D'Artagnan glanced over at the gloomy Musketeer sitting by himself in a corner of the boisterous bar. "I don't get it."

Porthos looked up from the bosom of a rather feisty wench, his eyes rolling slightly in indication that he was already on his way to being fully drunk. "Get what, my dear lad? I thought we covered wenching quite thoroughly, and last I recall it was not a sport that involved idly watching."

"No," the blonde quickly shook his head, waving off the equally feisty redhead that had accompanied Porthos' current companion to their table. "I don't get what's wrong with Athos. The King's safe, the Cardinal defeated, and France at peace. Why isn't he celebrating with the rest of us?"

"Athos takes his drinking seriously," Aramis informed him offhandedly, an absent wave of his cup confirming the matter as commonplace "Seriously and alone."

"He needs a wench," Porthos added, firmly distracted by a wench of his own.

Aramis shot the pirate a quick glare, following the look with a sultry wink towards the redhead that was sidling closer to him. "Now Porthos," the Musketeer's voice took on the even tone of lecture, "you know quite well that Athos wouldn't accept that. He thinks they're all evil, or he's just pining after the late countess."

Porthos seemed to sober slightly for a moment at the reminder of the Lady de Winter, but he shrugged the emotion of. "Fine, he needs a plot. Some bandits to foil or princess to save."

"I think we can do without any trouble." D'Artagnan looked away slightly as the redhead planted herself firmly in Aramis' lap, imploring looks demanding a kiss from the priest. He winked quickly at d'Artagnan. "He'll be back to his normal sunny countenance in the morning."

Tossing back the last of his ale, d'Artagnan nodded quickly to his now thoroughly engrossed fellows before silently slipping from the table. As he turned away he was surprised to note that Aramis had already deserted the common room, and he found the disappearance somewhat disheartening. D'Artagnan's nature had never been to leave someone in a foul mood when he thought he could do something about it. He was about to decide the matter irresolvable as he ascended up into the quieter guest floors of the inn, until he spied a thin stream of light escaping from beneath the door to Athos' room.

Determined to at least try to help, d'Artagnan marched purposefully towards the door. He paused with his hand a hair above the door, suddenly uncertain whether Athos would really welcome the interruption. Steeling his courage, he rapped lightly on the door. No answer came from inside the room. He waited in the almost-darkness of the hallway for several moments but no sound came from the room.

D'Artagnan frowned, wavering on staying another minute longer or giving in to the reality that Athos had probably gone off somewhere more remote. He was about to turn away when the door creeked open and a grimacing face glared out at him.

"What do you want?"

Athos' breath reeked of alcohol. That combined with the grim look of his comrade firmed d'Artagnan's resolve to at least ask if he could be of some help.

"I saw your light on. I thought you might like some company."

Somehow Athos' manner only worsened at the offer. "You don't want my company."

D'Artagnan caught the door before Athos could slam it in his face, turning on the smile that had won him the heart of many a lass... not that Athos was a lass... or that he was trying to win him, but at the moment it just seemed the right thing to do to get Athos to let him in.

"You don't know what you're doing." There was an accusation built into Athos' statement.

D'Artagnan shrugged. "I rarely do."

Athos handed him a bottle as he walked in, shutting the door behind them and then taking the only seat in the small room. D'Artagnan glanced around the room, suddenly regretting the awkward situation he had willingly thrust himself into. Taking a hearty swig from the bottle, he forced himself not to cough as the brutal liquid burned down his throat. Tears formed at the edges of his eyes but didn't fall. Stumbling slightly d'Artagnan sat abruptly on the only place left to sit: Athos' bed.

A smile had formed on Athos' lips as he watched d'Artagnan but manners or disinterest kept him from mocking. Nevertheless Athos' eyes still followed d'Artagnan as they drunk in silence, d'Artagnan only sipping once to match Athos' hearty swigs.

