rainjoyswriting: (kurt!)
[personal profile] rainjoyswriting
Psalm Seventy-Seven, Musketeers fic, affinityverse (best catalogued in my memories), a fairly short piece that kind of had to happen since Aramis actually picked up French.

Disclaimer: The only thing I own right now is astonishment that I can produce this on the side of the billion fucking things I have to do in the next six days fucking hell. Also as a side-disclaimer, I'm not a Catholic, Christian, or even a theist, I come from the 'why can't everyone just get along' school of atheism (our school motto is 'oh fuck off Richard Dawkins'). I don't speak for any authority, I speak for idiosyncratic characters, and nothing anyone says is ever meant to represent any grand Truth, okay?


Warnings and spoilers: The main list's on part one, read sensibly, you know what you're in for by now.

Summary: I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.

Note: *Genuinely* don't ask because I don't know how I managed this, I haven't the time to breathe or cry right now but fanfic is about my only real stress outlet in life. And I will catch up with comments, I promise I will, I will I will I will. As I can ;_;

Aramis left him in bed with his cold, Sunday morning and a box of tissues, and Porthos sulks over Aramis' fussing when he's there and pines for his company when he's not, fucking ridiculous situation. He hates the headache, hates the sore throat, hates the snot and weariness; he still doesn't think he looks half so bad right now as Aramis did when he left.

Aramis in his church clothes, pacing the room, nodding to himself as if silently hyping himself up for a boxing match he fully expected to lose. "What's he gonna do," Porthos said, and blew his nose, "send you to hell on the spot? S'only some guy."

"You don't understand," Aramis muttered, pacing the room like a cat in a cell, eyes on the walls, the desk, the chest of drawers.

"Don't go if you don't wanna."

"You really don't understand."

Even the captain's been roped into this whole horror, someone had to go speak to the priest first to ensure enforced privacy for every word Aramis utters in the confessional and to assure the man beforehand that if Aramis confessed to anything illegal or insane, he has clearance from NATO for every bullet and every bad decision. Murder may be a sin but officially, for those trying to stop a rift going wrong, it's not actually a crime, and any supernatural shenanigans Aramis might mention - well, a priest should understand the possibility of miracles better than most . . .

"So he smacks you on the wrist 'cause you fuck around. What's the big deal?"

Aramis' eyes flitted to his, rare and dangerous eye contact in that moment. "Who ever made you feel the most judged in your whole life?"

- shocking how instantaneously that can still clot the throat, which Porthos cleared, and blew his nose again to distract himself. She died over a decade ago, he was so young, and he shouldn't still feel that gulp of undeniable fear like this. "My grandma," he muttered, while Aramis took the bin from under the desk and carried it over, holding it out for his tissue.

"Okay," Aramis said, as Porthos dropped the tissue in and he put the bin down by the bed. "Now imagine that your grandmother authoritatively has God on her side."

"You have god on your side."

Aramis' eyes stayed fixed on the ceiling. He said quietly, "There's no-one like a priest for making you feel the opposite."

Laying there with his cold - Aramis' order merely made him sulk but Porthos doesn't even want to leave the bed for a Sunday morning chat over coffee with Treville, all he really wants to do is blow a lake's worth of snot out of his nose so that he can finally breathe - Porthos really doesn't understand. Aramis and god are like that, Aramis is always so certain of his relationship with god, always cheerfully sure that god's got his back even when god's being kind of a prick to him and Porthos resents him feeling like that. Why's he got to go talk to some priest to feel better about it? Porthos does get that Aramis is probably going to get very specific shit for fucking Porthos but Aramis isn't dumb enough to let that get to him. Aramis always says that god's all about love and all earthly love is a remembrance of god's unending love and all that kind of crap; then he says, "And what on earth else were we given a prostate for?" because he's Aramis, and Porthos loves him for it even when he smacks him in the arm.

Porthos thinks about coughing but his throat hurts and it's too much fucking effort. He holds the box of tissues in one hand - he needs them too often to make putting them down worth it - and blinks hot, drowsy eyes at the ceiling. Aramis is rarely offensively Jesusy and it's not like it's a problem between the two of them. They had some fights over it when they were younger but Porthos understands better now how easy it is to hurt Aramis with this stuff (he was raised by nuns, he can't help it mattering to him like this) so he leaves it alone and Aramis - well, yeah, Aramis is rarely offensively Jesusy. Never badgers Porthos about it or anything. Except sometimes for fun because he likes Porthos telling him to piss off so long as he's grinning while he does it.

