Rating: 15 (this part)
Summary: Written for the prompt of "Athos rescues Porthos from a burning building. Porthos is so grateful that he's driving Athos mad." Modern AU.
"I hear someone's been a dirty boy?"
Athos looked round in surprise to find Constance winking at him. He sighed, and glared at Aramis, who looked innocent.
"I promised not to spread it round the station in thirty seconds," Aramis clarified. "Took me at least ten minutes to tell everyone." He grinned and slapped Athos on the back. "Come on, you know you only told me so you didn't have to tell anyone else."
It was just gone midnight and their shift had just finished. Athos pulled on his coat and stepped out into the cold, shivering slightly. He was still wearing yesterday's clothes, and he should probably go home - except - he'd made a promise.
"Athos!" Porthos pulled open the door and immediately pounced on him. Athos suffered the bear-hug with good humour, and the kiss that followed with rather more enthusiasm.
"How'd it go?" Porthos lead him into the flat, and Athos realised with slight surprise that he could already feel himself relaxing.
"Okay. Quiet night. No calls." Athos slipped off his coat and somehow found himself back in Porthos' arms.
"Good." Porthos kissed him intently. "You hungry?"
"I can't keep begging food off you," Athos protested. Porthos fixed him with a look.
"I said, are you hungry?"
Athos sighed and nodded and Porthos smiled at him. "Right. I made stew, I'll heat some up for you."
Porthos set it in front of him and then sat opposite watching him eat it in fond silence. Athos finally put down his spoon and stared back at him with a tolerant sigh.
"Wasn't sure you'd come back," Porthos murmured after a second.
Athos opened his mouth then closed it again. Stretched out his left hand to take hold of Porthos' on the table top.
"Well. Here I am," he said, picking up the spoon in his right and starting to eat again.
Porthos folded Athos' hand between both of his and smiled. "Here you are."
When Athos had finished and pushed the bowl away with a grateful smile, Porthos raised an eyebrow. "So. Staying the night?"
Athos gave a low laugh. "You spent all last night and most of today in bed with me."
"Your point being? There are still bits of you I haven't explored yet," Porthos grinned.
"Fair enough." Athos let Porthos pull him to his feet. "I'll have to go home tomorrow morning though. If I turn up in the same clothes three days running, people will really start to talk."
"Did you tell anyone?" Porthos asked idly, leading him by the hand into the bedroom.
"Aramis." Athos shook his head. "Which naturally means that now the whole place knows."
"Really?" Porthos looked surprised and Athos frowned.
"Do you mind?"
"No. No, of course not." Porthos slipped his arm round Athos' waist. "I suppose I just didn't think you'd say."
"I'm not ashamed?" Athos said, a slight query in his voice and Porthos immediately turned back and hugged him.
"Hey. I didn't say you were."
Athos relaxed a little. "Sorry. Don't mind me. I'm not very good at this."
Porthos kissed him. "I know something you are good at," he smiled. "Why don't we play to your strengths?"
The next couple of weeks were amongst the happiest of Porthos' life. Whilst things never veered close to dangerous words like 'relationship' or 'commitment', somehow Athos was rarely out of his bed.
"D'Artagnan's back at work this week," Athos said one morning, running late for his shift and trying to button up his shirt and finish his tea at the same time. "You should drop in, he'd love to see you."
"He's back already?" Porthos came over and refastened Athos' shirt for him in the correct buttonholes.
"Not on active duty. I think Treville's getting him do about five years' worth of filing."
Porthos looked thoughtful. "I should take him something. Do some baking. What would he like?"
Athos pulled on his coat. "I hate to suggest it, but he'd probably love you forever if you made him chocolate cake."
"Alright." Porthos smiled at him. "I can always make you something else. What would you like?"
Athos kissed him goodbye. "I'd probably settle for a cream horn," he smirked, and Porthos' laughter followed him all the way out of the front door.
True to his word, as soon as Blue Watch were on an evening shift again Porthos accompanied Athos down to the fire house and was touched by the welcome he received. More than one member of the crew slapped him on the back, and he gradually realised it had less to do with the appearance of cake than the fact he was tacitly understood to be making Athos happy.
D'Artagnan was sitting at a table working on some kind of poster. His hair was cut shorter than Porthos had ever seen it and when he turned round, even though Athos had warned him Porthos still struggled not to do a double take when he saw his face. His nose, chin and one cheek was a mass of healing scabs and raw skin, and he would obviously bear scars afterwards.
Despite this, d'Artagnan gave Porthos a cheerful grin when he saw him. "Pretty, huh?" he asked, gesturing at himself theatrically.
"I've seen worse," Porthos lied, smiling back.
"He's screwing Athos for a start," Aramis declared, then ducked a second too late as Athos slapped him round the head. "Ow!"
"See they've given you a less hazardous job," Porthos said, nodding at the poster materials in front of him. "Hope they've given you plastic scissors and all."
D'Artagnan laughed. "They've stuck me on the schools rota. To be fair nothing says fire safety like a man who looks like his face is about to fall off."
"Bit horrific for the little ones isn't it?" Porthos said without thinking, then could have bitten his tongue off as Aramis glared at him.
