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Assassin

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Constance picked up an apple in her hand and inspected it. Seeing it to her satisfaction, she placed in her basket along with three others and payed the vender. She turned around to look at the potatoes when she saw them. Aramis and Porthos. Her heart ached at the sight of them. It had been 6 months since she had seen any of them, though she hadn't regretted it one bit. Aramis' scanned the market crowd, skimming his eyes over her before doing a double take and landing them on her. He frowned slightly at her appearance and she knew why. Her once long hair had been cut and now fell into a small braid down her back, and she was wearing the dress of a servant. He turned to speak to Porthos and his eyes rose to find hers. She saw him stiffen as Alister leaned into her ear.

'Look away from them and walk the other way. They will not be harmed if you do as you're told.' he told her. He passed her and she followed him close at the heels as he began to weave them in and out of the back streets of Paris until they arrived at the house. He opened the front door for her and she ducked inside.

'What is it?' Picard asked.

'Musketeers,' Alister replied. Constance walked past them and into the kitchen where she began to unload the contents of her basket. Alister walked in shortly after and sat down at the table.

'I'm surprised that you didn't try and attract their attention,' he said.

'I wouldn't take that risk,' she replied. When she had finished unloading her basket she turned to face him. 'I didn't get everything that I needed. You,' she said to one of the men at the table. 'Get me some paper and ink. – I will make a list and give it to your men of the other things I need. It's too dangerous for me to go back out there now.' The man she spoke to stood up and left the room. She turned back to the counter and grabbed a knife.

'I have an assignment for you tonight,' he said. He ran his finger along the rim of his wine glass.

'Another petty thief who owns you money?' she asked, slicing the knife through her vegetables.

'No, this one's a murderer -- who also happens to owe me money,' he replied. The man sitting across from him laughed softly. Constance momentarily froze before she continued to slice. His laugh had sounded so much like the rare laugh of Athos.

'How chivalrous of you,' she said coldly.

'Constance,' he said with a warning tone, 'do you remember our terms?'

'Yes, I'm sorry. I am grateful and happy to be here,' she replied automatically.

~~~~~~~

D'Artagnan, Porthos, and Aramis stood outside of the house that Constance was in. Aramis and Porthos had followed Constance and the man that was with her until they ended here. They held a pistol in each hand and their weapons belts hung low on their hips. Porthos kicked the door and they stormed in. They swept the place, moving through and killing the sleeping men that littered the house. When the last gun had sounded, Aramis and Porthos dragged the four remaining men into the kitchen and tied them up while d'Artagnan ran around the house in a search for Constance.

'She's not here,' he said as he came down the stairs. He came over to one of the tied men and grabbed his shirt. 'Where is she!' he yelled.

'Who?' the man asked.

'You know who I'm talking about! – Constance!'

'I don't know who you're talking about,' he replied. d'Artagnan brought his fist across the man's face and moved on to the next one. 'Where is she!'

'She's out,' he replied.

'Out where?'

'On business.' d'Artagnan threw him down and walked out the front door.

'd'Artagnan,' Porthos began, following him outside and Aramis after him. He tensed as they saw two figures walking down the alleyway, dressed similarly to how the men in the house had been dressed. When they were close enough to be heard, Aramis pulled out his pistol and pointed it at them.

'State your name and your business,' he said.

'My name is Alister,' the taller of the two men replied. 'And this is my servant Jean-Luc, we're on our way home from the tavern.'

'And to which of these fine houses are you going to?' Aramis asked.

'Mine is two blocks north of here, we were only cutting through. Is there a problem?' he replied.

'Yes,' d'Artagnan said, 'Have you seen a woman around here of the name of Constance?'

'Constance?' he asked. 'No, I cannot say that I know any woman by that name.'

'And what about you Jean-Luc?' Aramis asked. He shook his head no.

'Can 'e not speak?' Porthos growled.

'No, he's a mute,' Alister replied with a smile. 'Makes him the perfect servant.'

'Tell him to take his hat off,' d'Artagnan said. 'I want to see his face.' Jean-Luc looked at Alister, who gave a shrug in response. Jean-Luc reached up and removed his hat, and the three musketeers found themselves
staring into Constance's eyes. She looked at each of them but made no attempt to walk towards them.

'Did you kill them all?' she asked to no one in particular. d'Artagnan looked too stunned at seeing his wife to reply.

'No,' Aramis said, 'we left four tied up in the kitchen.'

Constance spun so fast that they could hardly see her and pinned Alister to the wall, her elbow pressed into his throat.

'Call them off,' she said. 'Call them off and we'll pretend that this never happened.'

'Why? It's your fault that they followed you to the house. And besides, it looks like I'd be too late,' his eyes drifted upwards to the rooftops where four shapes could be seen headed towards the garrison.

'Then I'll see you in Hell,' she replied before grabbing her main gauche and running it through his throat. She turned around to face the musketeer's shocked faces.

'They're headed towards the garrison,' she said, ' they're going to kill Athos and the rest of the Musketeers.' She scrambled up a couple of loose bricks and onto the roof of one of the houses.