A/N: I've done a one-shot of Aramis & d'Artagnan, a story about Aramis & Athos so this one is Aramis & Porthos, Athos may be in it but the focus is on the other two. This is a short story that was inspired by the dialogue given below, it's an idea that had been brewing at the back of my mind since the first time I heard that conversation and it finally took shape after the last season :)

This story is a bit different than my other stories; less angst I suppose... (shocking, I know)

Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable in this story, not making any money either.

Porthos: Well I think he can do it and I'm a pretty good judge of character.

Aramis: You're a terrible judge of character especially when you're sober.

BBC 'The Musketeers'; Sleight of Hand.

His sleeves were pushed up.

The coat was open at the front down to the blue sash around his waist and the strings of his shirt had long since given up against the sporadic pull at his collar every time he rubbed the back of his neck. Aramis sat back in the chair and squinted at the paper, frowned at the indecipherable blur and held the report away from his face. With distance the letters appeared to take up form in his vision even as his eyes burned, the headache pounded mercilessly against the inside of his skull.

Setting the paper on the desk he placed a hand flat on top of it and pushed the chair back to stretch his legs; reached with his free hand to rub at the knot forming where his shoulder met his neck.

He hated the Captain for this cruel and unusual punishment.

But it wasn't so unusual now.

Never had been actually.

In fact creating neat copies of the man's paperwork had been too common a work for him to ever be unusual. Aramis let his head drop back and stared up at the roof beams; his eyes still watered.

The Captain's office was awash with the pale light of the early winter's sun and the chilled wood of the floor had a scent of its own in the thinly misted air. Sound of clashing blades from the yard wafted in from the open window. Aramis glanced down at the neat stacks of papers that were done and then at the not so neat stack of what was left.

His headache picked up tempo.

At least his superior had stopped dragging him around to the meetings at the Palace, a mercy he was grateful for even if it took a lot of effort on his part to get them to this point. Because that particular displeasure Aramis had successfully foisted upon the alcohol infused thunder cloud that followed the Captain without so much as a word of protest.

Athos, Aramis grinned at the thought of the man standing by their superior as the Cardinal finished just one more letter before the meeting could actually start. He could imagine the unimpressed glare in the blue eyes and his grin widens. Athos speaks less and protests orders even less so; but his gaze had a vocabulary of its own and had no qualms about expressing what was not spoken. Aramis could read the look that had been directed at him every time they are face to face; it was a look one would give a wild, newly discovered creature that one is not sure if he should observe from a distance or just shoot it between the eyes to be done with any potential threat.

Chuckling to himself Aramis pulled himself closer to the desk.

He would have to find a way to shift this work onto Athos too.

With a nod to himself he looked down at the page he had been working on and winced. It was a blur of black on white. Aramis sighed and glanced out the window onto the empty balcony and listened to the sound of Musketeers practicing in the yard, no one seemed inclined to visit the office any time soon. They knew that the Captain wasn't there so wouldn't bother coming up to the office even if they needed him.

With a sigh he reached for the pocket inside his coat and pulled out the smooth wooden box. He didn't want to use it, not here where anyone can find him using it, but there was no other choice. His headache had reached the point where it had his stomach churning.

With a last glance at the window and the open door Aramis opened the box, plucked the spectacles from their wooden case and settled them in place. It felt odd to have them perch at the bridge of his nose and not have a book in his hand; that was where these spectacles belonged, in his room at night with a candle at his side and a book in his grasp.

But he is rewarded with the ability to read the Captain's writing again and Aramis hurried to finish his work. He was engrossed in his scribbling, smooth slanting curves flowing over the paper when a knock on wood paused the ink laden tip inches from the paper. He sat as if frozen by some errant spark of chill in the cold air and pursed his lips at having been caught like this, with his spectacles on.

No one, no one was supposed to know this. He is the best marksman in the regiment, the best shot in any regiment he had been a part of. This weakness was a secret between him and Treville, a secret not even shared with Marsac.

Brown eyes flicked up from behind the rim of the spectacles.

"Captain Jean Armand Treville?" asked the man at the door.

He was tall, dark skinned, built in strength and command with that unmistakable air of a self-reliant man.

