A/N: Hey! So, in case you haven't heard, The Three Musketeers movie is coming out on DVD in 10 days! Yay! Each day I will be posting oneshots that count down until the big day! Some are written by my good friend Laree England and some will be written by me. Without further ado, here is the first story written by me.
Disclaimer: We don't own The Three Musketeers, but boy I wish we did!
10 days left!
"The view from up here is amazing!" called Porthos to his three friends. The musketeers had just finished a mission in southern France and had decided to treat themselves to a ride home through the mountains. As Athos took in the sight from where he sat on his horse, he had to agree with his friend.
The four of them were riding along a ridge that seemed to be miles high. From this height, their panoramic view appeared to stretch on forever. Far down below, Athos could make out green valleys with small villages and towns and far off in the distance, he could just see the sharp outline of the blue mountain peaks to the north. The view was similar to the one they encountered on the airship nearly a year ago.
"Why don't we take a break," suggested Aramis. "It's getting to be about lunch time and I think the horses are in need of a rest."
"Finally!" boomed Porthos as he jumped off his horse and stretched. "My backside needs a break and I'm starving!" The big man led his horse to a tree and quickly tied the reins around a branch. Athos, D'Artagnan, and Aramis copied Porthos' actions and rummaged around in their saddle bags for the meals that they had packed.
Athos sat down and took out his bread and cheese. It was a perfect day. The sun was shining and a cool mountain breeze kept the air from being uncomfortably hot. Even Athos had to admit that it was hard to ignore Mother Nature's infectious positive mood.
D'Artagnan sat down beside Athos and let out a contented sigh as he stretched out in the sun. Moments later the two were joined by Aramis and Porthos.
Just as the four were starting to enjoy their meal, there was a sudden commotion from behind them. The musketeers turned around just in time to see six men charge out of the trees towards them. The musketeers barely had time to grab their weapons before the highway thieves were upon them.
Although the men were not nearly as skilled as the musketeers, they were far from easy opponents. Two men had charged Porthos, who was fighting with his walking stick as well as his sword. Aramis had immediately taken one out with a perfectly thrown dagger and was now in a duel with another. The fifth man had charged Athos and the last man was fighting with D'Artagnan, the thief's greater size helping him to slowly push the boy towards the cliff's edge.
Athos sighed in frustration as he fought the thief. They did not have time for this! Was it too much to ask for one simple meal? Athos' growing irritation fueled his fighting and he delivered a crushing blow, forcing the other man's sword to fly out of his hand and land several feet away.
The man quickly held up his hands and backed away toward the forest, motioning for his fellow crooks to follow. The two men who had been fighting Porthos quickly picked up the man that Aramis' dagger had taken out and Aramis' man followed them back into the surrounding trees. The only thief who remained was D'Artagnan's man, who was so focused on the fight, that he had not noticed his leader's beckoning.
Athos didn't want to intervene with the duel, the boy could take care of himself, but the man did have quite a bit more raw strength on the boy and the older musketeer grew more and more nervous as D'Artagnan was forced closer to the cliff's edge.
Making a quick, if not impulsive, decision, Athos quickly closed the distance between himself and the fighting men, who had finally made their way to the very lip of the rock face. Athos bought his sword point up between the man's shoulder blades.
"If you know what's good for you, you'll drop your weapon and follow your friends back into the forest." Athos said in a low voice. He was growing more and more annoyed with these cowardly men.
The man harshly jabbed his sword into the ground and D'Artagnan lowered his, casting Athos a grateful look that was slightly tinged with annoyance at having Athos take away his opponent.
"Now put your hands up," ordered Athos. D'Artagnan gave the man a slight smirk as he slowly raised his hands.
"If you insist," mumbled the man before he lunged forward and gave D'Artagnan a rough push.
D'Artagnan gave a startled cry as he stumbled back, his feet half off the side of the cliff. His arms were swinging wildly like windmills in an attempt to regain his balance.
