A/N: Thanks for reading and reviewing. Here we come to the end of a month of writing. The last prompt was tucked in. And so, October doesn't end so well for Aramis. Fortunately, his brothers are there to help him.
Things Come in Three's
He wakes bent over in bed as his stomach churns and aches. Amidst the nausea, he can't recall anything unusual about last night. Nothing he ate or how he felt was out of the norm that might give cause. As the pain grows, he breaks out in a sweat and worry sets in about how he's getting to the bathroom before he loses his dinner here on his bed or on the rug. He forces himself into a mostly upright position. His feet touch the rug as he sits hunched over. A glance up shows the sun still hasn't risen, but then it's getting later in the fall and soon it will be time for daylight savings to end. So it might be later in the morning than he thinks for all he knows.
He groans lowly, gripping a hand into the sheets on the bed as a wave of pain hits. When it dissipates he wills himself to his feet, a hand on the bed for support as he shuffles along, following the shape of the bed. Then there is the gap between the bed and the door. At different times when he's sprained an ankle or knee or broken a leg he's managed to hobble when he doesn't feel like grabbing crutches to go next door to the bathroom, but now it feels like a chasm.
As the churning grows, he realizes he has to just do it. And so, he shuffles, slowly. Some way between the two points, he trips and falls against the door. The pain from colliding, shoulder first with the door and then landing flat on his stomach ends his struggle with his stomach.
Somehow one of his brothers pushes in the door and keeps him from lying face down in his own vomit. They keep holding him, rubbing hand on his back until he is spent. His throat is raw and his stomach aches. Most of the last few minutes were dry heaves. He rolls back, a hand on his shoulder, guiding him to rest his head in someone's lap.
"How're you feeling, 'Mis," Porthos asks. Even half unconscious, he could pick out that deep, comforting rumble.
"Better," he says, tired and weak.
Porthos raises an eyebrow.
"Really. I don't know what it was, but I feel better now." Aramis tries to put as much energy in his voice as he can as proof.
"Right." Porthos doesn't believe him. He knows Aramis too well. "You think you're going to vomit again?"
"No." Aramis shakes his head.
"Okay then, let's get you up and to Athos. You can sleep the rest of the night in there."
"Thought it was morning."
"It is, but it's 3am. We still have a few hours to go before we need to be up. I'll get you to Athos' and then come back to clean this up."
"I can get it." Aramis moves to get up, but his arms give way under him.
"Just let us help you, 'Mis."
Aramis sighs and nods. Porthos removes his vomit stained shirt and grabs another, a well-worn sweater that Aramis is glad to have on. It's rather chilly, he thinks. He does what he can to help Porthos get him to his feet but he knows the older man does most of the work. He thinks he shuffles down the hall way, but Porthos more carries him, knocking with a free hand on Athos' door and calling out for the man.
Inside, there's a grumble and then shuffling.
"What," Athos grumbles as he opens the door.
"Aramis is sick. Do you mind if he stays the rest of the night with you? I need to clean up his room," Porthos says.
"Bad?" Athos is instantly alert, already taking Aramis from Porthos. The younger man is quickly fading but mutters some retort that they're sure is about his lack of illness.
"Just vomit. He says he feels better but with a bathroom in your room, he'll be better off with you if he gets sick again and he likes when you take care of him when he's sick."
Athos nods. "Do you need help cleaning up?"
"No. If I do, I'll get d'Artagnan. Just take care of 'Mis."
Athos takes Aramis to his bed, which has more than enough room for the two men. Aramis is nearly asleep when he sets him on the bed and nudges him to settle in. When he sees Aramis shimmie deep into the thin blanket Athos has on the bed, he grabs a couple more thicker blankets from the closet and lays them over the man. He then settles into the other side of the bed, dozing lightly for the rest of the night.
The rest of the night passes uneventfully with Aramis is a deep sleep despite a few restless moments that shift Athos into wakefulness. When morning comes, he sends Aramis to shower, carefully, in his bathroom while he catches another few minutes of sleep. The others had insisted that he take the master bedroom, which had an en suite bathroom, because he did purchase the house and let them live there rent free. In truth, he'd secretly put the house in their names as well, in case something happened to him.
After finally rising, showering, and dressing for the day, Athos comes downstairs to a familiar argument.
