The Three Musketeers and the Big Bad Wolf

by Arithanas

To baby Sophie.
I hope you never find it.

Once upon a time, in a dark and stormy night, Athos was at his house of straw, busy, as usual, polishing a bottle of old Anjou; his noble face, rather than reflecting the intoxication he had achieved after the fourth bottle, stated that nothing mattered to him. At his feet, Grimaud amused himself by spinning the empty bottles. The quiet night was interrupted by a huge hairy beast, that approaching the door knocked it three times.

Grimaud, reluctantly answered the call, opened the straw door and, imperturbable, — perhaps he believed that the huge figure belonged to M. Porthos — observed the monster from head to toe. Understanding that he was none of the usual visitors and that his master was not in social mood, the silent servant made the sign that he could retire and proceeded to slam the door in his face. As soon as he turned his back to the door, the beast crossed the thin barrier and fell on him. Grimaud, who feared his master more than the beast, did not dare a scream.

The fate of the valet seemed to be sealed, if not by Divine Providence that watches over the children, the drunkards, and the stupid alike. Athos realized that the bottle was empty and when the second sign was not immediately heed, he laid his hands on the first stick found to punish the insolence the dumb servant. His anger rose when he saw what was happening, no one but he mistreat Grimaud, and with easy elegance and a very cold rage, he knock the wolf around; Athos ending up throw him out the window, which, unfortunately, was too small for such animal.

After the scuffle, the musketeer reviewed what was left of his home. With two broken walls and the other unstable, it didn't seem the most suitable place to continue the revelry. With two quick sign to the servant he charged him with the bottles, he done his sword and wore his hat. Both, wrapping themselves in the cloaks, went to Aramis' abode.

Aramis lived in a stick house, he had chosen for being equidistant from the church and the Musketeers' headquarters. The pious Bazin opened the door and his eyes said they were not welcome, however, he let them pass while his master came out of the charming cabinet where he was busy correcting his thesis. A quick glance was enough to completely disapproved his visitors.

"You'll have to forgive me, Athos," he said very seriously after the greetings while Bazin treated Grimaud. "Right now, I am busy."

"You always are," Athos replied, uncorking another bottle. "I just want a corner and that you let me drink in peace."

Aramis response was to open the cabinet door and point out inside, with an unfriendly face. Athos, undaunted, passed before him.

"Who do they think they're fooling?" Bazin asked, wiping on Grimaud's back.

The silent one just shrugged.

Three knocks sounded at the door. Frantically, Grimaud began to move his hands, trying to warn Bazin about not to open it, but that did not stop the servant who opened the door wide. The huge wolf, infuriated by the beating, howled at full voice, showing off his large claws; but Bazin was used to dealing with the landlord and these fits were not going to impress him. He rather went for the crucifix and and crossed himself, willing to act as brother Francis to tame the beast. The timely exit from the masters, both in their shirt sleeves, certainly saved the fool's life.

"You?" Athos asked, drawing his sword, "Again?"

"Another returned?" Aramis retorted in disbelief. "Really? Athos, you have to start talking about those who you left for dead!"

"How will I keep you interested otherwise?"

The big bad wolf lunged at them and was greeted by two swift swords. In rapid succession, pieces of chairs flew, locks of hair, and some tangled turfs. Grimaud did his best to remove Bazin out of the way, as he persevere on the idea of exorcising the wolf and he kept throwing holy water on the hairy back and reciting a very sloppy latin latin prayer. The servants ran for cover just as a table full of books came flying towards them. Athos had lost his sword between the thick coat and was engaged in trying to bring down the big bad wolf with the sheer force of his arms; Aramis was devoted then to stick his sword in any part available. When the beast succumbed to the combined efforts of the two musketeers, Athos and Aramis found themselves amid the destruction of the lovely house of sticks.

"Is he pretty much dead for you?" asked Athos, retrieving his sword from the huge corpse.

"Sure he is," Aramis said whiles looking around. "What a mess!"

"Indeed," the other admitted, holding up a bottle that miraculously had survived the assault, "I guess you know what this means."

They exchanged a look of complicity, before saying in unison: "Sleepover at Porthos'!"

The expedition was planned immediately. Grimaud was sent for more bottles and Bazin was sent to inform Porthos that the guests were on their way. Athos and Aramis walked arm in arm, to Porthos' sturdy house of bricks. This house was beautiful and was in the best place, away from the river. From a few blocks away, the Musketeers Porthos had realized that his own party, the silhouettes in the window and had fun talking about music coming out of the home. Athos frowned and tried to turn around, but Aramis did not allow it. Mousqueton was waiting at the door and both joined the party.

The music was lively and the girls were complacent; Aramis was devoted to explain the trinity to a girl dressed in red and Porthos, doing his work as host, change partners in every song. The only discordant note was Athos, who had finally found his corner and his bottle, and was dedicated to demonstrate his warm, charming self. The door was knocked three times and Mousqueton went to answer before Grimaud and Bazin's terrified eyes.

The door was opened, the wolf howled, but the sound of music drowned out the threat; looking at wide-eyed beast, with mouth open and large fangs, the servant thought his bad mood had the same reason as that of M. Athos, and with a smile, put a bottle in his hand and led him to the corner. Athos saw the wolf, the wolf reciprocate; they both raised their bottles and started up a drink contest.

It was early morning when Aramis sat in the corner, his eyes could not believe the big, bad wolf who cried on Athos' shoulder.

"Him?" Aramis asked surprised. "Again?"

"Do you see that it is not easy to know if they are dead?" Athos replied, passing his arm on the shoulder of the big bad wolf. "He is a though one, and a mopping drunk also."

"Who is your new friend, Athos?" Porthos inquired tilting the bench, Aramis included, when sitting at once.

"Someone who wants to cry havoc and who had the bad luck to stumble upon us."

"Well, we know where to take him, right?"

All three shared a mischievous smile, under the snout of the big bad wolf.

Not long after, the three musketeers returned to the party, after leaving the big bad wolf at the door of the headquarters of the cardinal's guards.