Summary: Set around the end of Commodities. A plot is hatched and executed, and afterwards they relax...(or, two missing scenes and a circle jerk).
AN: Spoilers for the end of episode 3.
For once, it was Porthos sitting alone. Upon entering, he'd seen Athos and Aramis in the corner of the tavern, but merely nodded an acknowledgement and sat down at a table by himself, clearly in no mood for company.
Aramis sighed. "We have to do something."
"What do you suggest? Following Bonnaire back to Le Havre and sticking a knife in his back in cold blood?" Athos asked, rather acidly.
"It's certainly one idea," Aramis murmured.
Athos shook his head tiredly. "We're supposed to be upholding the law, not dispensing our own."
"Bonnaire has a lot of enemies still," Aramis argued. "It's not like anyone would be surprised."
"We can't be seen to be implicated. Lack of evidence against us wouldn't be enough, we'd need to be seen to be blameless."
Aramis slapped the table in frustration. "So he gets away with it all? And thrives?"
"I didn't say that." Athos was looking thoughtful and Aramis narrowed his eyes.
"So you will do something?"
Athos sighed. "Of course." He gave Aramis a sideways look. "I'd hate anyone to accuse me of not caring about him, after all."
Aramis shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "I didn't mean that. You know I didn't."
"I know," Athos conceded softly, tipping his glass towards Aramis in silent recognition of what, between them, passed as an apology.
"So what do we do?"
"I'm thinking." Athos frowned, swirling the wine absently in his hand and staring at the scarred table top. "You might have the key to it in what you said before," he said finally. "Bonnaire's enemies. There might be a way yet to see him get what he deserves."
Aramis slowly smiled, sitting back in his chair. "I love it when you look like that."
"Like what?" Athos looked up in surprise.
"I do not look devious!"
"Little bit." Aramis held his finger and thumb an inch apart and Athos gave him a reluctant smile.
"It would need all of us in it," Athos said. "D'Artagnan too."
Athos nodded slowly. "I trust him."
"Good enough for me." Aramis patted Athos firmly on the leg. "Come on. Let's go and tell Porthos. It's not good for a man to drink alone," he added pointedly.
Athos gave him a look, but said nothing.
They walked over to Porthos' table, where he glowered at them.
"Fair warning, I'm not very good company right now," he growled.
"Then maybe we can cheer you up," Aramis said brightly, sliding onto the opposite bench. "Athos has a plan."
"Not precisely a plan yet," Athos said, sitting next to him. "More of the beginnings of an idea. But it might mean everyone getting what they want."
"Except Bonnaire, obviously," Aramis put in.
Porthos looked at them with rather more interest. "Tell me more."
When D'Artagnan entered the tavern some half hour later, he found them all in close conference, and eyed them suspiciously when they fell silent at his approach.
"You three look like you're plotting something," he said, pulling up a stool.
"What if we are?" Aramis said with a smile.
"Then I want in." D'Artagnan said immediately.
"Might be dangerous," Athos murmured.
"Then I definitely want in!"
Aramis laughed delightedly, and Athos nodded. "Alright. As it happens, we might have just the job for you..."
In the end, it played out better than they expected, and when they retired to the upper rooms of the inn for a well deserved night's rest before the long journey back to Paris, it was in better spirits than those they'd set out in.
Athos entered Porthos' room to find him sitting on the bed, stripped to the waist and prodding speculatively at his bandages.
"How are you feeling?" Athos asked, sitting next to him and looking him over critically.
"Stiff, but I'll live." Porthos looked at him from under lowered brows. "And if you two don't stop fussing over me I'm going back to Paris on my own."
Athos hid a smile, stripping off his topcoat and tossing it to the end of the bed. There was a log fire crackling in the grate, and with the drapes closed the room was more than cosy.
"What about you?" Porthos asked.
"Yeah. Are you alright?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Athos asked evasively.
Porthos eyed him. "Something happened to you back there," he said quietly. "That house. You weren't yourself."
Athos looked away, unable to hold his gaze. He already regretted telling D'Artagnan as much as he had, and harboured no desire to lay himself bare for all of them.
"It's - generally a mistake to revisit the past," he said simply.
"Amen to that." Porthos looked at him consideringly. Athos had dark circles under his eyes, and a weary air about him still. "Come here, you," he murmured, holding out his arms.
Athos half-laughed, and for a moment considered refusing. Eventually, he leant into Porthos' embrace with a sigh, recognising that after the last few days it was probably something Porthos needed as much as him.
For a moment they just held each other close, Athos resting his head tiredly on Porthos' uninjured shoulder.