He wonders if Athos gives a crap about churchy stuff one way or another. Athos doesn't strike him as someone who'll believe in much, given the last few weeks of his life and what seems to be a much more ingrained attitude of detached, ironic pessimism. He never mentions Aramis' little habits, the prayers he murmurs in Spanish while he fits his rifle together and the cross he never takes off. Probably they seem like the parts of Aramis least deserving of comment, much less concerning than his generally never shutting up and his habit of occasionally not wearing anything at all.

He sniffs, coughs, finds - pathetically - that he wants Aramis to come back and make him another hot drink and stroke his hair and murmur his "Poor Porthos," to him again, like he actually means it. Porthos hasn't been this mothered in thirteen years and it comforts in the strangest of ways, too deep, too much. He coughs again, it tickles in his damn throat, takes a drink from the glass of water on the bedside table, checks the clock. Fuck, Aramis is taking his time.

Maybe he'll get up and make a hot drink for himself.

Maybe he'll have a little nap first.


He wakes to feet on the gravel outside the window, comes up with an airless attempt at an in-breath through his nose and his hand jolts on the tissue box still on his stomach. He checks the clock, takes some time to decipher the time, he's slow and sleepy with the cold, it's in his brain like the freeze of ice. It takes the whole journey of Aramis getting to the corridor for Porthos to blow his nose even halfway satisfactory in preparation for him.

Aramis is not whistling as he makes his way down the corridor outside.

Porthos props himself on a pillow to watch him come in, starts a smile but it fades on meeting the one on Aramis' face - thin, and tight around the eyes. Porthos watches him close the door behind himself and scuff his hair out hard like he's been waiting a long time to do that, mouth pressed closed and eyes off in the middle distance, and it's not like he's slumping like he does so mournful when Treville tells him off, it's more like -

Something a little too narrow about the shoulder blades. Not quite shame, Porthos knows Aramis; there's anger in there too.

Porthos says, "You were gone for ages."

Aramis nods, slowly, murmurs, "I'll be saying Hail Marys for the next fortnight."

"That bad?"

Aramis looks around, plucks a used tissue distastefully from the bed and drops it into the bin, checks Porthos' forehead with the backs of his fingers, quirks his mouth and folds his arms and looks around the room. "It was a lot of sin to deal with all at once."

"Don't pretend you didn't enjoy it while you were doin' it."

But Aramis isn't smiling, rubbing his arms a little, something strained still on his face. "What?" Porthos says, and reaches up to tug at his elbow to try to get his hand free to hold. "Hey, what, what'd he say?" Suddenly he does feel angry. "What'd the fucker say to you -?"

Aramis closes his eyes. "Nothing that isn't objectively true. Don't call priests 'fuckers', Porthos." His mouth twitches again, something almost truly Aramis in that. "By definition they are not."

Porthos clears his overheated throat and Aramis lets his arms free from their fold but he doesn't let Porthos tug him down onto the bed, he just rummages on the chaos of the bedside table, bins a pile of cough sweet wrappers and locates one lozenge remaining, which he feeds to Porthos by the hand without apparently thinking about it.

"So, what," Porthos says, sucking hard at it to try to make it work its magic on the wreckage lining his throat, "he's jealous of all the sex you're gettin'?" Aramis sits on the bed by Porthos' legs and brushes his trousers at his knees, eyes on his hands. Porthos says, because he doesn't know how these things work, "How'd you tell him about - you know. Us?"

Aramis apparently finds his knees very interesting today. "I tried to find a discreet way of wording it."


Aramis folds his mouth tight closed, eyes still down. "He wanted me to elaborate when I confessed to having slept with 'people'."


"He wanted specifics."

"Dirty old man."

"He's not so old." Aramis looks up, breathes in and sharply out at the doorframe. "My views on certain matters of doctrine are - si, po. Deviant."

He cracks a grin, good word for Aramis. "Deviant."

"From Church teaching."

"Bet that went down well."

