Pairings: Porthos/Athos (implied Porthos/Athos/Aramis)
Summary: Set following episode 1 of The Musketeers. Because Porthos looked at the drunk and melancholy Athos, and said, "I'd better stay behind. He'll need someone to carry him home." And how could I resist that?
AN: Also posted on AO3
Porthos knew how this went. Athos would drink himself into a stupor, and he would be the one left to see he got home without either collapsing into a gutter and freezing to death, falling in front of a carriage and getting trampled to death, or throwing up on some bravo's shoes and getting stabbed to death.
Arguably, it wasn't his problem, if you discounted the potential dishonour to the Musketeers' reputation, and that was hardly something that kept him awake at night. But nevertheless, here he still was.
He cast a look across the room, idly shuffling and reshuffling the cards in his hand, mentally listing what they were by the deceptively random looking nicks and tears they bore.
Athos was slumped on his bench, and for a second Porthos thought he'd fallen asleep until a hand emerged from the shadows and shook the empty bottle petulantly.
"Bring me another!" Athos bellowed in the vague direction of the innkeeper.
Porthos heaved himself to his feet and walked over.
"You've had enough, don't you think?"
Athos eyed him balefully, and Porthos took it as a good sign that it only took him a couple of attempts to focus.
"I can still see you. This suggests no, I haven't had enough," Athos retorted. Porthos grinned at him.
"If I'm going to have to carry you out of here anyway, I might as well do it now as later. Get to my own bed before cock crow?"
"Not like you'd be welcome in anyone else's," Athos grumbled, but it was an automatic sort of an insult, and he let himself be hauled to his feet. Unsteady but unsupported, he made his own way out of the tap room and into the night air.
"Hell's tits it's cold out here."
"Get a move on then, the walk'll warm you up." Porthos slapped him on the shoulders cheerfully. Athos belched then looked uncertain, and Porthos backed off a step.
"If you're going to reacquaint yourself with everything you've just drunk, give me fair warning, eh?"
"Piss off." Athos took a few experimental steps and seemed to decide that he could do this after all. "Some of us can hold our drink. I mean I'm not even that drunk, look at me."
"Yes, look at you," Porthos called after him mockingly, pointing in the other direction. "Your lodgings are that way."
Athos turned round and walked past him again with affected dignity. "Just checking our surroundings," he muttered. "You can never be too careful. Been that sort of day."
Porthos swallowed the taunt forming on his lips. Just hours ago Athos had faced a firing squad. If that didn't entitle a man to get blind drunk, he didn't know what did.
"Well it's over now," he said instead, and this time when his hand came to rest on Athos' shoulders it stayed there, guiding him along between the frozen wheel ruts. "And it turned out alright in the end, eh?"
"It never ends." The words were quietly spoken, Athos mostly talking to himself. Porthos frowned.
Athos shook his head tiredly. "Part of me wonders if you shouldn't have just left me to die."
"That'd be the fucking stupid part of you, would it?" Porthos enquired. "Although to be fair that's quite a large part."
Athos didn't rise to it, which made Porthos frown all the harder.
For a while they trudged along in silence, Athos apparently deep in thought.
"Do you think me a coward?"
Porthos actually stopped walking in surprise. "Why would you ask such a ridiculous thing?"
Athos looked bleak. "Because despite believing I deserve death for the many things I have done, I lack the conviction to make it at my own hand. I can only seek it at the hands of others."
Porthos lifted his hat and scrubbed a hand through his hair, wishing Aramis was there. He was generally the one more suited to flights of philosophy. But no, he'd made himself scarce hours since, presumably into the fragrant arms of Adele - or, he thought with a smirk, perhaps the boy.
"Is my pain so amusing to you?" Athos asked acidly.
"Oh - pull yourself together," Porthos snapped. "You ask me if I think you a coward for staying alive? No. Life's far more of a trial than giving up on it. And less of that 'seeking death' bollocks too, there's more than one way to be damned for a suicide. Or do you imagine God as stupid as you?"