Aramis sat back. Stopped the work he had been doing and calmly stows away his spectacles back in their box and into the secret pocket of his coat. He straightens in the chair, regarding the dark eyes that were studying him from a face that gives no quarter. This was a man not to be trifled with his mind tells him, but it would be fun his heart argued and his mind yelled warnings against what he was about to do; but the grim face before him was too much of a challenge and his curiosity was piqued. Self-preservation is concept he never really grasped anyway.

"Yes I'm Captain Treville," Aramis said, "And you are?"

"Porthos du Vallon, I received your –"

"Letter to offer you a commission in the Musketeers regiment," Aramis nodded.

He was the one who had made that letter legible too.

"Yes I remember, please sit,"

The chair squeaked. There was a hint of a frown on Porthos' face; the furrow between his eyebrows deepening as Aramis blessed him with a charming smile. He tried not to think what this man would do to him once the truth was revealed, which Aramis knew it will happen later if not sooner but hoped the big man would find humor in it before he ripped his arms off for this; because Porthos certainly looked like he could if he wanted to – rip his arms off that is, and he was rather attached to them and the Captain would be furious with him since he wouldn't be able to shoot anymore and Marsac will probably shoot him in the leg for this recklessness – pushing aside the thoughts of likely loss of his limbs, arms and a leg if he was still counting – Aramis smiled and got to his feet.

"So tell me Porthos how was your time in the infantry?"


Aramis paused, it was honest to the point he would never be himself about his experiences. There were too many scars, too many memories and too much ageing in too little time that greted him down that road.

"It usually is," he said, pulled out the letter he is looking for and comes back to sit behind the desk, "your last Captain tells me you single handedly brought down a group of slave traders who had barricaded themselves in the ruins of a château."

Porthos' back straightens imperceptibly, his chin raising just a little as he shifts in his seat as if ready to take the coming weight on his shoulders. Aramis tapped the letter onto the tabletop studying the soldier before him. Porthos gave a sharp nod.

"I did," he said.

"There were sixteen of them,"

"I had the element of surprise on my side,"

"Your Captain had a different plan,"

"The captives were at risk if we had stormed in,"

"So you disobeyed direct orders,"

"I did,"

Aramis smirked; it was the worst thing that Porthos' old Captain could have written back to Treville but it was the one reason this soldier from the infantry was being offered a place in the Musketeers regiment. He had saved lives, of all of the nine captives of the slave traders, without any regard to his own safety or future. It took a rare sort of men to do that Aramis had insisted to the Captain while they had discussed the possible recruit even as Treville had been marveling at the intelligence of the plan that Porthos' Captain had explained in contemptuous detail.

"Entertaining your guests in my office Aramis?"

"Captain!" he shot to his feet, pulled on his most charming grin and smoothed out the ruffle of surprise from his countenance, "I was just talking to Porthos here, he arrived a few minutes ago,"

Athos stopped at the door as the Captain looked from Aramis to the newcomer who had taken to his feet as well. Aramis caught the pointed look in Treville's eyes that flashed his way again and he hastened to give the man his place behind his desk. Plucking his hat from on top of the bureau he pressed it to his heart and offered a little bow to the man he had been interviewing.

"Porthos this is Captain Treville;" Aramis said, "Captain Treville, Porthos du Vallon,"

When he looked up it was to meet two pairs of glaring eyes and he was acutely aware that he drew breath simply because death by sight was not the ability that either of the men as yet possessed. He grinned, set his hat on his head and tipped the brim slightly.

"Athos," said Treville.

That was all the warning he had before a hand grabs the back of his collar and Aramis found himself being dragged out of the Captain's office, backwards. Heels scraping in order to form steps until Athos stopped once they had crossed the threshold. Chuckling lightly Aramis straightened his coat as Athos closed the door after them. Aramis put an arm around the man's shoulders even as they turn. He could feel Athos stiffen with a subtle jolt at the gesture.

"Just you and me then mon ami," Aramis smiled.

Athos held his wrist like one would a dead rat and lifted the arm off of himself.

"No? I thought we could raid the cellars for Serge's finest," Aramis said.

Athos walked away without a glance in his direction.

"Or not; we could go down to a tavern?"

Athos was down the stairs and in the yard.

"Share the woes of our duties?" Aramis called after him.

The Musketeers practicing in the yard look their way and Aramis knew that Athos was aware of it as well. A wicked grin curled on his face and Aramis grabbed the balustrade; leaning over it he gathered his breath.

"There's a party at Madame Angel's tonight!" he yelled after Athos, "We could find some invigorating entertainment there. There'll be lots of perfect dark corners for your pleasure!"