Aramis gives the door a look bordering on panicked before he takes another breath and says, "We had an argument about it."

"You . . ."

"In the confessional. We -" He looks away, mouth twisting, mutters, "I really am a sinner."

"Aramis -"

"I lack humility, and I know pride is a sin. But Our Lord did not judge. He cared for sinners, He saw the good in people, He didn't judge." To the furthest corner of the room, quietly, viciously, "And I will not repent you."

Porthos doesn't even know how to reply to that - he next to never hears Aramis even approaching angry, let alone hissing with it - when there's a knock at the door, and Aramis takes a quick breath and lifts his head and calls brightly, "Ven adentro."

The door opens a crack before it commits itself to opening more, and Athos narrows his eyes in at them, like he always has his suspicions that Aramis will invite him right in while he and Porthos are doing something sweaty and rhythmic. He takes a look at Aramis sitting there in a tie while Porthos lays there like a beached jellyfish in the bed, gives Aramis in the tie a very confused look again, and says, "Is this a bad time?"

Aramis smiles. "Why would it be a bad time?"

Athos' expression says, Because it's always a bad time to enter your lair. but he closes the door behind himself, and he's holding a bottle of wine. "Do you have a corkscrew? I seem to have failed to pack one."

It's Sunday afternoon and the fact that he's on wine instead of spirits means it must be a good day. "Second drawer," Aramis says, gesturing at the bedside table and standing from the bed, walking around it to the wardrobe. "Try not to breathe in near him."

"Lucky smugness isn't infectious," Porthos mutters, and Athos ignores them, and opens the drawer. There is a corkscrew in there, part of a Swiss army knife, but when Athos hesitates Porthos glances across and realises what else is in there: one pair of lilac-blue silk women's knickers, and not much of an explanation for them.

Porthos says, because it ought to cover it, "Aramis bought them."

Aramis glances back, and Porthos sees the realisation enter his eyes as Athos cuts a glance across at him. "Oh, that." he says, and shrugs. "Sometimes I like Porthos to wear them when he fucks me."

Athos breathes in through his nose, sighs out through his nose, and extracts the knife from underneath them. But Aramis seems to have heard what just came out of his own mouth, and stands there a little awkwardly now, eyes low, thinkingthinkingthinking again, weird and unpleasant to watch Aramis think. Then he says, quiet with how scarily much he clearly both wants and dreads an honest answer to this question, "Am I a bad person?"

It takes a second for it to register as weird that in their shock, Porthos and Athos look at each other. They're always a little uneasy of the other - too many strata of background and difference between them - but Porthos suddenly realises the bond that they'll always have for the rest of their lives, now, which is forming a united front in dealing with Aramis.

"'course you're not," Porthos says, because Aramis clearly isn't joking. "You're kind of a shithead sometimes but you're - you're not bad."

Athos says, "You have qualities I would appreciate your not having. But I have certainly met worse men than you. Much worse."

Aramis looks to the side. "I remember . . ." His jaw twitches. "I remember being responsible for bad things. Very - bad things."

Porthos says, "Is this your memory or someone else's?" and Athos looks at him. "Sometimes he remembers stuff that happened to other people," Porthos fills in, because probably it is weird if you're not used to it.

Athos looks at Aramis, and Aramis squirms a bit. Which is weird because Porthos knows that Aramis doesn't feel embarrassment like normal people do, but then Aramis isn't very normal this morning, Aramis has some fucking priest messing up his head as if his head isn't already fucking messed up and Porthos doesn't know how to make him stop looking so sad, he doesn't understand Aramis' weird Jesus things, he never knows what to do or say -

Athos sighs, and sits on the bed where Aramis vacated the space by Porthos' legs, bottle propped between his thighs so he can open the knife and cut its cork's seal. "Regret is the sign of a conscience in good working order. Which means that you are not a bad person." He flicks the corkscrew out. "Merely an irritating one."

Aramis looks uneasily to Porthos. Porthos offers, "When I got here you did some stuff for me no-one else would've."

Aramis thinks about that, eyes falling low, then nods, slow and unconvinced, and turns for the wardrobe, taking his shoes off. Athos turns, saying, "What brought this on-?" just as Aramis pulls his trousers down, and gives him a quick smile over his shoulder as Athos glares and turns back to opening his wine, but Aramis lacks his usual glee in baiting Athos and Porthos can tell how badly that priest shook him. The bastard. He's lucky Porthos isn't Catholic, he's lucky he doesn't have Porthos alone with him in that booth next Sunday.

