Not a Good Man

Aramis feels numb after they leave the palace.

He is going to be a father, except of course he's not. No one will ever know, especially the child. Aramis is and he isn't, and he wonders if Anne is like Isabel, if she thinks him good enough to plant seed in her belly, but ill fitted for child rearing.

That isn't fair, and he knows it. Anne is not free to choose. But still, he wonders.

They repair to The Fox, claiming their usual table, and Aramis orders wine. He does not drink it. D'Artagnan is sitting near Athos, having a quiet conversation, and Porthos is grinning and laughing and making numerous toasts to the queen.

After the fifth toast, this time to the queen's smile, may the child match her in beauty, something inside Aramis breaks with a snap like frayed twine. He pushes back from the table and gets to his feet, ignoring Athos' warning look.

"Aramis?" Porthos says, his grin fading.

Aramis hates himself a little, for making that smile vanish. But all the same he puts on his hat and turns on his heel, making for his lodgings as fast as he can without breaking into a run.

Porthos follows him.

"Aramis," he calls once, in the street, his longer legs allowing him to catch Aramis up. Aramis doesn't answer, and Porthos does not say his name again. Not until they are standing in the doorway that leads to Aramis' rooms.

Porthos puts his hand on the back of Aramis' neck, squeezing gently, and Aramis has to stiffen his knees against the urge to lean back into the caress, to let Porthos hold him up, to tell him everything.

He loves Porthos best, God help him, and that is precisely why Porthos must know nothing of this. Aramis will do anything, even make Porthos despise him, even never speak to him again, even lie, murder, and steal if it means keeping Porthos safe.

"Aramis," Porthos says.

Aramis turns his key in the door, and gives an unsteady, "Porthos."

"I've not seen you this out of sorts since Adele moved to the country. Did you… are you in love with Charlotte Mellendorf?"

There is a curl of jealousy in the words, and as they move into the sitting room Aramis is completely confused because he's never even spoken to Charlotte Mellendorf. But then he recalls the excuse Athos gave for Aramis staying behind to speak with the queen. "No. I'm not in love with her," he says, and he's talking about Anne. "I barely know her. But there is an attraction, and we had a night together."

It is a relief to tell Porthos something, anything, without putting him in danger, and it occurs to Aramis that he could go even further. He could say that he impregnated Charlotte Mellendorf and that when she returns to Germany she will be quickly married off, and Aramis' child will be forever out of his reach. And then Porthos will know. Porthos will know without knowing.

He almost does it. But at the last moment he closes his teeth on the lie, because he knows himself too well. If he starts down this path, it will only be a matter of time before the whole, true tale falls out of his mouth, tumbling over his lips because it has always been hard to lie to Porthos, and Aramis can't do that.

Porthos' life is worth infinitely more than Aramis' peace of mind.

His discomfort will fade in time. He will not think of Anne, or the child she carries. It is not his child, not in any way that matters.

It is not his child.

The thought hurts more than it should, an echo of an old wound that never healed.

"Then why the long face?" Porthos asks, and it is a struggle to remember what they're speaking of.

Ah, right. Charlotte Mellendorf.

Aramis casts about for something to say, and finally settles on voicing a thought he's had since he was reunited with Isabel.

"I'm not a good man."

Porthos looks at him for a long time, and every fiber of Aramis' being quivers with the desire to hear Porthos refute him. He wants, Don't be stupid, Aramis, and Of course you're a good man, and I'll not listen to talk like that, all said in that proper Parisian accent that Porthos went to so much trouble to cultivate when he was younger, so that no one would know he grew up in the Court of Miracles.

Instead he gets, "Of course you're not a good man. None of us are, except maybe d'Artagnan. But you try, and you're mine, and that's something, eh?"

Porthos smiles, and Aramis crosses the room in three strides to kiss him. "You really believe that," he marvels between hard kisses and Porthos tugging on his hair. "For you, it's that simple."

"It's that simple for everyone. You just insist on complicating it."

Aramis tosses his head back and laughs, and Porthos takes the opportunity to nip at his throat, turning Aramis' laughter into a gasp. Porthos smirks into his skin and starts pulling at the laces of Aramis' breeches. Aramis closes his eyes, letting a tide of lust well up to drown out all the things that plague his mind, a drug better than drink.

"You'll tell me the truth eventually," Porthos whispers, his hand on Aramis' cock, and Aramis realizes that he's been thoroughly manipulated. Porthos knows him too well, knows precisely the way to loosen his tongue, and Aramis should be angry but he's just equal parts aroused and impressed. He pushes his hips forward, thrusting into Porthos' hand, and says, "Yes," because there's no point now in denying that he hasn't told the whole truth.

One day he will tell Porthos. Despite all the reasons he has given himself not to. He'll tell him because he's selfish and he wants Porthos to know. He'll tell him because Porthos wants to know, and Aramis will do anything for Porthos if it will make him happy, even lie, murder, and steal. Even put Porthos himself in danger.

He will tell him because he is not a good man.

Notes: Thanks for reading the series! It will be going on hiatus now, so I'll be marking it as complete, but I plan on picking it up again once S2 starts airing.

Also, I know a lot of people wanted me to write Aramis telling Porthos, but I have a feeling that will eventually happen on screen, and I'm trying to stay as canon compliant as possible, so. There you have it.

For future reference, all my work typically goes on AO3 first, and then I upload to FF later when I have time, so if you want things as they're written, try my AO3 account.