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The Power and The Glory

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Paris 1643

Louvre

 

The Priest blew out the candle as Louis XIV breathed his last. They had all known he was dying for the past year, ever since Lemay had diagnosed him with The White Plague, Consumption.

It had eaten his lungs leaving him drowning in his own blood as his body had wasted away, death was perhaps a blessing for him since it was a release from the immense pain he had been in, and the greif of the losses he had suffered in the past year.
His mother of the same disease so it happened, and Richelieu, after years of working so hard, of eating and sleeping so little it was a wonder he remained on his feet his heart had finally given out.

He had died peacefully, in his bed with Treville at his side and their surprise daughter Viollette with them.

Since his death Louis had been near inconsoliable, had given up fighting the Comsumption, desiring the peace of the after life so he might be reunited with his dear friend.

Lemay who had been with Louis for the last forty eight hours since he had slipped into an unwaking sleep crossed himself and laid a hand over his slightly rounded middle where his first litter after thirteen years of bonding with Aramis grew.

"Réquiem ætérnam dona ei, Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei, Requiéscat in pace Amen" he recited and made the sign of the cross over the dead Kings body.

Kneeling besides the bed D'Artagnan put his arm about the now widowed Queen Anne as she wept, besides them his thirteen years old Alphan Lex sniffled and huddled closer to his Oman shedding his own tears over his cousins death.

Standing at the foot of the bed Treville swallowed hard and wiped the tears from his cheeks with a shaking hand and took a shaky breath "The King is dead" he said "Long live King Charles X of France"

"King Charles" the others in the room repeated making d'Artagnan look up with tear filled brown eyes the weight of his title settling over him.

 

Outside the Late Kings bed chambers the court waited, holding it's breath for news, plotting, whispering, planning, fretting, the courtiers were all thinking of the future, of their fortunes and positions while their King died.

As Captain of the Musketeers having suceeded Treville who had retired upon discovering his surprise pregnancy, Athos should technically have been present in the chamber, however his welcome within the room would have been frosty at best and he had remained outside along with Porthos, Aramis, and Constance.

Porthos was now General du Vallon of the Kings army, a free Baron and a powerful and respected figure at court. However while his professional life had grown in leaps and bounds his personal had not, his beloved Alice whom he had married had died trying to give birth to their first child whom he had been told was a boy, still born and laid in the ground besides her. Grief would have consumed Porthos over the death of his life and child had it not been for the constant love and support of his friends, especially Aramis who had insisted Porthos move in with him and Lemay to which the kind hearted Doctor had heartily agreed, and slowly but surely over time Porthos's pain had lessened and he had learned how to live on despite his loss.

Besides he was not the only one to have suffered loss, Constance had been widowed too, Ninon had contracted small pox eighteen months into their marriage and had died leaving Constance the Dowager Consort and Oman of their now twelve year old twin Pups Charles and Gabrielle.

It had likely been the fact she had to be strong for their Pups which had kept Constance from sinking into her grief, oh she had grieved of course, but with her Pups so young she had needed to rally herself for their sake, and with d'Artagnan giving her all the help and comfort he possibly could she had survived and lived on, even returning to court as the Dowager Consort and d'Artagnan's closest friend.

 

The whole room became silent as the doors opened and Treville came out, d'Artagnan, Lex, and Anne behind him and stopped to stand before the courtiers, looking to d'Artagnan Treville waited for his approval and on getting a slight head nod the now Minister of War cleared his throat

"The King is dead, Long live the King", a for a split second nothing happened, then the court fell to their knees before d'Artagnan, The new King of France.

 

The death of his cousin might not have been unexpected but that didn't mean that d'Artagnan didn't feel he was in complete termoil right now. He longed to have Richelieu at his side to help guide him, or Ninon, both of them would have been such a support to him, their political prowes and power would have made his succession at the much easier than it was going to be, the Kings council had been in disaray since Richelieu's death, with how ill he had been Louis hadn't been able to appoint a new first Minister leaving the counil disorganized, divided, and generally picking fights with each other. The only two on the council he was sure he could trust were Treville who had been made Minister of War after his retirment from the Musketeers when he'd fallen pregnant with Viollette, and Aramis who had been raised to a Minister after being invalided out of the Musketeers following a ball just shy of his knee cap.

