'Cocks & Hens'

Hawke laughs at Aveline's apparent discomfiture when Bhodan guides them into the study. She hopes the look on her face is not the one she will wear tomorrow. Donnic might just turn tail and back out if he sees that expression. The woman looks so vulnerable without her armour. Hawke wonders for a moment if she actually sleeps in it as well. Maker help Donnic if she does.

"You didn't need to put the blade at my back Isabella; I might have come without it." Aveline turns to glare at Isabella, the daggers in her eyes trying to compete with the one behind her.

"Oh no you wouldn't! Brennan here told me all about you telling her to prepare herself for a late night. Paperwork on the eve of your wedding, it's disgusting!" Isabella scoffs at her, "My blade is the only thing keeping you from running back there and don't think for one moment that I'm not prepared to use it!"

Aveline turns her daggered stare on guardsman Brennan, "Don't snigger girl, I'll remember all the things we didn't get done tonight, and you'll pay for all of them when I get back!"

"You've trained them well enough Aveline; they'll manage fine without you for a few weeks." Hawke stifles her giggles as Aveline jumps with the slight jab of the dagger at her back that Isabella gives her forcing her to move into the room.

"Ooh! Look at it all!" Merrill skips in to pass them, her eyes drinking in the streamers and balloons decorating the room. She approaches the food-laden table that Orana is still arranging, "Look there's cakes! I love cakes and they are so pretty, pink icing and they're shaped like..." Merrill's sudden intake of breath leads all heads to turn at what has made her words dry up.

"Nice one Hawke, you know how I love stuffing man bits into my mouth!" Isabella gives a shudder obviously taking the time to sift through memories of times when real 'man bits' were stuffed in it.

"Hawke, how could you?" Aveline looks at her, distaste at her friend's ability to disappoint her through her actions again written all over her face.

Hawke laughs back at her, clearly not caring what Aveline might think, "That's nothing, and wait until you see what I've set up for target practice." And she thrusts a sparkling tiara on Aveline's head. "Brennan, open that big bloody cask in the corner, it's about time we found out what was in it!"

Fenris tries not to let his dislike of the place show as he and Donnic enter the 'Blooming Rose', trying to remember whose great idea it was to do this thing here. Oh yes, it was Anders, yet another reason given to ending the man's time in this world.

"It's our duty to remind the man of all the delicacies he's choosing to deny himself. You don't think Aveline will let him come anywhere near this place after they are married do you?" he had asked and Varric had immediately agreed with him. At least Sebastian had been more circumspect, but more worried about the Chantry finding out that he was tempting his resolve again than any worry over giving Donnic a suitable send off in a brothel the night before his wedding.

As they move through the room, filled with scantily clad women and men cooing at patrons, Gamlen approaches them,

"Mind if I join you lads, my tab at the bar has been eh...temporarily closed down for a bit." Fenris cannot stand the man, willing to sell his own family into servitude because of his ability to lose coin to his own decadent needs, but he is Hawke's uncle and he does not want this idiot giving her more grief over his financial worries. He grunts his assent and they continue walking to the stairs and make their way to the room that Varric has arranged for them to use for the evening.

Varric, Anders and Sebastian stand to cheer when they walk through the door. Raising their half-filled glasses in the first of many toasts to the condemned man.

The women all flop down on the sofas after 'target practice' on the man sized stuffed leather phallus that Hawke had had made at Isabella's suggestion. Only Merrill is left standing staring at it, casting a few small lightning spells in an attempt to cause the small bits of stuffing that ooze from its wounds to ignite.

"Damn it Hawke, your idea of party entertainment is crude, but send me to the Maker right now if that wasn't the best fun I've had in ages!" Aveline puffs, her tiara now decidedly askew on her head. Isabella guffaws, "I told you Hawke, I knew she would love slicing at balls and big pricks no matter what form they come in!"

Isabella thrusts another glass of wine at Aveline, "Drink up you sweet, sweet thing and tell us all the details of what your man Donnic does with his big prick."

Aveline drunkenly tilts her head towards her, "None of your damned business whore, but I have to admit I find it reassuring that you don't already know." Tilting her glass at Isabella, she smiles and drinks the entire contents of her glass and holds it out for Brennan to refill it.

"You are such a spoilsport big girl, if you won't tell us that, then what about some of your other conquests?"

"Only my poor, dear, dead first husband and I will not reveal any of his secrets that quite rightly have gone to the veil with him. You will get no smutty entertainment from me."

"What about you Brennan? You all must have lots of fun in those barracks of yours. What about those wild times, dressing and undressing in front of each other, sneaking into each other's bunks, night time frolics when the Captain's out slaughtering the bad guys?"

Brennan looks at Isabella wistfully, "If only it were like that. Most of the time we are too exhausted. If we are not out on patrol, Aveline has us training. My bunk is sadly only for sleeping in."

"Aveline you are a disgrace." Isabella wags her finger at her, "Ease up on them, let them have some fun!"

"They are there to do a job Isabella. Don't think of interfering."

Isabella tuts before turning to Orana, "What about you Sweetie? Do you have any tales of what slaves get up to when their master isn't looking?"