Athos watched in frozen terror as the boy tipped backwards, almost as if in slow motion. Suddenly, Athos found his senses returning as he got over the initial shock and he threw the man out of his way, lunging forward as the boy fell over.
"D'Artagnan!" he cried as he managed to grab the boy's ankle at the last second. Athos was just about to allow himself to sigh in relief when he realized that he was slipping over the side of the cliff as well. It seemed that he had put a bit too much power behind his jump towards the boy.
At the last second, Athos felt a hand wrap firmly around his wrist and he looked up to see that is was Aramis gripping his arm. Then, however, he realized that the combined weight and momentum from himself and D'Artagnan was pulling the former priest over the edge with them.
Well, this is it. Athos thought to himself as he closed his eyes. Never thought it would end like this. He tightened his grip on D'Artagnan's ankle, trying to offer some kind of comfort to the boy in what he was sure was their final moments.
Then, as quickly as their fall had begin, it suddenly stopped. Athos hung there with his eyes closed, swinging back and forth for a few moments before he finally dared to open his eyes. He looked around, confused. Why weren't they dead?
D'Artagnan was obviously wondering the same thing as he raised his head awkwardly from his upside down position, casting Athos a confused look before his eyes traveled up higher. Athos followed his gaze and looked up to see that Porthos had grabbed Aramis' wrist with one hand and the hilt of the sword, which was still jammed in the ground where the thief had left it, with his other hand.
The four men swung in silence for a moment, taking in the reality of the situation, when Aramis spoke up.
"Is everybody alright?"
"Well," Porthos began, "I guess I've been worse. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold this though."
Aramis nodded and closed his eyes as he readjusted his hold on Athos.
"Athos, how about you?"
"We're all hanging off the side of a bloody cliff. I don't think any of us are alright." said the man sardonically. Aramis gave a slight chuckle.
"Ok, Athos is fine. How about you, D'Artagnan?" Athos felt D'Artagnan once again struggle to look up at the men above him.
"Boy, I swear, if you end that sentence with the word 'fine' I will drop you." Athos cut in.
"Athos," D'Artagnan began to argue. He stopped, however, when Athos gave his ankle a slight shake in warning. The boy sighed in defeat.
"Alright, alright. My head hurts a bit from being upside down like this, but I'll live." D'Artagnan said as he once again tried to lift his head so he was the right way up. "So, who has a plan?" asked the Gascon.
"Porthos, I don't suppose that you could pull yourself up, could you?" asked Aramis hopefully.
Porthos took a deep breath and pulled up with all his strength. The musketeers felt themselves raise a small amount before Porthos let out a big breath and angrily gave up his attempt.
"No," the big man said between labored breaths. "Sorry, lads. Can't-can't do it." Aramis squeezes Porthos' hand.
"It's not your fault. We'll think of something else." reassured the former priest. The four men once again hung in silence as they desperately tried to think up a good plan. D'Artagnan was looking at their surroundings when something caught his eye.
A good sized branch was growing out of the side of the cliff about five yards to his right. Growing up towards a tree sitting on the top of the cliff, gnarled roots jutted out in all directions. D'Artagnan felt a smile spread across his face. It was perfect.
"Hey guys," called D'Artagnan, breaking the silence. "I think I've got a plan."
Athos looked down at the boy and felt a sense of dread begin to creep its way through him. An impish grin was growing on his face and an eyebrow was arched up in a way that suggested he knew what he was about to say was ridiculously dangerous and stupid. Athos hated that look.
"Well, do tell. Don't leave us hanging." Porthos gave a chuckle at his own joke and Athos rolled his eyes.
"See that branch there?" Athos looked to where the boy was pointing and felt his previous sense of dread grow as he began to develop an inkling of the plan. D'Artagnan continued.
"Well, if I can get over there, I can climb up those roots and help to pull Porthos up. Then we'll pull you two up and problem solved!" The boy smiled up the musketeers, obviously proud of his plan.
"And how exactly do you plan on getting over there?" questioned Athos warily.
"Well," began D'Artagnan, suddenly seeming a bit more hesitant about the plan. "I was thinking that if we got enough momentum, you could throw me."
