This story is for my own dad. Happy father's day!
A father can be many different things.
He can be your support, be your wings.
He can be the one that you go to for comfort,
There's nothing like a father's touch to take away your hurt.
He can be your inspiration when you draw a blank,
He can give you ideas that just might fill up your bank.
He can give you a push when you don't know where to start,
And I know that my father's love comes straight from his heart.
This one is for you, Dad, and on this very special day,
I hope that you know that I love you, in every single way.
Disclaimer: I don't own the three musketeers!
Athos, Aramis, and Porthos all sat around their table, simply enjoying each other's company, and a rich bottle of wine, of course, they had just returned from a taxing mission, and they had been paid royally. Thus, the wine. The three musketeers were glad to be able to relax their muscles and wind down for the night. They had all expected for their young Gascon companion to want to do the same, but it seemed like the moment that they had set foot back into Paris the boy had taken off, saying that he had important business to attend to. They were all disappointed to see him go, but still they bought the best wine that they could find and were happily drinking it away. That, however, did not prevent Athos from glancing at the clock every five seconds, and becoming more disgruntled every time he did so.
"Come on, Athos!" cried Porthos. "Stop worrying about the lad! He has got a sword, and he knows how to take care of himself."
"Besides, knowing him," Aramis said with a smirk. "He might not even come back until morning."
Athos scowled. "How many times must I tell that boy that women -"
"Are nothing but trouble," Aramis and Porthos mockingly finished for him.
Athos glared at them, and then looked at the clock again.
"I'm sure that he is just fine," said Aramis.
"He had better hope so," said Athos, taking a long drink.
After about another hour of merrymaking (made at least by Porthos and Aramis, Athos was too occupied with the time) D'Artagnan finally walked in, looking very suspicious with his hands behind his back.
"D'Artagnan, there you are!" exclaimed Porthos. "I was afraid that Athos' hands were going to fall off from him wringing them so much!"
Athos' knuckles whitened around his wine cup, and D'Artagnan's cheeks had a tinge of pink in them. Porthos, of course, laughed at the reactions that he had invoked, and slapped the seat next to him.
"Come, D'Artagnan! Drink with us!"
D'Artagnan pressed his lips into a thin line and shook his head. "No, I'm really tired from the mission toay, I think I am going to call it a night."
"Boo!" said Porthos. "You've never been too tired for a drink!"
D'Artagnan shrugged and shifted from foot to foot, and something that wounded like the crackling of paper came from behind his back.
Athos raised an eyebrow at him. "D'Artagnan, what's behind your back?"
D'Artagnan's eyes widened. "Um… Nothing. I- Just something that I happened to pick up while I was - um - out."
Porthos smirked. "Something from that pretty Mademoiselle Bonacieux, no doubt."
D'Artagnan looked at Porthos with his head tilted to the side for a moment, but then something seemed to click in his head. "Oh, yes, Constance!" D'Artagnan nodded. "Yes. Definitely something from her."
The three musketeers looked at the Gascon with dumbfounded expressions as he shuffled sideways up the stairs, careful not to receal what was behind his back.
There was a moment of silence after D'Artagnan got to his room.
"Strange boy." said Aramis.
"You sure know how to pick them, Athos," said Porthos, patting Athos on the shoulder.
After Athos had given him a satisfactory glower and they went back to their drinks, Athos noticed yet again the tattered state of his jacket. It was fraying, and the leather was worn and fading. He was sure that there were quite a few bloodstains on it as well. He had wanted to get a new one a while ago, but the wages of a musketeers didn't exactly always match the prices of the market. Maybe, now that they had just been paid, he could go to the market the next day and buy a new one.
"I really need a new jacket." Athos commented to his companions. "I think that I'll go to the market tomorrow."
"I will go with you!" said Porthos.
"No!" they heard D'Artagnan yell from up the stairs. They heard a thud and the shuffling of items, and then heard D'Artagnan's heavy footsteps quickly going down the stairs. He stopped at the bottom of them, both of his hands pressed to either wall and his eyes wild.
It was so sudden that Porthos had actually jumped in his seat.
"God, D'Artagnan! What has gotten into you?"
"You shouldn't get a new jacket." D'Artagnan panted.
Athos blinked. "Why not, may I ask?"