Porthos says, "He just got back from confessing."

"Confession," Aramis murmurs, hanging his trousers.

"Confession?" Athos says, and turns to stare at Aramis again, who makes a point then of bending over in his boxers to root through a drawer so Athos rolls his eyes back to his wine bottle again, finally freeing the cork with a creak and a pop. "My father was a Catholic," he says, raising the wine. "Lapsed," he adds, taking a drink from the bottle, swallowing thoughtfully. "He was unhappy with religion and unhappy without it. There seemed little point in choosing between the states, to me."

"We are all sinners," Aramis murmurs, tugging his jeans up over his hips, craning his back curved to watch his hands close his belt. It occurs to Porthos that Aramis would probably feel a lot better if Porthos just fucked him, it seems to solve most problems for Aramis, but Porthos is kind of gross and tired right now, and Athos is here, and there are depths of baiting Athos that Porthos isn't willing to sink to.

"Nevertheless, I fail to see why a priest gets to determine your life choices, or pass judgement on them."

"I know he's just a man," Aramis says, tugging the knot on his tie out and whipping it from his collar. "But it's more complicated than . . ." He mutters in Spanish, "How am I supposed to explain this." and sighs. "It's more complicated than that," he says, and begins unbuttoning his shirt.

Athos takes another thoughtful drink, and Porthos says, "You want a glass for that?"

"I'm sorry, I'm being rude." Athos says. "Would you like some?"

Porthos probably would say yes but starts coughing instead, and Aramis gives a sudden jerk in his undressing, and tugs his shirt off. "¿Qué me pasa? I spend my morning being shamed by a priest and my first reaction is oh I'll get drunk, that will solve everything." He stands there just holding his shirt for a moment, then says, "It wouldn't make me a better person. It would just make me mind less."

"It seems reason enough to drink." Athos says mildly.

Aramis drops the shirt in the laundry basket, and pulls a clean t-shirt on. Porthos says, genuinely curious, "Have you ever tried pot? For the pain!" as Aramis looks at him, then tilts his mouth in thought. "It's medicinal," Porthos says to Athos, who gives him a long look, and takes a deliberate swig of wine.

"No. I have not."

Porthos looks at Aramis, who says, "You just want an excuse for pot."

"Have you ever tried it?"

"No." He shrugs. "I'm not sure how wise it is to feed a psychic mind-altering substances."

"You drink."

"I know what I'm in for when I drink."

Porthos has never thought of that before. "It affects your episodes?"

"Sort of. Harder to tell if I'm having one." Aramis walks over and sits cross-legged on top of the bed, on the other side of Porthos to Athos, and squeezes Porthos' foot through the duvet because god forbid he's ever not touching Porthos if they're in the same room. He still looks uneasy in his expressions, like wearing his smiles is something he has to think about too much right now. Porthos says, "You shouldn't let some priest make you feel like shit."

"I also shouldn't drink or ask you to tie me up and spank me, you see the pattern emerging?"

"Fucksake, not in front of Athos . . ."

"I believe I'm already immune," Athos says, and takes another drink. "Immersion therapy. And besides that, Aramis, what you're discussing is the human condition, not your own guilt. We all do these things."

Says the man drinking direct from the wine bottle. Porthos twitches his mouth rueful, because, yeah. He shouldn't let wind pull the roof tiles off - though it's been behaving itself the last few days unless he lets it fly, and he knows that's down to Athos - and he shouldn't get frustrated with Aramis, who can be a dick but really only ever loves Porthos and wants to make him happy, to an almost smothering degree. There's plenty Aramis shouldn't do but Porthos long ago accepted that Aramis is basically a child and can be no more held to account for his lack of self-control than a six year old can; maybe all those years of his childhood lost to episodes and missing memories mean that he's going to mature at a slower than normal rate . . . ?

Fucking horrific thought.

