A/N: Because I am terrible at not saying no to writing projects, I've decided to take part in the Bad Things Happen Bingo on tumblr. This is the entry for I have your loved ones. This also takes place in the Windy City Musketeers universe.
Content warning: There is the beginnings of a panic attack in this story and, as the summary indicates, mentions of children in danger.
"They Were Going to Hurt Them"
Treville got the call on his cell phone six hours ago and has since been relegated to the role of concerned parent, coddled and questioned while his colleagues work. Athos and Porthos have been relegated to the side as well as their colleagues work.
It's Saturday and Aramis was out with Tim and Ben, giving Treville and Sarah a break from a house of three young kids. Tim and Ben had jumped at the chance to go with their uncle Aramis. First lunch, then a trip to the store to spend some of their hard-earned allowance, and then a baseball game. They never got to the game.
Treville can't even see them in there. He's tried to peer through the windows, to sneak forwards under the tape, catch snatches from conversations. And each time he's pushed back, sometimes by a colleague with an annoyingly sympathetic look as if they understood the pain of having their children held hostage. His boys are in there and he's powerless to help them.
He's seen Athos and Porthos dealing with the same problem. Not even Porthos' size or Athos' glare was enough to intimidate them into letting them through. So, they were all sitting off to the side together. Sarah was there too, having dropped Meg off with a neighbor. Meg doesn't know what's going on.
"When are they going to tell us something," Treville asks as he stands to start pacing again.
"When they have something more substantial to tell us, Jean," Sarah says. "No news is good news."
"But they're in there, Sarah. Our boys."
"And Aramis is doing whatever he can to protect them."
"I know and as grateful as I am of that, it worries the hell out of me. Just over two years since the massacre and he's facing down a similar situation."
"You think he's panicked?"
"No, not 'Mis," Porthos says. "He won't let anything happen to those boys."
"And I think that's part of what we're all afraid of," Athos says quietly. He knows that physically Ben and Tim will be fine. Aramis would die to protect them and not just because they're Treville's kids.
"He'll be fine. They'll be fine," Treville says, breath heavy. "They'll be fine."
They fall back into silence, watching and waiting. Then, they hear familiar voices, shouting in anger, frantic almost such that they can't make out what they're saying.
"It's Ben and Tim," Sarah says. The boys are handed off to a couple police officers, who carry them over to an ambulance. The four of them make their way through the mingling crowd, arriving when the boys are being settled on the back of the ambulance.
Treville and Sarah can't help shouting out the boys' names and running to hug them because two of her boys are here. It irritates the paramedics some when they boys are snatched from their grasps, but neither seems to have any apparent injuries despite the blood on their clothes. Their parents check them, first visually, then running their hands, lifting shirt sleeves, checking under stray locks of hair. They examine their expressions, their posture for telltale signs of hidden injuries. Each concludes silently, with a quick glance at each other that the wounds are of a different nature.
"Whose blood is this," Treville asks, feeling foolish for asking something he knows but hoping he's wrong.
"We wanted to stay with him," Ben says, fighting the paramedic examining him. "But they took us away. Said we had to go." What happened that he bought their freedom?
"Who," Sarah asks with a feeling similar to Treville's.
"He said to you should order them to take the building," Tim says.
Treville sighs and turns to find the officer in charge.
"It's still too dangerous to do that, isn't it," Sarah asks Porthos and Athos. "He's still in there. People are still in there."
"'Mis wouldn't've said so if he thought there was another option," Porthos says.
"He won't risk any more lives than he has to," Athos confirms when Sarah looks to him and she knows this because she's known the man for a while now. Even more, she knows that Jean would not sacrifice anyone, especially not Aramis if he didn't believe this necessary.
When the boys are declared shaken, but uninjured by the paramedics, Treville is back. He and Sarah each take one of the boys, none of the family caring that the boys this morning would have protested they were too old to be carried. They take them back to the waiting area, Porthos and Athos trailing behind. It'll take some time to get a team organized to storm the building even though they've been examining this option since arriving. It's the police, not the Musketeers.
It goes down twenty-nine minutes later by Athos' watch. There are the usual sounds, silence and then ominous gunshots. They easily pick out theirs, covering the boys' ears and shielding their eyes, which all seems a little silly to Sarah when she considers what they've already seen today. But if she can protect two of her boys then she's done something.
It finishes quicker than it seems it should, but then are the calls for paramedics and screams, cries. She wants to rush in, to know what's happened but Ben and Tim need her here. They need her kept together by whatever strands of patience she has remaining.
So, she waits and holds Ben, sitting close to Jean as he holds onto Tim. Athos and Porthos have meandered forwards to try to catch a glimpse. Their brother is inside and she can see their worry growing by the second.
