rainjoyswriting: (kurt!)
[personal profile] rainjoyswriting
Fluency, Musketeers short, affinityverse (best catalogued in my memories) <3

Disclaimer: I own the books, that's not the same thing.

Rating: I think a fairly mild NC-17 because Aramis =/

Warnings and spoilers: The main list's on part one, read sensibly. This part discusses a handful of kinks (again, Aramis states 'violence' as a preferred virtue in a woman -_-;) in a non-judgemental way, because so long as it's consensual and happy then the world's a better place with more joy than less in it, basically.

Summary: There's more than one way to communicate.

Note: The similarities between south London English and Chilean Spanish dialects amuse me; they both drop a lot of consonants and both feature a word which technically means 'and you agree with me?' but is actually mostly used as unthinking punctuation. Bless. I'm a Bad Man is my ultimate Porthos track in this verse and let's face it generally; coincidentally one of my favourite records of all time? <3

Communication is more than just grammar.

In the cafeteria, audible over the murmur of every agent in the room eating dinner before the night shift, Porthos is ending every one of his sentences with a bright ¿cachai? and Aramis can't stop laughing. Treville watches them from a distance, quietly amused - Aramis clearly doesn't notice himself dropping that word in particular at the end of every other sentence, but having it pointed out to him with no little mockery is apparently the best thing that he can imagine happening. Treville has always known that Aramis is unembarrassable. Treville's life would be so much easier if he weren't.

Porthos' leg is stiff with pot under his chair, and Aramis is resting his sling off the tabletop, beaming at him like Porthos is the wittiest creature in all of creation.

"What's it even mean, ¿cachai?"

Aramis contemplates that, head on his knuckles and fork poking upright from his fingers, then says, "Innit?"



They're both laughing now. Aramis isn't the only one who doesn't always notice what he's saying.

Treville sighs, and tries to ignore them, but they're the loudest and brightest thing in the room, the pair of them, they can't help dragging the attention in. Their raucousness together is still preferable to Aramis alone, because he still made himself the most noticeable thing in any room then - it was just that, then, he did it by flirting in a mixture of Spanish and over-naïf French with anyone who happened to be present. Unembarrassable: agents twice his age didn't know what to do, and didn't even know what he was saying but they could guess. Treville didn't even know how to order him out of it, given that he didn't know what he was saying either. He does have a little Spanish, but Aramis always has been incomprehensible to him. And Porthos -

One-handed, Aramis balls up and tosses his napkin to bounce off Porthos' head, and is now speaking to him entirely in Spanish. Porthos is trying to simultaneously repeat and translate a language he doesn't speak, and Treville realises what part of the point of this game is: Porthos is trying to learn.

Two years with Aramis and Treville can understand little more than a handful of his native words. Spanish is one thing but Aramis speaks so rapidly and with such an odd accent - words blur into each other, consonants disappear - and Treville has always just considered Aramis' tongue beyond him. Their sharing English is a mercy, and puts them on some kind of even keel, at least both aware of the difficulty of communicating in a second language. Technically Aramis is learning French, but he's had a disruptive sort of schooling all along. His first tutor left - a nervous man, Aramis' unpredictable episodes upset him too much, and Treville could see in Aramis' fourteen year old eyes that he knew exactly what was happening when he'd informed him that he was getting a new tutor. And even the new tutor didn't remove the problem of the episodes, and how slow and drained and tired they make him.

Treville suspects that Porthos already knows a lot more French than he's letting on, and Aramis is catching up in leaps and bounds. Between them they make a fairly competent speaker - Porthos has a knack for picking up vocabulary, and Aramis navigates the fluidity of grammar now that he's already learned how to translate into English as he goes. Together, they're doing well. Individually, they have some way to go.

Porthos approaches French like a bull: hammer the words out and they should make sense. While he picks words up quickly he still uses English word order, making his sentences difficult to follow, and his accent is appalling, though improving. Aramis - Aramis has always had his quirks when it comes to French. For a long time everything was feminine to him, he seemed uninterested in acknowledging another gender ("Oh dear, the captain, she is mad with me again.") - and perhaps there is some Aramisian reason for that, somewhere within the odd logic he operates in.

It's only since Porthos arrived that he's moved beyond the present tense. Perhaps there's good reason for that, too.

Porthos is holding up items of cutlery and Aramis is lazily supplying the Spanish for them, which Porthos repeats back, a few times, until his pronunciation no longer makes him grin like that.

