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Fly Agaric

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            “Ow.”  Athos furrowed his brow and his nostrils twitched as if he was a pure-bred hound disapproving of the smell of his dinner.

            “Well, hold still, and then I won’t poke you.”  Aramis sighed and looked again at the small jar in his hands.

            “I am holding still, you’ve just obviously never done this before, so I don’t know why you were so resolute to try.”

            “Now I think I am actually going to insert my finger right through your wound if you don’t shut up!”

            Athos squinted and shot his friend an accusatory look.

            “But you insisted on doing this.  You can at least forbear from the threats of penetration until after you’ve dressed my wound with this…. goopy, greenish….  poison?”

            Aramis sniffed at the small jar suspiciously and cocked an eyebrow.  “No, but really.  What do you think is in this… concoction?”

            “And how quickly will it kill me?”

            Aramis dipped a slender pinky into the jar and brought it to the tip of his tongue.

            “No!  What the hell are you doing!”  Athos grabbed his friend’s wrist but it was too late:  the tongue had descended.

            Aramis made a grimace, then swallowed, then proceeded to swivel his tongue around his mouth, licking each one of his teeth methodically, while Athos watched, his head cocked to the side with the vague uncertainty of a beast who was contemplating whether to lick his friend’s face or to lick the jar for himself.

            “Gooseberries and Anthemis nobilis,” Aramis finally declared.

            “Yes, and most likely Amanita muscaria as well,” Athos suggested.

            “Could be.  The Gascon has every reason to want you dead.  You insulted his mother!”

            “I did no such thing!”

            “Oh well, I must have made that up then.”

            “Wonderful,” Athos took the jar out of his friend’s hand and, scooping some of the gelatinous substance out with his fingers, he applied it to his own shoulder, wincing slightly at the unorthodox feel of the unguent.  “Please don’t ever do that again.”

            “What?” Aramis asked with feigned innocence, batting his long eye lashes languorously.  “Threaten to poke your wound or lick poison?”

            Athos smirked.  “I’m not some wench who cares to explain her feelings to you,” he said, his expression a mask of bored composure.

            “Thank god for that!” Aramis responded with gusto, and, with a furtive spark in his eyes, tossed the jar of d’Artagnan’s balm across the room.