"Absolutely not, D'Artagnan." snapped Athos quickly. There was no way he would be tossing the boy like he was a sack of grain! The chances of them missing, or not throwing him far enough were just too great. D'Artagnan, however, didn't agree.
"Athos, what other option do we have? Do you have a better plan?" D'Artagnan asked. Athos just sighed. No, he did not have a better plan. They had really gotten themselves stuck this time. "Look at it this way, Athos. Either we die here without even trying to live, or we give survival a fighting chance and at least try to get out of this." Athos looked down at the boy, who was in turn staring up at him with pleading eyes. "Please, Athos. Just give it a shot."
Athos shook his head and sighed. 'Oh, this is a bad idea' he thought to himself. He did know deep down that the boy was right. They were running out of time, judging by the increasingly tired look on Porthos' face. They had to act now or not at all. But damn it, Athos didn't like this plan!
"Fine, boy. I swear though, if you die, don't come crying to me!" D'Artagnan rolled his eyes and chuckled.
"Sure, Athos. Now, we need to start swinging to get enough momentum." The four men began to twist their bodies to move back and forth. Porthos cringed as the increased movement made holding the three men up more difficult. Suddenly, the big man felt the sword anchoring them to the cliff pull out of the ground a bit from the added strain.
"Guys," Porthos tried to get their attention, but the three men were distanced by their swinging.
"Ok, we throw on three," said Aramis.
"Guys," Porthos tried again as the sword shifted once more.
The three men swung forward as Aramis called, "One,"
"Guys, the sword," Porthos called desperately.
"The swords going to-"
"GUYS!" Porthos finally bellowed. The sword was slowly slipping further and further out of the ground. "The sword is-" Suddenly, the blade pulled all the way out of the ground and the four musketeers' stomachs dropped as they began to fall.
As he was falling, D'Artagnan felt a had wrap around his arm and he looked over to see that it was Porthos who had grabbed him, forming the four men into a ring. Athos let go of D'Artagnan's ankle and instead grasped the boy's hand tightly in his own.
As they fell, the musketeers subconsciously pulled closer to each other, seeking comfort in what was sure to be their final moments together.
"I love you all!" Porthos called his three friends.
"We'll meet again in Heaven," said Aramis.
D'Artagnan spoke up. "You three are the most loyal friends anyone could ask for."
"It's been an honor to call myself a brother to all three of you." Athos stated as they continued to fall.
A sort of calmness engulfed the men as they accepted their fate. Athos could feel the coldness of the air rushing past him, it whistled in his ears and whipped his hair and clothes around. The ground drew nearer and nearer and he closed his eyes and waited.
There was a deafening crash everything went dark. Athos found that he was surrounded by a breath taking coldness and that he was suddenly very wet. 'Wet?' he wondered. He then realized that he was floating upward and without warning, his head broke through the surface and as he looked around wildly, he realized that he was in a river.
Gasping for breath, the man managed to swim to the waters edge where he then heaved himself up onto the land, struggling to even out his breathing.
A sudden thought occurred to the man and he shot up, looking around frantically. Where were the others? Looking to his right, Athos let out a sigh of relief as he saw three other slumped figures on the bank of the river a few yards off. He shakily got to his feet and stumbled his way over to his waterlogged friends.
Athos' relief grew as he saw his companions were all alive and well, other than being extremely shaken by the whole ordeal. He sank down next to the other men and they all sat in silence for a while, still amazed that they were all alive.
The longer they sat there, however, the men became more and more embarrassed about their less than manly confessions they had made while falling. Seeing as they weren't dead, each man regretted admitting their inner feelings. Of course they all knew what they had said was true, but shouting out the true meaning and importance of others' friendship isn't exactly something a musketeer does.
As the men started to regain their composure, Athos stood up and finally broke the silence, saying what each man was thinking.
"We never speak of this again." the man said warningly and the other men nodded. They couldn't agree more.
A/N: The next story will be up tomorrow! Thanks for reading and reviews are GREATLY appreciated!