Hi all,

I have a single scene from -you guessed it- an unfinished story to share with you, and on account of it, announce that I'm taking a hiatus from the fandom. Can't bring myself to say goodbye as I hope to work slowly on my stories in my own time, but I'm at a point where I must focus fully on my work and career, and frankly, can do with a bit of a distance from everything. This isn't goodbye! I only hope that the fandom will still be alive when I choose to return.

I leave you with our dear Athos, Captain Tréville, and Porthos. All my best to all, and my heartfelt thanks for making it so difficult to leave this fandom definitely. It has been a very fun two years.

(If you'd like to keep in touch, I'm on Twitter, and Tumblr with the same username. It's more research/academia/personal stuff, but a certain actor and other random things put in an occasional appearance as well, and I might post scraps of writings over there.)


He awoke with a start.

"Calm. You're alright, calm."

"Where am I?" he whispered, head buried into the pillow as his breath settled.

"The garrison infirmary. You've been here for nearly a week."

"No… no." He was not. He hadn't been.

"Athos." There was concern in the way his name was called, and the weight that settled on his arm. Athos tried to pull away.

"You're safe," insisted that same voice, "the others found you six days ago. You've been very ill, Athos, but we would have you return to us, if you can."

If he can – return – from where? He opened his eyes, a struggle against his eyelids, and in the dim light he could make out the outline of someone seated by his side.

"Tréville…"

"The one and only," Tréville smiled. "How do you feel?"

He felt wretched. He felt heavy and sore and weak - weaker than he had ever felt in his entire life. He tried to see around Tréville, noting the absences.

"I've ordered Aramis and d'Artagnan to rest. Porthos has just stepped out – he'll be furious if you fall asleep before he returns."

"How did –" He winced, throat protesting rigorously.

"It is a long tale, Athos. Short answer? Determination. They left no stone unturned. They wouldn't stop until you were found."

He wished they were here. He wanted to see them. Exhausted, he didn't notice that his eyes had slipped close.

"Athos."

The soft hand on his arm, a gentleness to Tréville's tone that no one was much accustomed to. "You must try and eat a bit. Stay awake for a few moments."

Yet sleep was insistent, pressing down on his limbs as though Porthos was pinning him down, impossible to throw off –

"'e awake? Athos?"

"Come, Athos; don't disappoint Porthos –"

Athos would have smiled if he could as he gathered all of his strength just to open his eyes.

A blurred, gigantic shape filled his sight – Porthos! – right before his friend swooped down and Athos felt himself being lifted, just slightly, and Porthos pressed a firm kiss and a shuddering breath upon his brow.

He couldn't see, but he felt the tears in Porthos's eyes. His own throat closed. He lacked the strength to even pat his friend's arm, respond in some way to his greeting; it was all he could do to remain awake for a little while longer. He watched as Porthos carefully took over a warm pot from Tréville and settled himself by his hip.

"You gotta eat. You need your strength back. Been keepin' this warm for you. Try a spoon?" He looked as anxious as Athos suddenly felt himself growing at the prospect.

He steeled himself and signalled his consent, and did his best to swallow quickly when the warm mouthful slipped past his lips. It was nothing short of an explosion of flavour – too much, too much! – but his stomach, at least, remained calm.

"'ow is it? You think you can try a second?"

For Porthos, Athos did.

But the taste was disgusting, the taste was too much – "Water…"

"'ere."

A few quick dribbles – to that his stomach did protest, an immediate twinge that made him gasp and try to breathe through it, but it washed away the taste and Athos was content. So were, thankfully, Porthos and Tréville with this attempt, as they did not try to force him for more. He vaguely felt his limp hand being picked up and tucked under the blanket. He barely registered the cloth ghosting over his brow. Before he knew it, he had fallen back to sleep.