SUMMARY: "The pair of sapphire orbs that stared back at him sparkled with a love so sincere and deep that it made him forget how to breathe."

A/N: I really, really don't have the time to complete the four chapter story that was actually supposed to go up for this challenge. And so this is the short piece that my brain could come up with. A shout-out to Venea Taur for her beta reading.

WARNINGS: Mentions and depictions of torture.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'The Musketeers' or any of its characters.

English is not my first language. All remaining mistakes are mine.

~OoO~

If the fabled Elysian fields really did exist somewhere, well... he frankly could not bring himself to care. No heavenly pleasure could ever hope to rival the bliss that he was feeling, right now, as he lounged amidst the sea of luxurious, white sheets.

With Anne, his Anne, pressed against his side.

He could feel his lips shaping into a smile as her lovely fingers began tracing lazy circles over the expanse of his chest. The fingers of one hand went about entangling themselves in the wisps of her golden hair, while his other hand automatically came to rest upon the growing swell of her stomach.

His Anne carrying his child.

This was a fact of his life now that no one could change.

Not even the King of France.

His eyes were drawn to the object lying on the bed stand. He stared as the sunlight reflected off the gilded surface of the crucifix, bestowing it with an ethereal glow and he found himself unable to take off his mesmerized eyes from drinking in this glorious vision of the symbol of their love.

But in the end, he had to. As delicate fingers trailed their way up his chest, to his neck and began to tickle at his jaw, yearning for his attention, he smiled and found himself indulging her wishes.

The pair of sapphire orbs that stared back at him sparkled with a love so sincere and deep that it made him forget how to breathe. There was a certain seraphic radiance in the way her face shone, whether from the afterglow of lovemaking or the joy of impending motherhood, he could not say, but oh did it make her seem like a being descended from the celestial world.

He watched as she lifted her head and leaned in, silken lips brushing against his ears.

But instead of the whispered declarations of love in the dulcet voice that he had been expecting, all that rang in his ears was a gruff, masculine voice speaking in a harsh, angry tone.

"Levántate ahora! No tenemos todo el dia."*

What?!

Something was not right.

Before anything else could cross his mind, however, an icy cascade descended upon him, soaking every inch of his body.

He breathed in heaves and gasps to fill his lungs with some much needed air.

His beautiful dream had been cruelly interrupted.

His naked and battered torso trembled uncontrollably, his wet skin feeling the full chill of the winter night (or was it day? It was impossible to tell from the windowless, claustrophobic cell that has been his residence for...how many months now? Or should he be counting in years?).

The harsh bath had done little, however, to alleviate the intense exhaustion that every muscle of his body felt. His head bowed down, he watched through half-lidded eyes as a bucket was lowered on the cold stone floor in front of him. He was only half-aware of the snickers and crass jokes on his pitiable condition being exchanged between the pair of Spaniards over him.

"Dile al maestro de espías que la bella durmiente está despierta."**

A pair of booted feet retreated out of the cell. He knew what was to come.

The knowledge did nothing to ease the sharp tentacles of fear that tightened around his heart.

It wasn't long before the booted feet returned, this time, joined by another pair.

"So, what dish would you like to taste today, mi amigo?" asked a familiar voice in strongly accented French.

He was well aware that his opinion hardly ever counted on such matters and so the question went unanswered.

"It seems that my men have already served you the dessert. A shame since I was planning to present that personally," the mocking voice continued. "No matter, I shall settle for the main course then."

Terse orders were barked in Spanish. Before long, a painfully familiar object swam into his line of sight.

Nine thin cords with the metal barbs hanging off their tips looking like a bunch of bloodthirsty fangs.

Strong arms grabbed him from both sides as his manacles were unlocked. Quite a futile exercise considering that he barely had the strength to stand upright, let alone fight.

They dragged him roughly across the hard floor to the opposite wall. His face was pressed against the damp stone as he was held down.

He closed his eyes. Not in fearful anticipation of the inevitable but to conjure that one face that would surely see him through this session of torment as well.

Once again, he would prove to these Spaniards that it is not easy to break the Comte de Rochefort.

~OoO~

Translations : *Get up now! We don't have all day.

** Tell the spymaster that sleeping beauty is awake.

The Spanish is what Google told me. And I know that they are not always 100% accurate.

Thanks for reading! Please review!