rainjoyswriting: (kurt!)
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Scribbled in an hour because my brain is a squirrel and this is all I can cope with right now, Five Incidents From the Year Before Athos, Musketeers short, affinityverse (best catalogued in my memories) <3

Disclaimer: I can't even force my way through the piddling plot this thing has, no-one would *employ* me to write anything, believe me. Not mine.

Rating: R, swearing and Aramis.

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

Summary: Does what it says on the tin.


Note: This is kind of cheating, there's a shittonne of plot to get through before Athos. Sorry for constantly waving the possibility and denying it again, believe me, no-one regrets this situation more than me ^^;






Porthos says, "Who the fuck is Athos?"

Aramis blinks, hanging low over the pool float, Porthos' voice a very sudden wakening from the drowsy water's patting at the sides of the pool. "¿Qué?"

"Athos," Porthos says, sitting on the edge of the pool with his feet in the water, leaned back on his hands and watching him. "You keep saying 'Athos'. Been doin' it a while now."

He's too tired to care about it. Episodes for days and days; Porthos brought him to the pool, because he is better in the water, just to get a clear head for a while. "I have no idea." He settles his cheek back to the pool float, closes his eyes again. "Isn't that a mountain?"

"You keep sayin' it like it's a person."

Aramis murmurs, too exhausted to mind, "Well, one day we'll know."

Porthos kicks a foot in the water. "You hungry yet?"

"No."

"You're gonna eat soon."

"This is a fact?"

"Too fuckin' right it's a fact."

Aramis keeps his eyes closed, and questions his mind - currently ever on the cusp of then-more-than-now - and knows that Porthos will indeed bully him into eating something soon. Well, the nausea's better now he's in the water. Perhaps he will indulge him after all.

He says, "I'd like to test how long I can hold my breath underwater with my mouth around your cock."

Porthos doesn't say anything. Aramis holds the pool float, and keeps his eyes closed, and when he hears his body drop into the water with a rush, he smiles.

*

Treville walks in on them in the cafeteria, shrugging in a massive and exaggerated way at each other, passing back and forth, "Bof."

"Bof."

"Bof."

"Bof."


Treville just watches them for a while, waiting for his explanation. Aramis beams at him, says, "We've worked out that this is a vital part of the French language which we have yet to master."

Porthos shrugs, and says, "Bof."

Treville watches them evenly, and thinks about the various ways he could respond, and how they would respond to each of those. Then he just shrugs, and walks out again.

*

Porthos lays on his back on the floor, hands clasped over his stomach, staring at his bedroom ceiling. Aramis is laying with his head on Porthos' thigh, close and comfortable, body rolled so he's looking at Porthos' face, quite far away across the length of him. The music plays, soft as summer breeze, and just as laden with mellow memory.

Aramis lifts a hand and rubs his knuckles off the side of Porthos' leg. "Why do you like this one?"

Porthos contemplates the ceiling, and thinks about what he would say to Flea (It reminds me of my mum.), what he would say to Charon (Because fuck you that's why.). He thinks about discussing how unusual the lyrics are and the dignity in her voice, barely breaking. He thinks about the masterful use of silence, how it's not afraid of the spaces between sounds. He thinks about what the sadness in it makes him feel, and the things he never says out loud because he knows people never look at him and think that he thinks and feels like that.

He says, "'cause it's beautiful."

When he looks down, Aramis is just smiling back up at him, like he approves, almost like he's proud.

Porthos holds his hand out, and Aramis transfers his fingers to that. Hands held on the carpet, eyes on the ceiling, they let the song play out.

*

"Are his humours unbalanced? Must you bleed him?"

"What books have you been reading? Get out of the way."

"Porthos." A hand grips his, and he opens his eyes - they're hot and they ache, but nothing like the lumps of burning metal caught in his throat do - to Aramis, his face very close and eyes very intent and worried. "Ferrand says your tonsils must come out. If you don't want him to then I won't let him."

"You do not get a medical opinion." Ferrand snaps, from somewhere over Aramis' shoulder. "I will have you ejected from this room if you don't -"

"I like Ferrand a lot," Aramis says, and his hand stroking over Porthos' fever-heady brow is cool and dry and makes his eyes close again with how good it is. "But if he tries to cut out part of you that you don't want to lose, I will pistol him for you, Porthos."

"What century are you operating in this time? Mon Dieu, I'm calling Treville."

"S'okay," Porthos rasps, and has to stop because it hurts so much, swallowing hard and difficult and hot. "Feels like - yeah. Bad."

"There'll have to be an anaesthetic," Aramis murmurs. "Athos isn't here to punch you."

Porthos keeps his eyes closed, lets the fever sink him. He doesn't know if it's an episode or just worry that's got Aramis so weird, or if it's his own muddled, muddied head. And, again, always again -

Who the fuck is Athos . . . ?

*

More water comes out of Porthos than he knew he could contain, burning as it comes up through channels it should never have gone down, a bucket of it heaving out of him and onto the sand. He spits and spits afterwards, coughs and wracks with it, bile-warm saltwater and Aramis' hands rub his back, he hums to him and murmurs to him, alright alright alright.

Porthos spits again, and looks across the ruined beach, the snapped palm trees, the coastline cut jagged by water run where it should never have gone with more force than it should ever have held. He pants, coughs, tests his raw throat; "Fuck water affinities."

Aramis tilts his head, eyes closed, half-agreeing, unoffended. "We are more trouble than we're worth."

It still hurts to speak. "Tha's what your rift was like?"

Aramis shakes his head, and his sigh is small, half-contained. "That's what I spent my rift praying it wouldn't be like."

Porthos tries to pick himself up and the sodden sand doesn't want to let him go, his arm comes free with a long sucking drag, his hand pushes deep down into it. "You shot him."

"I had to."

Porthos nods, and his shoulders shake with coughing again, because yeah. He did have to.

Aramis helps him sit, slumped onto his shoulder, Aramis bearing his weight. Strange circle they make; they can just about support each other like this, like half a circle can keep itself up. Aramis' arms are wet around him and cling, cool damp skin against his, his t-shirt plastered to his sides by water, skin a little roughened with sand.

"Got our arses kicked again."

"Nothing broken." Aramis says quietly, and his fingers stroke back through Porthos' hair. "Still here."

They learned long ago to take what small mercies they can. "Treville on his way?"

"Mm."

"At least no-one killed the poor bastard before we got here."

"No," Aramis murmurs. "At least we got to shoot him ourselves."

Which means, Funny fucking business we're stuck in, hm?

Porthos puts an arm around his back, lets his cheek hang on his shoulder, lets his aching breath out slow. Aramis hums, quietly, fingers stroking gentle-gentle through his hair.

On the sand, breakers behind them a hush of shock like they don't believe themselves what they just did, snapped and mangled trees wrenched halfway down the beach ahead of them, they wait.

They wait for Treville. They wait for the next rift. They wait for their future, and whoever the fuck Athos is. They wait, wet and tired and defeated, again.

Nothing broken. Still here.

They prop each other up on the beach, and they wait.

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