Sometime later in the evening, when the dregs of the rather large bottle had finally disappeared into d'Artagnan's stomach, he realized he wasn't alone on the bed. The bottle was gently slipped from his fingers. Coarse sheets scratched the bare skin of his arms and he floated in a haze of disembodied warmth. Whispered touches ghosted over his skin and he felt a growing chill. His clothes were disappearing, floating away under unsteady hands. He found that he didn't mind, since he was still warm, more than warm with the strange pressure pushing down on him from above.

"I'm sorry."

D'Artagnan blinked his eyes open at the slurred words. There was Athos, staring down at him with a mournful look marring his face. He opened his mouth to question, to say something unintelligible, but there was something there before the words, pressing its way warm and wet down past his teeth. The kiss, he recognized it vaguely as such from his experience with women, was strange in its force, a hard insistence behind the subtle invasion that he knew he would have objected to in his more sober moments. However, his current intoxication was giving him a broader perspective and sometime after getting over the strangeness of it all d'Artagnan found he didn't mind that Athos' tongue was down his throat. Or that he was doing a remarkably good job at shoving his tongue into Athos' mouth with equal force.

With the new enlightenment of the inherent pleasure of their current activity also came the knowledge that he had somehow lost his clothing, and that Athos was suffering from the same affliction. Apparently Athos didn't notice, or maybe he was just too busy knocking over a bottle on the nightstand, his fingers barely covered as the liquid spilled out. There was more in play now than just their lips and d'Artagnan found that there were other parts of Athos that produced pleasurable friction, the most prominent of which was firmly prodding him between the legs.

Then Athos' hand was there, pressing into a place no man had ever touched. He arched, lips breaking away in a sharp gasp. This was new, quite new and there was no doubt in that vague shred of himself that stayed subtly sober in a corner of his mind that he would never, never ever let Athos live after touching him like that if he was sober. But he wasn't sober, not even close to it, so instead he found himself actually considering the merits of the activity.

He was certain that the act would have been quite painful without a liberal dose of alcohol, judging from the faint pain that echoed behind Athos' touch. But there was pleasure, a slight amount of pleasure amplified by the alcohol into something more, enough that he was vaguely disappointed when Athos stopped barely a minute after he'd started. The disappointment was short-lived before pressure was back, slipping inside, thicker this time and warm. There was so much warmth in the invasion that he felt like alcohol was burning inside of him once more, slipping in through his every pore.

Athos was talking again, repeating over and over again the same apology even as he pushed himself further inside d'Artagnan. The words broke through the fog of warm pleasure-pain d'Artagnan was floating in, bringing him closer to the surface of consciousness. Reaching up, he wrapped his arms around Athos' neck, pulling the older man down until Athos was whispering the words against his shoulder. His fingers clenched over Athos' shoulder as the elder Musketeer reached between d'Artagnan's legs, touching him with hard and firm strokes that left no doubt of the resolution.

He came, harder than he could ever remember, the burning of his body shooting out with a loud shout. Athos was still above him, holding d'Artagnan tight against him for the long moments until his body stilled. Then, once d'Artagnan was relaxing back into the sheets, only then did Athos move once more, pushing inside with slower, gentler strokes. Each movement brought a thin gasp to d'Artagnan's lips, his mind too over-stimulated to think beyond the pleasure of the moment. He held Athos tight, his legs twisting to hold Athos better to him, reaching for something unknown that rested ephemeral between them. He stretched his body, arched and writhed until Athos let go, all the force of their movements breaking away in a sudden, spreading heat.

Athos gasped, more a loud breath than a sign of pleasure, and stilled above d'Artagnan, his face twisted into a slight grimace. When his eyes opened again there was a redness staining the rounds and d'Artagnan knew Athos wasn't nearly as drunk as d'Artagnan was.

"I'm sorry." The words were reflected in the gentleness of his touch as he pulled out.

As the apology fell for what felt the thousandth time, d'Artagnan was compelled to answer. He stopped Athos with a hand on his chest, fingers resting over a kiss-bruise he didn't remember leaving. Later, when he was less inebriated, he might regret their action and the guilt he knew Athos would carry with him, but he knew he wouldn't take back the words, at least not in his heart.

"I'm not."