For those who waited for this chapter, I'm terrily sorry! I'm not a consistent writer but I do hope that the next one won't take me as long as this one did. I still hope you enjoy this part! Remember, English isn't my first language, I hope it doesn't bother you too much!
'Aramis,' he spoke softly 'are you with me?'
It took him a few moments but Aramis nodded and focused on Athos. D'artagnan had moved behind him to help him stay upright.
The steps he took towards the injured man were hesitant but he reached him. Kneeling besides him Aramis tried to pry Athos' hand away from the wound.
'Let me see.'
After removing the hand, blood seeped out, but not as much as he feared. He moved his hand to backside of Athos' shoulder and back up to his collar bone. As soon as Aramis touched his collarbone, Athos let out a strangled cry.
'Judging by the sound you made, I'd say the bullet hit your collarbone, probably broke it.'
Aramis felt around the wound some more. 'I can't find an exit wound.'
He turned his attention to D'artagnan.
'I'll need some boiling water and some clean cloth and see if you can find something big enough to make a sling out of."
D'artagnan made sure Athos stayed upright and wordlessly complied.
'I'll just be getting my things. Use that time to prepare yourself, treating this wound won't be pleasant.'
Aramis got up with some difficulty, to fetch his sewing kit but only made it a few paces before Porthos grabbed his arm.
'What happened, Aramis?'
Aramis didn't turn around, he didn't have the confidence to look at him, and shook off Porthos' hand.
'Nothing.' Was all he replied.
Porthos wasn't about to let him go so easily and grabbed him a second time.
'I don't believe you. What happened?'
'Nothing! I fell asleep.' Aramis finally dared to look Porthos in the eye for a short while he lied, before continuing on towards his saddle bags.
'You fell asleep.' Porthos followed him.
Aramis reached his bag tried to get it open, his hands were shaking.
'Yes,' He bowed his head and sighed 'I fell asleep.'
'I don't believe you.'
It took a few tries but he got his bad open and took out his kit with the honey and reached for a bottle of wine.
'Believe whatever you want Porthos.'
Aramis started back towards a hunched over Athos.
'Don't do this to me Aramis. Don't lie, not to me.' He said as Aramis walked by him.
Aramis ignored him.
Porthos kept up with him when he noticed the hole and blood in Aramis' right upper arm.
'I'll be fine.'
'Don't give me that. You're shot.'
'I'm fine. Now will you let me tend to Athos?' They'd reached Athos who was staring up at them, pale as a sheet.
Aramis turned around and faced Porthos, waiting for an answer. He wasn't ready to think about what had happened and what could have happened.
Porthos searched his face but said nothing and let Aramis kneel down beside their friend. He knelt down at Athos' other side. It was a hard task getting Athos out of his clothes without hurting him but they managed. They'd fed him the wine and used some to clean the wound.
The cold wind made Athos shiver so Aramis and Porthos moved him closer to the now higher burning fire. His collarbone was stained red with still seeping blood and blue from the bruises that were forming.
Aramis thanked D'artagnan when he handed him the cup of boiling water in which he dropped his sewing tools. It nearly slipped from his blood covered hands, which he chose to ignore but knew his brothers had noticed.
He gently laid Athos onto his back and poured some of the remaining wine over his hands, trying to rid his hands of his own fresh blood. Athos' pain creased eyes fell on the bloody hole in Aramis' right arm. He ignored the scrutiny and continued with the examination.
Feeling around the wound, Aramis found the bullet to be quite shallow. There was no need to make incisions; it could be dug out with his fingers.
'You know what comes now, are you ready?'
Athos focused his eyes on Aramis' face and nodded his consent. D'artagnan put a leather strip to Athos' his mouth and he bit down.
Without another word Aramis moved his fingers in the wound and moved the bullet closer to the wound from which it entered. Athos clenched his jaw and let his head fall back while breathing harsh and loud through his nose. His was right hand squeezing Porthos' hand tightly.