"I'm perfectly fine," Aramis says, eating a bowl of oatmeal. Athos'd hoped for something more than oatmeal, but considering Aramis' sickness during the night, a lighter breakfast was in order. And the only way to get Aramis to actually eat it was for it to be the meal for them all. Perhaps, he'd grab a donut when he made their coffee run today.
"You didn't see how sick you were last night," Porthos says over his own bowl.
"No, I felt it and I'm fine now."
Athos walks next to Aramis and unceremoniously puts a hand on the man's forehead.
"No fever," Athos announces.
"That's because I'm not sick."
"Then what was last night," Porthos asks.
"I don't know but it's out of my system and I'm fine to work today."
Porthos huffs but doesn't say anything more. Aramis looks to Athos.
"He did sleep through the rest of the night, Porthos," Athos says.
"I don't know. I don't want you getting in there and getting sick again."
"I feel fine and I'll let you know the moment I don't," Aramis says with a hopeful smile.
"Anyone who believes that, stand on your head," Porthos says dryly.
Aramis glares at him but doesn't say anything more.
They finish their breakfast, with d'Artagnan getting his usual time warning from Athos. For being a farm boy, the young man had certain gotten out of the early morning habits quickly. Everything goes smoothly, normally. They catch their usual train, check in with Treville, and settle into work. Then Aramis coughs at his desk.
Porthos looks at him.
"I'm fine," Aramis hisses. Porthos goes back to his work until Aramis coughs again.
"Don't say it," Porthos warns.
"It's just a couple coughs."
"Do you know the kind of luck you have? There's no rabbit foot big enough to help you."
"Gee, thanks," Aramis says, sinking back in his chair.
"I think it's a good time for coffee," Athos says, standing. "Aramis, you want to come with?"
"Yes," Aramis says readily, standing so quickly his chair nearly topples backwards.
"Bundle up. There's a cold front coming in," Porthos says.
"I'll be fine. It's not a long walk," Aramis retorts, irritation clear.
"The usual?" Athos looks at Porthos and d'Artagnan, who nod.
The trip to the coffee shop is brisk with a chilly wind, but it's not far. Aramis is surprisingly quiet, but Athos figures that is more his irritation with Porthos. There are more coughs, but Athos isn't the worrier that Porthos is. In fact, it's only on the way back, a block and a half from the station that he gets truly concerned. That's when Aramis can't stop coughing for long.
"Ath…" he croaks out between coughs.
"Let's get you back. We're just a few minutes away. Do you think you can make it?"
Aramis nods, coughing still. Athos puts a hand on his shoulders, both to support the man and hurry him along. The sooner they can get him out of this chilly weather, the better.
When they get back to the station, he sets the coffee on d'Artagnan's desk and ushers Aramis to his chair. The man bends over, coughing.
"What happened," d'Artagnan asks. Porthos is already next to Aramis, pulling his jacket off.
"It must've been too cold out there. He can't stop coughing," Athos explains. He's kneeling down in front of the man, trying to calm him as he struggles to breathe.
"Is that," d'Artagnan starts, looking at Athos and Porthos.
"Yeah." Porthos sighs.
"Where's his inhaler," Athos asks.
"He's beyond that." Treville interrupts their search. "Get him in here. I've already got the nebulizer set up."
Wordlessly, Athos and Porthos get Aramis to his feet and help him into Treville's office, depositing him on the couch where Treville has stacked the pillows on one side to prop the young man up. Treville shuts the door and gets Aramis set up with the device and sits with him as the medicine works on his lungs, gradually calming the coughs.
The other three have positioned themselves nearby, waiting for Aramis' breathing to settle. No matter how often he's seen this, Porthos thinks, it's no easier watching and waiting for the medicine to work, hoping that it's enough. There have been a few attacks bad enough to land Aramis in the ER.
As the breathing comes easier, Aramis starts to relax. He closes his eyes, not to sleep, just to rest. He's always off-kilter after these treatments. An annoying mixture of the jitters and tiredness. Eventually, Treville takes the pipe from him and shuts of the nebulizer.
"How're you feeling," Treville asks.
"Same as always." Aramis doesn't feel like pretending. He's tired and annoyed that a simple walk in the October air set him off. This doesn't bode well for the coming winter months.