The door behind them opened to admit Aramis, bearing a bottle of wine in one hand and three glasses in the other.
"Starting without me?" he smiled.
"Wouldn't dream of it." Athos sat back, and Aramis handed him the glasses, pouring wine for them all.
"How's the patient?"
Athos smiled. "Not very."
Aramis settled on the bed with them, examining Porthos' wound with careful fingers until he was satisfied it was knitting properly.
"It must hurt," Aramis murmured, letting his fingers trail softly across skin he knew as well as his own.
"Bit sore maybe. I've had worse," Porthos shrugged.
Aramis shook his head. "I meant, that it happened defending Bonnaire."
Porthos grunted. "My one regret in all of this?" he announced after a moment, with a crooked smile. "I could have stood a little more of that liquor of his."
"There's probably crates of it in his warehouse," Athos said, but Porthos shook his head.
"And no doubt all made with slave labour. Drinking it would make a hypocrite out of me."
"Back to drinking cheap red wine and expensive brandy with the rest of us then," Aramis smiled, taking a mouthful from his own glass. "It's not so bad." He leaned in and kissed Porthos full on the mouth, letting him taste the wine on his tongue.
"What about you, Athos?" Aramis asked, leaning comfortably against Porthos. "Any regrets?"
Athos looked into his own glass, from which he'd yet to take a sip. Hesitated for the barest second, then raised it to his lips with a sigh. It was good wine, better than the vinegary piss they'd been served downstairs. Despite his joking, Aramis had clearly persuaded the landlord to part with one of his better vintages.
"None worth mentioning," he said.
Aramis reached across the covers and took his hand, making him look up in surprise. Aramis said nothing though, just squeezed his fingers briefly and let go again. Athos felt his shoulders relax a little, a knot of tension he hadn't realised was there finally melting away. With these two men at least, there was perhaps no real need to say anything.
"How about we all get some sleep?" Aramis suggested, as Porthos stifled a yawn.
Athos nodded agreement. "Now that's about the best plan I've heard all day."
They settled in together without need for discussion, the big bed of dark oak accommodating them more than comfortably. Athos insisted on sleeping on the outside edge, on guard against unnamed threats he refused to elaborate on, despite the others' teasing. Aramis lay curled along his side, Porthos a warm weight at his back between Aramis and the wall, where no-one would be leaning against his shoulder.
"What do we say if D'Artagnan walks in?" Aramis mused sleepily, once they were all settled and the only light remaining was the comforting glow from the fireplace.
"We tell him the truth," Athos said, smiling to himself in the rather startled pause that followed. "We tell him Porthos didn't want to be left alone."
Aramis snorted with laughter, and Porthos raised his head from the pillow long enough to glare across him at the back of Athos' head.
"How about we just tell him Athos is scared of the dark?" he retorted, making Athos laugh.
"Children," Aramis murmured reprovingly, then yelped as two elbows caught him in the stomach at the same time.
Porthos woke first the next morning, in two levels of discomfort. His shoulder was throbbing painfully, bringing all the distasteful memories of the past couple of days flooding back as soon as he opened his eyes.
This was somewhat offset by the rather more pleasurable throbbing at his groin; his body appeared to have decided in its sleep it liked being pressed up against the curve of Aramis' backside enough to take action.
Porthos grinned, shifting forward a little and rubbing his erection speculatively against Aramis' body. Aramis though was still fast asleep, and Porthos decided more direct action was required.
He leaned over, gently smoothed the wave of dark hair back from Aramis' cheek and neck, then bit him firmly on the earlobe.
Aramis made a sleepy noise of protest, too used to being rudely awakened by Porthos to be dramatically concerned. Porthos nipped him on the earlobe again before starting to bite his way down Aramis' throat. He liked using his teeth like this, liked the way it made Aramis shiver and moan appreciatively.
(Athos was less keen on being bitten in the name of sex, but on the other hand he'd let Porthos fuck him harder than Aramis liked, so between them they managed very well.)
Porthos smiled to himself, reflecting on the contrast between the two men. Athos was quiet during sex, generally almost silent even in the throes of orgasm, whereas Aramis felt that if you couldn't be heard from at least three rooms away you were probably doing it wrong.
Sometimes it seemed that Athos was a generous lover towards everyone but himself, stifling his groans and clenching his teeth in climax as if he begrudged himself the pleasure. Porthos cherished the memory of those few times he and Aramis had made Athos lose his iron control, made him writhe unselfconsciously beneath their hands and mouths, crying out in a helpless exultation.
