A/N: This is a little one shot for heart-knows-no-shame on Tumblr following our conversation (together with Sweetrupturedlight) about how we wanted Rochefort to die. We didn't get exactly what we wanted so here's my effort to fix it! Totally un-beta'd and written in one go, it's probably dreadful but here it is…
Anne swallowed slowly as she felt the cold chain slide around her throat. She could feel Rochefort behind her, the acrid smell of his body reaching out to wrap itself around her too. She closed her eyes momentarily. This was it. This was her death. It had all led to this. She held herself still, her body present. But her mind had flown. Images of her son filled her head. And the one moment, so painfully sweet, when her baby's father had beheld his son, cradled him in his arms and brushed one finger down his soft peachy cheek. Aramis. She regretted nothing. The chain tightened around her neck and she allowed herself to drift into memories…
The ringing out of a shot and Rochefort's muffled exclamation barely penetrated her consciousness but the sound of a much beloved voice caused her to sag in relief against her prie dieu, the chain clattering down by her side.
Aramis had drawn his sword and was circling Rochefort. The clash of steel on steel sent Anne scurrying to the corner of the room, and she watched in horror as the father of her son and her would-be executioner battled for ascendancy. Constance, her beloved friend, so brave, lashed out at Rochefort but at Aramis's stern command retreated to relative safety at Anne's side.
She could do nothing but watch as Aramis threw himself at Rochefort, the duel desperate and uncontrolled. Anne's breath caught in her throat as Rochefort pressed his advantage forcing Aramis to the floor.
Aramis arced his blade wildly and recovered but the blond man's counter-attack sent him retreating once more. Anne stopped herself just in time from crying aloud. She could not risk distracting him.
Blades engaged again, this time Aramis forcing Rochefort to concede as he pressed him backwards towards her bed. Anne could not have looked away if she tried. All her strength and heart poured into her gaze as she willed Aramis to best their enemy.
A scuffle and Rochefort slashed out with his dagger. Aramis parried but not without sacrifice, Rochefort's sword dealing a glancing blow to Aramis's arm. Still, that action had left Rochefort unguarded and Aramis's sword sliced strongly through the sinew and muscle of Rochefort's torso.
Aramis withdrew, leaving Rochefort staggering. Frothy blood-stained spittle bubbled up from his lips and he took a last few wavering steps before he slumped back against the bed. His breath was harsh, each gasping inhalation wet evidence of the damage the sword thrust had wrought.
It was some time before Anne realised Aramis was speaking.
"Your Majesty? It's all over now, Your Majesty. You're safe."
Anne let out a cry at that and suddenly she was moving, her shaking legs propelling her forward into Aramis's arms. They closed around her and it was then that she felt it. Safe. He was right.
"My saviour". Her hand crept round to his chest, finding and clasping the crucifix there.
"Always." His murmured reply made her smile, and she turned her head, hiding her response in his shoulder. She felt happy. And guilty.
"I love you." The words tumbled unbidden from her lips. A whispered confession. Sacred. Tears slid down her cheeks as she contemplated the penance duty would force her to pay.
"Querida," Aramis's hand cupped the nape of her neck and she felt his head turn and his lips press themselves to her temple.
Anne forced herself to disentangle from their embrace. There was little time. The King must be informed of Rochefort's treachery, but still….She turned to Constance.
"My son?" she enquired.
"Safe enough in the nursery, Your Majesty."
"Well then." She turned back to Aramis. "Shall we go and see our son?"
She felt the reassuring weight of Aramis's hand at her back as they walked together in the direction of the nursery. Rochefort's gaze followed their movements, but by the time they reached the door both eyes were sightless.