Aramis picks at the hem of his jeans. "You always," he murmurs to his ankle, "you always hope a priest . . . you need something from them a human can't supply every single time. Not to every sinner every day. But you hope, because you need it. Because you need God's love and the priest is like - a stopcock. He gets to decide when it cuts off. It feels like that. I know it never does really, God has enough love for all of us, even if priests can't."

Athos says to Porthos, "Does he get like this every Sunday?"

"First confession," Porthos says, and ruffles Aramis' hair. "His French wasn't up to it before your rift."

Aramis mumbles in clunky French, "To forgive Father for I am a sin, such sorry, very sex. The sisters wanted me to be a priest."

"You?" Porthos says, it's automatic and he regrets it instantly, even though Aramis gives no physical indication of minding his dumb shock at all.

Athos takes a slow drink. "I can imagine you as a priest."

They both look at him, even Aramis looks surprised. Porthos says, uneasy, "Really?"

"I didn't say a good priest," Athos says, and Aramis laughs, then, and stops picking at his jeans. "You're not judgemental and you're incredibly nosy. If it weren't for the celibacy you'd probably enjoy it."

"The celibacy is quite an obstacle to deal with," Aramis murmurs, nodding slowly.

Porthos still doesn't really get it. "Why'd they want you to be a priest? You said you were always in trouble."

He shrugs. "Si, po. But I had a talent for Latin and a good memory for scripture. And my talents for sending men to hell -" He points his fingers a gun, one eye closed and aiming somewhere past Athos' shoulder, then drops his arm. "- had not yet become apparent."

". . . it's not the Bible you're sayin' in Spanish when we . . . you know."

Aramis looks at him, understands and smiles, and says, "Some verses are remarkably applicable."

. . . which means Aramis does recite the Bible to Porthos while he fucks him.

Worst hypothetical priest ever.

Aramis takes a breath and says, thoughtful to the ceiling, "The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen." It's only when his eyes fall, and he speaks more quietly, that Porthos realises how quiet his own breath has gone. "You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron," Aramis murmurs, and then looks down and to the side, as if finally embarrassed in something too personal, something too intimate to reveal.

In the silence, while Porthos is still surprised to such quiet inside, Athos murmurs, "You do have a good memory."

Porthos touches his arm. Aramis glances across at him, quirks only a small smile, until Porthos tugs him in by the arm and gets a hand on the back of his head to pull him down and kiss him on the forehead.

"Fuck that priest," he says. "You'd be tonnes better'n he is."

Aramis smiles, then, still wounded but very real for Porthos, who ruffles his hair and lets him go. Then he blows his nose hard and Aramis says, "Delightful."

Through the tissue, "Fuck you."

"Only if we tie a tissue dipped in disinfectant across your lower face throughout. Did you have plans for the day, Athos?"

Athos says, carefully pitched to be no sort of personal revelation at all, "It's quiet here on a weekend."

"We're never quiet," Aramis says, and tugs at the back of his shirt. "Help me make soup and read bedtime stories for Porthos."

"Seriously fuck you."

"You love it." Aramis says, because he's a grinning bastard is what he is. "Stay with us, Athos, we can watch a film and you can tell us smutty stories about boarding school."

"There are no smutty stories."

"We can invent them, then. But first he needs hot honey and lemon -"

"I have whisky for it," Athos mutters, standing from the bed.

Aramis puts a hand on his stomach. "- and I need to eat something, now my sins are all aired."

Porthos says, "Did you skip breakfast?"

"You try eating before confession."

"You told me you ate!"

"You'll find I didn't, actually, I made a comment on breakfast quite generally. Now lay down and let me take your temperature, you're looking overheated."

"That's your fuckin' fault," Porthos snaps, and Aramis smirks, and Porthos groans.

From the doorway, bottle of whisky in hand, Athos says, "I won't ask."

"He's being difficult about my administering the thermometer."

Athos puts the whisky on the bedside table. "I said I wasn't going to ask."

"Fuck you, Aramis, fuck you. Worst fucking non-priest ever."

"Love is such a beautiful thing."

"Perhaps I should reconsider my plans for the day."

"P'rhaps I should sneeze all over that smug little psychic shit."

"Perhaps whisky for all would lubricate the situation somewhat."

"If you swear on your honour that you will never publicly use the word 'lubricate' again, it may just."

"Sinner I may be, I'm not making any promises I know I can't keep . . ."

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