Chapter 1: Porthos Du Vallon
Porthos yelled out in joy as he ran across the rooftops of Paris in the early morning. He had worked for this day for a long time, having finally earned his Musketeer commission from the king yesterday. Today was his first day as a true and proper Musketeer. He had enjoyed waking before the dawn so as to make it to the garrison in time for muster. Before today he always had to wait until after muster to show himself.
He had been working to become a Musketeers for almost two years now, doing everything he could to prove himself. He had made new friends, a new life, among his fellow soldiers, and he wasn’t ever going to leave them now that he was a part of them. Two specific Musketeers he was already on his way in considering as brothers, Aramis and Athos, who were the best of friends one could ask for, despite, or because of, their very large differences.
Aramis had quickly gained a reputation as a romantic ladies man who so happened to be the best shot in the entire garrison and was well on his way to being an efficient and effective medic in the field. It was rumored that he had been on his way to becoming a priest before arriving to become a Musketeer, due to his tendency to quote scripture, usually in latin, and kissing the cross around his neck.
Athos was much more complicated than the carefree Aramis. In contrast, he rarely talked without first being engaged or being required to do so. He never smiled or laughed, but his eyebrows and expressions sometimes said all that there needed to be said. He was easily the best swordsman in Paris, and perhaps in all of France itself, and readily, if not a little testily, gave tips when he noticed something that could get someone killed if not corrected. But the few things he had in common with both Aramis and Porthos was his loyalty to his friends and to the king and country.
Porthos was suppose to meet his two friends before muster to make plans for the day, if they had no missions that they were ordered to fulfill. He carefully made his way down from the rooftops when he got close to the garrison and continued to walk. He had remained vigilant as he climbed down, experience having long ago taught him that it was far harder to get down than it was having to climb up in the first place. As he walked he spied movement in the shadows of the alleyway and when he looked closer he could make out the small form of a child and he grinned. There was only one child he knew that would know how to find him and where to wait to see him before he entered the garrison. “Come to say goodbye?” The shadow shifted before a small boy stepped out into the sun. He was small, thin as a rail, dirt covering his tan skin and dark brown hair with shining brown eyes peering up at Porthos.
“Don’ go,” whispered the boy as he ducked down his head in embarrassment. “Oh, D’art… Ah hav’ to. Ah’m not fit for tha’ life, Ah was born to be a Musketeer. Ah’ll still see ya ‘round, so don’ worry runt.” Porthos knelt before the boy, ruffling his hair gently as he spoke. He pulled D’art into a gentle hug before letting him go and gently pushing him back into the shadows before walking away.“Stay safe.” By the time Pothos had looked back at the boy he was long gone and a single thought ran through his head, ‘ Ah’m supposed to be saying that to you kid.’
Porthos clenched his jaw to hold back a groan as he dismounted from his horse. Athos and Aramis were doing their best to not act as if they weren’t hovering around him, waiting for him to collapse, but Porthos felt smothered by the waves of concern that came off of them. He supposed that he couldn’t really complain, he’d been lucky that he wasn’t hurt more than he had been. If the bullet had been even one inch to the right he would most likely be dead right now, so he would do his best to let his friends care for him, it was simply their way of reassuring themselves that he was alive. Keeping that in mind, he reluctantly let his friends hold his weight for a moment but hastily stood straight when he saw D’art peering at him from the shadows under the garrison stairs.
“Oy, get over here, what ya doin’ in here? How’d ya even get in without anyone seein’?” Athos and Aramis both looked to where Porthos was speaking only to stare in disbelief as a previously unnoticed young boy slowly sidled out of the shadows to stand in front of them.
“You’re hurt.” His voice was soft and rough, as if he rarely used it and whispered when he did. D’art looked up through the fringe of his hair to stare unblinkingly at Porthos and for the first time ever, Porthos didn’t know what the boy was feeling or thinking, his usually expressive face and eyes were like a stone wall. “Who?”
“To dead for ya to be goin’ after,” Porthos had a feeling that if the man had still been alive after hurting him that he would soon be visited by a small shadow before dying and he wasn’t sure how he felt about that. On one hand he was proud that he was considered important enough for the runt to consider killing for but on the other he didn’t want to be the reason the kid became a murderer. He was torn out of his staring contest by an inquisitive noise from Aramis and a raised eyebrow from Athos.
“Ah, D’art, these are my friends-”
“Athos and Aramis.” he was cut off by D’art stating their names and they all stared for a moment before Porthos chuckled and muttered under his breath about his overprotective shadow. He quickly introduced his friends to the boy and watched them carefully for any negative reactions when he insinuated that the boy was part of his slightly shady past. Thankfully it seemed as though he worried for nothing, Athos merely stared intensely at the boy before asking for him to take their horses to the stable before meeting them in the infirmary. Aramis simply sent D’art a small smile, more of a quirk of the lips if he was honest.
To Porthos’ surprise, D’art actually nodded before silently leading the horses into the stables, looking back only once as they slowly made their way to the infirmary.
“Sooo…” Aramis drawled, hoping that Porthos would volunteer information instead of having to slowly tease it out of the man. For all of his jolly disposition, when Porthos wanted to keep a secret he was better at it than Athos, the resident functional mute.
“Found him on the streets a few years ago and took him under my wing. He doesn’t trust easy, only talks to those who he does. I ask that if you see him on the streets or in trouble that you help, he’s like a little brother to me.”
“Of course. We’ll do what we can to help the boy whenever we can.”
D’art poked his head through the door and gave them a small smile of relief when he was told that Porthos would be fine. He had been worried that his big brother had seriously injured himself and he was about to die, but he mentally scolded himself for his lack of faith in the man.
He slid into the room and took his time in watching the three musketeers interact and he breathed a sigh of relief. Porthos had told him that they knew a little about his past and that they were fine with it. D’art hadn’t believed him. That is, until he watched them all now. They swapped verbal jokes and jabs with a brotherhood like fondness and were playfully gentle in any of their physical interactions.
Though he was coming to believe that they wouldn’t hurt his brother he wouldn’t let down his guard until he was absolutely sure. Athos was the one that he was mainly wary of. The man didn’t say much and most of the time neither did his expression. Sometimes his mouth would quirk in amusement of his eyebrows would convey his thoughts on a comment, but besides those moments he was more rock-like than an actual rock.
Lost in thought D’art slipped out the door and through the garrison courtyard, unaware of two sets of eyes that followed him, Captain Treville and Athos himself.