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

Disclaimer: Women who own such a thing as these characters do not think of taking the bus as an extravagance.

Rating: Pfff, R?

Warnings and spoilers: The main list's on part one, read sensibly - some violence this part.

Summary: In which Porthos and Aramis display a talent for causing international incidents.







In the hotel mirror, Porthos is putting on the first tie he's worn since a school uniform ceased to be his problem eight months previously. He hasn't forgotten how to do it, and because this actually matters, he ties it right, not the lopsided way he always let his school tie hang. Then he gives himself a look over, weirdly impressed. He's always hated ties because he was forced to wear them. Now he hasn't seen himself in one in a while, he's surprised by how good he looks in one.

He adjusts it a little, and frowns at himself.

It's been a while since he was a schoolboy. He and his favourite crazy Chilean psychic have both had a birthday since Porthos' rift broke, and both times got fucking drunk - Treville will never forgive them for Porthos' birthday celebrations - because still being alive really does feel like something that needs celebrating, to them. Porthos is taller and broader than he was the last time he dressed in a tie, maybe that's why it looks right on him, no longer a kid in school uniform but a young man in a suit, smart and tall. Aramis grows in odd stop-starts and is still almost keeping up with Porthos, and even beginning to broaden out at the chest and shoulders with it - it's funny to see the fading of his coltishness, his bony-limbed graceless grace, but Porthos likes the man he's growing into. He still likes getting the last word, but he shuts up at least sometimes now. Both of them are beginning to grow up and settle down.

He doesn't even look to the window, where the sky remains sunshine-blue over America. He doesn't need to look so much anymore, not unless things are really crazy.

Neither of them are clear about why they have to be in America for this but Treville says it's politics, and neither of them trouble themselves to understand that sack of cats and rats. Porthos gets that they never would have been speaking open and direct to NATO headquarters, everything about the two of them is classified all the way to hell, and it's probably their fault because of Arkhangelsk, because pissing off Russia means that they fucked things up with America too. They're never going to live down the time they caused an international incident; well, fucking oops, they were trying to do something. Politics just means things getting in the way of what really matters.

That's the whole reason they're here: Arkhangelsk might not have even gone the bad way if they'd been able to get there sooner.

He pulls at the lapels of his jacket, scowls at himself in the mirror, and someone taps on the door and tries the handle at once, which means Aramis. Porthos rolls his eyes and walks over to unlock the door, and Aramis - looks at him. Looks at him with an eyebrows-high, admiringly astonished look, an obvious and appreciative wow, and Porthos tugs at his tie again like it might have gone crooked between the mirror and here.

Aramis just does something to clothes. That shirt probably looked perfectly respectable on the hanger, but with a button popped at his throat and his tie pulled just a little loose there's a suggestion of the possibility (probability) of imminent debauchery about him that Porthos has to admit that he likes seeing too. So they grin at each other, and Aramis walks in and throws himself immediately down on Porthos' bed - he's wearing those fucking walking boots with his suit still - and says into the covers, "I love America."

Porthos closes the door and walks over, pulling Aramis' feet by the boots so they're over the edge of the bed instead of resting on the sheets themselves. It's the first time here for both of them; Aramis says he's dealt with a rift in Canada and one in St Lucia, but never yet in the States. Porthos says, "Even though they try to take your gun off you at the airports?"

"It makes no sense. They love guns."

Porthos sits beside him. "What's got you in such a good mood?"

Aramis rolls onto his side, and smirks at him - he hasn't bothered shaving, ever-confident that he looks perfect however he looks - and says, "A maid came into my room. A very pretty blonde gringa who was actually called Britney. I love America."

It's too much like something out of a film to be real. "She was not called that."

"She says she was. I'm to meet her around the back of the kitchens when her shift finishes in half an hour."

"We got here an hour ago an' you're already -"

"That I made the appointment doesn't mean that I'm going to keep it," Aramis says, watching his eyes, "given the spirit she made the appointment in, I don't think it counts as ungentlemanly." He sits up, scuffs his hair back, tugs his jacket half-right again. "I've had a weird feeling since before we got here."

". . . yeah?"

Aramis looks out of the window, and twitches the corner of his smile.

Porthos thinks about it, because while they tend to trust Aramis' intuitions for obvious reasons, it's not like Aramis can entirely control or more importantly understand his intuitions. They both know that a misfire in this situation, given where they are and why they're there, could be bad. "Richelieu's in the building. Could just be . . ."

Aramis narrows his eyes at the view but just shakes his head a little. "There's something else. I don't know. I knew not to trust her. She didn't want -" He sighs. "Hard to believe it, I know, but she didn't want me. She just wanted me away from you. Did they really think that I don't know how to read desire? Someone's trying to split us up."