Athos was silent for a beat and he wondered if he'd gone too far, but then Athos mustered a smile. "Have you ever thought of taking the cloth, Porthos?" he asked.
Porthos gave a shout of laughter. He shoved him with his shoulder and then had to grab Athos to stop him falling over. He'd forgotten how pissed he was.
They appeared to have arrived outside Athos' lodgings and found the door was locked shut, it being well after midnight.
Athos shrugged vaguely, and hiccupped.
"Do. You. Have. The key. To the - oh, never mind." Porthos barged the door with his shoulder and it flew open with a loud crack. He grinned with satisfaction and waved Athos inside, ignoring the suspicion that the ease with which he'd broken the lock had less to do with his physical prowess and more to do with the fact that he'd done this so often that Athos' landlord only bothered to effect the cheapest of repairs.
They stumbled up the stairs together, automatically jostling for space on the dark steps and through the doorway.
Athos shook a couple of the bottles littering the table and sighed at discovering they were all still empty. Porthos shook his head.
"There are plenty of fine women in this city my friend. Why not find yourself one of them, instead of dwelling miserably on the dead?"
"I have sworn off women," Athos said with the stubborn conviction of the mightily drunk. "There will never be another, no other could ever compare."
"Just as well you've got me then, eh?" Porthos grinned equably. "Or you'd be the most boring man in all of Christendom." He pushed Athos up against the wall and insinuated a knee between his legs until his thigh was pressing up against Athos' crotch.
"And what exactly do you think you're doing?" Athos demanded, making no move to extricate himself. Porthos shifted his weight, letting his leg do a little experimental rubbing and was amused to discover that Athos apparently wasn't as drunk as all that.
Athos gave him a half-hearted shove, but there was no weight behind it and the overall result was to leave him pressed rather closer to Porthos' chest that he'd been before. Porthos could feel warm breath against his neck, and settled his arms quietly around Athos' waist. Before long he felt the light touch of lips against his jaw, and allowed himself a smile. He turned to meet Athos' mouth with his own.
Together they crashed down on to the bed, which gave an alarming screech as the legs scraped across the tiles and the wooden frame creaked loudly. Porthos had a moment to reflect it was just as well Aramis wasn't there after all. Last time they'd brought Athos home together, they'd broken more than the lock.
After the first few messy kisses he sat up and started unlacing his shirt. Athos stretched out yawning, his hand running idly across the crumpled sheet.
"Where's Aramis?" he mumbled, the creaking of the bed having clearly stirred the same memories in his own mind.
Porthos chuckled. "In the arms of another. He's tired of your tedious self-pity."
Frowning, Athos glanced up quickly to make sure he was joking.
"You're a hard man, Porthos," he chided.
"Would you have me in your bed if I wasn't?" Porthos enquired, with a suggestive leer.
Athos patted the leather-clad thigh resting near his head with a firm hand. "And there was me thinking you were all talk."
Porthos snorted. "For that, I should run you through." He cupped his crotch in illustration of his point and started unfastening his trousers. Athos gave a dramatic yawn and turned onto his side away from him.
"Be sure to let me know when it's in," he called over his shoulder, and Porthos glared at his back.
"Trust me, you'll be in no doubt. I'll stick it so far up you'll be choking on it. And while we're on the subject, were you intending to undress, or should I just cut a hole in your breeches and be done with it?"
Athos laughed, and started to shrug his way out of his clothing, assisted after a moment by the impatient Porthos. Together, and managing to be more of a hindrance to each other than a help, they eventually managed to achieve an acceptable level of nudity.
"That'll have to do." Athos fell back against the bed, already panting. He was still wearing his shirt although bare below that, his cock sticking up lewdly from beneath the cloth.