The men chuckled to themselves, shaking their heads and going back to their business. Athos was halfway across the yard, his movements not betraying his awareness of the good-natured smiles and headshakes.

"Some other time then?" Aramis called after him.

He grinned wider as Athos ignored every one of his words and headed out of the arched entrance of the garrison. Tying the threads of his shirt and closing the buckles of his coat Aramis still smiled as he vowed to himself that one day, one day he would make that man say more than a few words per week.


"Captain," Aramis turned around.

Touched the rim of his hat with two fingers in respect and acknowledgment.

"Porthos will be staying at the garrison," Treville said, "in the room next to yours,"

"Captain –" Porthos started.

"That is the only one free right now," the Captain cut of the new Musketeer's protest, "you can switch it with someone once you are settled in the regiment. Aramis will show you your rooms and around the garrison,"

With his heart hammering against his ribs at the sight of Porthos' glower Aramis still managed a smile kept firmly in place even though he was sure that this was the Captain's way of punishing him – Aramis shrugged in his mind; at least the man would know that he was last with Porthos when the news of his murder reached the Captain's ears.

"A brilliant plan as always Captain," he said, threw an arm around the broad shoulders at his side and grinned at the new Musketeer, "I know everyone in the regiment Porthos, you will be settled in with us in no time."

They went to the room assigned to him first.

An empty narrow bed, a chair and a table greeted him. There were no curtains on the only window and the floor looked like it would need to be swept if he doesn't want to spend the night sneezing. Aramis seemed to realize that as he drew a finger over the bed and made a face.

"Killed by dust," he wiped his hand on his coat, "not the way I would want to go,"

"A sword or a pistol shot, what's your preference?" Porthos asked.

Was only half joking because the anger still simmered in his veins at the sight of this man.

"A pistol shot," Aramis grinned, "clean and quick,"

"Through the heart?" he said, one hand landing on the pistol in his belt.

"Through the head if you don't mind," Aramis shrugged and stepped back slightly; lifted his arms in a welcoming gesture, "I value my heart more; it's a romantic's curse."

His fingers twitched and his palm itched to grasp the weapon and shoot this man who had sought to humiliate him; had embarrassed him even before his commission in this regiment was confirmed. But Porthos let his hand fall away, he was not a murderer. He held himself higher than the joke this man clearly considered him to be. He had met his sort often in the past and he would not stoop to the level they expected him to.

Aramis raised a brow at the aborted move and let his arms drop to his side; shrugged even as he grinned.

"You would wish you'd taken this chance mon ami," he said, "ask Athos if you don't believe me,"

He turned to the door and with an after-you gesture usherd him out. But Porthos makes sure to fall behind, didn't trust this man at his back. He followed silently, footsteps deliberately slow to keep his distance from the man who seemed to know each person by name that they come across on their way to the yard.

"Ah! Serge," Aramis called out.

And Porthos watched as the old man hobbling out from the door behind the table in the yard changed his course. He had managed only a few steps in their direction, was only just stepping out from under the overhang lining the building before Aramis was there to snatch the crate the old man had been carrying. Settling it at his side and under his arm with a practiced ease, Aramis gestured at him as Porthos made his way over.

"This is Porthos," Aramis said, "The Captain's just confirmed his commission; came from the infantry, excellent at hand to hand and not too fond of talking."

Porthos felt his mouth open, partly in shock and partly to protest but Aramis didn't seem to notice.

"He growls though," Aramis turned to grin at him, "don't think I've not been able to hear that; but that's alright. I learned to read the range of looks Athos speaks. I'll learn the growling too;" he turned back to the old man, "He defeated sixteen men and saved nine lives all on his own Serge."

"That is –"

"In the letter from your old Captain," Aramis nodded at him before he motioned towards Serge, "Serge here worked with him once. Didn't you? The beady eyed twitchy nose you told me about?"

"You were under Marcheaux's command?" Serge asked.

He nodded; kept from asking how Serge knew his old Captain as Aramis shook his head with a smile.

"See? Aversion to words. I think you should meet Athos," Aramis said.

"He can't talk if you keep on yammering," Serge shook his head, "get that to the kitchen and there are two more from the store that I want there."