D'Artagnan didn't seem to see anything wrong with the description though and just laughed. "Are you kidding? They love it. Gruesome little fuckers." He held up his poster. "What do you think? Constance is helping me with them."
"I think you could be the next Picasso mate."
D'Artagnan looked critically at his artwork, trying to determine if Porthos had meant it was all wonky.
They left him to go and brew up tea to go with the cake Porthos had made, and while they were waiting for the kettle to boil Porthos looked back over at d'Artagnan with a troubled smile.
"He seems to be keeping positive. That's good I guess."
"To be honest he was more upset about the fact he singed off a chunk of his hair," Aramis joked. "No, he's doing very well. And Constance is keeping an eye on him, although he hasn't realised it yet. It was her idea to put him on the school visits thing, keep him occupied. If he ever looks like he might be slipping into a bit of a funk about it all, she slaps him and gives him something to do for her."
"He's currently pissed off with me because I won't let him come back on active duty yet," Athos murmured. "He thinks I'm being over protective." He sighed. "Maybe I am."
Aramis shook his head. "Treville agrees with you. Everyone agrees with you, come to that. He shouldn't rush into it, he's still being treated for one thing." He patted Athos on the shoulder. "Don't worry, you know we'll soon tell you as soon as we disagree with you."
Athos snorted and looked at Porthos in mock despair. "See what I have to put up with?"
Porthos was getting dressed for work the next morning when Athos stuck his head blearily out of the covers and peered at him. "Time is it?" he mumbled.
"Seven. Go back to sleep."
Athos' team had been called out right at the end of their shift, meaning Athos hadn't crawled into bed with him until gone four AM. Porthos was glad he'd given him a key.
"I could give you a lift to work if you want?" Athos was sitting up and yawning.
Porthos shook his head. "I'm fine on the bus. You get some rest."
"I'll just stay here and think of you then."
"No wanking in my sheets, yeah?" Porthos said sternly, then grinned. "Not until I'm here to watch, anyway."
"You know," Athos stifled another yawn, making himself comfortable amongst the pillows. "We were saying last night. We should come and buy from your place. We get through quite a lot of cake between us, and the stuff you make's amazing."
Porthos busied himself lacing up his boots. "It's not really central," he muttered. "Bit out of your way."
"Well, between us we cover quite an area," Athos persisted. "Seriously, where is it? You've never said."
"You've never said where you work, come to that," Porthos objected, trying to deflect the question. It occurred to him that despite spending nearly all their downtime together recently, neither of them ever really talked about themselves much.
"You know where I work," said Athos, looking confused.
"No, I mean - do you do anything else? Like, Constance is a primary school teacher and Aramis works for the Red Cross." Most of the crew had a second job, and between the two of them their shift patterns were random enough that Athos could easily have been going to one - although it was only now really dawning on Porthos that Athos had never mentioned anything.
"Not really. The brigade's pretty much it for me," Athos told him. "I have a few investments, that bring in enough to top up my income."
"Oh. Investments, is it?" Porthos sat on the edge of the bed and smirked at him. "Does that make you a bit of a banker?"
Athos smiled at him. "Something like that. So - you were saying where you worked?"
"Does it matter?" Porthos' face fell a little and Athos frowned.
"Well no, of course not. I'm just not sure why it's a big secret?"
Porthos fidgeted. "It's out on an industrial estate, okay?" he muttered. "Hardly convenient to drop in on."
"There's a bakery on an industrial estate?"
Porthos wouldn't meet his eyes. "It's - more of a warehouse," he admitted, then sighed. "We make mass-produced cakes and stuff for supermarkets. It's a factory, okay? I work on a production line," he blurted, looking downcast and embarrassed.
Athos put a hand over his and tilted Porthos' face up to look at him with the other. "What's wrong with that?" he asked softly.
"Nothing," Porthos said defensively, then stared at him wretchedly. "I just - I told you I worked in a bakery."
"Well it sounds like you do."
"I work on the packaging line," Porthos confessed, and looked so miserable that Athos laughed and put his arms round him.
"Oh Porthos." He hugged him tightly. "Did you really think I'd care?"
Porthos gave a choked laugh and buried his face in Athos' hair. "It's just - you have such a glamorous job, and - "
"Glamorous?" It was Athos' turn to laugh. "Trust me, it's ninety percent waiting around, and nine percent frantic activity generally followed by an anti-climax." He kissed Porthos on the mouth. "Less than one percent glamorous rescuing of attractive men," he whispered.
Porthos laughed out loud, looking happier, and Athos smiled. "Besides, sounds like your job is far more of a service to the community than mine. Only bits of it catch fire, but all of it needs cake."
Porthos gave him a grateful squeeze and stood up, feeling that if he didn't leave now he was going to do something stupid like telling Athos that he loved him.
"I'd better be off, or I'll miss the bus," he said. "See you later, yeah?"
Athos nodded. "I'm not working for the next couple of nights. We could go out for dinner or something?" He smiled. "I need to repay all these homecooked suppers somehow, and I'm a terrible chef."
"Yeah, okay," Porthos agreed. "Maybe after we could go back to yours? I've still not seen it."
He kissed Athos goodbye and hurried out the door to catch the bus, missing the suddenly rather anxious expression on Athos' face.