Warning: This is quite a dark fiction.
Mention of non-con.
He dared to close his eyes for a short moment as another wave of pain rolled over him, but he didn't stop. He kept running, his breath fast and loud as icy air rushed into his lungs, but it never seemed to be enough. He tried to force his legs to move faster, but they grew heavier with each step, causing him to stumble over branches and rocks. He caught himself in time, clinged to a nearby tree before he started to run again. The grip around his musket grew tighter, even though his fingers wanted to let go as there was no strength left in them. His left hand grew more slippy with each minute he pressed it onto his side.
He heard the screams and footsteps behind him. He felt the bullets fly around him, almost grazing him. E kept running in a zic-zac, trying to be a harder target. His blood rushed through his ears and seemed to be just as loud as a shot from a musket. To all this mess of sound came another one, one which let his heart stop. Horses. He glanced back, wet strains of hair clinging to his brow, just to see three riders catching up with him. He ran faster as new energy flowed through his system, but no man could outrun a horse and Aramis knew this too.
He remembered the musket in his hands, which was loaded with the last of his balls. As he heard the breath of the beasts he took a sharp turn, getting himself some more seconds before the Spanish soldiers would get him.
Behind a large tree, twice as broad as he himself, he hid and glanced down at the precious weapon. He knew he didn't have much time left, only seconds to make such a drastic decision. But Aramis knew what his duty was and he couldn't risk anything. So he lifted the musket and put the barrel against his chin, making sure that the bullet would be deathly. His finger wouldn't move as no air filled his lungs. He closed his eyes, forcing himself to breath and finally move his finger.
He pulled the trigger the same moment a horse pushed him to the side, the ball hit the tree behind him as the musket flew threw the air. Aramis fell hard to the ground – alive. He cursed as he noticed the three beasts circling him. Also the soldiers that had followed him on foot catched up now, pointing their swords and muskets at him.
He pushed himself to his knees and tried to overcome the burning pain in his thigh on which he had fallen. Then, as one man dared to approach him, he pushed himself to his full height and draw the dagger from the back of his weapon belt. He knew he was terrible outnumbered, and with a dagger as his only weapon, completely hopeless. But he didn't need to win – he couldn't win. He just needed to be dangerous enough to force them to kill him. He couldn't allow to be caught.
So Aramis raced forward, the dagger raised and pointed straight at the man's neck. The soldier was so surprised, that the blade actually hit him and he fell to the ground – blood floating out of his neck.
Two more Spaniards walked towards Aramis, swords drawn. As they tried to not kill him they couldn't fight as merciless as he. Aramis ducked beneath one of the blades and threw his dagger into the stomach of the other man before he managed to get a grip on the hilt of the sword. But he never had the chance to raise his weapon, as one of the riders struck him down with the hilt of his musket.
The marksman fell unconscious to the ground, his head bleeding sluggishly.
As he awoke he was blinded by bright light, which caused the burning pain in his head to grow harder. He hissed as he became more and more aware of his body and the pain he was in. Also the memory of what had happened came back and he forced his eyes back open, taking in his surroundings cautiously.
He was in a tent with not much in it but the bed he was in and a chair. There was no one with him, but he noticed the rustling of the curtain as someone from the outside walked past. Aramis tried to sit up, but ropes around his wrists and ankles kept him in place. As he looked down on himself he noticed that the stab wound he had received early had been tended to. They needed him alive. He cursed and tried to think of a way to get out. But even if he managed to get free from the ropes and out of the tent, he didn't know what awaited him outside. From the noises that reached him he guessed that he was held in a Spanish camp, with plenty of soldiers. Escaping won't be so easy this time.
As he heard another rustling he lifted his head and watched the entrance, through which a bulky man strode. His uniform was black, but the pauldron indicated that he was of a higher rank than a common soldier. "Finally you're awake." The man grinned with an thick Spanish accent.
"You have been out for quite some time, but fortunately my men didn't kill you. That's good, isn't it?" Aramis watched how the man dragged the chair towards the bed and sat down. "Oh how rude from me. I'm General Fernandez." The Spaniard looked at Aramis with a raised brow, hoping that the man would introduce himself too.
But Aramis kept silent as he tried to judge the man in front of him. "Not a talker are you, huh? That's no problem, we will get you talking sooner or later." Aramis laughed drily as he shook his head.
"I would rather die than to tell you anything. Moreover: How do you know that I have the information you seek?"