They didn't know that Aramis could speak English, at first. Aramis didn't know that he could speak English; the reason that Treville sent for Anne after the disastrous attempt at introducing René - he still was René, then - to Richelieu was because she spoke Spanish, and René was gloomy of people speaking French to him, didn't warm to the translator constantly telling him to slow down, and was uncomplaining but increasingly listless in the medical bay bed, slowly drooping despite his natural optimism. Treville had asked for Anne since the boy clearly couldn't be near Richelieu and there was no other water affinity for him to speak to, and while Anne had already officially retired from the work and her affinity is earth, she's too kind, always, and he hoped that someone René could speak to directly might lift his spirits a little.

René was laying lethargic in the bed when she arrived, didn't even look up - people were always coming and going, doctors from Paris, people who couldn't help, and he showed little interest in them - until he heard her speaking to Treville by the doorway. Something about her voice; Aramis always has been drawn to women.

Treville saw the way the boy stared at her, and left them alone to talk. He's never asked either of them what the discussion entailed, though he can guess some of it. Anne spoke to Treville quietly when she left, pleading with him to look after the boy, and she was no longer wearing the small golden cross that Aramis has never removed since.

"He says his name is Aramis," she said, and Treville had frowned but hadn't exactly minded.

"Was that some sort of nickname in the orphanage?"

"No," she said, sounding softly troubled about it herself. "He just said that that was his name now."

Another day trying to work in a chair beside René-now-Aramis' bed (Aramis smiled in recognition of his 'new' name being used, and returned what sounded like polite Spanish in thanks, but Treville knew through previous interactions through the translator that his 'polite' responses could be anything from asides about the ugliness of the French language to utter gutter talk given just to see what the response might be to What head injury do men suffer that they come to think of moustaches as attractive?), shuffling files on his knees, while 'Aramis' lay on his side cupping the little golden cross under his nose, murmuring to it now and then in Spanish. No seizure in two and a half hours; Treville remembers the days when that was something to be thankful for.

Treville had checked the time and turned on the television over the bed for the lunchtime news. René had never shown an interest in watching it, but then spoke no French, so had no reason to. Treville had only hesitated on the BBC because they were covering the rugby, and concentrating on his own then ill-used English, he didn't even notice Aramis going still in the bed. It was only when he flicked to the next channel that Aramis sat up, said, "What language was that? Go back, what language was -"

Treville turned to stare at him, Aramis sitting up and clasping the cross in both hands and looking so round-eyed like his miracle had already happened; Treville sought out the words on his own tongue, got out in a grating gasp, "You speak English?"

Aramis stared at him, looked back at the television so Treville quickly switched it back, and Aramis watched it in silence for a moment, while the cricket was discussed. Then he muttered, "¿Lo dice' en serio?" and looked up at Treville looking mostly alarmed. "Yes. I speak English. What the fuck?"

Treville snapped automatically, "Language."

It was the first time he ever saw Aramis truly smile.

Now Aramis rattles away in his incomprehensible Spanish to Porthos, who props his forehead up in both hands and groans at the table, "Slower, Jesus, Aramis, ¿cachai?"

Aramis being Aramis he takes this as a prompt to speed up. Porthos goes for the hair, drags his head about and Aramis smacks at his hands with his one hand, snapping, "¡Córtala -!"

Porthos speculates, "'Fuck off'?"

"Cut it out, mamón!"

"Now I know that one means somethin' bad."

"You mean something bad."

"Very fuckin' mature."

Treville sighs, stands up from his own table, says across the cafeteria, "Language, both of you."

They both look at him. Aramis says innocently, "This is educational, captain." and Porthos tries very hard not to crack that grin.

For two years, Treville has been largely ignoring the Spanish peppering Aramis' every conversation. It's only now Porthos is here that he realises what Aramis has been doing all along, which Porthos picked up on within days and is now using to begin to follow him into the difficult maze of his native tongue, swift and swirling as water.

Aramis never has been forgetting himself. Aramis has been trying to teach them. Alone in a country where he never hears his own language, he's been throwing it out to them hoping that they'll throw it back, like a balled-up napkin tossed in the cafeteria. And it's only now Porthos is here that he's found someone who's always going to play along.

