So I tried to reach 1000 words for the last chapter, but I guess it wasn't mean to be. Oh well...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this final chapter of this, rather, intense story. Thank you for all the support you have given me along the way. I cannot wait for the next story I have plans for. Once again, enjoy!

-M


"Aramis, wake up! … Lansac is here!"

The man gasped awake, his eyes widening. "W-What?"

Anne, who was standing over him, sighed and said, "Lansac broke into the Palace. He is looking for you."

Aramis quickly got up, regretting it instantly. Pain blossomed in every part of his body, forcing him to hold onto Anne for support. "I can't," he said. "I need to face him. It's you and Louis who need to get out."

Anne shook his head. "I will not leave you," she replied. "You are too hurt to fight. If anything happens to you … I cannot even think about what will happen to me. And Louis will lose another father. Please, Aramis…"

"While this is all very touching," an extremely familiar, cold voice said. "I have to finish what I have started."

Aramis looked past Anne, and he gasped quietly. "Lansac," he whispered. He quickly pulled Anne behind him, his protective instincts kicking in.

"The King asked me to punish you, which is exactly what I intend to do," Lansac said, taking out a sword.
Aramis was quick to reach for his own rapier from his bedside table. "Stay behind me, Anne," he muttered to Anne, keeping his eyes on his opponent. "Please."

They began to circle each other.

Aramis knew that Lansac was studying him, trying to figure out all his weaknesses. He tried hard not to show them.

Finally, Lansac lunged.

Somehow, Aramis managed to dodge the attack, deciding that he would just dodge the attacks, not make them. He just hoped that his friends would arrive before he got tired of fighting.

"You know, I would have thought that you would give up for the sake of your lover," Lansac taunted. "But no, apparently you really do not care about her as much as I thought."
Out of anger, Aramis pounced at him, attempting to bring him down. But he failed.

Lansac easily shoved his sword through Aramis' side, smiling mercilessly. The injured warrior cried out, unable to move. As his eyes darted up and down, he began to breath heavily. He saw Lansac watching him with a spiteful grin on his face. "Your anger got the best of you," he said. "And now you will die."

Aramis closed his eyes, feeling blood in his mouth. My soul is prepared, he said to himself.

Suddenly, a gunshot sounded.

As Lansac fell backwards, he pulled the sword with him. Aramis screamed, collapsing when he finally felt the metal slide out of his body. Someone - Anne, he realized - fell beside him and gathered him into their arms.

In the meantime, Porthos placed his pistol back into its holster and walked past Lansac. "That is for hurting Aramis," he growled. Once making sure the monster was dead, he rushed to Anne and Aramis, falling onto his knees. "We need a medic," he said. "If he loses too much blood, he won't make it."

"We need to help him!" Anne sobbed, wrapping her arms around Aramis' trembling body.

"We will, Your Majesty," Porthos promised. "He will be just fine."

XxXxX

"I think he is waking," a woman's voice said.

As Aramis finally came to, agony spreading throughout his entire body. He moaned softly.

"Aramis, everything is alright," he heard a female voice say. "Just open your eyes for me … please."

Trying to open his eyes proved to be more difficult than he thought. But once he did, he saw Anne, Constance, Porthos, d'Artagnan, and, this time, Athos sitting by his bed. They all had worried expressions on their faces. He looked around slowly, and found that he was back in his room at the Palace. Lansac was nowhere to be found; he wondered where he was…

"There you are," Porthos mumbled. "How are you feeling, my friend?"

Aramis' laugh turned into a heavy cough, and he doubled over in pain. Hands held him steady while his body continued to spasm. God, he just wanted the pain to be over.

When he finally found the strength to sit back up, he kept his eyes closed; his head was spinning. "Lansac?" he asked hoarsely.

"Porthos killed him," Athos said. "He's gone."

"Your nightmare is over," Anne said lovingly. She took his trembling hand and gave it a squeeze. "You're free."

The man threw his head back then, letting out a breath. "Thank God," he whispered. It was then that he felt his bed dip under someone's weight. He opened his eyes to see Athos sitting beside him, his eyes shining. "It is good to see you, Athos," Aramis said. He reached for his hand, grasping it tightly.

"And you as well," Athos replied. "Now, I think we will leave you now."

D'Artagnan came up to him and cupped his face. "You better rest, Aramis," he said. "I do not know what we would do without you."

"I will do my best, d'Artagnan," Aramis responded. "I swear."

Everyone but Anne retired from the room. After a few moments of silence, the Queen smiled and sat beside him. She ran her hand through his curly locks, sighing when her lover leaned into her touch. "You can now rest at ease," she said.

Aramis scoffed. "I doubt that it will be that easy … but you are right," he said. He paused. "Thank you, Anne. For everything."

Anne leaned forward and kissed the top of his head ever so gently. "I will always be there for you," she replied. "Always.

And with that … Aramis' nightmare finally ended.