Porthos is silent for a long moment, thinking through how Aramis just knows things, and the things that both of them know after Arkhangelsk.

Then he gets up and puts the chain lock on the door, and comes back to the bed, to sit again, and look him in the eye.

This is all because of Arkhangelsk. Because the breaking rift - earth, Aramis knew - was due to happen any minute, they had no time to lose, they needed to be there. But at the closest airfield they found themselves held up by petty customs, by officials Treville had to demand a translator to be able to argue with, and all the time in that freezing hangar Aramis looked grey with the rift he could feel on the verge of splitting and Porthos was getting really, really fucked off, his fists couldn't squeeze themselves tight enough. Because it was all bullshit. Posturing pointless bullshit while someone's life was breaking open like a ravine out there and if they didn't get there in time -

They knew what would happen if they didn't get there in time.

Except, it turned out, that they didn't know what would happen. Because when Aramis' step staggered back a little and Porthos caught his arm to keep him upright, they met each other's eyes and knew that no-one but them would ever understand how much this matters. This stupid hold-up, 'diplomacy', none of it matters like someone's rift inside them taking them. It's not just all the potential destruction, it's someone's life ripped open like stitches burst. No-one will ever understand the horror of holding all that power but them.

They looked at each other, and then they looked at all the people arguing and talking on their phones, and not really paying much attention to the two teenage boys in oversized parkas.

So they snuck out around the back of the building and ran.

Snow in the wind and Porthos was too stressed to keep it calm even as it felt like it slit the skin, he'd never known cold like this, running bulky in too many and still not enough layers. They kept away from the road, moved as fast as they could through the forest, white breath in the dark, Aramis already had his gun out and Porthos felt his own heartbeat rising, singing like the wind was in it, forcing its sails wide open. Skidding down slopes of snow and sprinting between trees, knowing - knowing -

They felt only the smallest tremor, and all their spent breath meant nothing: they ran faster.

But it was dark, and snowing, and in the bitter confusion of the cold Porthos thought it was an episode when he lost track of him, looked back and Aramis was a hunch on the ground. He ran to him cursing through his broken breath but Aramis was crouching, gun drooped low, staring at the blood on the snow, black in the night like some awful stain on the white. Porthos put a hand on his shoulder to steady himself as much as to comfort Aramis. There was a lot of blood. A good human body's worth of blood.

In the chaos of snow and encroaching cold they couldn't find the body, and Aramis was increasingly confused - couldn't even speak English half the time, Porthos suspected sheer rage played some part in it, as fingers then hands then arms went numb, his feet had lost all feeling long ago, and it didn't even occur to them to stop their search, not until Treville and the Russians arrived - and by then Porthos had found the familiar dart stuck in a tree trunk. Maybe it was a mercy that Aramis was by that point completely lost in Spanish, because Porthos had never heard him shout at the captain before, stabbing the gun at the blood on the snow, half-frozen and furious because if only they hadn't been delayed -

Which is why they're here, in America, to talk to powerful people. They know very little except that what they do know is vital, for their lives and others. What they know is this:

Someone is trying to kill affinities, and at least sometimes succeeding.

Someone somehow knows the plans made in that villa, knows where the two of them are heading for a rift, and can beat them to it.

Neither of them trust anyone but Treville, and they don't believe for a second that anything will keep the both of them safe but each other.

Conclusion: They have to be let off the lead.

It's the only solution they've been able to see, they've pleaded and argued and yelled at Treville, they need more privacy, they can't trust other people knowing the things Aramis sees, they certainly can't trust other agents around the two of them anymore. They wouldn't run away, they wouldn't cause trouble, this is just the only way that they can do what they have to do. Because that rift lost in Arkhangelsk could have been part of their circle if only someone hadn't got to them first, because they're sick of never knowing when someone might shoot darts at them and try to kill either one of them, because people shouldn't die just because the two of them have to be minded all the time like the children they both ceased to be before their rifts broke.

They will do their duty, they swear that. They just need the space to do it in.

It took some time to convince Treville how serious they were. Back at the bloody site of that broken rift in the snow, while Aramis was yelling at him in Spanish, Treville had been bellowing back at him in French, and Porthos stood there holding the dart and glowering at the armed Russians, angry at all of them. Aramis and Treville fight very rarely - Aramis is very easy to shame when he truly does misbehave, and has a strange inclination towards obedience when it comes to the captain anyway - and Porthos realised that this is how they do fight, when they have to, so that anything they say that might turn out to be regrettable isn't understood and doesn't require forgiveness. Aramis and Treville screamed at each other, and Porthos kept an eye on the Russians, in case Aramis yelling in Spanish and using his gun as a pointing device made them twitchy with their Kalashnikovs.

