver growled. “Of course we’re coming with you. You kids need a chaperone, after all.”
At the top of the stairs appeared Anders, who at least had the decency to look sheepish about his boyfriend’s behavior. “Garrett,” he said softly. “Don’t be an ass.”
Garrett sighed dramatically. “I’m an older brother. It’s my job,” he said, putting his hands on his hips. “I don’t come to your lab and tell you how to do your job, do I? Nope. Now get your butt down here.”
Snickering appreciatively, Anders obeyed, which made Garrett puff out his chest and flash a dopey smile. Carver fought back a gag. Perfect. Now he was going to have to sit next to his brother and his boyfriend sucking face all night, which was going to make it exponentially harder to do his own face-sucking. Goddammit. It hadn’t even started yet and his first date with Merrill was already ruined.
“But where’s your costume?” Merrill made a face at Anders, who wore the same ratty t-shirt and patched jeans he always wore. “You can’t go to a midnight showing without a costume.”
“Of course we have costumes.” Garrett slung an arm around Anders and scratched emphatically at the patchy, half-grown goatee on his chin. “We’re science boyfriends. What else?”
Garrett slapped Anders’s butt and Merrill laughed and Carver catalogued all the various blunt instruments in his car with which he could stab his brother in the face.
“Let’s just go,” grunted Carver, walking out the door without waiting for anyone else.
Merrill caught up first.
“Oh Carver, this’ll be so much fun. I’m so glad you suggested this,” she said as they walked out to Carver’s baby—a 1967 Lincoln black convertible that he and his dad had spent the last year restoring. (“Shotgun!” yelled Garrett from the house, but to Carver’s great relief, Merrill had already half-opened the front passenger’s side door.)
“I love The Avengers,” she continued, not noticing the outburst. “All those super-powerful heroes coming together over their common love of fighting evil and wearing tight clothing.”
“Your costume definitely is tight,” said Carver. “Uh-Not that I was looking. Er. I mean—of course I was looking at you. I mean —”
“Ooh, love, get in the car,” Anders said in a stage whisper, as he slid in behind Merrill. “Sounds like Thor’s trying to flirt with Rogers.”
“Can’t miss that,” said Garrett, hopping into the backseat, kicking the driver’s seat as hard as he could on his way in.
“Shut up, both of you.” Knuckles white on the wheel, Carver turned the key in the ignition so hard the keychain scraped harshly against the steering column.
Merrill craned her head to look in the backseat.
“You be good,” she said seriously. “Or he’ll smash you both with his mighty hammer, Mjolnar.”
Garrett and Anders looked at each other and simultaneously burst into laughter.
Carver pinched his nose. “Goddammit. Merrill, please. Don’t help me.”
“But,” she said, nose crinkling, “didn’t you show them the hammer you made? It’s really quite good. And big.”
In the backseat, Garrett began hooting so hard he fell onto Anders, who was wiping tears from his eyes.
“Yes,” he said, gasping for breath. “Go on. Show us your hammer.”
“Your big hammer,” wheezed Anders.
“I hate everything,” muttered Carver.
I’ve become a collector of kindling. Things
that easily burn—doll hair, love letters,
the death certificate that was folded
and unfolded a hundred times. As I travel
around the world, asking shopkeepers
and tour guides if they’ve seen you,
I wish your name was flammable too.
That it could burst out of my mouth
and not come back. That it could
turn itself into unrecognizable ash.
That I could smear that gritty powder
across my skin and wear a coat of it.
How can I translate this into something
you can understand? The only language
we share now is light.
- from After Your Funeral I Set Out to Find You in Different Time Zones by Jennifer Faylo
Good call, but I do think it applies to Hawke as well; this idea of her homeland impacting her even in a foreign land, something she can never leave behind. Sometimes the wind pushes her forward, sometimes it holds her back, sometimes it’s just a flutter against her cheek or a fatherly ruffle in her hair; sometimes it hits her bangs just right and she looks more heroic; sometimes it hits her bangs all wrong and she looks a hot mess; but wherever she goes, the wind always follows, the wind always touches — and she can never touch back.
Touching me, you touch
The country that has exiled you.
- Charles Simic, “The Wind”
As a nineteen year old who thinks poop jokes are the height of hilarity, I’d like to think Carver spends most of that first day surreptitiously bothering his older brother about the whorehouse.
Carver: Dude. Whores.
Carver: But whores, Garrett. Seriously. WHORES.
Hawke: I said no.
Carver: Look, I’m sure they even got some fancy men for you—
Hawke: What part of “no” don’t you understand?
Carver: (*frustrated noise*) Why not? This is our first time in a big city. Just imagine, Garrett. Big city whores.
Hawke: Carver, just because you need to pay for it doesn’t mean right now you should. We’re low enough on coin as is.
Carver: You ass.
Leandra: What are you two boys talking about?
Hawke and Carver (in unison): Nothing, Mother.
*silence for a few moments*
Carver: (*whispers*) Maker, Garrett. You wouldn’t know fun if it stabbed you in the eye.
Hawke: That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.
Carver: (irritated noise) Who died and made you king anyway?
Hawke: Father did.
Hawke: So shut up already.
