Evening My Lovelies
Okay so apparently I was mistaken when I said there would be a short epilogue as this ended up being way longer than I had originally planned. Part of me was also tempted to scrap it and instead use the ending of the finale chapter as a lead into another sequel but it wouldn't really work with the story ideas I currently have bouncing around in my brain for the story I'm really excited to start working on so there will not be a sequel to this.
I feel like our boys might be a bit ooc in this but go with it :)
Notes On Reviews:
Tidia: Thanks for the review - Aww thank you I'm really glad you've enjoyed reading this and thank you for sticking with it and reviewing as often as you have :) Enjoy! x
criminally charmed: Thanks for the review - Hahaha oh that review made me smile. As tempting as it was, no there's no train :) Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
Debbie (Guest): Thanks for the review - Haha glad you liked them, Porthos's one came to me pretty quickly and then I couldn't help but try and link them. I did seriously debate doing a sequel for this but no, unfortunately, there won't be a follow-on... though that's not to say our boys' won't end up in Gascony in the next story I write but it won't follow this one (as tempting as it is). Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
pallysd'Artagnan: Thanks for the review - Yeah they didn't like the idea of him leaving but they do understand it so he'll be getting begrudging acceptance :) Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
The OC guest (Guest): Thanks for the review - Don't worry about it! I love getting any and all reviews but so long as people are reading and enjoying the story that's all I care about :) Oh you have no worries where my lovely OC's are concerned I don't think I could write something where they don't appear now, I just love them too much :D I have some plans for Alain in my next story so don't worry about him, he'll definitely feature :D Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
Avioooor: Thanks for the reviews - (chapter83) Haha yeah kinda a bit of poor everyone in that chapter. Hopefully, you'll like how the whole document thing resolves itself :) (chapter84) Aww yay I'm glad you liked the brotherly moments :) Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
MicheeO: Thanks for the reviews - (chapter94) Bwhaha maybe :) (chapter95) Yeah they're not too happy with the decision. Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
WelshEssex (Guest): Thanks for the review - Haha glad you liked the names, Porthos's one came to me pretty quickly and then I couldn't resist having them all linked. I'm sad this is over now too but also looking forward to writing the next story. Thank you for sticking with this until the end and for all the lovely reviews you sent :) Enjoy! x
Just wanted to say again thank you so much for sticking with me throughout all of this, really love and appreciate all the support :D
Love you all!
A Month And A Half Later…
"Are you sure about this 'Thos?" asked Aramis hesitantly as the trio of musketeers made their way into Lupiac, Gascony.
Like Treville had predicted, none of the three men had reacted well to the news of D'Artagnan's departure, although they did their best to keep their anger at the decision hidden when they noted a large amount of nerves practically radiating from their youngest brother when he broke the news to them.
Porthos was the most understanding of the three, having suffered his own nightmares of his ordeal, though not to the extent of D'Artagnan's, and so he could understand the need to get away and to clear his head, something he had, himself, considered doing during the darker points of his recovery.
Aramis had been more upset and worried than sad, having not missed the increasing amount of times D'Artagnan had mentioned his home town over the last few days before his departure. Part of him had suspected the decision was coming but it had not made it any easier to hear.
Athos, on the other hand, had been furious, although not with D'Artagnan. He respected that the younger man realized he was having trouble and had sought a remedy to it instead of suffering in silence. He even respected that D'Artagnan had decided to share the news with them personally instead of leaving without a word and forcing Treville to break the news to them.
What he did not like however was how unprotected the younger man was going to be. He had tried to get Treville to give him permission to go with the Gascon but the Captain had been resolute in his decision, finally silencing him by saying that getting away from the garrison to recover wouldn't work if he had such a stark reminder of it with him.
D'Artagnan had assured him of how safe his home town was and that he was not travelling there alone so would be fine, but memories of all the recent harm that had befallen the boy when he was away from them meant those reassurances did little to calm the anger and worry building inside of him.
He said nothing as Aramis repeated his earlier question to him, doubt and hesitance filling him now they were close to their missing fourth.