Porthos wrapped a large hand around him, and gave an appreciative squeeze. He'd never say it aloud, but he was all too aware of Athos' occasional bouts of melancholy and was secretly pleased he'd managed to make him smile.
Athos, for his part, let himself be rolled over and manhandled into a convenient position. He was not particularly trusting by nature, and it briefly crossed his mind how odd it was that he should surrender himself so willingly to Porthos' hands. Not simply surrender, either, but actively and eagerly welcome it, even if he'd die before admitting such a thing.
Possibly, too, his earlier goading had been aimed at making Porthos a little rougher than he might otherwise have been. Despite his outward teasing, Athos had seen the flicker of sympathy in Porthos' eyes and couldn't bear the idea that he might think him weak. Better to leave Porthos riled up and aggressive, and suffer the consequences he deserved.
The sheet bunched under his fingers as he felt Porthos pushing inside him, thick and hard and satisfying. Eyes closed, he bit back a groan, groping for his own cock and starting a fast, vigorous stroke as Porthos pounded him from behind, grunting against the back of his neck, one hand fisted in Athos' hair.
Trust was an odd thing, Athos mused. He'd been betrayed more than once in his life by those close to him, but had still somehow found two men he trusted above all else, men he would die for, men who would equally give their lives for him in a heartbeat. Perhaps it wasn't so surprising in the end, that it should also be them he trusted with his body, trusted with this extra, illicit bond they'd somehow ended up sharing.
Porthos had confided once in a reflective moment, that one of the reasons he enjoyed this was the sense of never having to hold back. A man with a taste for violence and rough horseplay, he found the women of his acquaintance would more often than not require him to modify his behaviour, be it his language, his manners or the brutal enthusiasm with which he liked to fuck. Whereas with Athos - and Aramis - he could be himself, take what he wanted in the manner he wanted it, without fear of giving offence. At least if he did something they objected to they'd just punch him. There was no sulking, or tears involved. He was an uncomplicated man and their arrangement suited him admirably, and if on top of this he loved them both dearly, then that was something that he'd never felt the need to give voice to.
With the bed protesting beneath them, they screwed each other to a gasping, sweating standstill. Athos came with a groan, soaking his shirt and part of the sheet, aware of Porthos letting go a moment later, the hot rush inside him feeling filthily good.
Porthos pulled out and rolled over, panting. "Fuck me."
"Give me a minute," Athos said, and Porthos laughed, kissing him firmly before pushing himself out of the bed and almost falling over as he discovered his boots were still on and half his clothing was tangled around his ankles.
"Leaving so soon?" Athos murmured, hoping the spike of regret didn't sound in his voice. But Porthos merely snorted and pushed open the window, letting in a blast of winter air.
"I need a piss," he declared.
"You know, there's a pot," Athos reminded him off-handedly, pulling his shirt off and using it in a half-hearted attempt to dry off the sheet.
"What, did you want to keep it for posterity?" Porthos asked, suiting his actions to his words. "Don't tell me you've never pissed in the street."
"Not from the window," Athos sighed, although he was struggling to hide a smile.
Porthos shook himself off and banged the casement closed again, sitting briefly on the sill to pull his boots and breeches right off. Naked, he walked back across to the bed and shoved Athos back into the damp patch so he could get in.
"You don't get rid of me that easily," he grinned, knowing perfectly well Athos didn't want him to go.
"Barbarian," Athos murmured, lying down again with a smile that this time he couldn't mask. Behind him, Porthos blew out the lamp and pulled the covers over them both, arm snaking around Athos' waist to pull him snugly against his body.
Mind fuzzy with drink and sleep, his body pleasantly sore from the sex, Athos gradually relaxed, feeling he'd found a measure of peace at last. He knew the alcohol would keep away the nightmares - and for tonight, at least, the warm press of Porthos' chest against his back would keep out the cold and the loneliness.
Loud snores were already emanating from behind him, and with a slight smile still on his lips Athos closed his eyes, and slept.