"Porthos can help; he hasn't seen the kitchen yet,"

"I'll tell him where it is," Serge pointed to the door he had exited, "two more in there,"

Aramis glanced at the crate in his grasp and heaved a sigh before he turned to head towards what Porthos assumed was the kitchen. He looked back when he heard a snort and found Serge shaking his head. The old man turned to him with a studying look that was softened with the upturn of the corners of his lips.

"Porthos eh?" he asked, "looks like Aramis' decided on you being his new friend,"

"Can't say the feeling's mutual,"

And by the way Serge's brows shoot up to his hairline he knew that it was not a common sentiment. He had seen the way other Musketeers acknowledged or greeted the man who had been giving him the garrison's tour and knew exactly why it was a surprise.

"And why is that?" Serge's eyes narrowed slightly.

He watched Aramis return for the second crate, waited until he knew the man was within earshot.

"I know the type," he said, watched the man pause behind Serge and glanced to the old man before him instead, "rich sons of nobility with more coins in their purse than skill in their hands. They can buy popularity but respect isn't sold Serge. And I don't think I can respect a man who finds it amusing to disrespect another."

And he set his jaw as he met the dark eyes watching him; knew that Aramis was aware of what he is talking about and dared him to challenge his words.

"And I don't make friends with people I don't respect," he added.

Felt just a little guilty when Serge realized that Aramis had heard and looked from the Musketeer moving on to get the second crate to back at him. There was something close to sadness in the old eyes but mostly he just looks angry.

"I don't know what you're talking about but Aramis here –"

"– is not enjoying being a pack mule," Aramis cut in, balanced the crates that he had picked up as one upon the other, "really Serge, I think you need a kitchen boy or if that's too much to ask then one of those cadets could do this work for you. They need the exercise too. But that's only if your old bones can't take it anymore."

And Porthos knew an attempt at redirection when he heard one. He wasn't sure if Serge hadn't seen it for it is as well, but the old man took the bait and muttering something about his old bones being just fine he grabbed one of the crates and marched Aramis back to the kitchen.

Porthos didn't move but followed their departure with his eyes, wondered why Aramis hadn't called him out for the taunt he knew had hit the mark. Deciding that the man was probably a touch cowardly too under all that flamboyance he turned around to watch the Musketeers practicing in the yard. The action to his right caught his attention where men were facing off outside the stables, upon a ground covered with loose straws and marked off with hay bales.

He watched them practice with interest, mind easily picking out the wrong moves, the silly mistakes and the leverage he could use against them. He eyed the large Musketeer who was in his shirt sleeves and tossing around his opponents like they are sacks of grain. Soon the men had had enough and there was no one left to step up to the fair-haired Musketeer who Porthos realized was about twice his size if not more.

But he knew size wasn't all that matters in a fight.

"Aww c'mon, anyone? No one?" the Musketeer looked around the yard, "Five sous if you can land a hit," he called out to one and all.

Porthos smirked.

"Ten if I knock you out," he stepped away from the table.

"Let's make it fifteen," the Musketeer grinned, "the one left unconscious pays,"

Porthos nodded; was taking off his doublet even as he moved towards the action. He could feel the eyes on him, could hear the murmuring and knew that no one would be pleased to see this from a new recruit. But he wasn't there to please people; he wasn't there to make friends. He needed to show them just what he was capable of before any of them mistook him for an easy target.

He stepped over the hay bales bordering the small patch the men had chosen for this and turned to face his opponent. His gaze fels on Aramis who had found his way out and was leaning against a pillar of the overhang; eyes alert even as he stood relaxed against the wooden support, a picture of arrogant ease watching the action unfold. Porthos' jaw clenched, that cooling anger flared in him again.

And it took him minutes. Dodge left, right, a punch to the throat and a kick to the knee and his opponent dropped to the ground. Porthos wasted no time to wrap his arm around the thick neck and put all his weight behind his hold, counted his own breaths and waited for the flailing that stopped exactly as he expected it to. With a grunt he moved away from the man, knew that if he kept his hold he may end the man's life. Breathing just a bit faster Porthos straightened, checked the grin that threatened to spill on his face in victory and eyed the Musketeers surrounding him. There were shocked faces, wide eyes and a silence like the winter haze, chilly and lingering.

