Rating: PG (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.
"Hey, it's your new friend."
Athos looked over his shoulder, saw the silhouette of Porthos framed in the doorway, and his heart sank a little. "Don't you dare - " he began, but Aramis was already waving him vigorously in, with an evil grin at Athos.
I hate you, Athos mouthed at him, then got up to greet Porthos with a sigh. He'd rather hoped after the previous day's visitation Porthos would have lost interest, but apparently not. "Hello again."
"Hey. I um. I had another go. How do you feel about blueberry muffins?" Porthos asked hopefully, offering up the plastic box he'd been clutching.
Athos tried to ignore the sniggering coming from behind him and summoned up what he hoped was an appreciative smile. "That - sounds great. You really didn't have to go to all this trouble you know."
"Oh, it's no trouble. Really. I just wanted to say thank you properly. Giving you something you didn't even like was hardly a good start was it?"
"Could always have bought him a bottle of claret," Aramis called and Athos gave him the finger without looking round.
"Ignore him. He thinks he's clever."
Conscious that every eye in the place was on him, Athos opened the container. The buns inside really did look good and he took one out then passed the box to Aramis.
"Thank you," Athos said again, feeling increasingly awkward and wondering if Porthos was intending to stand there and make sure he ate it this time.
Fortunately Aramis came to his rescue, being far more free with meaningless small talk and heaping praise on Porthos' baking skills. When Porthos moved across to talk to him, Athos made his escape, sidling over to the kitchenette and busying himself making tea away from the gathering crowd of hungry firemen.
When Porthos finally looked around, he was mildly anxious to find Athos had drifted away to stand on his own. "Is he alright?" he said to Aramis in an undertone. "I've not upset him have I? He's not allergic to blueberries or something?"
To his relief Aramis looked unconcerned. "Oh, ignore the miserable sod. He just doesn't like being the centre of attention, that's all."
Porthos winced inwardly. It was slowly dawning on him that a lot of the assembled crew were making fun of Athos for this, and even if it was all good-natured it still wasn't what he'd intended. He walked over, and was faintly surprised to find Athos was actually eating the muffin after all.
"I'm sorry if I've embarrassed you," Porthos sighed. "I never meant to. I just wanted to do something nice."
He looked so miserable that Athos gave him a genuine smile of sympathy. "It's alright. Don't worry about it. I'm used to them. It was a lovely thing to do, and these are delicious, you're very clever."
Porthos beamed at him. "Nah, not really. I just enjoy it."
"Did your friend turn up yet?" Athos enquired, and Porthos frowned.
"No, not a word from him. I don't know what to think."
Suddenly a loud bell sounded through the room, ringing on and on, and Porthos jumped.
"That'll be us," said Athos, putting down his mug quickly and clapping Porthos on the arm. "Sorry, have to go. Thanks again!" He was already running for the door with the rest of them and after a few seconds Porthos was startled to find he was completely alone.
Out in the echoing garage, as they climbed into the back of the fire truck, suited and booted and already high on adrenaline, Aramis nudged Athos sharply in the ribs.
"He's got it bad," Aramis grinned. "Your mate in there."
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean."
"Two batches of home cooking?" Aramis smirked. "Please."
"He's just being friendly."
"Friendly my arse. He's got that look."
"What look?" Athos asked exasperatedly, as the vehicle raced out of the station and they all bounced uncomfortably as it took the turn.
Aramis winked at d'Artagnan. "The look that says he wants to find out how long your hose is."
"Yeah," d'Artagnan agreed gleefully. "He totally wants a go on your fireman's pole."
As the jokes got increasingly worse, Athos buried his head in his hands and groaned.
Preoccupied with his thoughts, when Porthos arrived home he was almost at the front door before he realised someone was lurking at the end of the path, and he started.
"Jesus!" He stared at the man looking sheepishly back at him. "Charon. Where the fuck have you been? I thought - "
"Never mind. I tried to call you!"
"I know." Charon followed him into the hall and then into the flat. "I got your message."
"What, that's it? That's all you're going to say? You've been missing for three days Charon, your building burnt down, and it nearly took me with it!"
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Your flat. Big fire?" Porthos stopped abruptly. "Shit, you do know, right?"
"Yeah. Yeah, course. I just meant what did you mean about taking you with it?" Charon opened the fridge without being invited. "Got any beer?"
"It's eleven o clock in the fucking morning!"
"Got any vodka then?" Charon jumped up to sit on the counter and grinned at him.
Porthos sighed. "Where did you go? Where have you been? I woke up and there was smoke everywhere, and the place was on fire and - "
And the most gorgeous bloke I've ever met rescued me from it and I think I'm in love, Porthos added mentally.
" - and the fire brigade had to get me out the window. I could have died."
Charon's eyebrows went up. "Shit. What a trip." Porthos glared at him and he shrugged. "What?"
"Promise me you didn't haul out when the alarms went off and leave me in there," Porthos said flatly.
"Fuck no!" Charon's indignance seemed entirely genuine. "You think I'd do that to you? We just went out in the small hours, for - supplies, you know what I'm saying? And then it all sort of carried on from there. We were having too much fun to come home."
"You mean you've been on a three day bender," Porthos growled at him. "You don't even care, do you? You've lost your home and you don't even care."
"It was a shitty flat and I owed three months' rent," Charon shrugged. "Talking of which, you couldn't lend me some cash could you?"
"No I fucking couldn't," Porthos retorted.
"Oh come on," Charon wheedled, smirking at him with bright eyes. "I've just lost everything."
"You didn't care two seconds ago." Porthos sighed. "How much?" At least Charon hadn't asked to stay.
Porthos dragged out his wallet and looked inside. "I can give you forty."
"Till I get paid, yeah." Porthos held it out then twitched it away again. "Promise me this isn't going straight to your dealer?"
"Cross my heart and hope to die."
"You're a lying toerag." Porthos let him take the cash and sighed. Charon jumped down and to his surprise gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Thanks babe. I owe you one."
"Where are you staying?" Porthos asked as Charon headed for the door.
"With Flea. She's got a new squat. It's got red wallpaper, it's fucked up. I love it."
He disappeared with a wave and Porthos stared at the closed door for a while with a conflicted heart. He was glad Charon was safe, and only mildly hurt that he'd clearly come round to bum money off him rather than to see if he was alright. Porthos had known him too long to let that bother him. But there'd been something else, something not quite ringing true, and he couldn't put his finger on it.
He'd mostly believed Charon when he claimed he hadn't abandoned him, but there'd still been something odd about his manner. Porthos sighed. He thought of the professionalism and camaraderie of the people at the fire station, and compared it with the behaviour of his so-called friends. He knew who he'd rather be spending time with right now, and it was only partly down to his crush on Athos.
Athos. Porthos wondered how he was getting on, hoping that whatever emergency they'd rushed off to, that everyone was okay. At least Athos had liked his present this time.
Porthos went to poke in the cupboards, wondering idly if he could make something else as an excuse for turning up again. He couldn't afford to buy any new ingredients right now, but he might be able to rustle something up based on what he already had. And this time when he went round, he'd make the most of the opportunity. This time, he would ask Athos out.