"Steady, pup." Portohos held onto D'Artagnan's arm as the younger man's legs threatened to give way.
"I'm fine." D'Artagnan tried to push him away, but this time his legs buckled and he would've landed hard on the floor if it wasn't for the quick reflexes of the large man at his side.
"Yes, I can see you're fine." Porthos grumbled as he steadied the youth again before sighing when D'Artagnan went limp against him. "Finally." He heaved as he picked his friend up and carried him up the flight of the stairs to where Aramis and Athos awaited them. He had sent Athos ahead to make sure Aramis knew they were on their way.
"He all right?" Athos asked as Porthos kicked in the door and carried an unconscious D'Artagnan into the room.
"Just stubborn. Thought he'd do it on his own." He placed the young musketeer on the bed and started to undress him with actions that spoke of practice.
Aramis hissed at the injury when Porthos finally managed to rid D'Artagnan of his shirt. "How did you say this happened?" He turned his gaze to Athos, who had taken his seat next to the unconscious man.
Athos sighed, rubbed a hand over his face and then lowered his head. "He came to fetch me at the tavern. We were on our way home when a group of red guards decided they wanted to have a talk. I was drunk and D'Artagnan was filled with his usual cheekiness. All would've gone well and I would've been able to get us away when one of the guards decided to tell D'Artagnan that we, us Musketeers, are second rated guards. Of course, his pride couldn't take that and before I know it, we had a duel on our hands."
Porthos snorted from the side. "What they didn't know was that there was a whole squadron of red guards around the corner."
Athos held up his hand. "Yes, and you came in and save the day. Very grateful." His voice turned cold.
"Steady," Aramis placed a bloodied hand across Porthos' chest. "He doesn't mean it like that. Help me here." He locked eyes with Athos and held his gaze until their leader finally nodded his head and lowered it.
"Sorry, Aramis is right. I didn't mean it like that."
"I know." Porthos used the alcohol Aramis pushed in his hand to clean the bleeding wound before holding onto D'Artagnan as Aramis started to stitch him up. "Did you tell Aramis how this one refused to give into the pain?"
Athos managed to crack a smile. "He recited the Musketeers' history to us."
Aramis looked amazed. "Where did he learn about that?"
"It seems our Queen shared that bit of knowledge with him. It was also what he repeated to the red guards while he dueled them. I think a pair of the guards might've found it interesting if it wasn't for the sword that accompanied the lesson."
"They can be glad he dueled them with his sword while telling them where we got our name from. Imagine the young pup loading his musket while at the same time explaining to the guards where we got our name from." Porthos laughed out loud. "We would've been in all in danger then."
"But how did he get injured?" Aramis used a cloth to wipe the stitched up area clean.
Athos growled. "One of the guards attacked me from behind, I didn't see him coming, but D'Artagnan did."
Aramis nodded at the information. Now he understood why Athos was more irritated than usual. "So he's a true hero. Not only did he educate the red guards on something important, he saved your life as well." He held up his hand as his Lieutenant wanted to interrupt. "He did what any of us would've done, Athos, including yourself."
"It was not supposed to be him that got injured." Athos growled.
"So it's better for you to get hurt while we stand back and look on?" Aramis' own temper were steadily rising.
"No," they all looked on as D'Artagnan opened his eyes and looked over at Athos. "What about our motto, Un pour tous, tous pour un - One for all, and all for one. Doesn't that mean that we're there for one another, always?"
Athos remained silent, he had no counter argument to that statement. Finally he looked over at his brothers. "It doesn't mean I have to like it."
Porthos grabbed his leader by the shoulder and pulled him close. "True, no one of us like it when another get hurt, but I'd rather get injured myself than see anyone of you get hurt. And it's the same with you, Aramis and D'Artagnan. It's in our blood, it's in our motto and it's in our history."
"And there I thought Aramis was the one with the words." D'Artagnan smiled softly before his eyes grew heavy. His body ached and he had to push hard at the realms of darkness that threatened to take him to the land of slumber. He managed to open them one more time and looked at his friends. "Un pour tous, tous pour un."
"One for all, and all for one." The three men repeated the words softly. Each one grateful that the other was there.