D'Artagnan stuttered for a moment. "Because that one is just fine."
"D'Artagnan, look at it! It's a mess!"
"I think that it is very becoming."
Athos sighed. "I am not going on another mission in this rag!"
D'Artagnan looked hurt. "What did that jacket ever do to you? Don't call it names!"
Athos just stared at the boy in bewilderment. "What is this all about, D'Artagnan?"
D'Artagnan paused for a moment and then said, "I am tying to save a perfectly good jacket! Is there anything wrong with that?"
Athos paused. "Didn't you say that you were tired?"
D'Artagnan crossed his arms. "Yes."
"Yet I get the feeling that you were wide awake in your room if you could have heard what I said all the way down here."
D'Artagnan dropped his arms. "I - don't change the subject!"
"Why are you so insistent on me keeping this jacket?"
"Think of everything you've done in that jacket, Athos! All of those missions… they were good times, I tell you! And you just want to throw it away like yesterday's trash!"
D'Artagnan shook his head at Athos. "You disgust me."
Porthos laughed loudly, and Athos raised a hand to silence him. "Well, if I am such a downfall from humanity I guess that I'll keep the jacket until it really is a rag."
D'Artagnan bowed. "That is all I ask."
And then he retreated back up the stairs.
Aramis shook his head. "Such a strange boy…"
Athos had made plans to buy a new jacket anyway, but once they had gotten to Porthos' favorite supplier, he didn't have the heart to. Porthos said that he was just too soft and being unreasonable, but Athos couldn't bring himself to do it.
They had another two days off, but D'Artagnan had insisted upon shutting himself up in his room. Athos was worried that something had happened to the boy, but Porthos and Aramis assured him that it was just a phase, something that all boys went through.
"All boys have a random attack of insanity and then lock themselves in their room?" Athos asked doubtfully.
"I am sure he has a good reason for it." said Aramis.
Athos debated for a moment and then stood up from his chair. "Well, I'm going to find out what that reason is!"
Athos stormed up the stairs and knocked on D'Artagnan's door. "D'Artagnan? You've been in there all day, open up!"
Athos heard the same shuffling of items that he had the night before accompanied by D'Artagnan's loud, "No! Don't come in here!"
Athos grit his teeth. "IF you have a woman in there I swear -" he turned the door handle and pushed the door open, only to have it slammed back in his face.
"Athos, I'm warning you -"
"You're warning me?" said Athos, pushing harshly back on the door.
D'Artagnan chose another tactic. He eased the door open, but fitted his body in the crack so that Athos still couldn't see behind him.
D'Artagnan spread his face out into a painfully forced smile. "Hello, Athos! How are you?"
"D'Artagnan -" Athos said through gritted teeth.
"I do believe that that is my name."
Athos was ready to strangle something. "What are you hiding, boy?"
"Nothing!" said D'Artagnan as he slammed the door in Athos' face.
Athos slammed his body against the door, and it came just short of yielding. D'Artagnan was stronger than he looked. Athos drew back to try again when he heard a small click from the door.
"Curse you, D'Artagnan!" Athos cried, and he could hear D'Artagnan's light chuckle from behind the door.
Athos came down the stairs in a stormy mood, and he picked up his sword from behind the door and put the belt around his waist.
"Where are you going?" asked Porthos.
"I'm going to go find some guards," Athos replied simply. Then, with that, he left the apartment.
Athos picked at the loose threads at the bottom of his jacket. That thing truly was becoming a rag. If D'Artagnan didn't let up on his obsession with it soon, even the most lowly beggar would look down upon him with an disapproving eye. But he knew that he would keep it as long as it was important to D'Artagnan.
It was a Sunday morning, the last day of their break from work. Porthos and Aramis were out with their select choice out of their large inventory of women, and D'Artagnan was, yet again, locked up in his room. Athos had been mildly (only mildly, mind you) looking forward to a day alone with the boy, but at the rate things were going, he guessed that he was going to lead another day at home, alone.
Athos sighed and rested his cheek in his hand. He should probably be out doing something exciting (lord knew that he had enough coins in his pocket) but he didn't seem to have the gusto in him today.
Athos heard a door open from upstairs and he subconsciously perked up. There was a pause, and then he heard slow and steady footsteps come down the stairs.
"Ah, D'Artagnan!" said Athos. "I wondered when you were going to come down!"
