A/N: This is the beginning of a new story. It's my first chaptered fic in years, so I'm feeling a bit rusty in terms of managing long stories. This one is complete. The other chapters just need some editing, which I'll do as I post them, probably once a week. This story is a bit slow going at first and isn't really action packed. It does have a plot and is mostly focused on characters. This first little bit is a short prologue to the story. The next chapter we'll get into the meat of the story.

The story deals with some topics that some might find difficult to read about. In general, these topics include depression, suicidal thoughts, and forced feeding. To cover my bases, each chapter will have a warning for the suicidal thoughts and I will warn when the forced feeding comes (it's not a long scene and deals more with the repercussions, than the actual act).

Anyway, here is the first, albeit, short, chapter for Finding the Will. Please read, relax, and enjoy.


Finding the Will: d'Artagnan's Questions

"That hands in the middle thing," d'Artagnan started, fiddling with his cup of wine. He and the other three were in a tavern not far from the garrison. "I haven't seen any of the other Musketeers doing that."

"You won't," Athos answered.

"It's just us," Aramis added.

"Why?" The two men sitting across from him looked into their cups.

"It was Porthos' doing," Aramis finally answered.

"I thought…"

"It would've been me, right?" Aramis smiled slightly.

"Well, it does seem like your sort of thing."

"It does, doesn't it?" Aramis looked towards Athos, who shrugged his shoulders and gave a slight quirk of his lips.

"Back then, neither of us were in the 'All for one' mood," Athos said.

"Not sure that 'one for all' suited us all that well either."

Aramis tipped his cup in agreement.

"What happened," d'Artagnan asked.

"It was five years ago," Porthos said, taking a seat next to d'Artagnan, "and these two were more concerned with the quickest way to die than keep on living."

d'Artagnan looked at Aramis and Athos. Neither denied Porthos' statement, but they didn't say anything either. So, d'Artagnan turned back to Porthos.

"Aramis was mostly recovered from his wounds from Savoy. Still had the occasional headache and dizziness, but never told us. Athos, if you think he drinks a lot now, he was well into his cups back then. I don't think he spent a single moment sober. I'm not even sure how he was commissioned 'cept the regiment was decimated by Savoy and facing increased pressure from the king to expand to deal with the Huguenot uprisings."

"I assure you," Athos said without anger, "I earned my pauldron just like you. The captain never knew until well after."

"But you were quite drunk then," Aramis commented.

"I didn't think you noticed."

"Many things escaped my attention then, but one would be hard pressed to miss your drinking."

Athos nodded.

"What happened," d'Artagnan asked.

"He's like a child," Porthos teased. The lad scowled slightly while the others chuckled. "We were out on a mission, our first real mission since Savoy. Nothing too difficult, just playing delivery man for His Majesty when a horde of bandits came rushing out on horseback from the forest. I still don't remember much of the fighting, but we beat them."

"Porthos doesn't remember much because he took a nasty hit to the head," Aramis commented.