"Rest in here for a while, then you can go back to work. If you're feeling up to it." Treville pats him gently on his shoulder before taking the nebulizer to his desk to clean it.
"The rest of you should get back to work. He'll be fine in here," Treville says.
"I'm glad you had that," Porthos says.
"I like to be prepared." Treville remembers the first few asthma attacks when they didn't have the nebulizer. As much as he panicked, he knew it was worse for Aramis and then came the ER visits which inevitably triggered panic attacks. Going through that a few times unprepared was enough to make him sure he was always ready.
"I'll keep an eye on him. Get back to work," he says again and this time they shuffle out.
Aramis rests for an hour, dozing lightly. Before he can leave, Treville has him take a few deep breaths. When he doesn't cough, Treville lets him go.
"Be careful, Aramis," he says as the man leaves.
"What could happen? I'm staying in the office," Aramis says with a tired smile. The rest did him some good but he needs a good night's sleep.
"Those aren't good words to say around here, Aramis," Treville warns lightly.
"I know, I know. I'll be careful. I'll even let d'Artagnan do my paper work so I don't get any paper cuts," Aramis says loudly enough for their youngest team member to hear.
"I have enough of my own without your mile-high stack," d'Artagnan retorts.
"Get to work, the both of you," Treville yells out the door before Aramis shuts it.
Aramis stays in at lunchtime, not willing to tempt fate again. He doesn't feel much like eating, but he does. Still fighting off the chill from his earlier trip outside, he opts for a toasted club sandwich and chicken and rice soup. He eats half of each and counts that as a victory considering he didn't want to eat. Truly, it's the warmth of the food that tempts him more than anything. And it does warm him, for a bit.
As the afternoon wears on, the chill sets back in. He doesn't want to put his jacket on because then Porthos will say something. He opts for tea instead, warming his hands on the mug as he sips the hot beverage.
It's somewhere around 3pm when he can't deny it anymore. He is alternatively chilled then too hot, his head aches as do his bones, his throat is dry, and there's an annoying tickle in his throat that he keeps soothing with sips of water. He should've known, he thinks, things always come in threes.
"P'thos," he mumbles quietly. He clears his throat.
"'Mis?" Porthos doesn't bother to look up, busy in his work.
"I think I need to go home," Aramis says weakly.
"I don't feel well." Aramis puts his head on his desk, unable to keep it up any longer, resting it on his folded arms.
There's a long pause.
"Aramis, what's wrong," Porthos asks, moving quickly to Aramis.
"I told you. I'm sick. I don't feel good." He doesn't bother to look up. Porthos puts a hand on the back of the man's neck and finds it rather warm.
"You do have a fever. What else?" He kneels down next to Aramis. d'Artagnan and Athos have stopped working and are watching, listening.
"Headache, sore throat, aches." Aramis coughs a couple times. "Coughing."
"Some but not bad."
"I'll let Treville know and then get ready to take him home," Athos says. He's been in the process of closing down his work already.
"I think you're going to need some help," Porthos says, observing Aramis.
Athos nods and goes to let Treville know.
"Decide who you want to take with you," Treville tells Athos, looking at Aramis, who uncharacteristically, hasn't moved his head from the desk. Porthos nudges Aramis to his feet, holding on when he sways.
"You alright," Porthos asks.
"Dizzy." Aramis leans against Porthos, keeping his eyes closed and head down.
"Can you make it to the train," Athos asks.
"Yes," Aramis says quietly. "Won't break any records, but I'll get there." He reaches for his jacket, but d'Artagnan beats him to it. The younger man works with Porthos to get the jacket on Aramis without jostling the man too much.
"The three of you better take him home," Treville says, taking in the sight of Aramis, pale, leaning against Porthos, fever-red cheeks, and eyes shut. It's going to take all three of them to get him to the train.
Porthos sets him back on his chair and goes to clean up his work for the day. d'Artagnan does the same while Treville and Athos take care of Aramis' work.
Before they leave, they further bundle up Aramis, pulling from their own, warmer winter gear. Porthos gives him his gloves, d'Artagnan pulls his woolen cap over his head, and Athos wraps his scarf around his neck and mouth.
"Let me know how he's doing," Treville says as he watches them leave.
