rainjoyswriting: (kurt!)
[personal profile] rainjoyswriting
Growth, Musketeers fic, affinityverse (best catalogued in my memories) <3 (oh god Rainjoy STOP I CAN'T)

Disclaimer: Well, yeah, no.

Rating: So rarely do I write less than R.

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

Summary: Life is a matter of loss and of gain.

Note: Been trying to write this piece for-fucking-ever, and it turns out that the only way to give Porthos a chance to *say* anything is to actually remove Aramis from the building, gobby little bastard that he is . . .

Aramis' bed, empty of Aramis, is still very much a space that speaks of his body. The sheets bear his scent and the pillow the impression of his head's weight, the halo of where his dreams were; even when he stretches his limbs out, tries to make the bed feel full, Porthos feels that he's moving through a place where Aramis should be, feels his own bones an occupying force. The mattress misses him, the fabric's brush on Porthos' skin speaks of loss and want, the sheets are empty shrouds, and Porthos knows how the bed feels. Fucking Sundays.

He gets bored. His feet stretch and slump down the mattress, he hugs the pillow in, looks gloomy at the room, and it's a nice enough day out there and he can't tell any more if that's him or if it's just the weather. Aramis left the curtains open when he left, patted his cheek and said something to him in Spanish and kissed his forehead. No episode last night, Aramis bright and breezy, off to Mass with Serge and perfectly cheerful. Porthos doesn't mind Aramis having any of his Aramis things - Aramis doesn't mind a thing of Porthos' Porthos-things, is only intrigued and faintly amused by the things Porthos has that he doesn't understand, like boxing and the extreme importance of small label sixties and seventies soul - but he does get fucking bored sometimes, when Aramis is off being holy in Latin.

Being holy in Latin fresh from being bed with Porthos.

It's strange, he thinks, closing his eyes to see if sleep will happen again, because sex with Aramis is pretty fucking debauched sometimes - pretty fucking avant-garde sometimes, Aramis gets incredibly experimental - but it still, somehow, doesn't feel sordid. Even naked Aramis never takes that cross off but there's an innocence to every way he touches Porthos, he only means good from it. All he wants is for Porthos to feel good. Porthos knows that Aramis thinks that this of all things shouldn't bar anyone from his god's side, Aramis' god has a proper sense of priorities, and the fact that Aramis gets on his knees for Porthos too doesn't trouble him. Aramis' god is neither jealous nor petty. He understands the importance of love, and he wouldn't have given people the ability to orgasm if they weren't expected to enjoy it.

Porthos rolls to the other side, and scratches the back of an ankle with the other foot's toes.

Sunday morning to himself. Birds sing in the trees, on branches just a little wind-plucked. He did hear birds, back in London, it wasn't just cars and sirens. Starlings, pigeon got in the roof once, and there were gulls near the river. Flea told him that they flew inland when the weather was bad at sea, and now Porthos wonders how much that might have been his fault, if his bad tempers might have driven seagulls up and down the Thames in the past. He doesn't know what he thinks about it. Aramis is philosophical about his powers - sometimes he has episodes, all he can do is shrug - but Porthos feels more responsible for his powers. Aramis can't stop an episode coming, Porthos should be able to stop his emotions wreaking havoc with the weather. It feels like that, whether it should or not, whether he can help it or not, trailing open ends of their hopeless half-circle be damned . . .

He thinks of the Thames, thinks of Flea, thinks of Charon. He can't help it. It doesn't matter that he's in France, that he answers to 'Porthos' now as naturally as if his mum called him it, that he has Aramis and that no-one's ever made him smile the way Aramis does. He has a past, he came from somewhere, he doesn't forget his friends. Flea'll be fine, he thinks - always busy, always doing some crazy community activism bollocks to stop the local library closing or whatever the fuck her latest project is, Flea'll be fine - but he does worry about Charon. It's always needed the both of them to keep Charon calm, fucking crazy situation where Porthos is the calm one in any relationship.

He thinks about Aramis, grins, rolls over again in the bed. He's getting too hot, and he should get up, but fucksake, Sunday.

Charon . . . Jesus, at the end of the day it's up to Charon. Porthos can't babysit a grown-up life out of Charon, can't make him give a fuck about the day after this one when you might want a job or some shit that involves not getting physically fucked off with the copper in your face on the high street. Just, it's not up to Porthos and Flea to steer Charon through life except that it fucking is because they're his friends, and the older they get the harder it gets, the more complicated it gets, and Charon wants to go play with gangs and guns . . .

