carver’s not sure if hawke hiccuped ‘i love you’ or ‘olive juice’ before passing out
They do Athenril’s dirty work and they get sodding drunk after.
Something has to wash the taste of the Lowtown air out of their mouths—or make them grateful for it. Corff’s whiskey does both; Carver says it’s worse than the horse piss they had to drink at Ostagar but no one agrees or even hears him mumbling into his tankard, Garrett too busy throwing darts with the same three Rivaini smugglers they divested of their contraband earlier that evening.
One time Carver almost chokes on a tooth and Garrett laughs long before he claps Carver on the back to dislodge it, long after Carver’s turned pink.
Garrett keeps the tooth, slid into a pocket next to all the other shit he can’t let go of, other people’s moth eaten scarves and torn trousers. ‘Kirkwall—City of Improperly Stored Garbage,’ Garrett says. ‘Why, Carver, it’s almost like we’re young again and you’ve just lost one of the ones in front.’
‘Because you knocked it out,’ Carver tells him, Garrett’s eyes glazed from the drink and the pleasure of a hundred good memories.
Carver has a bare few; they grow slimmer by the day, each one set into the months and the months never quite adding up to the promised year. Sometimes Athenril joins them for drinking and picks her teeth with a dagger; sometimes Garrett and Carver end up in the back alley in a pissing contest and Garrett says ‘Finally! A literal one,’ and they have to wait to sober up before they can head back to see Mother.
They sit on the steps after with a Carta thug sleeping at their feet sweet as a mabari pup, salty air no more fresh outside than in, rusted pikes in the distance and smog creeping over more smog. Carver doesn’t have to think I hate it here to hate it there, every tunnel grate rolled back, every inglorious depth, mucking about in roiling green slop just to prove they deserve it.
Whatever it is.
Freedom to do the same thing on their own time rather than someone else’s—but Carver knows that isn’t right, a cut from someone else’s tooth souring in the back of his throat.
‘Do you ever think…’ Garrett says.
Carver waits for something more, not looking over, not giving or taking even an inch.
‘Well?’ he asks.
‘No,’ Garrett says. ‘That was it—the entire question. Carver, do you ever think?’
But Garrett’s looking up toward the rooftops, dreamy damn drunk that he is, and when the Carta thug shifts he sighs. He’ll want people of his own soon enough, darts played and teeth swallowed—he’s probably lonely, as though one family’s never been enough for him.
One’s never enough for Garrett. One brother, one year, one life.
He says something else before the night’s over, head drooping, beard to his chest, refusing to find Carver’s shoulder for rest. Carver’s not sure if his brother hiccups I love you or olive juice before passing out.
There’s no one to remember it anyway, that Carver’s the one who hauls him up and drags him off, that Carver’s arms were stronger—if only for a little bit.
agh this was so beautiful how do you always manage to evoke 20 different kinds of feelings in me ;o;;rksejrkewrw