Disclaimer: I don't own the Three Musketeers
Athos heard a dull crash come from downstairs. He rolled over, certain that the sound had come from his own imagination, but upon hearing it again, he sat up. He removed the covers from on top of him and padded into the hallway. He checked Aramis and Porthos' bedrooms and found them both to be sound asleep. He then looked to D'Artagnan's room and saw that his door was ajar and he was missing from his bed. Immediately fearing the worst, Athos quickly went to his own room and grabbed his sword, drawing it with as little noise as possible.
He stepped down the stairs and peered around the corner, relieved to see that D'Artagnan was simply wandering around the kitchen.
Wait... Why was his shirt on backwards? And why was he only wearing one boot?
"D'Artagnan?" Athos called, setting his sword down at the base of the stairs. "What on earth are you doing?"
D'Artagnan didn't appear to hear Athos. He was looking around with wide eyes, his arms swinging around him, catching on a stranded wine bottle, sending it crashing to the floor.
"D'Artagnan!" Athos exclaimed, striding over to him so that he was directly in front of him. Again, D'Artagnan didn't hear him. He looked right through him, in fact, and continued to search the kitchen.
D'Artagnan suddenly froze, turning to face Athos slowly. He had a certain glazed look in his eye, and there was something not right about the way that D'Artagnan moved.
Suddenly, D'Artagnan clutched Athos' shoulders, squeezing him tightly. Athos let out a small gasp out of sheer surprise for the sudden movement. D'Artagnan looked right into Athos' eyes, but the latter couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.
"I have to find him." D'Artagnan said, barely above a whisper. His expression was scared and desperate, matching the tone of his voice.
"Find who?" asked Athos, beginning to feel a little worried.
"I have to find him," D'Artagnan simply repeated, his eyes beginning to fill up with tears. "It's all my fault. I have to find him…"
D'Artagnan shook his head, letting Athos go and moving quickly and unsteadily to the door, tripping over a chair on the way. He stumbled and ran right into the door. He stepped back, staring at the door for a moment, and then began pushing on it, and when the door didn't yield, he yelled out as if in pain and began pounding on the door.
Then it occurred to Athos. D'Artagnan was sleepwalking.
Athos sprang forward and clutched the boy's shoulders, spinning him around. D'Artagnan's eyes were wide as he looked at the older man. Then his eyebrows raised and he smiled.
D'Artagnan flung his arms around Athos' neck, and Athos had to take a step back to keep from toppling over. D'Artagnan didn't let go of his hold, burying his face in the older man's chest.
"Oh, Athos. I thought that you were dead! And it was my fault…"
The boy began weeping again. Athos just stood there, paralyzed. Did D'Artagnan always have these dreams?
Suddenly the boy froze again and drew away from Athos, his eyes full of fear.
"You're not Athos." D'Artagnan whispered.
"Of course I am, D'Artagnan!" Athos said. What was going on with him?
"You're not Athos!"
D'Artagnan began yelling again and spun around, pounding on the door. Athos tried to yank him away, but when he touched him the boy screamed and dropped to the floor, his fingers pulling at his hair.
"Athos!" came Aramis' voice. Athos looked over and saw Aramis and Porthos, both in their night clothes, their swords in hand. Athos held up a hand to keep them on the stairs.
Athos slid to the ground and harshly grabbed the boy, turning him around and shaking him so hard that he thought he had given the boy whiplash.
"D'Artagnan!" Athos shouted. "Wake up! Wake up!"
D'Artagnan blinked several times, the glazed look going away. He first looked at Athos, then to his two other companions on the staircase, all with the same look of concern displayed across their features. D'Artagnan was breathing heavily, looking down at himself.
"How did I get here?" D'Artagnan asked, looking up at Athos.
"You were sleepwalking." he answered.
D'Artagnan looked between all of his companions in turn and cursed under his breath.
"What did I do?" he asked.
Athos glanced over at Aramis and Porthos. Did he tell the boy the truth?
"Guys, you can tell me."
Athos gulped, looking at the boy straight in the eyes. "Well," he started. "You-you were looking for someone, and you began to try to open the door." Athos sighed. "You thought that I was dead."
D'Artagnan rubbed his face with his hands, cursing again.
Athos put his hand on D'Artagnan's shoulder, patting it lightly. Aramis and Porthos came down and crouched on either side of Athos.
"I'm sorry to disrupt your sleep," said D'Artagnan, not looking up at them.
Athos shrugged. "And I'm sorry that your sleep is riddled with such dark dreams."
"I've been having them a lot recently," admitted D'Artagnan. "Last night it was Porthos. The night before it was Aramis. It's been torture to have to watch all of you die, know that it's all my fault, and then not be able to find any of you. Only haunted versions of yourselves. I don't know what I'd do if that actually happened. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself." his eyes stayed glued to the floor as he said this.
A silence filled the room that poisoned the three musketeers' hearts. They had had no idea that they meant so much to the boy.
"We're all alive and well," said Aramis reassuringly.
"Speak for yourself. I just gambled all my earnings yesterday," joked Porthos. D'Artagnan gave him a weak smile.
"We're fine," said Athos. "And I promise that nothing's going to change that."
"Thanks, guys," D'Artagnan said, smiling a little bit more.
They all stood up, but nobody moved, not sure how to walk away from all this. Athos looked into the young D'Artagnan's face and felt something stir within him. Before he knew it, he had D'Artagnan locked in a strong embrace, his arms wrapped as tightly around the boy as he could manage. D'Artagnan slowly returned the hug, putting his head on Athos' collarbone. They stood like that for a while, Porthos and Aramis looking at them with dumbstruck expressions. They had never seen Athos do anything like that before in their lives. But nothing compared to their expressions at what Athos did next.
He pulled away from D'Artagnan a little bit and pressed his lips lightly to the boy's temple. He released him and flattened his misshapen hair.
Porthos and Aramis thought that they were dreaming.
"Thank you, Athos." said D'Artagnan a little sheepishly, his eyes slightly downcast.
Athos nodded and grunted in reply, walking away and picking up his sword at the base of the stairs.
Aramis boldly stepped up and also brought D'Artagnan in for a hug. He whispered a quiet prayer into the boy's ear before pulling away and following Athos' suit. Porthos gave D'Artagnan a slightly more manly embrace, ruffling up the boy's hair before bounding up the stairs.
Something was decided that night.
D'Artagnan was now Athos, Porthos, and Aramis' boy.