As Treville leaves, Aramis is once again speaking to Porthos in Spanish, and Porthos, slow, careful, methodical, is picking his words apart after him, repeating and translating as he goes.

Never underestimate a circle. They breathe in the same language. Aramis woke up with Porthos' language already in his head, and now Porthos, who can't just blink and assimilate someone else's memory like that, is learning the hard way. Nothing will stop them meeting each other. They communicate every time they blink.

Treville twitches his smile as he walks.



Music is the soul's way of speaking.

There isn't much they can do with two broken limbs between them - or at least, there isn't much they should do - so they once again find themselves often on Porthos' bedroom floor, Porthos' iPod plugged into the laptop, listening to music and talking as the mood takes them. It's a nice way to hang out. Makes Porthos feel mellow and safe when he has music and Aramis, he feels very far from all the bad things in the world in this place.

It's his mum's iPod. It's more than ten years old now, first generation, there are mobile phones smaller and lighter than it is but it's been so long cherished, so long loved, he would miss it like a hand. He plays the old songs to Aramis, the ones he remembers his mum playing on a Sunday morning, Aretha, Bettye Swann, the Dells. It's hard to tell if Aramis likes the music or just likes being near Porthos, likes Porthos sharing things with him. Aramis is always a little hard to read and ridiculously easy to read at the same time, the trouble usually caused by Porthos trying to read too much into him: Aramis likes everything. Really, he is that simple.

For a while he let Aramis play music off the iPod at random but it was a pretty dangerous game to play, given that Aramis knew very few of the names on it, and it led to a serious overdose of Barry White. Porthos tried to move him on to Marvin Gaye at least but that proved more contentious - who prefers Sexual Healing to Come Get To This, apart from idiot little psychic shits with no taste? - until they managed to compromise on Let's Get It On, and, peace restored, they celebrated as Marvin encouraged them to.

They pretty much never fight, not seriously, even though they're constantly in each other's space. Somehow accepting the fact of Aramis and how meant to be together they are just settles all of Porthos' priorities right, he's not so eager to fight over anything anymore. There's no point in fighting. They'll love each other before they fight and love each other afterwards; why bother with the fight?

Charon had never liked Porthos' music except as some sort of ancient library of samples, riffs and wails he knew from hip-hop. Flea liked anything she could dance to, and mostly listened to whatever pop was on the radio. For Aramis, Porthos doesn't say anything but he plays the songs that mean the most to him. He doesn't want to say that he's bearing his soul. He just wants Aramis to hear them, and he wants to know if Aramis can tell why he's playing them.

He should not have been as young as he was when Little Child Runnin' Wild meant what it did to him.

Aramis, laying on his back with his sling propped off his chest, listens with his eyes on the ceiling, free arm cast lazily back across the carpet and, as if he isn't really thinking about it, knuckles stroking at Porthos' shin.

The problem with the Superfly album is that Give Me Your Love rolls up too soon and he can't keep his hands off Aramis during that song, urgency of desire hot along all his bones. Not that Aramis objects, Aramis likes everything. Curtis is too good for his own good, Pusherman shouldn't have the effect it does, it makes him hungry for getting high. He puts it out of his mind. Aramis has a method for smuggling booze in, Porthos doesn't want to push their luck trying to get hold of weed. He settles for music, and the sweet spiking high of Aramis' lips on any part of him.

He plays Harry Hippie; Sweet child, sweet child, tell me where will you be going, when old man winter gets his horn and starts blowing? He plays I Wish It Would Rain. He plays Willie Hutch; Just another sky, blue. He plays Love Stormy Weather. He likes the moment in each song when Aramis catches his eye and grins.

He plays I'm a Bad Man. I put a saddle on lightning and a bridle on thunder, rode through the graveyard. His smile twitches but Aramis, laying with his cheek on Porthos' stomach like a pillow, murmurs, "You're not, you know."

Porthos cranes his neck to look down at him, then gives up and just keeps staring at the ceiling. He thinks about that, and puts a hand down to tug gently through Aramis' hair, like stroking a dog. "I've done some pretty fucked up stuff."

Aramis just tucks himself in closer to his body, murmurs, "We've all been like that sometimes."

He's quiet for a while after that, then plays The Makings of You, the Curtis version. Aramis has nuzzled himself in close and comfortable enough to sleep on his stomach, hand curled in his t-shirt, calm as a napping cat.