So they upset Russia. So there was fallout from Russia being upset. So they upset a whole bunch of countries - significantly America - like tipping over dominos. So they were lucky the whole incident didn't become publicly problematic. So, none of that would even have happened if they could just have gone in on their own, under the radar, not even needing clearance and diplomacy. None of this would be a problem if people would just trust them.

He watches Aramis' eyes - he always likes the clean cut of his eyelashes, how steady and straight Aramis' gaze always is - and says, "What do you know?"

Aramis rolls his eyes away over the ceiling, gives a delicate shrug. "I don't know. I have a bad feeling. Something - someone in this building means harm, and they're organised. And we need to know more. That I do know, too well."

Porthos thinks about it. "Could tell Treville."

"We have to get to him first." He looks at the door. "I don't know how safe the corridors are, and I'd rather keep the captain - out of this. He's not a rift. He shouldn't be in danger because of this."

Fair enough. "You think we're in danger in a hotel corridor in the middle of America in the middle of the day?"

"Well, they have so many guns here."

"You have so many guns."

Aramis tuts, because that's beside the point. "I have a horrible, bad feeling." He puts a hand over his stomach, eyes on the desk for a long time as he thinks, and then he takes a breath and meets Porthos' eye. "Maybe I - could have an episode."

"Apart from bruises and maybe some puke," Porthos says, slowly, "what's that s'pposed to gain us, exactly?"

Aramis knocks his fingers off the side of Porthos' thigh, says to it, "I've been better for a while, now, since you've been here. Maybe I can . . . maybe I can start to control them. Learn how to. To make them more useful."

"Well, maybe," Porthos says, and he can feel how sour the frown is on his face. "Or maybe you'll rupture an artery in your brain an' die in the middle of it."

"Porthos, if we worry about that every time -"

"I do worry about that every fucking time."

Aramis is silent for a moment, then puts his hand on Porthos' leg, says, "Neither of us is responsible for what my powers do. I just have them. That can't be helped. And I get tired of always being at the mercy of . . . because if I could control them, if we did get something out of them besides the possibility of -" He fireworks his fingers out at the side of his head, and makes a noise apparently meant to simulate something in his brain bursting - "I could find a lot more peace with them. Porthos, when we have a circle, in theory I will be able to do this. Can't I practise now? I've been so much better ever since you got here, and . . ."

"You even remember the way Treville looked at me last time?"

"Oh, he looked at you like that a lot, then. He thought you'd compromise my chastity."

"It's like gettin' mad at the tide going out. He looked at me like that 'cause I let you risk your life when we both knew -"

"Porthos." Aramis presses his leg, and holds his eye. "When you stand out in the storm, don't you ever think about where the lightning's going to strike? Don't you ever think that both our powers are lethal, that's just what a rift is?"

". . . you don't have t'worry about . . ."

Aramis takes his hand back, and he's breathing very steady, he looks very sure, very calm. "I have a bad feeling that will linger until either something bad happens or I have an episode to explain it anyway. I would rather choose when and where that's going to happen if it's going to happen. And here seems as good as anywhere." He gestures at the bed underneath them, and his mouth presses closed for a second. "I get tired of being used by my powers. Now and then I would like to use them back."

Porthos is quiet, thinking. He does understand that impulse, because when the wind's been chasing his back for a few days, it does feel fucking good to let rip and make it fly. He's never understood how Aramis has managed to be as stoical about his own horrible powers as he is, and this makes a lot more sense to Porthos than Aramis' usual philosophical shrug. And - the worst part - he's right. They don't have a clue what's happening but they both trust Aramis' 'bad feeling', and until they know what it refers to, they are kind of stuck locked in this hotel room, waiting for hell to come to them.

He concedes, slow and unwilling, "You have been gettin' better."

Aramis touches his elbow again, clearly sensing his opening. "We're half a circle. Shouldn't I have half the control I'll need? It might be all it takes, it's better than holing up in here and waiting for something bad to come find us."

Porthos works his jaw, teeth hard together, then says low and angry, "Someone's killin' affinities."

He looks at Aramis, and Aramis looks back, and squeezes his arm.

This is a bad and stupid idea, but they always do go with Aramis' intuitions over Porthos', because Aramis has intuition but all poor Porthos has is sense.

"Boots off. Lay back on the bed. Treville is gonna fuckin' kill me, just so you know."

"We'll say it was my fault." Aramis is already untying his boot laces. "My idea, my fault."

"He'll know that. He'll still fuckin' kill me." Porthos stands up, feels the uneasy press of his insides together, guts a-roil with unhappiness. He shifts his shoulders out, tries to shake his body right, as Aramis scoots himself backwards up the bed to lay with his head on the pillow, one practised hand unhooking that leather cuff from his wrist.

Aramis smiles at him. "Don't look so worried. We both know how much practice I've had at these."