It had been easy to convince his brothers to come with him when, after almost a month and a half, he had had enough of waiting, however now that he was mere minutes away from seeing the baby brother and protege he was worried he had overstepped his bounds or that D'Artagnan may have decided he could or would not be returning to Paris with them, something that would break his heart to hear.
"Come on," said Porthos firmly as he placed a grounding hand on the swordsman's shoulder. "According to Treville, the pup's farm isn't far."
For the next few minutes the trio moved in silence, each lost in their own minds as they thought about how this meeting might go.
What they weren't expecting, when they arrived at the farm, however, was to see said little brother with his shirt off, hard at work ploughing the field.
D'Artagnan's back was towards them giving the three men a clear view of the damage he had sustained during his torture and even several months on the sight of the heavily scarred skin still made them sick to their stomachs.
"Looks like you're healing well," commented Aramis loudly when he realized just how long they had been standing there staring at the younger man's scarred back.
At the sound of his brother's voice, D'Artagnan instantly froze, dropping the plough in his hands as he sharply spun to face the source of the voice.
Despite how bad his back may have looked even several months on, none of the trio could deny how the time away seemed to have benefited the younger man, especially not when his, once again tanned face, broke into the largest, beaming grin they had seen from him in a long time.
Without a word D'Artagnan launched himself at the three men, pulling them into a hug they were more than happy to reciprocate.
"Glad to see you missed us to whelp," grinned Porthos as the quartet pulled away and the larger musketeer reached over to ruffle the man's hair affectionately.
"Of course I did," grinned D'Artagnan as he smacked his brother's hand away from his hair. "and not that I'm not pleased to see you but what are you doing here? I though I still had a few weeks?"
"Never mind that," dismissed Aramis as he took the attention away from Athos who was now looking guilty at bringing them there before the younger man's time was up. "How are you doing?"
D'Artagnan could tell his brothers were anxiously awaiting to hear what he would say. He had done his best, in letters to them, to reassure them of his recovery, but he knew them all well enough to know they would not believe it until they both saw and heard it for themselves.
"I'm good," nodded the Gascon with a relaxed smile. "Still having the occasional nightmare but the techniques you taught me have been a big help." Aramis smiled brightly at that, the boy's nightmares having been a large cause of concern for the group, especially when he left them to return home.
Smiling back at his brother D'Artagnan gestured them to follow him as he began the trek back to his family home but before he could say anything more about his condition Athos noted a familiar looking practice dummy by the side of the barn.
"You've been keeping up with your training?" he asked seriously, noting the obvious damage said dummy had sustained.
At this D'Artagnan's smile dropped a fraction, causing a spike of concern and worry to shoot through the three inspearables.
"I've been trying," admitted the Gascon. "My arms shake if I hold my sword for too long though and then my shoulders end up aching for a few hours after that."
Feeling the need to reassure him baby brother Athos placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You're arms sustained a lot of damage and your muscles are weak from lack of use. That you can still hold your blade to do that," he spoke nodding towards the dummy, "is promising. We can work on your muscle and the shakes will soon stop."
Unwilling to give the boy false hope but also, at the same time, not believing for a second that he wouldn't hold a blade and serve with them again, Athos nodded once, the grin he received afterwards bringing a faint one of his own to his lips.
"...So," spoke D'Artagnan somewhat hesitantly a few minutes later after he had finished showing his brothers around his newly rebuilt farm, the four of them now settled inside the newly rebuilt farmhouse. "Have you come to take me back to Paris?"
The seriousness of his voice, coupled with the subject matter caused the three men to miss the slight gleam of mischief and amusement in the younger man's eyes as they assured him that while, yes they wanted him to come back with them, they would only ask that of him if he truly felt ready to return.
It was then that they noticed the small smirk on the younger man's lips as he nodded to the side of the room and the three men blink at the sight of several packed bags lying on the ground.
"The son of one of my father's friends has fallen on bad times lately so I offered him a job running the farm while I'm in Paris. He should be arriving in the morning and I was planning to be on the road home come the afternoon."
"You're coming back?"
D'Artagnan blinked in slight surprise for a moment before smiling softly, "Of course… It's home."