While Lemay had thankfully been able to save his leg and Aramis could walk, albeit with a slight limp (More so in the cold and damp when it pained him more), he could no longer serve as an active soldier.
Louis, under d'Artagnan's encouragement had made him Minister of Welfare giving him a lucrative position outside of the Musketeers. That said d'Artagnan was not overly close to Aramis at present following the indiscretion Aramis had had with one of Queen Anne's Ladies in Waiting, Lady Margurite.

While the affair had been brief and purely physical, at least on Aramis's part it had hurt Lemay severely and while the Doctor had forgiven Aramis, d'Artagnan couldn't find it in himself to do so, especially since Lemay blamed himself for Aramis's straying because he'd had so much trouble conceiving them a litter.

 

Forcing a smile onto his face as Constance came over to him d'Artagnan place a hand on Lex's shoulder, "Go on up to your room and I'll be up soon" he said

"Whats gonna happen now Oman?" Lex asked his unbroken voice sounding horse from crying

"Nothing right now mon petit, now just go and get ready for bed and I'll be with you shortly", nodding his head Lex hugged his Oman and made his way from the chamber resolutely refusing to give his Aphan so much as a glance which was like a knife to Athos's heart.

"Are you alright?" Constance asked

"I don't know what I am to be honest" d'Artagnan admitted "I must be in shock or something"

"Thats understandable" Constance said rubbing d'Artagnan's arms, she looked over to Anne who was talking with Treville, her face white and for once her age clear to see upon her person

"What will happen to her now?" she asked

"She is welcome here for the remainder of her days" d'Artagnan said without hesitation "Or if she prefers then she can retire from court to a property of her choosing, however I think..........in fact I know I want her at court, I need both her support and advice", Constance nodded and gave him a reasuring smile

"You've got me too you know" she said

"I know" d'Artagnan said "And I am more grateful for it than I can express", his eyes met Athos's and face hardened along with his voice "Especially at such times when I can trust so few".

Eighteen Months Earlier

d'Artagnan was still pale and prone to painful cramps in his lower abdomen, something that had been plaguing him since his still birthing of twin Pups eight months earlier.
Francoise Avril and Robert Michele he had named them, hardly baring to look at the too small bodies delivered two months before their time, too small and too weak to live more than a few hours, long enough at least for them to be blessed by a Priest so they could be given a Christian burriel.

The premature birth had been as hellish as Lex's deliver over a decade before and d'Artagnan had fallen gravely ill following the birth. A raging fever, excessive blood loss, and violent sickness had gripped him for weeks after his Pups birth, Lemay had worked flat out save his life, plying his body with cool drinks to bring his fever down, tending him night and day, even risking the rope by performing a forbidden Moorish treatment of scraping clean d'Artagnan's uterus that had remained swollen and bleeding heavily after the birth.

This had probably been what had saved his life, as thick clots of blood and parts of after birth had come away with a flood of blood after which d'Artagnan's condition had greatly improved, though saddly not without discomfort.

His heats had become erratic coming every month at one point through they only lasted two days but then his womb did not shed it's lining even when he was not pupped forcing the Prince to down a concoction of mugwart, pennyroyal, and white willow to bring on his courses when the pain in his distended womb grew too much for him to bear.

These problems only increased the rumours about the court that since Lex he was barren, for before the still birth he had suffered five miscarriages within the first four months of gestation, five agonising losses that had worn away d'Artagnan's youth and mirth.

Naturally it had had an effect on his relationship with Athos, while the Alpha said he did not blame him d'Artagnan couldn't help but believe otherwise, especially after the still birth, especially on what he walked in on.