This music is how his soul speaks, it always has been, too long a part of him, too hard to pick apart from him. He understands the way a discordant Stax horn section will take every muscle in his body, raise every hair shivering with expectation of too much to cope with; he knows how strings will catch and turn something in him, the way feeling pulls; he knows how a voice cracking on the edge of emotion will have his heart, pressing it so it hurts so so perfect, the feeling finally communicated right. He maybe never says things the way he ought to, everything just sort of drops out of him clumsy and uncrafted, but he can play Trouble Man and stroke Aramis' hair, and Aramis doesn't stop him; he can play Papa Was a Rolling Stone and Aramis, head on his stomach, will prop his elbow off the carpet so they can hold one tangled hand together in the air; he can play How Many Times and Aramis will gently pull his hand in and kiss the base of his palm.

Somehow they both understand what Porthos says through these songs. Somehow Porthos knows exactly how much he can trust Aramis because he's known from the beginning that when Porthos plays music with that look on his face, he can finally shut his own mouth, all he needs to do is listen. It took trust to play a song and mean it in the first place, and all it ever did was deepen that trust every time Aramis understood exactly how fragile and precious the thing he'd been offered was. Porthos might have done some pretty fucked up stuff sometimes, it doesn't compare to the number of times people have fucked him over. He doesn't know why it was a shock to him every single time, he doesn't know why he expects people to be honourable just because they say they will be. But he knows that Aramis is, and Aramis will never fuck him over, not for anything.

Leg in pot, bruises fading to thunderclouds on his skin. His life is deadlier than he could ever have imagined, and finally he's safe.

Porthos digs through songs he listens to less, finds some gospel for him, plays His Eye is On the Sparrow to make Aramis' smile twitch. The organ makes even Porthos smile, and he forgets sometimes, you're so used to a voice like Marvin Gaye being used for background music and adverts, when he takes the time to listen Marvin curls each note like ribbon around his heart, smooth as water.

He plays Freddie Scott, I Guess God Wants it This Way; But like a child you run to me with that silly smile on your face, and Aramis laughs out loud, and Porthos tries to roll him onto his back - with two casts between them it's a clumsy slapping scuffle until he can pin him down, and Aramis grins stupidly up at him while the song plays, You bring the sunshine to my life on the coldest of days and Porthos ducks his head and kisses him.

Little Child Runnin' Wild is always going to mean to him what it does. He just has a lot more songs that mean things to him too, now.


Skin tells its own stories.

Aramis learns Porthos' body because he loves it. He loves Porthos and would love any skin that that soul wore, but the skin he has is just so beautiful, he loves watching the way light and shadow move on it, matte and gloss, warm and cool, loves running his fingers over the smooth living satin of it. He loves everything about him, Porthos' construction is the architecture of angels, Aramis has never been so attracted just to someone's nose before and his eyes . . .

Aramis has already had a handful of lovers in his life and he regrets none of them, not even the ones perhaps people think he ought to; it seems ungentlemanly in the extreme to disavow sex he willingly sought. He'll never pretend that he doesn't love bodies. He loves the way muscles ripple under the flesh and the way wrists turn, he loves hipbones pressed to skin and the way hair feels under his thumb, he loves exploring and investigating and with hands and mouth encouraging, in every way he can, the pleasure to come out from under the skin. He doesn't know why people think that this is not grace. Bodies are made in the image of God, and Aramis truly does worship them.

He does not, as Porthos rolls his eyes and insists, like 'everything', though he tends to be open to negotiation in case he just hasn't realised that he likes something yet. He's already communicated to Porthos the few things he's not willing to even discuss, and Porthos gave him a very frankly horrified look, apparently unaware that people do these things. Even with plastic bed sheets there are some things Aramis isn't willing to entertain - he doesn't like smell and mess - and judging by Porthos' bleak face, it won't be an issue. The only issue is apparently Aramis informing him that people do indeed do these things; well, there's no point in judging, everything seems strange to at least someone else.

It's not that he thinks of himself as being a good lover, he just sees Porthos naked (or semi-clothed, or, in all honesty, fully-clothed) and he wants to do things to him, it seems the obvious, natural next step. There's no performance in using everything he has to wring every drop of orgasm out of him, his own fascination in Porthos' flesh and his desire to do it are all that's required. He learns his body because he loves his body; he knows exactly how to roll his hips inside him, he knows exactly the angle Porthos feels best, but he still experiments again and again to see if he can make it even better. There can be no shame in this. He has honestly loved every person he's ever touched, loved something about them very dearly indeed, but he's never loved anyone like Porthos, and he says that with every time he touches him.

