Louis and Celeste's heads came with a snap.

D'Artagnan smiled faintly at them. "I'm far from dead." His fingers curled slightly around Celeste's hand.

"D'Artagnan!" Celeste burst into a fresh bout of weeping.

"Father!" exclaimed Louis.

The doors burst open and Aramis, Athos and Porthos flooded in.

"D'Artagnan!" bellowed Porthos. "How good it does my old heart to see you!"


"In prison," said Louis. "But you mustn't…"

"Where's Anne?"

"She went to pray," said Porthos. "Can you imagine praying at a time like this?"

Aramis sighed. "Porthos, it's at times like these that you are supposed to pray the most!"

"Why!" exclaimed Porthos. "That is like stopping right in the middle of making love to pray! Ridiculous!"

D'Artagnan smiled faintly. "Even though the world where ending, Porthos would have only one thing on his mind."

"If the world where ending, D'Artagnan, I would be right in the middle of a fight. And make no mistake about it," said Porthos.

"D'Artagnan!" Anne ran into the room. She pressed her face to his chest and cried.

Celeste let go of D'Artagnan's hand and stood. Tears sparkled in the corners of her blue eyes.

Slowly D'Artagnan's hand raised and he touched the top of Anne's head. "There, there, Anne, I'm alive and well."

"Though you won't be for long with her on your chest," muttered Porthos.

Anne sat up, laughing through her tears. She perched on the side of the bed, clinging to D'Artagnan's hand as though she would never let go.

Aramis hugged Celeste to him. "There you are, my dear, I told you he would be alright."

"D'Artagnan, you quite ruined my uniform," said Celeste, drying her eyes.

"Yes," said Aramis dryly. "Imagine your impertance, bleeding all over it like you did!"

"I'm sorry, Celeste," said D'Artagnan. "Next time, I'll be sure and bleed somewhere else."

"Don't you dare!" exclaimed Anne. "You mustn't bleed anymore. I won't have it!"

just then the doors opened and the doctor stepped in. "I'm afraid I must insist that you leave Sir D'Artagnan to get some rest."

Celeste let go of Aramis and came over to her Uncle. She bent and kissed his forehead gently and for a brief moment, she leaned her cheek again his forehead. Then she rose and went to the door. She turned. "Rest well, D'Artagnan. France is safe."

The End