"Wonderful!" Aramis broke the silence, pushed away from the wooden pillar and wriggled out of his coat, "my turn,"

He walked over from among the silent Musketeers and stepped before him. Porthos knew that this man had an idea of his skill, knew that he had just witnessed the proof of it; he wondered if Aramis was better than him at this or if he simply sought to annoy him. Porthos decided not to waste time trying to decipher the man's intentions. As the other Musketeers helped the one coming around behind Porthos, Aramis set into a loose stance before him. And Porthos charged; caught the man around the middle, intent to throw him down but found the other man shifting them both around to break the momentum, dispersing the blow of the impact and staggering just a little as Porthos stumbled to catch his balance.

They straightened in tandem.

Dark eyes met dark eyes.

Aramis smirked, Porthos growled.

They stepped up for attack in the same instance and then there were punches and kicks and holds and twists and Porthos wasn't sure why he was enjoying this. That irked him more than the slippery opponent who was faster than he had expected. Locking Aramis' arm with his own Porthos landed a solid hit to his face. Stepped back as Aramis stumbled and watched the man drop to a knee as blood seeped from between the fingers pressed to his lip.

Porthos forced his breath to calm; realized that the men around him were murmuring again. But his eyes widened as Aramis spat red, wiped at his bleeding lips with his sleeve and stood up, settling back into his loose stance.

Some of the men cheered.

And Porthos felt his face heat up.

Wondered if this was some plan to embarrass him in front of the regiment and stepped up to wipe that smug grin off from Aramis' face. Blow after blow and blocks he didn't see coming met him but Porthos did not back down, he didn't make it this far in life by backing down; no, he knows just how to push back those looking to push him down. Managing a hold around the man's upper body Porthos locked his knees, lifted and turned and dropped Aramis to the ground; hard.

Gasping for a breath he wiped the sweat from his brow and made sure to straighten his shoulders as he found his balance again. Eyed Aramis who lay on his back and gulped down air like he was afraid it was running out.

Porthos turned away as Aramis rolled onto his side.

He was not expecting the voice that stopped him in his tracks.

"We're done already?" Aramis asked.

And he turned to find the man back on his feet and ready for more. Aramis was winded and the split lips had opened again to dribble blood down into his beard. But his eyes were alert, studying, and there was something almost like teasing there. It set Porthos' teeth on edge.

This time he threw away the rules and fought like he had fought growing up, dirty, vicious and looking to survive. And to his surprise Aramis obliged him with the same; when he seized him by the hair Aramis slammed his elbow into his groin and as he locked back his arms and grabbed the man by his face Aramis sunk his teeth into his hand. Porthos growled, there was pain and hits and confusion and suddenly he found himself clutching his knees and bent forwards, gasping for a breath.

His shirt clung to his back and chest, even though it was the start of winter his shirt was stained with sweat and dirt and there was blood mingling with it in some places too. His face throbbed, his left eye hurt with the tightness that told him it would be closing up soon. And across from him Aramis was heaving in breaths in the same stance as his. There was blood in his mustache that seeped from his nose and a bruise forming high on his cheek.

Their eyes met.

And Aramis swayed as he straightened and flopped back down on his rear. He grinned as if there was a secret joke that only the two them understood and Porthos checked his own grin that threatened to show in response.

He squinted slightly in the noon sun and wondered how long they had been at this, looked to his opponent who was getting back to his feet and forced himself to stand straight again. There were telltale aches waiting for the battle rush to ebb before they accost him but Porthos paid them no mind, ignored the fact that it had been ages since he had found a good long fight since his opponents usually didn't look for another round.

He could not keep the surprise from his eyes when Aramis walked up to him, grabbed his hand in his and thumped Porthos' on the shoulder with his other.

"You my friend will fit right in," he said, let him go and looked to someone behind him, "guess we finally got someone to put our money on against you Big Pierre."

And just like that the men around them started talking, some cheered others snorted and someone else was thumping him on the back. They converged onto him like chickens upon the last grain of feed and Porthos squashed the desire to bolt. They were teasing and congratulating him and the fair-haired Musketeer he realized to be Big Pierre promised to repay him for knocking him out the next time they sparred.

Amidst it all Porthos found that Aramis had disappeared.

It took him a long time to finally make it to the table set in the corner of the yard and he plopped down heavily onto the bench. His face throbbed and he couldn't see out of his left eye but a small smile settled on his face as some of the men offer to take him out for drinks after the evening muster. He found himself agreeing and decided not to dwell on this oddly warm feeling blooming in his gut.

