"I saw Mamá kissing you yesterday," Louis tells the First Minister solemnly, peeking with big brown eyes around the corner of Aramis' big desk from where he's been playing.

Aramis' blood freezes. When he speaks, his voice is very controlled. "Is that so?"

"It is very so," the child tells him seriously. "I saw it."

"Well," and Aramis has no idea what to say to his not-son commenting on his not-father's kissing his mother, "yes. Um. That happened."

Louis looks contemplative, tapping a finger against his lips in a move he learned from Aramis himself. "Interesting."

"Interesting?" Aramis says weakly. He wishes he had a drink.

"Very." The little king looks quite content patiently pondering the explosive information he just dropped on Aramis like a pile of bricks.

"Majesty," Aramis starts, having no idea where to start.

"Aramis," Louis replies calmly, blinking.

Aramis puts his face in his hands. "Dios, I don't know how to do this." He runs his hands through his hair, leaving it even more uncontrollable than normal, and looks up at his not-son. "Your Mamá loves you a lot, Majesty."

"Of course." Louis still sounds bemused by Aramis' breakdown. "I am her favorite king ever."

"Of course." He really, really wishes he had a drink.

"Is my Mamá your favorite queen ever?" Louis wants to know, raising his eyebrows in another of Aramis' moves and crossing his arms dramatically.

The irony that Louis is decimating Aramis emotionally using strategies implicitly learned from the not-father he is confronting about kissing his mother doesn't go unnoticed. "Your Mamá is my favorite person ever, Majesty." He pauses. "Directly after you."

Louis looks pleased. "Well, that's good, then." He settles back down behind the desk to continue his play.

The First Minister closes his eyes and slowly lets out a breath, rubbing his temples. He swears he's lost five years of his life to this conversation. He's almost succeeded in slowing his heartbeat until Louis pops up again.

"Can queens kiss King's Musketeers?" the little king asks innocently. When Aramis whips his head up again, Louis has an expression of butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth innocence Aramis directly taught him pasted on his face.

(Sometimes Aramis regrets that the queen is saddled with a child that shares his blood. Most of the time, that sentiment stems from worry about their safety. Now, he just mentally sends an apology—again— to his saintly mother for everything she had to deal with him doing as a child. He's not sure how she survived it.)

Aramis blinks, then swallows harshly. "Well," and his voice is hoarse to his own ears, "it rather matters what you think about that, Majesty."

Louis ponders that for a moment. "Veeeeery interesting."

"Do I pass?" Aramis cracks. There's a note of anxiety running under the humor in his voice.

"Ask her that," Louis shrugs, and shoots him a conspiratorial grin. "Mamá is the most brilliant person in the world and if she passes you, I pass you. Por supuesto, te quiero también," he adds matter-of-factly in the native tongue of his mother and his First Minister, and Aramis bows his head as if in prayer, smile cracking open his face like sun through clouds.

"As I, you, Majesty," he says, and Louis goes back to playing behind Aramis' desk and the day continues on as normal.


When he sprints into Anne's bedroom later that evening and catches her up in his arms and kisses her and spins her around in exhilaration, she can't help but laugh, caught up in his joy. "What happened?" she asks through giggles.

"You gave me the world," Aramis sings, squishing his nose against her face like a puppy begging for attention, "for you are my world; you are el sol radiante y la luna de plata; you are Shakespeare's rich jewel in the Ethiope's ear upon the cheek of the night—"

He's trembling and laughing and holding her so tightly and she loves him so deeply it hurts. She knows it must have to do with their son. "Does he know?" she murmurs, softly pressing her lips under his ear.

"No me importa, querida," he whispers back, lips seeking out hers, hungry now where they'd been playful moments before, "for now I know I am loved by him, and by you, and God in all His glory has granted me an undeserved heaven in your arms."

"My most beloved," and there's nothing more she gets out before he's swept her up and onto her bed and then after that, all that spills from her lips is the desperate cadence of his name.