Now it was Fernandez who laughed. "My men had told me from your suicide attempt, but no – we won't let you die so easily. You had the letter with you, the one with the seal from a Captain of yours. Unfortunately you managed to bleed on it enough that it is impossible for us to read it. So we could make it fast and painless and you just tell me what stood in there."
"No." Aramis said forcefully.
"Then – the funny part."
Aramis didn't notice how Fernandez left, as pain was the only thing he knew. His vision was blurry and sweat ran down his hot skin. He hissed as the salty liquid ran over the wounded places and gagged as the smell of burned flesh rose into his nose. He managed to get a look of his chest just to turn his head away fastly. He was experienced enough as a field medic to know that there will always be a scar, disfiguring the skin from his chest to his navel.
The next hours were blurry for him. Sometime someone came and forced him to drink something, someone put a cool cloth onto his wound and made sure that it was clean but all this time there was no one talking to him.
He guessed that it was the next day as Fernandez came back, a smug grin on his lips. It widened even more as he saw the exhausted state of his prisoner. "Just tell me what you know and you can go home to your family and live like this never has happened."
Aramis huffed. There was no family to got to but the musketeers and they would never take him back if he broke and gave out valuable information.
"No? Okay. Then…" Fernandez placed his blade back into the flames and watched with satisfaction how the glassy eyes of the marksman widened with fear, which he tried not to show so desperately.
"How about that handsome face of yours? You're surely quite successful with the women, soldier." Aramis gulped as the General walked over to him and he wished he could stop the man somehow, but testing the ropes showed that he was helpless.
"Musketeer." He rasped, not quite sure why he did this, but somehow he got Fernandez' attention. The general lowered the blade and raised a brow. „What?"
"I'm a Musketeer, no simple soldier. Another reason you won't get me to speak. Do what you want, I won't break."
"Is this a challenge, musketeer?" The Spaniard spat the word as if it was a insult, but Aramis ignored the question. "As you already guessed right, I carried a letter of a Captain – the Captain of the musketeers. And as soon as he notices that I'm not coming back he will search for me and he will find me. He will find this camp – he will run you and your men down until there is none of you left."
The General laughed. "I doubt that a Captain has such an interest in a common musketeer. We made sure that they think you deserted, that you're a coward. There's no one searching for you."
"Just wait." Aramis laid his head against the pillow, his fingers twisted around the ropes as he felt the heat of the blade coming closer. There was no pain that could force him to speak. He repeated this sentence again and again, even as the blade was pressed against his temple, causing his body to arch and his lungs to burn as he screams.
"You could make your life so much easier." Fernandez then sat down an took in his work on the musketeers skin. "Doesn't suite you, such an ugly scar." He comments drily and sips from a cup of wine.
"No tell me, musketeer, what's your name?"
"Go to hell." Hissed Aramis between ragged breaths.
"C'mon, do I have to hurt you for such an easy question?" He took the blade again, which made Aramis close his eyes for a short moment as he considered what he could tell and what now.
"Aramis. They call me Aramis."
"Now tell me, Aramis. Why send you alone with such an important letter?"
Aramis gulped down the wine that was held against his lips and licked them dry before he spoke. "It's inconspicuous." "Still we found you."
"Right, you found me and a letter that is impossible to read. But you forget the other musketeer. The one with the right letter, that man who's probably already at his destination." Aramis grinned as he saw the thoughts running through the Spaniards head and the look of shock in his eyes as he understood.
"You were a distraction."
Aramis nod and grinned again. When the Spanish thought that he was useless they would kill him and there would be no risk anymore that he could spill the secret. Unfortunately this thought seemed to come to the General too.
"Or you are lying to me. Either way, you will have some valuable knowledge. Don't you think I would let you go so easily."
On the inside, Aramis cursed as he remained calm to the outside. "You will waist your time."
"Maybe I have fun spending my time with you?" The General grinned and stood up.
"More over I've made a promise to my men."
He was dragged outside into the pouring rain, his feet searched desperately for ground but slipped away nevertheless. He felt the gaze of the Spaniards on him as he was pushed into the middle of the camp and towards a large tree.
His hands were bound to one branch, so that his feet didn't touch the ground anymore and his muscles screamed as all his weight hang on his shoulders.
His shirt was ripped apart at the back and a rough laugh left his dry throat, exposing old scars that won't ever fade. "You're too late, Fernandez." Aramis laughed bitterly as the rain wet his clothes and hair.
