A/N I hate this chapter. I started it based on a personal experience, but was unable to finish it in the same day and ended up far from what I wanted. I honestly think it's pretty bad :( I posted it anyway, but I'll probably take it down and change it soon.
It was only in rare cases that Monsieur de Treville chose to separate the famous four. After all, why change something that worked so well? However, in these rare cases, when the Captain of the musketeers needed to have his most trusted men in more places than one, he chose to send them their separate ways.
Currently, Aramis and Porthos were in the region of Champagne, after having tracked down a small group of bandits. The group of three rogues had pilfered several carriages belonging to the nobles from Troyes, Reims, and Épernay thus raising the ire of said nobles and the concern of the Captain of the musketeers. Since, the three had been so adept at making themselves scarce, Monsieur de Treville decided to send Aramis and Porthos on their tracks. The two musketeers had just finished their mission successfully when they found themselves attacked.
It appeared that Treville's informers had not known there were in fact two groups of thugs prowling in the region. They took turns raiding the carriages and therefore escaped notice more easily. Seeing as their brethren had been captured the second group of three decided to attack and avenge them.
"Aramis, I'm starving, let's make do with these buffoons and find a tavern," the giant boomed and laughed upon seeing the glares he received from the three thugs.
"Now, Porthos, your stomach really is a troublesome issue," Aramis drawled lazily and revealed his rapier and his parrying knife. "Now, gentlemen, I'm afraid we'll have to kill you." The former musketeer prepared his stance for battle.
"Get 'em!" The thugs roared in fury and engaged the two musketeers in battle. Two of them started circling Porthos, while the giant merely watched them with amusement. The two thugs were not organized and their skills with a blade were lacking tremendously. They charged at a time trying to blindside the musketeer, but soon enough one of them found himself kicked to the ground, while his friend fell with his chest slashed open. The second thug spat in fury and rose to his feet thrusting madly with his sword. Porthos parried two, poorly aimed hits and started his own offensive, bringing the man on his knees with a well aimed slash at his throat.
Looking around, he noticed Aramis had some trouble with his opponent. Far from being another brainless thug, the man kept pressing the musketeer hard with accurate swordplay. The two had, unknowingly, stepped on a bridge while they continued exchanging parries and thrusts. On any other day, Porthos would not have been worried for his friend, but the bridge was shaky as it was without withholding the weight of the two men. Moreover, the river was running swift, fuelled by the waters gathered from the melted snow. Winter had been particularly harsh that year and the spring that followed saw many floodings caused by the melted snow from the mountains. Now, his friend was balancing precariously above an angry river and Porthos was already starting to see how the bridge was giving up under him.
"Aramis," Porthos bellowed, but the harsh cry of the river drowned his voice. The musketeer felt helpless; he was certain his friend would be able to dispatch of his opponent soon, the bandit was already starting to tire, but he was unsure how long the bridge would remain standing.
Aramis parried two aims from the thug and sneaked in a few thrusts of his own. The bandit groaned in pain as one of the thrusts slashed his leg and started slowing down considerably. The musketeer attacked him with reborn vigour and soon the thug toppled and fell over the bridge crashing in the stones below.
Only then did Aramis notice the situation he found himself into. The bridge was cracking with every movement he made and the fight with the thug had only weakened the strings holding the wood planks in place. All planks were cracked and mouldy therefore the musketeer made his way slowly across the bridge. It was a miracle the planks had not given it during the fight.
Aramis was halfway across the distance remaining till the mouth of the bridge when the first rope snapped. The musketeer froze in place, not daring to move. Across the bridge, on the field, Porthos' face was filled with worry. The former priest made another step, gingerly stepping on the planks, trying not to rattle the bridge. Another followed and another... However, at the third step the bridge gave away, the strings snapping from their places.
The musketeer plunged in the rapid waters of the river. Luckily, he somehow managed to avoid hitting any of the rocks. The current mercilessly held the musketeer in its grasp twisting him and twirling him down the river.
Aramis was fighting to somehow gain control of the situation, struggling against the current. He was usually a good swimmer, but nothing helped when faced with a river fuelled by the waters of the melted snows. All he could hope to manage was keep his head above water and keep from drowning. Suddenly a shape started forming in front of him. The shape kept getting larger and larger, until Aramis managed to see what it was... a tree had collapsed in the waters and was now halfway submerged across the river. The musketeer swam wildly across the current, struggling to get in the path of the tree. The force of the water slammed him in the trunk, knocking the breath out of him, but he managed to grasp one of the branches.
Porthos sighed in relief when he saw his friend had managed to grab the branches of the collapsed tree. Dismounting quickly, he grasped the rope tied to his saddle and fashioned a lasso from it. Swinging it around he threw it around the form of his friend who kept on hand firmly grasping the tree while the other grabbed hold of the rope. It was a combined effort to bring the musketeer back on land, but in the end they managed.
Aramis sputtered and coughed out water... he rolled on his back and gasped heavily, finally managing to fill his lungs with the much needed air they craved. Next to him, Porthos stood grim faced, watching his friend with worry.
"Bridges... are not ... a good place for duels," Aramis said, his teeth chattering because of the water logged clothes and the blowing wind.
Porthos merely glared at him and said nothing. There was just that much his poor heart could carry... seeing his friend submerged under the furious waters of the river was not amongst it.