Porthos can't be there. He does get that. His powers go wrong, he could bring buildings down, streets down, cities down. It doesn't mean he likes it that he has to be a country away from Charon and Flea, but at the same time he needs to get his powers down, and he does need to be with Aramis. Being with Aramis got to feeling really fucking right really fucking quickly. Sundays without Aramis are boring as fuck, drag like days are contained within those hours, warnings of what his life would be without that crazy little psychic shit coming up with ten thousand stupid ideas a minute in it, he hates it. He's even beginning to hate Aramis' bed, the sheets feel like dead skin on him. He misses his easy touch, the way he stretches and nuzzles back in, settling his head to the side of Porthos' chest for another five minutes, cheek slipped to his skin like a cat.

He thinks about getting up, getting out of this fucking empty bed, going to find something to do. It sounds like a nice day out there, it's clearly going to be a be a long hot summer if Porthos doesn't fuck it up too much. Maybe France does have a few things going for it, even if it also has people in it who want to kill either him or his favourite crazy psychic. He could head out there, take a walk in the grounds, over the grass and between the flowers and trees. He could just stand out there and listen to the bees, he's never been out in the countryside much. Maybe he'll work on his tan. Maybe he'll scout a new fire pit location Treville won't see or smell. Maybe he'll dig a trap for Aramis.

The quiet only ever makes him miss London more. When he lets himself feel it it blooms in his chest like mould, the way he misses London. He misses hanging out outside King's Cross just to see all the people go by, being able to tell the Londoner from the Northerner just by their clothes. He misses walking the markets with Flea, while she tried on hats and pouted for him and laughed, always. He misses going to Trafalgar Square on a night to fuck up tourists' photos. He misses Soho - Charon never understood why they wanted to go to Soho - Flea so happy under the neon, Isaac testing the gaze of a couple of guys, working it out.

He was Isaac, then. He opens his eyes and rolls onto his back at that, stares at the ceiling, remembers being Isaac. All that stopped the day he met Aramis. And all along he's resented what Aramis' powers do to him, how they take chunks of his life away from him, Aramis remembers so many things that will happen in the future that he struggles often with remembering his own past but really, that's just what rifts do, isn't it? They split a life. Porthos used to be Isaac; never again. He can't go back to London, not unless he's got a circle to make him safe, and that could be years, could be never. Nice day out there but Porthos is laying in bed pretty mellow right now. Porthos in a bad mood pulls tiles off the roof and split an ancient tree in the grounds black with lightning.

Porthos in a really bad mood could flatten this villa, and everyone in it.

He stares at the ceiling, breathing slow, thinking it through. It could be years before he sees Flea and Charon again. It could be never. He gets the impression that Treville trusts him now - hell, he knows Treville trusts him now, he trusts him with Aramis - but he still doesn't give him his phone back, and Porthos has stopped asking for it. Part of the reason for that is that he no longer knows what he'd say to either of them. Everything is so different, he doesn't even answer to the same name, he knows where he comes from but he has no clue where he's going and he doesn't know what he could tell them without telling them everything. The power inside him and the lethal life they live, how can he make Charon and Flea understand dawn in Iceland and the earth splitting open, that Indonesian beach with the waves like tanks, like towers, that forest in the dark not knowing who was shooting at them, Arkhangelsk and the blood on the snow . . . ?

There's a Bible on the bedside table, a book of poetry in Spanish, and a tie they used as a blindfold last night.

How can he make them understand Aramis?

It's not so simple as . . . Porthos doesn't know what it is, the fact of how he and Aramis are together is difficult to explain to other people. They're never going to use the word 'boyfriend' and Porthos has never asked Aramis to not flirt with other people - it's like asking water to stop flowing downhill - wouldn't even be much bothered by Aramis sleeping with anyone else, depending on who it was. He knows that Aramis would probably only be happy for him if Porthos had sex with someone else, he'd probably want to hear all about it afterwards. The faithfulness they have for each other is different to that. Aramis is an incredibly needy creature, Porthos has never met someone with such a hungry heart before, and he knows how easy it would be to break it - but how difficult, at the same time, because Porthos doesn't want to do any of the things that would crumple Aramis on the inside. All Aramis needs to know is that Porthos will never stop being there for him, will never leave him on his own. And that's so obvious a fact of his life that Porthos finds the idea weird, looks at it askance and uneasy, something odd to the point of discomfort. Why would he ever leave Aramis?