The General didn't seem pleased with this as he strode through the rain. "Then you should be even more afraid as you know what awaits you." He grabbed Aramis' chin to force him to look at the Spaniard. "I've survived it once, I will survive it a second time. I'm not scared of you."
Fernandez growled and took a few steps backwards as he thought about what he should do to his prisoner.
A few hours earlier…
"Tell me, Aramis, why are you a musketeer? What makes you so good?"
By now Aramis answered so innocent questions without haste. Everything that avoided him pain was good.
"I know how to use a musket quite good, I would say."
Fernandez grabbed a blade and walked back to Aramis. He had to stand on his tip toes to reach to the branch, where Aramis' hands were secured. Forcefully Fernandez lifted the index and middle finger of the right hand. Aramis' breath fastened as he felt the cold metal press against his knuckles, and then there was this burning pain. He didn't hear his scream as blood rushed through his ears and out of the stubs that once had been his fingers.
"No." He whispered through the pain as two fingers fell to the ground in front of him. Fernandez grinned triumphantly as he saw the horror on the marksman's face.
"No!" Aramis screamed and tried to get free, hopelessly. "No." He muttered full of pain and sorrow and let his head fall down to his chest.
"We can stop this now. I'm sure you can still fight and shoot with your left hand. Just tell me what you know and you may have still a chance to be a musketeer."
Aramis took in two deep breaths before he lifted his head again, staring at the General with hate and determination. "No."
"Over there, Captain!" Brujon pointed at the large tree which jut out between the small tents of the Spanish army.
Athos followed the finger until he saw the same as his man. Aramis trashed around as he hang from the tree, two soldiers trying to keep him still, as another one ripped his breeches apart.
"No." Athos growled as he understood what was going on.
"We're terrible outnumbered, sir." Brujon said worried as he noticed that his Captain was already back to his feet.
"We have to get him out of there." Athos gaze was fixed on the horrifying scene by the tree as the Spanish finally managed to strip Aramis' from his trousers. "We have no time for a plan." The Captain mumbled and felt his heart race as time slipped through his fingers.
Brujon scanned the area again until his eyes stopped on a stock of cannon powder. "I have one, Captain!"
Suddenly chaos erupted. A cloud of fire and smoke followed the loud bang, causing the Spaniards to run towards the new danger. Aramis felt the heat, heart the screams and smelt how flesh burnt, but else he was oblivious to what happened around him. A hard stroke against his head made him feel nauseous and dizzy. He felt ashamed and exposed as he hang from the tree, but he was thankful that the attention of the soldiers had turned form him towards the fire.
Then there were shots, metal, footsteps, screams. "ARAMIS!" The weight on his shoulders was gone as he fell into someone's arms. He hurt, but he was save now.
"'Thos." He muttered and tried to open his eyes as the Captain carried him away.
"I'm here, mon ami. Everything's fine, everything will be alright." Athos tried to ignore the fact that his brother was almost naked, that already someone had touched him. He tried to ignore the blood that ran from his hand down his arm. Everything had gone so terrible wrong and it was his fault. He had let Aramis go alone.
"My fingers." The marksman muttered and took in the sight of his bloody hand, sorrow laced his rough voice.
"That's not that bad. We will patch you up again. Everything will be alright." And for a short moment of confusion and hope, Aramis believed his friend before he fell unconscious.
"What did they do to him?" Porthos growled and glanced into the tent in which Aramis slept.
Athos gulped. "They wanted the information, tortured him."
"But he will be fine, won't he?"
There was silence until Athos dared to look his brother into the eyes again.
"They abused him Porthos. We found them as they… started and weren't fast enough. I haven't seen it, but I think that one of them actually…. You know." Porthos growled again, clenching his fists. "I wish I could have killed them." Athos nod, he understood the fury.
"But he will overcome this. We're there for him. It's Aramis, he's strong. He will be back on duty in no time, you see." Porthos said confident, but again followed nothing but silence.
Athos searched for the words. "They cut two of his fingers from his hands. Middle and index finger on the right one. He won't be able to shoot with it ever again, not to mention hold a sword."
"No." Porthos looked into the tent again, noticing the bandage around his brothers hand.
"Not being able to be a musketeer…? It will be his end." He shudders at the thought, sorrow filled his eyes. "Tell me that this is wrong, Athos. Tell me this is all nothing but a terrible terrible nightmare."
But the ever so fearless leader, shook his head in pain and guilt. "No. It's reality."