"Here," a glass of wine landed by his hand and a wet cloth on his face, "Aramis said you might need these,"

Bunching up the blessedly cold cloth Porthos touched it to his swollen eye and turned to regard Serge. Wanted to ask after the man who had slipped away unnoticed but something stopped him. The old man looked him in the eye and nodded.

"He's on kitchen duty today," Serge replied to the unasked question, "and will be for the week, Captain's orders."

Something stirred in him, an unease that Porthos didn't understand because surely the Captain wasn't doing it for what happened this morning right? A knot formed in his stomach at the thought, in his indignation for being made a joke he hadn't considered what the Captain would feel like at having his subordinate make use of his office as Aramis had been doing, if it had been Captain Marcheux –

"No need to look like that, the fool brought it upon himself," Serge cut into his thoughts, "doused Monsieur Bonacieux with a mixture of yellow dye," the old man shook his head, "of course it was an accident, he was too far away from the barrel to knock loose the cork but we all know a well placed hit is all its needed, the right strength behind a good throw, that's all."

Porthos was sure his confusion was showing on his face because Serge stopped his ramblings and patted him on the shoulder.

"I don't think the Captain's that mad at him for it," he lowered his voice with a grin, "Aramis' isn't the only one with a soft spot for Madame Bonacieux you know."

And Porthos very much wanted to tell him that he didn't know, he had not the slightest idea what this man was implying and what he did decipher he didn't really want to think about. Because apparently not only was Aramis interested in a married woman and tormenting her husband but the Captain was alright with it because the Captain liked this Madame Bonacieux too; Porthos pressed the cold cloth to the side of his head hoping alleviate the headache budding there.

"You seem like a good sort Porthos and since you've worked under Marcheux's command I'll allow your distrust, but I can tell you this," Serge looked him in the eye again, "whatever you've been through with that lot, this regiment isn't like that. And I may not be able to speak for them all but I can give you my word as a soldier, Aramis isn't anything like Marchuex or his precious inner circle."

Porthos simply nodded, not ready to agree with the man who was clearly Aramis' friend. Porthos hadn't the heart to argue with him, neither the desire to reiterate his firm decision to not be friends with the man Serge was so fond of.

So he kept his opinion to himself and went about getting his commission orders from the Captain, put in the order for his pauldron and got himself measured out for it. His day was filled with Musketeers coming up to talk to him as if they really were interested to get to know him more and Porthos refused to acknowledge something almost like disappointment when he didn't come across Aramis again.

It was late that night as he made his way to his new room and found himself face to face with that man again. His brows shoot up to his hairline and anger simmered at finding Aramis stepping out of the room assigned to him. The fleeting surprise on the other man's face was not a consolation and Porthos scowled even as Aramis grinned.

In the slightly drunken haze over his mind Porthos wondered if those scabbed over lips and slightly swollen nose hurt at the gesture.

But he had no time for the fool; he had stayed out late at the tavern with nearly half the regiment intent upon seeing him hold his drink and there was still a grimy room he had to clean before he could sleep off all the wine he had consumed. It sloshed in his stomach even as he stood still and the world swayed gently around him. Porthos was not in the mood to be an entertainment for this man. He shoved past Aramis into his assigned room and slammed the door close after him.

Nearly growled when there was knock on the door.

"What?" he yanked it open.

"You'll need this," Aramis handed him the lit candle and with a small wave he turned to walk away, disappearing down the corridor.

Probably out to torment the poor husband what's-his-name Porthos told himself, because he clearly remembered Aramis' room was next to his. It was only when he closed the door after him again that he realized his room had been dark before. He hadn't remembered getting provisions from Serge as he was supposed to, so there was no candle in his room waiting to light it up. And he would have to get the cleaning supplies too he frowned at the thought, and the linens for the bed and blankets too. Setting the candle on the table, he turned to get a good look around.

Found the linens, blanket and pillow on the clean bed; a freshly swept floor and no dust on the chair and table as well. His gaze flicked to the window and it dawned on him that the room was so dark because the window was closed and the coarse curtain drawn to keep out the night chill. He sat down heavily on the freshly made bed. Someone had cleaned and put his room in order, something that he was supposed to do and even if he didn't like it Porthos had a feeling who that someone was. His mind flashed back to that morning, to the opponent who kept coming back for more and more and he shook his head slowly.

Aramis was an obnoxious, arrogant brat but he was clearly not one to back down, Porthos decided he had to give him that.