"You call it 'practice'." Porthos mutters, walking around the bed to stand by his head, putting a hand out to settle on his forehead, dreading how his eyes will sink back, how his body will go sickeningly rigid and jolting. "I got another name for it."

Aramis smiles, says, "Trust me." and bites on the cuff, folds his hands neatly at his stomach, looks at the ceiling and breathes, calm.

Porthos, sickness rising, closes his eyes.

*

Porthos is standing from his seat on the bed beside him, bouncing the mattress up in a way that rattles his brain. "So where's safest for you while I'm dealing with this crap, then? I can't just leave you here -"

Aramis blinks, a few times, turns his awkward head to look at him and says, "¿Qué?"

"'cause I don't like the idea of leaving you having an episode alone in a building with a bunch of people who want t'kill one of us, we could at least get Treville -"

"Porthos, what are y- you're here, we're not splitting up, the whole point of this is-"

Porthos turns to him, eyebrows low and straight. "You just told me you wouldn't be helping, you told me you were gonna have an episode."

"¿Qué? But that doesn't mean-" He tries to sit up and it's a mistake: that weird crunchy feeling in his neck muscles grabs him by the skull and hammers it back into the pillow, and his hand trying to clap to it is so clumsy it punches off the headboard. Porthos grabs his wrist alarmed, says, "Aramis - have you woke up?"

Confused, shaken, increasingly feeling ill like he's between episodes, "¿Qué - ?"

Porthos squeezes his wrist, sits on the bed again beside him; Aramis can see the leather cuff on the duvet between them, apparently abandoned. "You remember what you were talkin' about?"

"Talking about when?"

Porthos rubs his wrist like he's trying to soothe him, but his big round worried eyes have the opposite effect. "You brought on an episode. You were tellin' me what's gonna happen next."

He doesn't know what the hell to say to that. ". . . apparently I didn't leave myself a note on that matter."

Porthos lifts the corner of his mouth the way he does when he wants to reassure him, which does reassure him, false as he knows it always is. It's enough that Porthos cares about him enough to try to reassure him to make him feel that the world is a better place. "You told me they were after me. An' that you wouldn't be able to help 'cause you were gonna have an episode, you were gonna bring one on by doing - that, what you just did."

"I couldn't have told myself that before I - ?" He manages to get his shaky, weak-boned hand up to rub at his forehead, where pins and needles under the skin try to press their way through his skull and out into the air. "I was talking to you? Afterwards?"

Porthos shakes his head. "It wasn't like that. We had a conversation. You had your eyes closed but we were just talkin'. It wasn't bad, maybe it'd be nice if in the future they were all like that." And his smile is more real, then, as Aramis lets his hand drop, and stares at him.

"We had a conversation."

"You remember any of it?"

". . . I remember convincing you that this was a good idea." He rubs his eyes, tries to keep his queasy breathing steady, the pain is rising like heat under the skin. "I hate past Aramis. He was an idiot. Never let past Aramis convince you that anything that pertains to future Aramis is a good idea. He has no right to make decisions on my behalf."

"Look," Porthos says, and rubs his shoulder. "You told me they're gonna come for me, an' you're gonna have a episode, so I need you somewhere safe while this happens. You knew there'd be five of 'em. You knew they'd act when they realised you weren't gonna slip out to meet 'Britney', you knew they'd have tasers -"

"Did I know why?"

"No." His smile twitches. "You were sorry about that."

"I'm sure I was." It feels so weird to be told this, and worse because he can tell that a true episode is coming on, his limbs have gone too heavy to lift, there's an odd shifting storm cloud under his skin, thunder moving through his static-shot, pain-scattered brain. "Did I know that you would be okay?"

". . . dunno." Porthos strokes his shoulder with his thumb. "You kept sayin' you swore you'd look after me but you'd already told me you'd be out with an episode. You just seemed kind of fixated on you not lettin' anything happen t'me but - look, I'll be fine. I know what to expect." He presses his shoulder. "I'll be fine. I'm mostly worried about leavin' you in here on your own if you're gonna be . . ."

He stands up, and Aramis is too weak to grab after his arm. "Porthos - you can't, what are you going to do, on your own?"

"Go out an' find 'em."

"You can't! Wait with me until I can help -"

Porthos leans over the bed, puts a hand on his face and his head is so sensitive he might as well be pressing a dumbbell into his cheek. "They're coming for me. You were right about that at least, I'm not leading them to you when you can't defend yourself."

"Don't you dare -"

He tries to wrench himself up and just falls onto his side a little, and the light is too much, and the bile twists inside him, for a horrible second he feels his gorge rise. Only by laying with his eyes closed to the covers, fingers knotted into the sheets, can he make the nausea settle down, grip him less horribly hard.

"Here," Porthos says, so gentle, and a hand lifts his head slightly, he blinks through pain-swollen eyes and sees that he's holding the cuff. "You'll need this."