It only took a few more tries before Aramis had a grip on the bullet. He searched the wound for dirt but found none and so poured another generous amount of alcohol over the wound.
'How you holding up?' Aramis asked Athos, shifting his gaze from the wound to his face.
'I'll… live...' Athos replied after spitting out the piece of leather which now had his teeth marks etched into it.
Aramis skillfully and swift fully stitched the wound while Athos had his eyes closed in pain. When he was done he sighed.
'Bad thing is, your collarbone indeed is broken. This means no strenuous activities for a while. The good thing is, the bones are still in place which means no setting. You just need a few weeks rest.'
He picked up the jar of honey and put a decent amount on Athos' wound hoping it would keep infection at bay. D'artagnan and Porthos helped Athos upright while Aramis bandaged the wound, pulled a clean shirt over Athos' head and made a sling for his arm out of the piece of fabric, which appeared to come from one of their attackers.
They gently eased Athos back towards the ground and covered him in a blanket. D'artagnan and Porthos stood up and headed over to their deceased attackers but when Aramis moved to stand up as well, Athos grabbed his arm causing Aramis to wince.
Athos noticed this and grabbed his arm before he had time to move away.
'Your arm, tend to it.'
Aramis just nodded in reply.
While Porthos and D'artagnan were busy with the bodies to search for the reason of their attack, Aramis quietly took his sewing supplies and secluded himself a little away from the fire trying not to draw attention to himself. Ignoring the lightheadedness caused by blood loss, he tried to keep his mind occupied with removing his arm from his clothes. The events of the night were threatening to take over his thoughts.
He winced as he slowly tried to move his arm out of his doublet. As soon as it was free, he felt the blood seeping down his arm and not to mention the pain, that only moments ago was a dull ache. The adrenaline from the battle was ebbing away and giving back the pain it had numbed. Both his arm and his side were on fire.
Slowly but surely he set to work. He let his hand do the work while his mind started to drift. Aramis felt the quietness of his companions, while they searched pockets and pounches, it was tangible. He imagined they would be full of questions which he couldn't answer or didn't want to answer.
At least not at the moment. And therefor he hadn't asked for their help. He felt ashamed of what had happened, that he had no control. His demons had caught up with him and they nearly costed someone's life. The vulnerability he felt was not one he wanted to share with them.
He finished the last stitch and looked at his messy work. His left handed stitches left much to be desired but it had stopped the bleeding.
After putting some honey on the wound he quickly bandaged it and put his arm carefully back into his shirt and doublet. He was thankful that both Porthos and D'artagnan had been too busy searching the body's for them to notice his awkward stitching predicament, though he knew that Porthos would question him about his wound before long, seeing as he's quite perceptive and wouldn't forget something like a wound. At least not for long.
Aramis looked at the wound on his side and decided that it didn't need any medical attention. He was too tired anyway. It wasn't deep enough for stiches and looked clean enough.
Deciding to leave the two fit men to their searches Aramis got up, somewhat unsteady, and sat down next to their leader. Aramis wanted to make sure Athos was resting as he knew that tomorrow's ride would be an uncomfortable one for him. Athos had his eyes closed and his breathing seemed even so Aramis deduced that he had fallen asleep though you could never be sure with Athos.
He let his eyes roam Athos' face and noticed that even with the orange glow of the fire, his face looked ashen. Aramis felt a whole range of emotions course through him. Anger, shame, fear, guilt.
God, the guilt. The guilt was immense. He was familiar with guilt. It had been a silent companion ever since he had come back and the other twenty had not.
His demons almost cost him Athos' life. He felt guilty that his incapability of controlling said demons had dragged his brothers into this mess. It was his cross to bear and his alone.
Aramis took a deep breath and decided he would deal with it all on the morrow if his mind would allow. He stood up and laid himself down next to the fire with his back towards it's radiating heat, facing away from his companions
Sleep wouldn't come for him tonight, he knew, but for his own sanity and to avoid questions, he pretended to sleep and hoped that his brothers would leave him alone until dawn.