Cura Te Ipsum

Chapter 19


An hour passed since Athos and d'Artagnan left to go back into the city. The Duchess remained quiet after Porthos spoke with her and so he decided to move her into one of the rooms down the hall where she would be more comfortable, locking the door from the outside in order to make sure that she couldn't run, even though he didn't believe that she deserved any courtesy for all the pain she caused.

After doing so, Porthos slowly walked back to where Aramis continued to lie unconscious as his raging fever worsened. The larger musketeer turned to the innkeeper, who stood in the doorway and stared at the two soldiers that had taken over his inn for the second time, then Porthos gruffly ordered the man to bring him some hot water, clean rags, and bandages to be able to tend to his comrade. After doing so, Porthos ordered the man to leave so that he could be left in peace.

Porthos looked down at the man whom he had known longer and better than the rest of his brothers sadly as he reached over to pour the water into the basin, soaked a rag and gently lay it across Aramis' head, then he ripped open his undershirt wide so that he could begin to tend to the large, deep gash across his chest made by his own sword. Upon doing so, Porthos noticed several bruises, two or three being bigger and worse than the rest, and found that Aramis had at least two broken ribs as well. It was clear that the people had made tending to them very difficult and that Aramis didn't do anything to defend himself against the brutal onslaughts.

The larger man stopped what he was doing for a moment as he stared at the wounds his friend has sustained in shock and disgust, then he stood and suddenly thrust his fist angrily into the wall before him. Porthos wasn't angry at Aramis for staying behind to tend to the sick, nor was he angry at the people for what they had done because he understood how desperate they were, but he was angry at the three people responsible for all of this; the man who had poisoned him, the Duchess, and most of all, the Duke, who had started Aramis' suffering five years ago.

The innkeeper came running into the room again upon hearing the crash and when he saw the large hole in the wall, he shouted, "What have you done? You're destroying my inn!"

Porthos held his now throbbing and bleeding hand as he looked back at the man, then responded brusquely, "I'll either pay you for the damage or I'll repair the hole myself. Leave me alone."

"Fine, just don't punch any more holes in my walls," the man answered in frustration. "I take it that you'll be wanting more brandy?"

"And whisky," Porthos answered curtly. "Lots and lots of whisky. We're going to need it."

The innkeeper scoffed, then walked away, once again leaving Porthos alone to continue administrating to his friend. He quickly picked up one of the rags and wrapped it around his own hand, then got back to Aramis as he looked closely at the gash. Porthos wasn't good at stitching up wounds due to his large hands, so he knew that he wouldn't be able to do any more than simply cleaning it the best he could, then wrap it with bandages in hope that it would keep Aramis from bleeding out.

While he worked, Porthos spoke softly saying, "You've really had a number done to you, my friend. I suppose I understand you not fighting back against the people, but why couldn't you have at least fought the Duke? If we hadn't have shown up when we did, you would have gotten yourself killed. I'm sorry. I realize I sound like I'm blaming you. I'm not. I'm just worried. We can't lose you, Aramis. The three of us have been brothers for too long and now d'Artagnan has joined us as well. You can't give up."

Porthos stopped talking as he gently began to wipe down his comrade's brow, neck, chest, and arms in hope of trying to cool him down a little, though he knew that it wouldn't be of much help if Athos and d'Artagnan failed to come back with the cure for the poison. Through it all, Aramis remained lifeless. The heat radiating off of him and the sound of his faint heartbeat were all that proved he was still alive. His condition scared Porthos more than he could ever admit out loud.

The larger man was about to start talking again when all of a sudden he heard the innkeeper speaking to someone out in the main room, causing Porthos to jump up from where he was sitting as he quickly raised his pistol, then cautiously left the room to find out who the new arrival was.

As he did so, he found Captain Treville standing in the doorway, trying to convince the innkeeper to let him inside, then quickly re-holstered his weapon and moved out into the open as he called out to his Captain asking, "Captain, what are you… Why have you come all the way out here?"

"I received the letter Athos wrote pertaining to your situation," Treville replied wearily, having ridden the long road from Paris on as little sleep as the men under his charge. "I was planning to ride straight into Savoy, but I saw two of your horses tied up outside. Tell me what's going on. Where are the others?"

"It's a long story, Sir," Porthos responded nervously. "There's a lot to explain, but…"

Seeing the despair and fear on the larger soldier's face, the Captain asked again, "Has something bad happened? Are all of you alright?"

Porthos finally shook his head and answered sadly, "No, Captain. I'm afraid Aramis is bad off, just as he was when we found him five years ago after the massacre."

"And the others?" Treville asked after letting out a long sigh.

"Athos and d'Artagnan have gone back into the city in order to gather some plant that will allow them to save the people who were poisoned," Porthos replied. "As I said, it is a long story, one that unfortunately includes the arrest of our King's sister and the death of the Duke."

Captain Treville grew angry as he said curtly, "Go on. Explain everything."

Porthos did so as he slowly led their Captain back into the room where he had been tending to Aramis and when he finished telling him everything up until the fight between Athos and the Duke, that was when Aramis, who had woken before his friend and Captain walked back in, responded weakly, "I kill… killed him, Cap… The others… not… blame. Please don't punish…"

"Aramis is only trying to protect us, Sir," Porthos quickly retorted before his brother could continue. "Athos killed him because he left him no choice. The Duke was going to kill Aramis and then he attacked Athos when he came in between them. If you want to punish someone, then you must punish all of us."

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