A/N: Another prompt, "Sentimental". Takes place during Twenty Years After.
Aramis stood gazing out over the field. His slender fingers tapped against the tent beside him. England was not so different to France, after all. Except one thing of course.
"What are you thinking?" the voice of Athos came from behind him.
"Nothing…", he replied. "I just miss Porthos and d'Artagnan."
"It has been twenty years, and you miss them now?"
"Twenty years in a monastery. I was happy, Athos. As happy as I can be."
"But not anymore?" Athos walked up to stand next to his friend. Aramis shrugged.
"How could I be?" he asked. "There were always at least three of us. I mean no offense, count, but this style of life can satisfy me no longer."
"And it would, if d'Artagnan and Porthos were with us?"
"Hardly. But if only they were here it would be like for a while being back in the old days."
"The same days you left?" Athos countered. "You wanted to leave the musketeers, d'Herblay."
"Yes, I did. But now I realise that I wanted to remain as well."
"You ask too much of the world, Aramis. You cannot both leave and remain."
"Which is why I doubt that I am suited for this world."
Athos's head whipped around and he regarded Aramis sharply for a while.
"You should not speak like that", he admonished. "This is the world you have been born into. Do you mean to question the wisdom of God?"
Aramis laughed dryly.
"I used to be the one lecturing you on living virtuously. Have we really changed that much?"
He turned to face Athos, a close to pleading expression on his face.
"No, Aramis, I do not think we have. We have matured, grown up."
"You were always grown up, Athos. And I do not think Porthos and d'Artagnan agree with you. They think I have changed."
"Well, you have always trusted my judgement more than theirs, though, have you not?"
"I have always trusted your judgement more than anyone's, Athos. Do you think I was wrong to leave?"
"It does not matter whether it was wrong or right. You did it, and you cannot change it. Do not fret."
Aramis's eyes flashed.
"I asked for your opinion, not your advice! Was I wrong to leave?"
"I do not know, Aramis", Athos's reply was solemn, quite serious and entirely honest, "Were you?"
Aramis shrugged helplessly. Athos had always been the one who could always push him into a corner. Always, no matter the circumstances. He had always trusted the older man's judgement. He still did. But now Aramis himself was growing old. More than a decade older than Athos had been back then, and yet he felt that if he was somehow returned to that time he would still feel young beside Athos.
"I don't know, count", he replied sincerely, using the more formal, the more respectful, form of address out of instinct. He was bowing to Athos, again; submitting to his venerable friend's wisdom. Aramis knew quite well that he was intelligent, possibly more so than Athos, but he would never be wise.
Athos put a hand on his shoulder; a simple gesture with much meaning. A recognition of Aramis's defeat, an offering of comfort, a light weight keeping him down on earth.
"There is no fault in being sentimental, my friend", Athos said, "But do not let the past distract you from the present. You cannot change what has been, and there is no use losing yourself about it. Don't interrupt! I know you, Aramis, and if this goes on you will lose yourself. I do not doubt you ability to find yourself again, but I'd much rather you would spare yourself the pain. Your soul carries too many scars already."
A soft smile touched Aramis's lips. He had missed this, he realised. Having Athos at his side annoyed him, annoyed him in ways he could not even express, but it comforted him too. He had forgotten that his time in the musketeers had brought so much good.
He softly touched Athos's hand on his shoulder and was rewarded with a smile from the man. They understood each other at moments like these.