This chapter is dedicated to Tidia and JenF, thanks for the review's you beautiful people! Also, this is the last chapter. It was only meant to be a short story full of one-shots and I may have gotten carried away with it and written more than I intended to.
There was a sharp, agonizing pain in his chest that made D'Artagnan grit his teeth together in pain and groan loudly. This was not how he envisioned this mission going, in fact, he envisioned it going much smoother than it had. All they were meant to do was look into the deaths of four men in a village just outside Paris, but there was an ambush waiting for them, one they – no, he – didn't expect. It was silly of him to not be on guard, and now he was paying the price. As unprepared as he was, he didn't have much time to gather his wits and defend himself to the best of his abilities. A thrust of a sword in his right breast had him standing upright in shock for a few seconds before collapsing to the ground in a heap.
There was the sweet, blissful moment where a complete white obscured his vision and nothing hurt, but then as quickly as it came, it went and was replaced by a throbbing sensation. He was in complete and utter agony and he just wanted it to stop as soon as possible; D'Artagnan wished for death to hurry up and claim him. Surely it would have been better than the pain he was in. Vaguely he was aware of someone by his side, saying his name over and over again, begging him to open his eyes, but he just couldn't do it. He just wanted to hurry up and die.
D'Artagnan was hot, far too hot. He was sweating profusely and his mouth was exceedingly dry. He needed water, lot's and lot's of water. He must have been asking for it, because someone held a glass to his mouth and he eagerly drank it, pouting as someone took it away from him and demanded he slow down lest his body went into shock. But D'Artagnan didn't care about that, he just wanted to stop the burning and quench his thirst. The last thing he heard before letting the blackness engulf him once-more was someone telling him that he would be alright.
There was a throbbing sensation behind his eyes and he never wanted to open them and face the world. Even the darkness was giving him a headache. His chest was aching and so was his forearm, making him think he fell on it.
"He's waking up", came the harsh whisper of a man. It was comfortingly familiar, "Boy, can you hear me?"
There was movement to his right, "Athos", said a soft voice, "Leave him. He need's rest"
"He's been sleeping for two days, how much longer will he be dead to the world?"
If D'Artagnan had the strength and will, he would have snapped at the man, told him to shut up and let him sleep peacefully. As it was, he didn't need to as someone else said it for him. "Shut up", came a rough voice from his left, "let the lad sleep, would 'ya?"
He didn't stay aware any longer; his bodies needs were outweighing any desire to stay awake and listen to the three men. He was just far too exhausted.
The next time he regained consciousness he finally opened his eyes. Everything was blurry, and his eyes were darting all over the room, trying to take everything in, but unable to focus. His breathing was labored as he tried to fight through the pain. There was no-one in the room at the time of his waking. His throat was parched and he tried to reach the glass of water which sat on the bed-side table, only to cry out in pain as a white, hot, stabbing pain was felt all throughout his upper body. Someone ran into the room loudly and D'Artagnan nearly wept in relief at the sight of Aramis.
Looking bewildered, Aramis spoke calmly. "D'Artagnan, lie back down before you hurt yourself even more." D'Artagnan allowed himself to be pushed gently against the pile of pillows, "You must rest", Aramis chided, holding the glass of water to the young musketeers' lip's.
The Gascon exhaled slowly, "What happened?"
"You were injured during a battle", Aramis began, "almost didn't make it. Now, if you wish to recover, you must rest".
"Where's Athos and Porthos?", D'Artagnan questioned, stubbornly keeping his eyes open.
"They are fine, now, please get some rest. I'll be here when you wake up."
The Gascon slid further into his blankets, feeling his body get lighter and lighter by the second. Eventually, he closed his eyes and dreamed of his parents, or more specifically his mother. She used to make a special paste that would heal all wounds and he couldn't help but think how handy this healing paste would be right now.
He wasn't unconscious for long, only a mere two hours. This times he woke up to all three of his friends in his room, each looking relieved as he attempted a futile smile at them, which came out as a mere grimace.
"Are you feeling any better?", Aramis asked gently, pushing back the Gascon's hair from his sweaty forehead.
D'Artagnan went to shrug but thought better of it. His whole body was sore and he didn't want to aggravate the his wound any further. "I feel...", he took a second to answer, finding it difficult to string a sentence together. "...funny", he finally said, not being able to think of a better word to describe how he felt.
"To be expected", it was Athos who spoke, looking like he was the one in pain as he stared down at the Gascon, "you are extremely lucky"
"So I've been told", he replied, looking down at his bandaged chest with horror etched on his features, "how badly was I injured?"
There was a moment's silence as the three musketeers' shared a look with each other. Finally, it was Porthos who spoke, "we didn't think you were gonna' make it. The sword almost punctured your lung. Just when we thought you were gonna' make it, you 'ad to go and get the bloody wound infected".
"Don't tell me you had to cauterize it?", D'Artagnan pleaded, his hand's fumbling with his bandaged until they were gently pried away by Athos, who sent a stern look his way.
"No", the man replied honestly, "Aramis and the physician didn't think that was the best course of action. Unfortunately, they had to bleed you."
D'Artagnan looked down at the forearm that was heavily bandaged and started dry heaving, but there nothing in his stomach to throw-up. "Easy", Aramis warned, once again, giving him some water, "Can you stomach some soup?"
