First Bonus Mantra. "By the intercession of St. Michael."

-/-

"By the intercession of St. Michael, oh God, come to my assistance. Oh Lord, make haste to help me," Aramis intoned. The sky shimmered, blue to gray. He bowed his head, focusing perversely on his white knuckles, watching them flex and tighten over the rail-grip without conscious command. "Come Lord, by the intercession of St. Michael, have mercy on me, a sinner."

His knuckles turned translucent.

The world tilted before him and he closed his eyes.

"By the intercession... By the intercession of… St. Michael… By the…"

By the...

By the...

Beneath his feet, the floor rolled. With it, a wave of shivering discomfort broke over his muscles, and he folded. Jamming his ribs over the rail topping the bulwark, he breathed into the sea, rebalancing his feet to no benefit. "By the intercession of St. Michael," he prayed sincerely, "be our protection against… against… oh, God."

"How's he doing?" he heard, whispered from somewhere behind him. Porthos's voice. Solid and seaworthy as a whale. And just as smug. The forecastle rat.

Determinedly, he eased upright, squaring his shoulders into dramatic nonchalance without turning around. Soft, planked flooring wobbled under his heels. The horizon swung neatly out of focus and he repented, jolting forward. By the intercession of St. Michael...

"He's thrown up nine times already," answered d'Artagnan, sounding somewhat awed. "We're barely past the inlet. I'd thought the two of you were joking."

"They were joking," Aramis bit pettily, then stiffened as the deck bounced.

"No, we weren't," Porthos and Athos said in unison.

Rolling his gaze left, chin balanced on his knuckles, Aramis briefly contemplated the logistics of loading himself into the carronade. "I hate all three of you."

A moment later he stood on his toes and heaved again.

"That's ten in under forty. This one's to you, Athos," Porthos remarked.

"Hmm."

Aramis felt a hand on his back, urging him upright. He tried to ignore it, but nevertheless miserably met Athos's gaze. "By the intercession… of... St. Michael…" Cutting himself off, he frowned. "Perhaps it is the wrong prayer," he reasoned, letting Athos drag against his arm. "There are religious orders in the north that insist France is the only Catholic country to credit St. Michael with stewardship over the sea. They claim the patron is St. Nicholas."

"Aramis," chided Athos, ignoring the theologizing to touch a hand against his neck, "Come below."

Shakily, Aramis sighed. Athos took firmer hold of his shoulder, then wrapped an arm around his waist to help him straighten.

"Yea, though I sail treacherously through the sea of death, I shall fear no... water sprite's… undulations," Aramis tried.

Stepping forward, Porthos pushed his hair back, just a hint of worry in his eyes. "Didn't Father Dinouart warn against vain repetitions in his speech after Sunday mass?"

"Blasphemy," cursed Aramis, leaning and letting Porthos take the remainder of his balance through the next swaying wave. "My words are nothing but the most sincere."

"Of course." Porthos grinned mockingly, but took care to hug him before handing him fully back to Athos.

"Come," repeated Athos. "You're with me."

"I've not finished throwing up yet."

"You have," Athos ordered, as though the waves and sky and boat all had no choice but to obey him. "Come below."

"Lord, make haste…" Aramis mumbled, letting himself be moved.

Behind them, Porthos sounded hesitant. "Eh, Athos, I can take care of him this time."

"I've got him," Athos countered. His hand was warm against Aramis's chilled skin as he steadied the arm over his shoulders. "As you said, it's my turn. Besides. You like running the sails far too much to be denied the opportunity."

"What about me?" d'Artagnan asked.

"Go with Porthos. Don't get seasick."

"Not possible," d'Artagnan snarked. "Not like him, anyway."

Aramis shivered. "Ingrate." His glare was short lived.

Soon enough, and by nothing short of miraculous means, Aramis found himself below, slung into a berth with Athos running a hand up and down his back in rhythmic anchor.

"Thank you," Aramis murmured eventually, pressing his forehead unabashedly against Athos's ribs. "Thank you."

"Try to sleep," Athos said, imperiously soft. Aramis could hear his smile. "And, you're welcome."

-/-

We all must have our play on Aramis and seasickness, apparently.