He doesn't dare to shake his head, it'll make him throw up. "No."

It's all Porthos needs, to slot it in and hold his jaw to keep it there. "You were sure about this," he says, face fixed and grim and dark in the eyes, and Aramis can hear the wind picking up outside. "We're both on our own. 'cause I can't lead them to you like this, so I have to go out there an' not get got, an' you have to stay here and not die on your own, Aramis -"

Don't you dare, don't you dare leave me like -

The fire alarm goes off.

He doesn't know that that's what happens. All he knows is that the world becomes noise, and his skull is already made of pain, and it snaps the consciousness out of him like a bullet through the brain.

*

Porthos stays with him while he hears the confusion of evacuating hotel guests outside. Partly, he can tell that in all those milling people, he's going to be in some danger when he doesn't know who the enemy is. Partly he just can't bring himself to leave Aramis.

It's not one of the violent episodes, he's hunched on his side spasming in an ugly way but he's not likely to hurt himself, not if it doesn't get worse. Porthos pets the back of his neck, whispers his sshh sshh sshhes, listens for quiet outside. When there are no more voices, no more feet, just the wailing of the alarm overhead, he puts his hand in Aramis' hair, holds it there for a second, thinks, Don't you dare die on me, you smug little psychic shit.

Please.

Then he stands up, and shrugs his suit jacket straight.

He opens the door slowly, checking on the corridor outside, but it's empty. Aramis during his episode had told him about the cleaner's cupboard around the corner, near the staircase down, and he's going to aim to head for there, to head off anyone coming up to his room - Aramis had seemed convinced that he wasn't in any danger, that Porthos was the one they wanted, but the thought of some armed stranger being in the same room as Aramis helpless and twitching as he is makes something go bad in Porthos' stomach. So he looks back at him one last time to be sure he's not thrown up, not rolled onto his back, that he's not in danger, before he closes the door and lets it lock behind himself.

There's no need to walk sneaky with this noise blaring, but habit has its own intentions.

The door to the cupboard is open, there's a trolley right outside it where it must have been abandoned for the evacuation. Porthos leaves the cart where it is, pulls the door to behind himself, just a line of light pouring in through the gap. He surveys his hidey-hole and thinks, What in here would I not want to have happen to me?

It's a few minutes before he hears the door to the staircase come open - they must have searched upwards through the building, waiting to meet Porthos coming down unprepared through a corridor or staircase. Now he strains over the alarm to hear them walk down the corridor outside, two sets of feet not speaking but aiming for his room, where Aramis is spending his episode on the bed, wracking and unaware and vulnerable. Porthos takes a breath smelling of cleaning products, and boots the door open hard.

The cleaner's trolley crashes right into the two men out there - one goes over so Porthos smashes the mop handle down on his head to keep him down, and the other fumbles his taser so it hits the doorframe. Porthos gives him a faceful of furniture polish for his effort, and as he screams, kicks him in the stomach so hard he hits the wall.

Two down.

He can't hear them over the sound of the alarm, it's only instinct that has him reaching back for the door behind himself when he spots the other two running from the opposite side of the corridor. He ducks back, swinging the door after him like a shield - another taser hits it, and Porthos hits the floor on his arse trying to get away from it quick enough, but -

Once in the villa, thunder prowling the grounds outside, Porthos oddly sparky and hungry in the wake of the storm, he'd felt something in the skirting. He'd run his hand over the wall, felt its odd sticky grab at the pads of his fingers, lifted it and saw the blue crawl of electricity over his hand, realised - as if realising the facts of an equilateral triangle - oh, it's just lightning, that's all.

He'd held his hand out under Aramis' face, beaming, telling him to look! and Aramis had indeed looked, very still with his head craned carefully back. He'd said, not afraid but just very aware of the practicality of not leaning in towards that crackling power running between Porthos' thumb and fingers underneath his nose, "Water affinity, Porthos."

"Oh. Yeah." Porthos had dropped his hand to the wall, let the electricity run away like raindrops. "Sorry."

But Aramis, now without the potential of burning right in his face, looked right at him and beamed, like he would never have been so proud to learn a new angle of his own powers.

Now Porthos looks at that taser, and hears the thunder above them even over the howl of the alarm. And he reaches out, puts his fingers in a cage around the taser's sparking end, presses.

It's only lightning. In his hand it buzzes and sparks, he can feel how hot it is but it just doesn't hurt, as he unpeels the electricity from the door and crouches, and takes a breath. Then he kicks the door open and bowls the electricity down the corridor, running fast, hears the two men's shock and a curse and then a scream, and Porthos is ducked back in the cupboard but he thinks he only got one of them.

One man out there. Three down. Aramis said there were five.