D'Artagnan's face showed a mix of anxiety, nervousness, and excitement. He gave Athos a smile, but seemed to be unable to support it for long so his face fell back to discomfort. That's when Athos noticed that D'Artagnan had his hands behind his back again.
"What is it, D'Artagnan?"
D'Artagnan gulped and took a shaky breath. He slowly walked forwards, and then brought out something from behind his back. It was something wrapped in brown paper, and D'Artagnan set it down on the table in front of Athos with a shaky hand. He bit his lip and gave him another nervous split-second smile.
"Happy father's day, Athos." he said quietly, sitting down next to him.
Athos blinked and looked at the package in front of him. He looked back up at D'Artagnan and the situation didn't seem to want to click in his mind.
D'Artagnan nodded. "You have been exactly like a father to me, Athos. I thought it seemed fit to celebrate the day."
Athos was so surprised and shocked that he didn't know what to do. His eyes stung, and the distant familiarity of tears filled his eyes. He blinked and looked down; he didn't want D'Artagnan to see him like that. His eyes fell upon the package again, and he lightly rested one finger on it.
"Is this for me?" he asked, and he hated how shaky his voice sounded.
D'Artagnan nodded. "I hope that you like it."
Athos grasped it in both hands, simply savoring the feeling of receiving a gift. He couldn't remember the last time that he had gotten a gift, and he had to think to recall when his birthday had been.
"You didn't have to do this," he choked out.
D'Artagnan smiled. "I know. But that's the definition of a relationship, isn't it? Knowing that you don't have to do anything, but doing it anyway because you -" he stopped short, shifting in his chair.
"Because you care for them." Athos finished for him.
D'Artagnan nodded. He gestured to the package that Athos held so lightly in his hands. "Open it."
Athos took a lifetime to. He was careful not to tip the paper, and his hands shook with the overwhelming emotion that seemed to course inside him. When the paper was loose and all there was left to do was lift it off, D'Artagnan let out a small laugh.
"You'd think that you were performing surgery."
Athos gave him a small smirk and then lifted the paper off.
Underneath lay a perfect jacked with black leather and silver lining. Athos lifted it gingerly off of the table and held it up, admiring its beauty.
"D'Artagnan! This must have cost you a fortune!"
D'Artagnan shrugged. "We had just gotten paid, and it wasn't in mint condition when I got it. I had to do some repairs…"
Athos recalled how D'Artagnan had locked himself in his room for two days. "D'Artagnan…"
"It was only around the cuffs and stitching," D'Artagnan assured him.
"You did women's work?"
"I had picked some things up from my mother over the years. I hadn't exactly perfected it, though, so it's not perfect, but it's better than it looked before."
Athos looked down at D'Artagnan's hands and saw a series of places where he had cut and impaled himself with scissors and needles. D'Artagnan followed Athos' gaze and moved his hands under the table.
Athos was about to argue, but D'Artagnan sprung from his chair and stood next to Athos, a boyish grin on his face.
"I almost forgot!"
He took the left side of the jacket and folded it over. Inside the jacket, right over where Athos' heart would be, was a sewed design of four swords, crossing over one another.
"I know that it's not the best sewing in the world, but I just felt like it needed to be personalized some -"
D'Artagnan was cut off by a bear hug from Athos. He was shocked at first, but then hugged the older musketeer back.
"Why did you give this to me?" Athos wondered aloud, pulling away from the boy.
D'Artagnan shrugged his shoulders. "I told you. It's father's day."
When Athos still didn't understand, D'Artagnan put a hand on Athos' shoulder. "That's what you are to me, Athos. A father. The best."
Athos placed a hand on D'Artagnan's cheek. "Oh, D'Artagnan…"
D'Artagnan lips pressed into a thin line. "It's okay. I get it if you don't feel the same."
D'Artagnan turned to leave, but Athos put the jacket back down on the table and jerked D'Artagnan back to him, holding both of the boy's shoulders in his hands.
"You are a fool to think that I don't care for you, D'Artagnan." said Athos. "If I had a son of my own, I couldn't love him any more than I do you."
There was a moment where they just grinned at each other, but then Athos cleared his throat and removed his hands from D'Artagnan's shoulders.
"Come on," he said. "Let's see if I do this jacket any justice."