Orana looks at her blankly before bluntly stating, "None, they would kill us if they found out."

Isabella winces, "Well that would put a stop to any of that I suppose. There's no point in searching for stories from Merrill, I know she doesn't have any of those kind and Hawke won't talk about Fenris."

Aveline shakes her head waving her glass in front of her, "You give too easily bitch. Ask Hawke, her mother told me of the many times Templars turned up at their door in Lothering. Always near fainted she said, fearing they had arrived at last to take her away, only to discover they were lovesick idiots wishing to lead her daughter into disrepute rather than the Circle. Had to have words with Ser Bryant on more than one occasion she said."

Isabella's eyes light up as she turns to Hawke who is coughing up the wine that has caught in her throat in shock at Aveline's clever deflection of attention to her, "Oh you naughty little mage, you never mentioned this, do tell."

"I didn't think my mother knew anything of that!" Hawke exclaims.

"That's not all Isabella; her mother also mentioned the trouble she had with the farmer's boys." Aveline sagely nods at Isabella, "Go on, ask her how many tumbles in the hay she's had."

Isabella looks at Hawke expectantly, "Cat's out of the bag now Hawke, might as well tell us everything!"

Even Merrill stops her game with the stuffing wisps as all eyes turn to Hawke.

"On the table in her office?" Varric asks incredulously, scarcely believing that Donnic might reveal any of his more intimate moments with Aveline.

Donnic gives a short smile, "Almost, she's too much of a traditionalist. Won't let me near her in that way before the ceremony is over."

"Oh you poor, poor man. How can you marry her when you haven't tested the goods first?" Anders screws up his face, horrified at the thought of marrying someone in the first place. "Testing the goods is the best part!"

"Not sure he should push it with Aveline," Varric states, "Not if he wants his tackle to continue working afterwards." All six men shudder at the thought of what Aveline could do to them with her sword and take deep swallows of the beers in their hands.

"Know a bit about 'testing the goods' Anders?" Gamlen asks, desperate to erase the vision of Aveline and her sword and wishing to know more lurid tales of what these men get up to.

"Absolutely old man. I would count them up for you, but I would run out of fingers and toes and my math isn't so good when that happens." Anders waves his beer glass at him, "But I'm not the only one, Sebastian here has managed a few notches on his bedpost. Have you not Prince?"

Had Sebastian not had so many beers he might have railed at the mage for bringing up his past, but he had and a certain nostalgia for his days in Starkhaven has crept into his thoughts.

"Two sisters, at the same time, it was so sweet. I am not sure how I kept up with them. I slept all the next day. That might have been when my father decided the Chantry was what I needed." He drawls his words, closing his eyes and losing himself in the memory for a while. Maybe being in a brothel is what has triggered his thoughts to notice those particular distant memories.

"I just test the barmaids, I can highly recommend them." Varric puts in, "They don't charge me...wait maybe they do, the price of beer on my tab is more than anyone else pays." He shakes his head, laughing into his chest, "Clever bitches, I should have spotted that one before now."

Anders turns to Fenris and spits at him, "How many slaves did your master offer you to test out? How many mages have you left high and dry, leaving them quaking in their shoes after you showed them what you've got hidden under that hide?"

Fenris grits his teeth. He has not had so much to drink that he has lost control, but this mage delights in pushing him towards it. This is supposed to be a celebration for Donnic and he likes him too much to let this abomination provoke him into ruining it. "None." He says simply, hoping Anders will not follow this up.

Anders turns back to Donnic, "What about Hawke ser? Is she not an absolute vision of every fantasy you could have? Don't you wish you could have tried that out before you agreed to sign your life away to Aveline?"

Donnic squirms in his armchair. He has had too many nights' playing cards with Fenris not to know how this line of questioning will hurt him and tries to cut Anders off, "She's not my type, Maker knows Aveline is the one for me."

Anders is not to be deterred, "Varric what about you, does the thought of grinding that sweet backside not keep you awake some nights?"

Varric leans back and closes his eyes, "More than I care to admit Blondie. Watching those peachy cheeks when chasing down work at her back is very distracting. It's just a pity her legs are so long."

"That's what I like best." Mutters Sebastian into his beer glass, "The thought of those wrapped round me while I...ugh! I will never get to make my vows while those thoughts keep me from the Maker."

Fenris can almost feel the hate for him coming from Anders as he turns towards him. Knows that this is what Anders has been leading to,

"Do tell us elf. You are the only one that has had her. Is she as good between the sheets as we and half of Kirkwall think she might be? Does she use her magic to make it even better? I know, because that is what I do." He says wiggling his fingers at him, "A quick zap of the lightning in just the right spots can really make the sparks fly."

"Careful how you answer man, it's my niece you're talking about." Gamlen points out, but not so honourable to tell him to stop or give the other men any grief for what they have said so far.

Aveline sits smirking drunkenly at Hawke. This is payback for having forced her into coming here, Hawke knows it and Aveline knows it. It has been some time since her mother died and Aveline has never uttered a word of that conversation until now. It still hurts deeply to think of her mother, but she can imagine the mixture of humour and despair her mother's tone would have had in it when talking to Aveline.