He picks up the furniture polish again, notes his own smart sleeve, twists his mouth; he feels like a cut price James Bond, fighting not with fancy gadgets but with the contents of a cleaner's cupboard.

He can't hear the man moving, which is half the fucking problem, that alarm's giving him a headache. He squints his eyes, concentrates, it's already raining outside and the thunder is growling like an increasingly impatient dog. Porthos feels through the sky, feels for the heart of the storm, feels for the damage he can do . . .

The thunder booms like it comes from every direction at once, overhead and underneath and all around. The lights, and the alarm, are instantly killed.

Silence outside, though he can hear his own heartbeat.

And then he can hear a shifting from further down the corridor, and he thinks, Distance is bad. Need him close to bring him down. But if he's not stupid enough to get closer . . .

What else does he have in here? Towels, little soaps in paper, bleach . . .

The towels are white. Could fake a surrender, tempt him in. But he feels weirdly bad about doing that, there are forms of cheating he minds less but some just feel downright dishonourable. He shakes his furniture polish a little, thinking. And then he hears outside, American accent, "Alright, kid, just come out slow an' this is gonna be okay. Okay? Just come out slow with your hands at head height -"

Porthos, he realises, isn't the one in a hurry here. Those men need to work quickly before people come back into the building and see what's going on, Porthos can outwait him, or at least wait for the arsehole to get too impatient. So he tosses the can of polish up and catches it, tosses and catches it, a few times, beginning to grin.

He hears a few footsteps, tentatively closer. "Alright, kid. Just step out, hands up, I'm not gonna hurt you. This can be real easy. Don't need to fight about it. Just step out."

Yeah, I'll do just that, I promise. Just as soon as you get close enough.

It all changes - Porthos understands the constraints they're both under - when the man stops walking towards him and says, "Where's your friend, huh? Where's the other one? How about we find him an' then -"

There's no thought involved. Porthos comes out like a hurricane.

The fired taser doesn't matter: the air of the corridor catches itself up like a wave and barrels down the narrow space at a speed and force Porthos didn't even have to think about, throwing the fired taser wires back the way they came, along with the can of furniture polish launched like a torpedo. It whacks the man clean between the eyes, Aramis would be proud of his aim, and as the man goes over backwards Porthos sees why he'd suddenly started talking about Aramis. The last of the five is standing outside Porthos' room, one hand on the door handle, the other holding a gun.

Porthos goes still, and all the air swirls around him, and outside the thunder begins a rising crescendo of its horror.

The man aims the gun at him, deadly easy. "Stay exactly where you are, kid."

For a few seconds he does just out of sheer shock, and then he swallows, says, "You want me alive."

"Lots of things people want," the man says, dropping the door handle and walking towards him, "don't work out that way. Hands in the air." He's reaching for his belt, pulling out a pair of handcuffs. "Don't think I won't shoot you, kid, 'cause I just watched what you did to the four people who didn't shoot you, an' I'm not an idiot. Hands on the back of your head."

Porthos stares at him as he approaches, and his hands are still fists at his sides. "Or what?"

"Or I shoot you in the leg." His mouth is flat, and his eyes are covered by shades, unreadable. "Don't be the dumbass who thinks the man with the gun is joking."

Porthos doesn't know what to do or say. He's not going with him. The fuck he's wearing handcuffs. The fuck any of this is happening. But he's got a gun, and Porthos isn't stupid, and his heart's beating harder because his powers can't do anything about a bullet already in his brain -

The thunder is getting louder again, angry with his impotent anger. And he hears - behind him -

Footsteps running up the stairs, and he turns to see Treville's head rising, through the glass wall separating the staircase and the corridor. Porthos yells, "Captain, down!"

Treville is a soldier. He throws himself face-first as the first shots bark and the glass shatters between them -

And the man with the gun in front of Porthos flings himself forwards, ungainly with his head lurched up like that before he drops like his knees just stopped existing. Porthos stares down at him, laying there like a strings-cut doll with his gun on the carpet, where blood is beginning to soak in. Then he looks up the corridor to Aramis, standing outside Porthos' door with his gun in both hands, arms straight, face white.

Aramis leans his shoulder to the wall, shaking now, in the seconds before Porthos can sprint to him. Porthos grabs his arms, hikes him so his weight leans into him, gasps out, "It's not an episode, it is you -"

Aramis huffs into his shoulder, "Who else would shoot someone to save your idiot head?"

Glass crunches at the end of the corridor. Porthos turns their bodies so he can watch Treville walk towards them, gun in his own hand, eyes picking over the felled men and then falling on the two of them.

Porthos says, "There should only be five of 'em. Should be safe now."

Treville stops in front of them and just stares at them. Porthos keeps Aramis pinned closed in an arm, Aramis' legs aren't doing much of the work of holding him up, and he says, "You get why we need this? They're tryin' to take us an how the hell do they even know we're here, how the hell safe are we ever gonna be - ?"