How can he explain it? He knows it's not just the circle, he knows it's not just their powers reaching out to each other to hold themselves steady. Aramis trusts him in a way Porthos can hardly conceive of, because Aramis knows exactly the price of misplaced trust and dismisses it: Porthos would never do that to him. Who's ever trusted Porthos like that before?

And what would it say to Flea and Charon, that in the end, if it really came down to it, if he did have a choice, he'd still choose Aramis?

He stares at the ceiling, tired with too much thought. If you would make the choice given the chance, isn't that the same as already having made it?

He thinks about the Thames at night, water choppy with light, the way they illuminate the Eye different colours at Christmas. He thinks about sitting over the water passing cider back and forth with Charon, talking shit about putting the world right, what they'd do with a Lottery win, football, boxing. He thinks about Flea dancing in a shitty Catford club, hair tossed back, smile on the ceiling and hips winding.

He thinks about how he can tell when Aramis is praying on the inside just by the way he looks at the world sometimes. He thinks about how his hands don't like to be still, how they only seem to be calm when they're on some part of Porthos. He thinks about his odd sense of humour and the epically dorky way he looks at Porthos after he makes a joke, hopeful for making Porthos smile. He thinks about how unembarrassedly clingy he is, the way he doesn't even try to hide how needy he is, and how the very few times they've fought, even when Aramis really has been a dick, he looks so hurt by the whole business of their fighting that Porthos just wants it over already so that he stops looking so sad.

He'll miss London for the rest of his life. But when it comes to it, whenever it comes to it, every time it comes to it, he'll always choose Aramis. He'll choose the loss of London, this hurt, for him. It feels like a hurt that should be, somehow, the hurt of growing up, the things you were always going to have to lose. He knows a few things about balance and power, now; some things you have to lose, if you want to gain anything at all.

Aramis can't go home again either.

He hears the crunch of gravel and voices underneath the window, checks the clock and it's Serge and Aramis back already, and he hasn't even moved from the bed. He rolls onto his side again, thinks about feigning sleep when Aramis gets back in to see what he does, but his stomach's woken with anticipation of Aramis, not even for sex, just seeing him again, his big stupid smile and his endless stupid conversation. He won't be bored in the bed anymore. No-one could be around Aramis and be bored.

He thinks that Flea would like Aramis, eventually. They could probably cause all kinds of chaos, Aramis and Flea, once Flea stopped minding that there's a reason that Isaac isn't coming home again. It doesn't lessen the love he's felt before, that he feels so much more of it now. Nothing will ever take London from him, not really. Not even Aramis, because Aramis never would do that to him.

Maybe one day when they have a circle they'll go together. To London, to Santiago. Show each other the world they had before. Show each other what the world was when it was smaller. Make it bigger by sharing it. Porthos would like to see Aramis by the Thames, he knows he'd notice the light cracking phosphorescent on the water and smile for it. He knows that Aramis would love London too. Fuck, Soho was built for Aramis . . .

The bedroom door opens and Aramis walks in, singing under his breath in Spanish, pulling his tie loose. Porthos grins into the pillow; he's singing Jean Genie, in Spanish, translating as he goes and making a pretty fuckawful noise. Aramis passes the bed and ruffles Porthos' hair, either aware that he's already awake or just not caring, and he says, "Look at what I come home to already in my bed. Happy Sunday indeed."

Porthos rolls onto his back, watches him walk to the wardrobe shrugging his shirt off. "Good Mass?"

"Exquisite. One day soon my French might even be good enough for confession." He pulls a t-shirt on over his head, and scuffs his hair out again. "I'll have to make a list."

"One," Porthos says, the smile doesn't die, "fucked a lot of people."

"Not a lot," Aramis says, kicking off his good shoes and unbuttoning his trousers.

"Two, thought about fucking a lot of people."

"More than a lot." Aramis grins, and whisks his trousers off. "Are you hungry?"

His stomach feels like a pit, like it runs to the depths of the earth. "Yeah. Three, been a bit of a shit really fucking often."

"That is not a sin." Aramis says mildly, hiking his jeans up over his arse and working on the belt. "Killed a few people," he adds thoughtfully. "That one is."

"Wasn't your fault."

"I'm sure He understands that."

"You didn't bother shaving?"

Aramis rubs his chin, and hangs his church clothes in the wardrobe. "No, I stop shaving now."

Porthos stares at his back, says, "What?"

"I stop now. I grow a -" He waves a hand at his own chin. "Moustache and beard thing."

Porthos is still staring at him, because he's not saying it like it's a decision he's made, just like something that he knows is going to happen, and all Porthos can think is that making out with him is going to get a whole lot scratchier. "I don't want you to."