"I didn't 'do' all of them!"

Isabella jumps immediately on what she says, "Then that means you did some of them! Come on, spill the beans. What was it like with a Templar? How hot it must have been, what if he had found out about your magic? Oh it gives me shivers just thinking about it."

Hawke scowls at her, "I didn't do it with a Templar! How stupid would that have been? I learned how to flirt with them. That was the best way to distract them from even looking for magic in me. I just got good at it that's all."

Disappointment causes Isabella's face to fall before she gives Hawke a huge smile, "Tell us about the farmer's boys then, you must have done a few of them."

Hawke takes a deep breathe, Isabella will not let this go. "OK, maybe a couple of times, but don't go thinking it was torrid hot sex in barns! Fumbles more that tumbles in hay would be more accurate. Two minutes and it was all over. No self-control from them or me. No story to tell Isabella."

"In that case, you just have to tell us what sex with Fenris is like." Isabella's feline smile says everything. Hawke is trapped like a mouse in her claws.

"Oh, yes please." Begs Merrill, "I want to know what being with an elf is like. Is it better than being with a human? Just so I know before I do anything myself. It must have been so romantic."

"I would like to know what happened between you." Aveline says between slurps from her glass, "Maybe I could fix you two like you fixed me up with Donnic."

"I wouldn't mind having a go at him if you don't want him. Some tips would be nice. He has the most beautiful eyes." Brennan says dreamily.

"Hey! Hands off! You don't get to go there until I'm finished with him first!" Isabella warns the guard. "I want details Hawke. How big he is, how long he lasts. I want to know if he lights up when he..."

"Enough!" Hawke shouts over them all becoming more horrified and embarrassed as each of them speaks. "I'm not telling any of you a damned thing! However, I swear Isabella, you ever go near him, I will make your tits flat and seal up your lady bits! You as well Brennan!"

"So you do plan to go back and drink from that well. I love it when you get angry." Isabella grins, happy to have wheedled some information out of her.

"Is that why you hid your pillow?" Orana says quietly.

Isabella squeals with laughter. Hawke covers her face with her hands. How had it come to this?

"Oh give her a break Isabella. She won't tell and it is very insensitive of us to ask." Aveline slurs her words. "Why don't you give me some tips, it's been a while and I could use them for tomorrow night."

Isabella narrows her eyes as she looks at Aveline, "You haven't been there big girl? Yet you told me it was none of my business, you are a sneaky cow. Never mind." She looks around, "Merrill, hand me over one of those cakes."

The next hour is filled with hoots of laughter and giggles as Isabella demonstrates the ancient art of Fellatio, insisting that they all take a cake and show that her teaching skills have not been wasted. Orana gets a little perturbed by the amount of pink icing that ends up everywhere and makes sure all of hers ends up in her mouth.

Fenris' first instinct is to flare and phase Ander's heart straight from his body, but before even the first hint of a glow appears, his second instinct kicks in and he stops, thinking maybe his sword would be better, much more painful. Nevertheless, it is his third instinct that decides the next thing he does. This mage is not Danarius; he has caused him no pain. They have fought together many times, saved each other's lives in their times out with Hawke, yet never have they bridged the gap between them. Anders picks at him constantly, calls him a dog, berates Hawke for having gone too close to him, thinks that being a magister would be the best thing ever. Yet he has only ever hurt him with words. Abomination he might be and he may well deserve to die, but let the Templars do that when they eventually catch on to what he is. Whatever he might think, this mage is Hawke's friend, any hopes that she might look favourably on him again would be gone if he was the one to end his life.

In all the battles between them, the mage has fought with words, Fenris struggling to keep up with his quick wit. This time he does not need to be witty, clever, or fast. He just needs to tell the truth. He smiles at Anders knowing this is going to hurt him more than any sword or heart crushing and what is more he will continue to feel that pain for the rest of his miserable existence.

"I don't have the same experience as you have mage, I have nothing to compare. So you tell me, have you ever been with someone who makes you feel like you are the only person in his or her life who matters? Someone who gives everything of their being and still thinks they have not given enough. Someone who's every touch reaches to your core and leaves you breathless with each and every caress? Someone whose kiss leaves its warmth long after their lips have gone on to the next place? When inside them, did you lose the distinction of where you ended and they began? Whose taste is ambrosia and leaves everything else you ever taste again wanting? And in that moment of sweet, sweet ecstasy, more than the pleasure and release, did you know you were home? So in answer to your question, I suspect she is as good as you think, but I think Hawke is very picky over who she allows into her bed. Do you really think you could get there?"

The hurt that flashes in Anders eyes is all that he needs to see to know this is one wound he won't be able to heal no matter how much magic he can muster. He doesn't care, the mage asked for this.

"By the Paragons big fat arses elf, what in the world made you leave her?" Varric asks, hoping that he is not so drunk that he will not remember all this in the morning.

"I'm not good enough for her." He answers not taking his eyes off Anders, the implication clear that the mage is the same.

"A fucking idiot, that's what you are." Varric mumbles.

"A toast then," shouts Sebastian, "To all the idiots in the world who don't know a good thing when they've got it and to Donnic who obviously does."