Treville looks back up the shadowed corridor, to the men laying like bowling pins on its floor. He takes a breath, slow, and says, "We can reschedule this meeting. Have it somewhere-"

Aramis says muffled into Porthos' shoulder, "Oh hell no."

"It happens now." Porthos says, low with anger. "We came all this way an' nearly got fucking killed for this. We're having the fucking meeting."

Treville looks at them, and Porthos looks at Aramis pale and shaking after two episodes in twenty minutes, notices that his own suit has blood on it - he didn't even see it land - and thinks, Fuck it, they need to know why we need this. Might as well walk in looking like exhibit A.

Treville is silent for a moment, thinking, then just closes his eyes, and turns back for the corridor. "We need to take care of this first."

Porthos sits Aramis against the wall while Treville makes a phone call, and walks towards the fallen men while he talks. "You okay?" Porthos says, and Aramis gets a hand around his tie, and yanks him in to his face.

"If you ever," he hisses at him, "leave me alone like that again, juro por Dios, I will eBay your records."

It has him by the lungs. "- you wouldn't fucking dare."

He snarls back, "Try me, huevón."

Porthos can tell by the way he says it that he doesn't mean it the good way.

Treville is walking back to them, phone just clasped in his hand now, strange fixed look on his face. "What did you do to them?"

"Just - knocked 'em out, I got one with a mop an' another with a can of furniture polish. Shut up," he adds, shaking the giggling idiot leaning in to his chest. "Aramis shot the last one."

"I aimed for the shoulder. I'll admit the episode made me a little wobbly."

"They're dead." Treville says. "Every last one of them."

Aramis lifts his head, so they can stare stunned at him together. Treville looks between them, says, "Their injuries don't look enough to have killed them like that. But they're all dead, all the same."

Porthos can hear his own breathing too loud. It's making him feel sick.

Treville says, "You still want to have this meeting now?"

Aramis grips his arm, and squeezes.

Porthos clears his throat a little, and doesn't look at the men, the bodies, on the floor. "Yeah." he says, and his voice sounds dry on his tongue. "Yeah. Looks like it matters more by the minute, doesn' it?"

Treville looks at them, checks Aramis' eyes too to be certain, then turns back to the carnage of the corridor and murmurs, "This is a lot to explain to the hotel. And the police." He sighs. "And the FBI." And he turns away, lifts his phone again, starts dialling.

Porthos helps Aramis up so they can just hang on to each other, Aramis' hand gripping the back of Porthos' shirt under his jacket, Porthos keeping him propped up with his arms hooked under his.

Whatever the hell is happening - whoever the hell is selling out their lives like this - they need to be as far away from them as possible, as soon as possible . . .

*

On the plane back to France - they had to wait for a private flight, the two of them aren't safe in a sealed metal box a few thousand feet above sea level surrounded by innocent people right now - Aramis stays mostly under his blanket, Porthos' jacket over his head to block the light out, disappointment even heavier on him than his episodes. He was drained enough facing that gruelling session of trying to get their points made to very important people who made them both feel very seventeen indeed, immediately after two episodes; he felt the life sap right out of him when Treville came out, afterwards, to tell them their verdict.

When they're eighteen. When they're eighteen. It's months away, there's too much time to die between now and then, too many rifts to be killed before they can help them, what difference does just a few months make - ?

"Full circles are allowed a great deal of autonomy," Treville had said, to their helpless, frantic fury. "You are a half circle of teenagers. That they've granted you this is an indication of how singular your circumstances-"

"Our circumstances aren't gonna last much longer if someone's leakin' where we are an' how easy to take down we are," Porthos snapped back, but Aramis spent his anger so quickly, didn't have the strength for more of it, and the exhaustion rose high in its stead. He just put his hands over his eyes, and thought, We crossed half the world and almost got killed to be told this, and I didn't even get to know the delightful Britney. We should have just stayed at home, and graffiti'd something large and obscene onto the roof for the next time the captain flew over.

Then he wondered when France became 'home'.

Porthos settles into the seat beside him again, back from the bathroom. He can sense Porthos looking at him through the jacket, and shuffles himself down until he fits to his side, cheek settled to his shoulder. Everything hurts. Everything hurts, his head dull and badly, his body weary and drained, and something inside him, something small and bruised and young, hurts very much.

He says, quiet into the dark of the jacket, "Don't leave me alone like that."

Porthos' arm fits in around his shoulders, tucking him in closer. "I won't." he says, like he does understand. "Not again."

Promise, he wants to say, desperate, but just burrows to his shoulder instead, hunches hidden there in the dark, pressed to his breathing side, feeling his body's living rhythms pressing to his own living skin. Promise me, Porthos. Promise -

It's too selfish to say it. Porthos isn't like Marsac. Aramis never needed Marsac like this. Aramis has never needed anyone like this.