It does take all three of them to coax Aramis to move and keep him upright on the trip to the station. They make it though it takes twice as long and Aramis is ready to collapse on the nearest bench at the end. They arrive ten minutes after their train has left meaning they will have to wait nearly a half hour for the next.
Porthos goes to get warm drinks for them, tea for Aramis and coffee for the rest as d'Artagnan and Athos sit on either side of Aramis, keeping him both up right and aware that they are there. A sick Aramis is more prone to flashbacks and panic attacks, neither of which are needed right now.
Aramis has to be coaxed initially into drinking the tea, but it eventually revives him enough that he sips on it without further coddling. Porthos picks him up another cup of tea before they board the train.
It's just after five when they get off the train and much later when they walk through the door of their home.
"I don't want to go to bed," Aramis says quietly. He's sat on the bench at the front door, still bundled up while the others remove their shoes and jackets. It's not quite a whine but it gets Athos, Porthos, and d'Artagnan to look at each other.
"How's the den," Athos suggests.
"That works." Aramis nods tiredly.
"d'Artagnan, would you run up and get his pillows and blankets," Athos says.
"And some sweats," Porthos says. "You're going to want out of those clothes," he adds, looking at Aramis.
"I don't want to think about moving," Aramis says, leaning against the wall.
"Let us help you, then."
That's enough for Athos and Porthos to start to get the winter clothes and shoes off Aramis. d'Artagnan comes back first with the sweats. Athos and Porthos help Aramis to the downstairs bathroom.
"Do you want help changing," Athos asks.
"I think I got it," Aramis says, sitting on the toilet lid.
"We'll be just outside." Athos hands him the sweats and closes off the door so he can have some privacy. It takes longer than normal, but Aramis does get changed himself and opens the door. Athos follows him to the den, staying close for Aramis' dizzy spells. d'Artagnan has the couch already set up. The two help Aramis to get comfortable, pulling up the blankets, including Aramis' favorite one.
"Well, you're all tucked in there," Porthos says, walking in with their medical kit in hand. "Before you doze off, let's see where your fever's at." Porthos pulls out the ear thermometer. "102.3," he reads off after waiting for the device to beep.
"Ibuprofen," d'Artagnan holds out a couple pills and a glass of water. He helps Aramis to sit up enough to take the medicine.
"Get some rest now, 'Mis," Porthos says. "Hopefully, you'll be over this quickly." They each settle in the den, near Aramis. Porthos sits on the couch, pulling Aramis' feet into his lap. Athos finds a comfortable spot leaning against the couch near Aramis' head and d'Artagnan moves the armchair a little closer.
In their comforting presence, Aramis slips off into a peaceful sleep. Athos sends a quick text to Treville, letting him know that Aramis is resting.
"You know," Porthos says quietly, breaking the silence in the room, "he's had quite the month. I'm not surprised he got so sick suddenly."
"It has been a rather bad month for him," Athos comments.
"Yeah, it was like one thing after another kept hitting him," d'Artagnan adds.
"He was just too worn down to fight this off," Porthos says.
"He'll be fine. In a few days, he'll be fighting us to go do things," Athos says.
"I know. I was just thinking how rough a month he's had and how draining it's been on him."
"Maybe November will be better for him," d'Artagnan suggests.
"We can only hope," Athos says.
A/N: That's all of them. A full month of prompts (I'd love to do this again, maybe during December.). It was a fun month for me and busy. I wrote nearly 50,000 words, which is more than I've ever written in a month and expanded a universe I had no intentions of developing further. It's meant that the story the all of these modernAU fics are based on has to be majorly edited to make it work now. So, if you've enjoyed the modern setting, there's more to come. I have a long fic (about 70,000 words) and a number of smaller fics that are in the works.
As a further note about the month of prompts, I thought I would share my two extra challenges set for myself as I was writing. One, these stories couldn't involve violence. They could be in the aftermath of violence, but violent acts themselves couldn't propel the action. The start of October was a violent month where I live and I didn't want to write about violence. Two, the stories had to be new, meaning non-cliched or take a different look. It meant looking at idioms, alternate definitions, and seeing things metaphorically. This philosophy is something I normally consider in my original writing, but I've never applied it to my fan fiction.
I hope you've enjoyed the stories as much as I've enjoyed writing them.