The way Porthos touches him . . .

Aramis is fluent in the multiple grammars of skin. What Porthos says through his hands on him is not singular, Porthos is not so simple a creature, Aramis might be so easy but Porthos is a tricky specimen, too knowing to be too simple. Because Aramis might tease but the truth of it, which they're both perfectly aware of, is that Porthos is infinitely lighter on his feet, much more sneaky, than Aramis will ever be. And it's not that Aramis can't be careful as a cat himself but Porthos can walk as if walking on smoke, not making a sound, and tells him with a shrug that he used to pick pockets in King's Cross. All Aramis sees, admiring, is the way that Porthos can move his enormous body as if he's a ballet dancer. He's built like a rugby player; he walks like an angel.

He's an extraordinary and unpredictable lover. He can be inordinately gentle - he knows that Aramis likes sex to distract him in the aftermath of an episode, but he also knows how oversensitive to everything Aramis becomes in the aftermath of an episode, how his mouth feels raw and swollen, how sometimes his head hurts so much he can't bear for his face to be touched. And he doesn't have to say these things, Porthos can tell, can run his hands down his hips so feathery-gentle, pressing with his thumbs to open his thighs. He'll hush his little moans into his thigh, and kiss him there while he can't kiss his mouth. And Aramis will allow himself the absolute trust of surrender, to the way that Porthos touches him, and his mouth so full of love.

He can be rough. This was something Aramis at first had to encourage out of him. Porthos asked Aramis to fuck him first, he was new to the act and wanted to know how it should be done because he was afraid, gentleman as he is, of doing it to Aramis wrong. The first time Aramis just fingered him to his orgasm because he got too submerged in what he was doing and the things Porthos was saying, but he was able to fulfil Porthos' request the second time - and once again, to be sure - before the day Porthos pressed him in a meaningful way onto the bed.

Aramis doesn't know how to explain the fact that he likes a bruise or two and doesn't try to. People like what they like. But he really does love the love letters from Porthos that linger on his skin, the bite low on his throat, the thumbprint on his hip, the fingermarks spread right around his thighs. He loves inspiring in so careful and considerate a lover more passion than can be controlled, he loves Porthos fucking him. He loves what it means, that Porthos trusts the way Aramis trusts him, that they understand each other, that they meet as equals, that they both know that Porthos can't break Aramis because he simply never would. There are lovers Aramis would discuss safe words with but Porthos he just trusts. He can, with Porthos, like everything, because there's nothing Porthos would ever do to him that he wouldn't like.

For a time pots and slings make their sex funny, working out how to slot their bodies together without jolting the wrong thing, making Aramis laugh before he moans as Porthos finally arches his hips right into him. The fact that it's temporary makes it amusing. Aramis is patient, and doesn't mind some time away from easy touch, he quite likes being forced to get inventive. Porthos gets impatient but that's only more amusing to Aramis, and worth it for when they can wriggle into one of the few positions in which Porthos can really utilise his frustration. Aramis doesn't mind any of it. Sex is like the seasons, different pleasures come in and go out and come around again, and they ought all to be appreciated for their beauty, because God could not have intended anything any less beautiful than this.

He's had other lovers, and he can't be sure that he won't have more. But Porthos' skin is sacred to him, and when he lays a hand to his jaw and kisses him in the dark - brow, cheek, cheek, mouth - what he offers to him is his whole body and all the life in it. This is sacred, the bond between them, the way their sides press warm together. The glow of Porthos' skin speaks, tells his whole life and all that is to come, the promise of his living body to still be here for Aramis tomorrow, to touch again and still be awed by. Skin speaks. Every touch and every kiss is invisible ink on the surface, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Skin tells its own stories, and Aramis is pleased to be Porthos' favourite book.

Love Stormy Weather: a playlist for Porthos

Curtis Mayfield, Little Child Runnin' Wild
Bobby Womack, Harry Hippie
Willie Hutch, Just Another Day
Art-Forms Ltd, I'm a Bad Man
Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On
Curtis Mayfield, The Makings of You
The Temptations, Papa Was a Rolling Stone
Mavis Staples, How Many Times
Freddie Scott, I Guess God Wants it This Way

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