"Hey," Porthos says, shaking him a little by the shoulder. "'course I won't. You wouldn't last five minutes without me. Can't have that on my conscience for the rest of my life."

He understands that Porthos feels guilty, even though Aramis is the one being irrational and selfish. He wishes he could do something to show that he knows that, he understands, he's sorry that he's like this, but all he can do is wrap an arm around his side, and use him like a pillow for his heavy-hanging head. He doesn't know when it turned into this. He doesn't know when he became this. He doesn't understand anything, his episodes have beaten his brain into submission, all he can do for now is exist - and that only under duress - and need Porthos, in a way that chokes and drowns him, in a way that scares him.

He says, muffled between the jacket and Porthos' sturdy shoulder, "It'll all be better when Athos is here."

Porthos says, "What?" but not as if he especially minds that he can't hear, and Aramis is too sleepy to speak any louder anyway. He goes to sleep. It's a long way home to France, and they're carrying too much weight with them on the journey back. Porthos is stronger. Porthos can carry it.

He wakes up with Porthos' head a bowling ball on top of his, Porthos snoring from the very depths of his diaphragm, enough to disturb a saint. It's the most profoundly beautiful way to wake that Aramis can conceive of, which he contemplates for a few seconds, awed to silence on the inside, before he reaches up and closes his nose in his fingers to make him stop.

Date: 2014-04-22 08:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niitza.livejournal.com
Fact: I shouldn't check LJ before going to sleep because I have no strength of will and if there's an update of course I'll go to bed extra late. That said (and now that I've slept and am kind of coherent):

Gni, the plot keeps thickening. And Porthos was so badass in this chapter, he's made such progress in fighting and strategizing and controlling his powers in such a short amount of time (omg, controlling electricity and thunder? Really?); I feel like a proud mama bear.

I am - of course - worried because of the people trying (and managing) to kill affinities, especially for Athos and little d'Artagnan (yep, no matter what age he is when he appears, he'll always be the baby of the group in my eyes) who still haven't been found. And I'm wondering how they know about the rifts about to happen and move so fast since they don't have Aramis at hand. I know there probably is a mole (of course there's a mole but nooo I don't want there to be a mole) but it seems unlikely that the information about what he's seen gets leaked fast enough for them to be on the premises first. Unless they're scarily efficient and dangerous (hence my worry).

Which is why I'm happy when Aramis says "when Athos is here" instead of "if" - because I've decided to trust his instincts. So no matter how powerful or evil the bad guys are, they won't manage to get in the way of our boys getting together at one point or another. I have faith ^^

Also, it is interesting to see the stakes in a more concrete way, with them having a little bit of a problem with Russia that leads them to the US being irritated too. I wonder if we'll get to see more about NATO's position and its affinities / circles program and how it relates to other world powers and organizations (like UN or the US, Russia or China).

So yeah. In short, still reading and still liking it, so thanks for the update and good lukc in your writing <3

Date: 2014-04-23 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rainjoyswriting.livejournal.com
I get that with some fic too, I know if I try to exercise self-control and *don't* read it I'll just end up laying in bed and thinking about how I *could* be reading it anyway -_-;

Porthos is the king of badass, and also coincidentally turning into Thor apparently but basically electricity *is* just tame lightning, isn't it? (Like dogs and wolves . . .)

'Little' d'Artagnan, bless ^^ I can alas give no spoilers about potential moles or how information is leaking, alas, but I'm not even going to pretend that I'm not as impatient as Aramis isn't quite yet aware that he is for Athos too ;)

Writing about the possible world politics of power like this - I formatted this piece with the news on the radio in the background, argh Ukraine - is equal parts interesting and depressing -_- Hopefully get to explore it a bit more. And I'm glad you're still enjoying it, honey - thank you for continuing to read it! Thank you, very much indeed <3

Date: 2014-04-24 03:52 pm (UTC)
luthien82: (Default)
From: [personal profile] luthien82
Ohhh, the plot thinckens! Who wants to kill all the affinities, and why do they want Aramis and Porthos so badly? And YAY Athos! It's high time you show up, buddy, your friends need you :D Though I have a feeling that Porthos might have a few reservations at first, because Aramis will be Aramis and totally open and friendly like he is and, well, Porthos knows that he and Aramis have something special but still.

I'm rambling again. I'm just so excited every time to see where this is going. Keep it up :)

Date: 2014-04-24 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rainjoyswriting.livejournal.com
God I can't wait to write Athos and I keep remembering stuff that has to happen first: AUGH. Fuck plot -_-

In the meantime, I'm glad you're enjoying it, honey ;) Thank you for sticking with it! Thank you, very much =)

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