The Gascon nodded his head at the same time his stomach grumbled in hunger. The soup was warm and tasty, and he wanted to eat it as quickly as possible, but was stopped by Athos, the man claiming he would make himself sick.
"I've never tasted anything better in my entire life!", he exclaimed.
Athos chuckled. "I'll bet. You've been unconscious for three days."
"How am I so tired then?", D'Artagnan asked, exasperated. "Makes no sense".
He closed his eyes again and fell asleep, feeling better than he had previously.
D'Artagnan was still weak and constantly tired; he slept the day's away as he recovered, only being woken up by his friend's during the day so he could fill his stomach with food. He was finally able to eat something other than soup, though due to his day's of unconsciousness and delirium, he had lost weight and he had dark circles under his eyes. His face was pale and his face looked gaunt, but he was slowly regaining strength, so everything Aramis and the physician did to ensure that he lived was working.
On the fifth day of being on well-needed best rest, he wasn't even surprised to find a priest by his bed-side, praying for further recovery and thanking God for his recovery thus far. Needless to say, he feigned sleep. He had always felt uncomfortable around priests'. D'Artagnan ignored the snort of laughter from Porthos and the disapproving sound Aramis made.
On the seventh day of recovery, when he had regained enough strength to sit up on his own without the assistance of the pillows, he was surprised by the person visiting him. He and Athos were talking quietly amongst themselves when Captain Treville walked in. The man smiled kindly at the two as he pulled up a chair next to the bed.
"I was surprised by your recovery", Treville admitted, "No-one was sure if you would make it!"
D'Artagnan smiled kindly at the Captain, "A lot of people have said that to me."
"Your recovery is truly remarkable"
"Luckily Aramis know's what he's doing, otherwise I would be dead by now", D'Artagnan responded truthfully.
"Better than any physician", Athos agreed.
"You've gotten skinnier", Treville observed, "you would have lost a lot of your strength. Once you are well enough, we will need to think of a new training regime. Your wound will be hurting for quite sometimes, so you need to find a way to protect it from your opponent. In a fight, they will use that to their advantage."
"Porthos thinks a breast-plate would be useful for protection until it heals", Athos gave a curt nod to the Captain, "once he is well enough, I'll take him to the armory myself."
Treville nodded with understanding, "There's still the issue of fighting. D'Artagnan may have to use his left hand"
The Gascon chose this moment to interrupt, "I'm willing to learn. It'll be hard, but I'll do whatever it takes to fulfill my duties", he looked towards Athos, surprised to see the man smiling at him.
"You truly are a Gascon-farm boy!", Treville exclaimed, "the most loyal men, and not to mention the better fighters".
"Of course you would say that. You're from Gascony as well, aren't you?", Athos asked with a knowing look.
Treville merely smiled at D'Artagnan before exiting the room, leaving a slightly confused D'Artagnan and for once, a carefree and almost content Athos.
"Alright", Athos began, holding his sword in-front of him. "You need to work on your footwork. Watching you, it's almost as if you're unbalanced"
"I feel unbalanced", D'Artagnan grumbled, his sword feeling far too heavy in his left hand. "I don't know what I'm doing wrong"
"Easy", Athos soothed, "Right now your facing your body to the right as if you're still using your right arm. You see the issue? Put your left foot forward and your right foot further back". D'Artagnan complied, "Good. Now, as you strike with your sword, step forward and move your feet, so that your right foot is in-front"
D'Artagnan's sword met with Athos' and the sheer force of the blades knocking against each other almost send him stumbling back, but he managed to keep his footing, earning acknowledgement from the two spectators.
"See", Porthos cheered loudly, "he's improved already!"
"Yes, yes", Aramis said, "if I didn't know better I would say you're more excited than D'Artagnan is"
"Hey", the Gascon called out, "at least someone is excited for me. Thank you, Porthos", he said, looking at Porthos with a smile that everyone was glad to see. It was a vast improvement than two weeks ago when he was lying on what everyone believed to be his death bed.
"The way you treat Porthos, you would think he was the one who stayed up all night tending to your wound's", Aramis replied cheekily, ducking as Porthos took a friendly swipe at him.
"Or the one training you", Athos put in quietly, earning a sarcastic smile from Aramis.
D'Artagnan couldn't help the laugh that escaped his lips, "he hasn't done any of those things, but, he buys me drinks"
Athos rolled his eyes, "are drinks more important than training?"
"Sometimes", he answered back truthfully, and Athos couldn't exactly reprimand him for saying that. The boy clearly got that from him...unfortunately.
Porthos laughed loudly as Aramis mumbled a quick prayer for his friend's. They were all alcoholics. Each and everyone of them. Before he knew it, he was going to be the only sane one left in the group.
"If you manage to defeat me at least once today, I will buy you a drink", Athos said, hoping to regain the boy's focus.
"Deal", D'Artagnan replied, before taking the offensive.
As the Gascon stared down at Athos ten minutes later with a smug smile on his face, he simply said, "you owe me a drink", before walking away confidently. It was fair to say he would he make a great swordsman even using his left hand.
This was a little hard to write for some reason and I realize it may not be as good as my other one-shot's but hey I tried! Please leave a review and tell me what you think.
Also, I'm working on a fic right now and I intend to have it up in a week, so keep your eyes open for it!