When they do see him, it's a glimpse grasped around empty areas of the gurney where paramedics aren't as they rush him to the ambulance. They try to get a question in, but they're not heard over the frantic talking between the paramedics. And then he's in the back of the ambulance, the doors closing without a chance to climb in themselves and their brother is moving further from them.
"What'd you find out," Sarah asks. They've made their way over to Athos and Porthos.
"Nothing," Porthos says, voice lost.
"He was quiet," Athos says absently, seemingly not aware that the boys can hear.
"Too quiet for 'Mis."
"They'll take him to Northwestern. It's the closest ER," Sarah says. She's herding the others towards their cars, absently wondering who is going to be with it enough to drive.
Treville hands the keys to Porthos when they get to the car. He knows he won't be able to drive and amongst them, Porthos has the steadiest hands in times like these. Still, he checks before getting in.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I think I'm the most put together of us right now and I wouldn't think about pulling Sarah away from Tim," Porthos assures him.
The drive is long and frustrating as traffic seems to be worse than usual. The red lights are far more numerous than possible and the cars move slower as do the pedestrians. By the time they get there, Athos is biting his tongue against comments because he knows it's not Porthos' fault. Porthos lets him out near the entrance while he goes to park with the others.
Athos is listed as one of Aramis' emergency contracts. At the start it had just been Treville out of necessity, then Sarah because she took him to a lot of appointments when Treville could no longer afford to stay home. Athos and Porthos were added by Aramis himself. Unfortunately, the nurse isn't able to tell him much other than he's being worked on and he's not dead. They didn't arrive more than ten minutes after the ambulance.
"Nothing," he tells the others when they rush in. "But the nurse will let me know if anything does happen."
"Nothing," Porthos questions.
"Let's go sit down and regroup," Sarah says. She heads them over to a block of empty seats. "Now," she begins once they're settled, "I'm sure they'll get back to us whenever they can. Let's not pressure them for more information right now."
"I wasn't going to," Porthos says.
"You weren't who I was thinking of. Now, Jean. You and Porthos need to go get us something to eat."
"Eat? At a time like this?" Treville gives her a questioning look.
"Tim and Ben should at least have some water. Perhaps even some juice. They're fine now, but they do need something and the two of you need to move around or you'll lose it sitting here."
"It's a good idea, Sarah," Porthos says, standing to cut off any further argument Treville might give. "Let's go, Captain. The cafeteria has a good assortment of things. We'll get some water, juice, and snacks to keep us all going."
Athos and Sarah chat a little, working to get Ben and Tim engaged. Neither seems too talkative now, which Sarah chalks up to their afternoon and the dwindling adrenaline. She gets them to drink some water and eat a little before Ben dozes off. Porthos picked up some pens and a notepad for the kids to entertain themselves, handing them to Sarah with an apology. It isn't much, but Tim took to doodling and playing games with Porthos.
Sometime later, a nurse comes to let them know that he's been taken to surgery to fix a stab wound. She directs them up to the correct floor where they resume their waiting. The surgeon comes out later
"First," the surgeon says once she's in the waiting room, "he's fine. They're getting him set up in ICU right now, which is mostly a precautionary measure. He'll get better monitoring up there."
"ICU? What's wrong," Treville asks.
"Collapsed lung from chest trauma. There's a lot of bruising starting on his chest as well as some fractured ribs."
"He was protecting us," Tim says. They look to him. "Ben was scared and they didn't like that. I tried to get him to be quiet, but they took him and me and threatened to hurt us. They wanted to shut Ben up because he wouldn't stop, but 'Mis stopped them. He said he'd keep us quiet but not to hurt us."
"They hurt him instead," Ben says. "Will he be alright?"
"He has some healing to do, but he should be fine," the surgeon says.
"Other injuries," Porthos asks.
"Concussion and some bruising. The worst of it really is his chest. Even with morphine, he's going to be sore and hurting."
"He has asthma, you know," Athos says, slightly absently.
"Yes, I did see that in his chart and that's part of the reason he's in ICU. They'll keep a close eye on his breathing and make sure we stay on top of any problems."
"Problems," Treville asks.
"We can't foresee complications, but it's difficult to know for sure what's going to happen. Collapsed lungs are not a minor injury. Rest assured, though, he's stable and in good hands."
"And when can we see him," Sarah asks.
"Within the hour, I imagine. He won't be terribly alert and I urge you not to disturb him if he's sleeping. Talk to the nurses up there and they'll let you know everything."
By the time they get the small herd upstairs, the nurses are done getting Aramis settled in and agree to let them in two at a time for twenty minutes and the kids have to be in separate pairings. Athos would like to argue that these could are the last people who would ever do anything to hurt Aramis, but a look from Porthos tells him to be quiet. There's some argument over who will go first until Sarah steps in to organize them. It'll be Athos and Porthos first with Ben, then Sarah, Treville, and Tim.