"This is a problem," Aramis says with a shrug, which always will mean, This is not my problem.

Porthos narrows his eyes at him, tries to think how to even this out. "Fine," he says, sullen with it. "I'll stop too. Until you start again."

"Will you indeed." His smile has something of the cat to it now, as Aramis walks over and scratches at his scalp through his hair, grinning. "And what productive things have you been up to while I've been pondering the immortal state of our souls?"

Hard to answer that one. It's amazing the things you can get up to without leaving the bed. Through his sulk, Porthos cracks a grin; Aramis knows that.

He says, "Thinking."

Aramis, on his way to the door, glances back at him, thoughtful for a second before he smiles. Porthos heaves himself up on the mattress, says, "Are you cooking?"

"Unless you can do the charitable thing of getting to the kitchen before me, yes."

"Fuck. Gimme two seconds to get my trousers on."

Sunday morning, coffee and breakfast, Aramis wandering down the corridor outside singing Space Oddity in Spanish, and outside the sky is blue and the world is happy with warmth.

You win some, you lose some. In the end it's all just balance, and Porthos could give up a lot for these Sunday mornings, for these moments when Aramis comes back. Loss is never less than loss, but you live with it because that's what living is, and life tends to give you things to make still being here worth it. Sunday mornings, and coffee with his favourite crazy Chilean psychic, and the promise of another Sunday next week. He'll never resent Aramis going to Mass, boring as the empty villa is. Aramis going to Mass means that he's well enough to go to Mass, and Porthos can't resent that.

In the kitchen he catches the spatula off him before Aramis can do something unholy to perfectly innocent eggs, and pushes him in the direction of the cafetiere instead. Aramis grins like familiarity is just as much a joy to him, and says happily, "English breakfast."

Porthos remembers a greasy spoon in Vauxhall, Charon leaned back in his chair, Flea playing with paper packets of sugar while they waited for their food.

"Yeah." he says, and he's had good things, and now he has different good things. It's all just balance. You get a ridiculously attractive Chilean psychic who pretty much lives to suck your dick, and the contrary bastard decides to grow a beard. Balance.

Bacon, sausages, eggs. Aramis is making toast, which he can be trusted with, and is translating a slow and distorted version of American Pie into Spanish.

Porthos knows he maybe should think about the bad things more. All he can see, really, is everything in the world that he's gained.

Date: 2014-04-27 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niitza.livejournal.com
1) I really, really loved this piece.

2) Suddenly I am convinced that Aramis, who probably is the only young man willingly frequenting the church on Sundays, has all the old men and women of the parish attending the service wrapped around his little finger.

3) But I am mean and doubt his ability to grow a real beard at this point in time. I think Porthos'll beat him fair and square, at least for now.

4) I am curious about how a confrontation between Porthos (as opposed to Isaac) and Flea and Charon would go, now or years down the road. I must confess I'd really like to see it, if only for Porthos to be able to get closure.

5) I really like the way you describe the God Aramis believes in and how sex isn't something shameful or dirty. It's nice and kind of liberating in view of what stance religion usually has on the matter. I also really like how Aramis and Porthos' relationship works, how they don't have to be exclusive because they know exactly how important they are to each other and just want the other to be happy. The cuties. <3

Date: 2014-04-27 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rainjoyswriting.livejournal.com
1) I'm really glad you did <3

2) Aramis at Mass amuses me because no-one there must have the faintest fuck *why* he's there; 'Spanish' kid who at first speaks no French turns up out of the blue in some village church? God knows what the locals make of that villa, and if they make the connection, I doubt Aramis eye-flirting with old ladies during Mass helps give them any better clue of it ^^;

3) Everyone doubts Aramis! Poor child. Since we have, thank you BBC, seen them both shirtless, Aramis appears to be the naturally hairier of the two, but these things are unpredictable? *shrugs*

4) *whistles innocently*

5) It's a bizarre thing, I learn in the strangest places, but Aramis in that series helped me overcome a final hurdle in my own relationship with religion; I'm a gay woman, I've taken a lot of shit from various religions over the years, but then there's Aramis very obviously taking what he feels to be true and leaving the rest, and suddenly it all makes sense: people are responsible for their own beliefs. An individual institution might have some issues, that is no reason for a believer on the ground to share them, it's *their* responsibility to *understand* what they believe in. Which makes me feel a lot more mellow, which is handy because I'm teaching a morality and religion seminar this week, ahem ;)

So, I'm really glad you enjoyed it! And thank you very much for reading it, honey - thank you ^^

Date: 2014-04-28 08:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niitza.livejournal.com
1) <3

2) You can bet Aramis has become the favorite subject for gossip. Like, at first they probably thought it was a teen like any other, condemned to follow his uncle/grandpa to church while living with him for the holidays, only then he stays, far longer than any holiday lasts. Some are convinced it's because of a tragic history (he probably lost his parents in a car accident, poor kid), others that he is a troubled teen sent to the countryside to be straightened out - but he's so young, Mireille, so polite, so charming, comment peux-tu croire une chose pareille? Let's just say, talks around tea/coffee and biscuits have never been so animated.

