He remembers the way this field was only a month ago. The way the wildflowers swayed in the breeze when the children would run through them, stirred up by the happiness and joy that lay within their hearts. Sometimes he wishes that he could turn back time, to those days when the children could still play outside, when it was safe to call oneself a Frenchman in these parts.
Now, he doesn't know who he could trust outside the monastery walls.
So, for the first year, he hadn't trusted anyone, not even the brothers that gave him food and shelter and taught him a more humble life. He had kept his sword on him every day for the first month, and then only gave it up when he was relieved of it. None of the monks know he has it, but he still keeps his pauldron underneath his bed. It's a reminder, of the sacrifice he made to get him here.
"I gave everything I had for you. Everything."
He had. God knows he had. His life as he had known it, his brothers, his family. Or rather the only family that he knew cared.
He thinks of them a lot. He smiles fondly as he tells the children stories of his brothers, now famous war heroes. He likes to think that Porthos keeps his musket close at hand and uses it occasionally. He believes that Athos would have accidentally packed an extra blanket, and so the three of them share it between them. He hopes that d'Artagnan sometimes shovels an extra bowl of stew just for him because it helps him to not forget. He likes to believe that they think of him as much as he thinks of them. That they miss him like he misses them.
He knows that they had looked for him. He'd heard rumours that three men were searching all of the abbeys and monasteries in the area. There were days when he had wished for them to find him, when he had almost run out, wanting to shout for them, because he knew that they would welcome him back, and that they could be brothers again.
But he had made a promise. A vow.
The brothers at the monastery would not let him take his vows yet. He knew that they could see where his heart still truly lay, what he yearned for. It had been years, but he knows that if he was told to take them, he would not be able to bring himself to do it.
So, he kneels in front of the altar, begging for God to give him a sign.
"Aramis? The others want to go out and play."
He sighs and hauls himself up to turn to look at the boy.
"Alright Luc, gather the children."