They go in, in their turns, to find Aramis sleeping, hooked up to numerous machines. Shirtless and with the sheet folded down at his waist, the bruises, chest tube, and bandages are clear to see. They frighten the kids some, but they assure them that Aramis is fine, pointing out the steady rise and fall of his chest and the beeping of the heart monitor.
Eventually, Sarah and Treville take Ben and Tim home and pick up Meg. Treville didn't want to leave, but he knows that Porthos and Athos will keep a close watch on Aramis. The night of keeping an eye on Aramis is hard for Porthos and Athos even as the nurses let them stay for longer shifts and give them a pillow and a blanket to sleep in the waiting room. Treville and Sarah are back as soon as a neighbor is ready to take the three kids.
It's a full day and a half before Aramis is awake and alert for longer than a few minutes at a time. It's just Treville there when he wakes, having managed to get Porthos and Athos to go home for a good eight hours sleep. He helps the young man eat some ice chips.
"Ben, Tim," Aramis asks, voice weak and raspy still. Every time he's woken he's asked about the boys, forgetting in the haziness of partial awareness each time that they're fine.
"Home with Sarah and Meg. They're a little shaken and wanted to stay home from school today, but they're doing good. Thanks to you." He and Sarah scheduled them with a therapist to help them deal with the aftermath of the hostage situation.
"Good." Aramis coughs, wincing as it pulls on the chest tube and his other injuries. He tries to curl in, hands moving to protect his chest. Treville stops him as does a nurse, who enters when the heartbeat monitor alert goes off at the nurses' station. Aramis groans at the restriction of his movement, writhing under their hands, which causes the pain to increase. He's held tighter, someone speaks, but with his eyes clenched in pain and hearing blurred, he can't hear them. And then the pain starts to lessen but not from any doing of his own.
As he's drifting off again, he hears someone say, "It's going to make him a bit drowsy, but he may not sleep for long. Try to keep him calm if he wakes again."
It's sometime later when Aramis wakes again and this time it's Athos who's sitting beside the bed. There's a slight hitch in his breath as he wakes.
"Hey, 'Mis. You need to stay calm." Athos stands to move to his side, a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"'Thos?" Aramis' voice is scratchy. Athos gets him some ice chips.
"How're you feeling," Athos asks.
"They're fine. A little shaken, but more worried about you than anything. Now, how about you? Are you in pain at all?"
"Twinges mostly. They're okay? I tried my best. They were going to hurt them, Athos." There's a familiar pain in Aramis' voice as his breathing picks up, hitching as his body isn't ready for the exertion. "I… I couldn't let that happen, Atho…. They were… going to hurt'em."
"I know, 'Mis but they didn't because you protected them. You kept them from being hurt but right now you're going to have to calm down. I know you're panicking but this is going to hurt you more than usual and they can't give anything more yet."
"They're fine and you will be, but you have to calm down or they will have to sedate you. Okay?"
There's another quickening in his breathing.
"I'm trying to stop them from doing it, Aramis, but you need to work with me. Can you do that?" Athos gives him a slightly pleading look.
Aramis nods, breathing unsteadily as he turns his head to see the nurse at the doorway.
"Good. Now, steady breaths 'Mis. Okay? Tell me what you see. Slowly. What color shirt am I wearing?"
"B…blue," Aramis says around trying to steady his breathing. Athos praises him and gives him a moment to work on getting his breathing under control.
"What about the sky behind me? Sunny or cloudy, today?"
"Clo…" Aramis coughs and winces. "Cloudy,' he says, voice strained by holding back the pain.
"Yes, I think it's going to storm later today." Athos continues to ask Aramis questions, moving through the senses from sight to smell to hearing until Aramis is grounded and calm once again. The nurse comes to check his vitals and ask him a few questions. When she goes, Aramis is tired again.
"Get some more sleep, 'Mis," Athos says.
"That's all I seem to be doing." Aramis yawns, cutting it short when it pulls at his chest.
"You need the rest. One of us will be here and soon you'll be in a regular room and the boys will be back to see you."
"Tell'em I said hi."
"I will. Now, get some sleep so you can get better and tell them yourself." Athos waits until Aramis has fallen asleep to sit back down. He sends a quick text to the others and then picks up his reading where he left off. Porthos will be around soon to relieve him. They have perhaps another couple days of sitting in the ICU with Aramis before he'll be transferred to a regular room. It's going to be a rough recovery for Aramis, but at least he'll get better. And Ben and Tim will be fine. There's likely to be some therapy for the boys, but they're alive and he knows the Treville's will do everything they can for them. Still, it's going to be hard letting any one of the three out of their sights for a while, let alone together. Their next outing, Athos will have to brave the crowds and noise to make sure they're safe.