Turned on further by the recollection of other such times and places, Porthos worked his hand down inside the seat of Aramis' long underwear, drawing his fingers through the sheen of sweat on the small of his back and exploring the inviting crease between his buttocks.
Aramis wriggled at the touch, caught between laughing and moaning as Porthos returned his mouth to Aramis' neck, sucking a mark onto the skin that would need a neckerchief to hide it for days to come.
"Some of us are trying to sleep, you know," came the dry comment from Athos, and they both laughed.
"Not any more," Aramis said, moving closer and sliding an arm round Athos' waist. "Come and join in," he coaxed, nuzzling Athos' shoulder and kissing his neck. "I know you want to."
Aramis let his hand wander downwards, and laughed again when he discovered Athos was already half-hard. "How long have you been awake?" he accused.
"How am I supposed to sleep with you two bouncing around like a pair of weasels in a sack?" Athos objected gruffly, but he rolled over anyway, and let Aramis kiss him.
The next few minutes were occupied with a certain amount of lazy groping and fumbling with the fastenings on the various items of underwear they'd slept in. Things were just starting to get a little more heated when an unexpected knock on the door made them all freeze.
Porthos frowned at Athos and Aramis who were looking at him expectantly. "What?"
"It's your room," Aramis mouthed at him pointedly.
"Oh." Porthos grinned. "Who is it?" he shouted.
"It's me," came D'Artagnan's voice from beyond the door. "Have you seen Athos and Aramis? I can't find them."
Athos, with a rare mischievous impulse, chose that precise moment to run his hand up Aramis' exposed cock, eliciting a loud groan of surprise.
"What? I didn't catch that," D’Artagnan called. "Was that Aramis?"
Porthos' shoulders heaved in silent laughter, and Aramis glared at both of them.
"I hate you both," he muttered, and Athos grinned.
"Not sure whether to be impressed or worried he identified you from that noise," he said in an undertone, prompting a fresh paroxysm of stifled laughter from Porthos who ended up coughing with the effort of keeping it in.
"Is everything all right in there?" D'Artagnan tried the door, but it didn't open.
Aramis, who'd stiffened in alarm at the rattling of the doorhandle, relaxed a little and looked questioningly at Athos.
"I locked it before we went to bed," he explained, and Aramis gave him a sour look.
"And you only chose to mention this now?"
Athos shrugged. "We'll see you down at breakfast," he called out to D'Artagnan.
"We're just - changing Porthos' bandages," Aramis added.
"Oh. Yes, alright." D'Artagnan sounded a little hurt that they hadn't let him in, but departed without pressing the matter.
"Suppose we'd better make it quick," Porthos sighed. "Or he'll be back looking for us."
"So are we doing ourselves, or each other?" Aramis enquired, and Athos snorted.
"And to think they call you the romantic one."
Porthos cut in before Aramis could retort. "How about I do both of you?" he suggested, reaching out to take them both in hand, before wincing and cradling his right arm back against his stomach. "Change of plan," he muttered to their concerned looks of enquiry. "Shoulder's a bit raw."
"Each other it is then," Aramis said immediately, shifting closer and wrapping his hand brazenly around Porthos' cock.
Athos nodded. "Five hands between three of us should surely be enough." He smiled to cover his worry, wondering exactly how much pain Porthos was actually in, to complain about it.
Generally stoic when it came to injuries themselves, conversely Porthos was always impatient when it came to healing, pushing himself too far and too fast. As usual, Athos and Aramis promptly closed ranks to distract him before Porthos' frustration could turn to anger at himself.
Porthos huffed at them, knowing perfectly well what they were up to, before giving in with a sigh and letting it go. He reached down to take Athos into his left hand, giving him a few experimental strokes and his smile gradually returned.
They shifted closer together, Athos in turn attending to Aramis, until they formed an irregular chain. The angles were awkward; there were too many elbows involved and hands frequently slipped and hit someone, but they knew each other too well for it to matter.
Aramis was soon moaning shamelessly, and Athos and Porthos exchanged an amused look.
"Better hope D’Artagnan’s not still outside the door," Athos said, then wondered if it his been his imagination or whether Aramis' cock had just given a sudden lurch in his hand. Was it just the frisson from the idea being overheard, or did it have more to do with the person in question?
"If he is," Porthos said thoughtfully, also watching Aramis closely for his reaction, "he's probably got his cock in his hand by now, eh?"
"Oh - God." Aramis came without warning over Athos' hand, groaning.
Athos wiped his fingers on the bed and smirked at Porthos. "I think someone likes him," he murmured.