Thanks, first of all, to everyone who sent a kind word to me about the rejection post I wrote earlier. You guys are so sweet, and you really cheered me up. I appreciate it. :)
As I promised to impressioniste, here’s the next part of “Broken Chains”. It’s definitely not perfect yet, but in the interest of removing the sour taste of rejection from my tongue, I’m going to post anyway, because you gotta keep swimming forward, like a shark, not a sheep. Sharks don’t look back. Because they don’t have necks. (Also I don’t know if sheep can swim, but the Futurama metaphor only goes so far.)
Anyway, expect this will see some substantial revisions before it goes live elsewhere (speaking of which, soon). I’ve already significantly reworked Part 2 for more smutliciousness.
III: Restless in the Dark
In the end it was Carver’s suggestion of Ansburg that won out, because Merrill made two against zero, and Anders hadn’t planned for tomorrows and what nexts and we will be fugitives together.
The truth of it, though, was that Garrett was feeling petulant, since Fenris and Isabela had left without even saying goodbye—or, well, goodbye apart from the missing red favor on Fenris’s arm, which Anders knew said all the farewells that had been necessary. Still, he had the decency to pretend to be surprised when morning broke and neither The Siren’s Regret nor her small crew were anywhere to be found, and he mustered up his best sigh of relief when Dog discovered their equipment on the floor at the foot of Carver’s bed.
In the pile were also generously fat purses and satchels of rations, as well as their three staves (bundled with a note that read, “Sell these already, you daft kittens”)—but for some reason, Carver’s Templar armor had never made it off the boat.
“I can’t believe they forgot my gear.” He kicked the bed post. “Not even my sunshield!”
“Glad you have your priorities straight,” Garrett muttered.
“It’s for the best, Carver,” Merrill said, laying a hand on his shoulder. “All that clanking and creaking would attract too much attention. And when you shine in the sun it makes my eyes hurt when I look at you.”
She pinkened a little, but Anders dismissed it as residual sunburn; Fenris had been right that city elves did seem to burn fairly easily, their long lives not the only thing diminished by proximity to humans.
But Carver, with his eyes fixed on Garrett, didn’t appear to notice, even though his hand twitched reflexively at her touch.
“What was that, brother?” he said, pronouncing every consonant.
“Our ship is gone.” Garrett scowled. “And all you can do is whine about your armor.” He let loose a particularly long-suffering sigh. “Don’t worry, you’ll get a new set before we leave. Here,” he said, force-pushing a purse into Carver’s chest. “Use some of Isabela’s bribe money.”
“Sure, I’ll just go down to the fish guttery and don some scales,” Carver said, his cheeks growing ruddy and splotched. “Or perhaps I should go to the Chantry, see if I can get some pauldrons on loaner—before your boyfriend blows up that one too.”
I’m working on a new “Free As We’ll Ever Be” fic that promises to be long and plotty and maybe filled with smut. It’s a prequel of what I’ve written before, exploring what happened at the Ansburg Circle and how our boys came to the understanding they have in “Free As We’ll Ever Be”,”Anonymous” and “Time and a Place” — it wasn’t exactly an easy road to get there, but getting to good places in life rarely is.
Here’s the first part of what I’ve written. Many more parts to follow, especially once I find the right k!meme prompt to give this a home.
I. The Unbroken Circle
It had been two weeks since the Gallows, and Garrett still hadn’t spoken to Anders.
They still shared quarters, of course, and after everyone else had gone to sleep, they made hard, violent love as the ship swayed beneath them – old habits died hard, Anders supposed, and nothing fueled passion quite like tense, furrowed brows and clenched jaws.
But the words that had once passed so easily between them were now gone, vanished into the sea spray like so much smoke. It was a sacrifice Anders had never expected to make—but then again, many things had happened in the past fortnight that Anders had not expected.
Garrett had once helped him write sixty-seven drafts of a manifesto no one read. He had once sung Anders songs about lusty milkmaids and harvest moons, and recited a twelve-stanza poem about the scar on Anders’s left knee that he’d made up on the spot.
That voice had been his salvation, his comfort, his candle in the dark, the one lifeline left after he’d cut all others. And now it was gone.
Garrett had once asked him his real name.
Now he couldn’t even bear to speak it.
I want to talk about Anders. Specifically, his character in Act 1 & 2 with Garrett, up to the romance cutscene, in terms of how I perceive the Garrett/Anders friendmance realtionship overall.
Cut for lots of massively stupid personal thoughts, very subjective overanalysis of the character, and massive firing of my head can(n)on. Mostly for my benefit, so I don’t lose all these thoughts in the black hole of my mind, but sharing them so that others can see where I’m coming from if they wish.
P.S. I’m not kidding when I said ‘lots’. This is about 4,000 words of my subjective opinion. Fair warning.
God, I fucking love this.
“No matter how much he loves Hawke, Anders’ cause will always win out over love,”
I think it can be argued that for the completed friendmance, this is an artificial choice Anders imposes on himself. Anders believes that it must be The Cause or Love, and never both; but when Hawke agrees to run away with him, Hawke basically proves that this is a false dichotomy; that Love and The Cause can not only coexist, but support and inform each other; that, in fact, you can’t have one without the other, because else it’s all just meaningless.
It’s such a lovely moment, so tentatively hopeful, so cathartic and powerful; Hawke and Anders as fragile and as strong as they’ve ever been; and it makes me cry every time I see it, and maybe I’m getting a little misty just thinking about it, but that I blame entirely on your awesome, beautiful post.