3) I hadn't thought of that. I am, after all, far too busy being indignant about the utter indecency of that show. Men, in shirtsleeves in public - or worse. I can't even.

4) Yeah, that doesn't sound suspicious at all.

5) I had never thought of it that way that clearly. But yes, people are responsible for their own belief, and referring to a text or preachings to justify it kind of equates to them pushing off the responsibility onto someone or something else in order to avoid admitting that they might be intolerant assholes or simply not know something.
Being an atheist from a family of atheists I haven't had lots of contacts with religion, but even I have had to put up with several things (cultural inheritance, my friend), and most of all I have seen what it and its principles could do and did to people close to me (or, in general, in the world and history). So yeah. I know religion helps some people, and that it can do great things (... sometimes), but I often have a hard time seeing how those make up for all the bad that can be done (and was and is) in its name on all scales. It saddens me to know that you've had bad experiences too because of it. But I'm glad it didn't stop you. <3

6) (as a bonus) I also already wanted to go to London before but now with Porthos' thoughts about it I feel like I need to. Too bad I'm not an affinity who'd be tranferred to the other side of the Channel for free...

Date: 2014-04-28 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rainjoyswriting.livejournal.com
1) ^^

2) It's the *politeness* that's the problem. Were he merely charming I don't think he could get away with half of it, but he's so fucking *polite*, it gives people a false sense of security ¬_¬

3) Clearly they've been degenerates from the start, those men ;)

4) *coughs, grins*

5) The phrase is 'epistemic humility', a guy in my department does a lot of research on it - how can you know that you're entitled to say you know something? A lot of the time we rely on really second hand information, we haven't actually thought it through ourselves. Epistemic humility; if you're not sure, have the intellectual courage and decency to say that, because most other people if they could admit it are in the same boat too. It's a nice thought =) And yeah, I'm an atheist of the 'why can't everyone just get along' variety, so writing Aramis is interesting, and involves a fair bit of research but is generally pretty educational =)

6) London's great to visit but I wouldn't necessarily do a Porthos tour of London - Camberwell boasts the only KFC in the country where the servers work behind bulletproof glass; South London was my stomping ground and I feel a lot of affection for parts of it, but I would never be cruel enough to send a tourist there ;) But it is a pretty special city. The museums, the bookshops, my gods <3

(I really like this way of communicating it turns out, it keeps things so clear! ;) )

Date: 2014-04-27 02:30 pm (UTC)
luthien82: (Default)
From: [personal profile] luthien82
What just happened? The comment posted itself...

Anyway, what I wanted to say before this wackiness occurred is that I love the quiet conviction Aramis has about his God and that He loves everyone equally. I can totally get behind that kind of thinking (and I guess so can Porthos).

I also love the reflection Porthos is doing, and that not everything is all sunshine and roses. But looking at it as a balance is a good thing, I think. But honestly, I don't think Aramis can grow a beard just yet. Porthos? Maybe, but Aramis isn't quite there yet (could be interesting to see how Aramis reacts to a stubbly/beard-y Porthos, though; guess he'd like that).
Edited Date: 2014-04-27 02:33 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-27 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rainjoyswriting.livejournal.com
LJ does shit like that, it is our burden to bear ^^;

Aramis should totally form his own religion. Except that the power would inevitably go to his head, don't do that, puppy. But, yeah, they deal as they can, both of them, with some pretty crazy circumstances. And given that the BBC has made a point of showing us the two of them shirtless (http://musketeertexts.tumblr.com/post/78304048190) (best comparison I could find? ;) ) I think Aramis might be *more* given to sprouting hair than Porthos, though everyone doubts him, poor boy ;) (I love when Movember rolls around every year and suddenly all the freshers are sprouting their little moustaches on their baby faces; d'awww <3). Though you do know Aramis would like a stubbly Porthos. Aramis likes everything ;)

I'm really glad you liked their thoughts, honey - thank you for reading them! Thank you ^^


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