"It was Aramis who brought up the possibility of him walking in on us last night," Porthos agreed with a wink. "Obviously on his mind."
"I do not!" Aramis protested. "And he isn't. I just - I - stop twisting things."
"Maybe we should go and get him," Athos suggested. "Bring him in?"
Aramis started laughing weakly. "You're both utter bastards," he complained, although he didn't protest when Athos kissed him by way of recompense.
When he'd got his breath back, Aramis returned his full attention to Porthos, taking him back into his hand and stroking him firmly. His palm was calloused from years spent wielding sword and pistol, but his fingers were long and shapely and the sight of them curled around Porthos' thick cock captivated both the men watching him.
Porthos pushed eagerly into Aramis' hand, breathing hard through his nose as he finally came in a great spurt that went mostly over Athos.
"Thanks for that," Athos said with a resigned sigh.
"Sorry." Porthos grinned at him, and Aramis leaned over to wipe a stray drop from Athos' beard.
"Looks good on you," Aramis murmured with a smile.
Athos smiled back despite himself, letting Porthos wrap a large hand around his cock again and pick up a long, slow stroke. He half closed his eyes, but despite enjoying the touch after a few minutes he was no closer, and conscious that Porthos was trying to hide the fact his arm was aching.
Athos sat up and shook his head apologetically. "Sorry, I - look, I'm not - why don't we just forget me? It's fine."
Aramis put a hand on Athos' shoulder. "No-one gets forgotten," he said, quietly insistent. "Porthos, let me take over if you want?"
Porthos frowned but finally agreed, trading places with him in favour of pulling Athos back against his chest, while Aramis began massaging his erection with a gentle hand.
"Relax," Porthos breathed against Athos' ear.
Athos opened his mouth to object that he was relaxed, then hesitated. Now he came to really think about it, he'd been holding himself in a state of tension for what felt like days; so long he'd stopped noticing he was doing it. Recent events had left him sickened with himself in a way he hadn't felt for a long time, and he wondered now if that was the problem. He didn't feel he deserved this.
He looked up to find Porthos regarding him with a quietly serious expression that warmed into a smile as Athos met his gaze. Porthos bent his head to kiss Athos on the mouth, arms wrapped around him and holding him close.
Aramis was stroking him faster now, and Athos realised the wetness on his fingers was from Porthos' earlier climax. The thought made things tighten in his stomach, the curling heat that up to now had been little more than a pleasant sense of arousal, spiking into something more.
Porthos was still whispering in his ear, only now it was filthy things, descriptions both lewd and harsh of things Porthos would like to do to him, and Athos found he was bucking into Aramis' touch without thinking about it.
"God." Athos arched his back, breathing laboured against Porthos' lips. He felt them curve into a smile against his mouth, felt Porthos forming obscene promises against his skin, until finally he came with a stifled moan, shuddering bodily in Porthos' arms.
Porthos reached out and grabbed Aramis by the wrist, lifted his hand and licked a stripe across his palm where it was streaked with Athos' come. He then kissed Athos with a deliberate thoroughness, hearing Aramis laughing quietly at the action.
"Don't laugh, you're next," Porthos said, catching his eye and licking his lips.
Aramis bowed slightly in his direction. "I think I'll wait for breakfast if it's all the same to you."
Athos held out a hand and pulled Aramis into his arms. "Thank you," he murmured, looking round at Porthos. "Both of you."
"Don't be daft." Aramis smiled, and Porthos shook his head, looking serious again.
"You did something for me, remember? Something I had no right to ask of you. So it's only fair you get something back."
Athos smiled slightly. "I must remember to ask to be repaid in sexual favours more often," he said.
"Well it works for Aramis," Porthos deadpanned, and Aramis promptly looked round for something to hit him with.
The incipient scuffle was interrupted by D'Artagnan banging on the door again, having got fed up waiting for them downstairs. They hurriedly scrambled out of the bed, pulling on clothing haphazardly and trying not to let him hear their muffled and guilty laughter.
When they finally opened the door, D'Artagnan peered at them suspiciously, distrusting their innocent expressions most of all.
"What are you three up to?"
"Can't imagine what you mean," Athos said blithely, pushing past him and heading for the stairs.
"Paranoia's a slippery slope lad," Aramis said, clapping him on the shoulder and following Athos at some speed.
Porthos just grinned at him and walked after the others, leaving D'Artagnan frowning at his receding back.
"I'll find out!" he called down the stairs after them. He folded his arms, and sighed to himself. "You see if I don't."