Between his Omega-logical problems and the melancholic depression that had been haunting d'Artagnan since his first miscarriage the Prince had become less amorous towards Athos, and disliking the changes in his body where seven pregnancies had taken their toll on him with stretchmarks, a loosening of stomach muscles, and a slackening of his breasts, neither of which had been helped by the unhealthily rapid weight loss the sickness following the still had caused when he had been too ill to eat.

While in truth he did not look even half as bad as he himself believed these changes did mean that he did not feel as confident about himself as he once had making it almost a rarity for him to seek Athos out when he was not in heat, tonight however he did so, going to the chambers they shared at the Louvre when they stayed there only to walk in on a sight he wished he could erase from his mind.

Athos was slumped back on a chaise two empty wine jugs at his feet with an over turned goblet leaking onto the cream fabric of the chaise, this while unseemly was not what horrified d'Artagnan so much, it was the Louvre Maid Sylvie who was writhing in Athos's lap kissing his face and throat to which he sloppily and sleepily responded.

"Oh my God!, Oh my God!"

d'Artagnan wrapped a hand about his throat all the breath feeling like it had been forced from his body at the sight of his beloved Alpha fornicating with another, sickness, horror, pain, anger, and outright shock exploded through d'Artagnan, stumbling he half fell from the room his hand moving from his throat to clasp his mouth and with Athos drunkenly calling after him the Prince had fled to the nearest privy to vomit up everything in his stomach.

 

Present time

 

Raised as Nobility, indeed as royalty d'Artagnan knew better than to raise a fuss over Athos's indiscreation in public, save for when in private he hardly spoke a word of what had happened, in fact he hardly spoke to Athos at all, both in public and private.

Anger burned to fierce in d'Artagnan's heart, anger and betrayal for him to bear to listen to what Athos had to say on the subject when he pleaded for d'Artagnan to listen to him, stating that he had been so drunk he had not known what he was doing, had been half asleep when Sylvie had gotten onto his lap, was disgusted with himself and swore that nothing like that would ever happen again.

Drunk or not, sorry or not, d'Artagnan could not find it in himself to forgive Athos, nore could their Alphon Lex who had unfortunately been coming down the corridor when d'Artagnan had fled the chambers only to be followed by a disheveled Athos and Sylvie who had been adjusting her skirts, old enough to know what such things meant Lex had been furious with his Aphan a feeling that had not passed in the eighteen months since.

As soon as he was able d'Artagnan departed from court going straight to Lex's chambers and dismissed the Governess Lady Evelian Chavalier along with the two maids who all dropped curtsey's too him and quietly absented themselves from the chamber leaving the new King alone with his Alphon.

"Will you be King now Oman?" he asked as d'Artagnan took off his doublet and boots and laid over the bed besides him

"I will Mon Petit" he sighed wrapping his arms about Lex and pulling him close "And you are The Dauphin, the future King of France", d'Artagnan was relieved that his head was above Lex's so the boy couldn't see the tears in his eyes "It is a heavy burden for us both" he whispered kissing Lex's head "But we shall shoulder it together, you and me".

 

They we both silent for several minutes until Lex shifted in d'Artagnan's embrace and sighed
"Will we live here and the Louvre now Oman?" he asked "If you're King we'll have to live at the Louvre now won't we?"

"I suppose so" d'Artagnan said having not really given much thought to their housing arangements, with everything that had been happening it had slipped his mind "Though if you wish it you can continue living at Chaillot if you prefer", while he would hate being seperated from his Alphon he would not begrudge the boy the freedom from being at court, however Lex shook his head

"No, I want to be with you not Athos", d'Artagnan sighed and closed his eyes tight, the tension between his Alphon and Athos had not gone unnoticed by him and he had spoken to Lex about it several times, telling him not to behave so towards his Aphan, but the boy took after him in being stubborn and refused to listen, refused to call his Aphan anything but Athos if he addressed him at all, most of the time the boy ignored him completely which hurt both his parents, d'Artagnan for the discord in his family and Athos for the loss of his Alphons love

"You need to forgive your Aphan Lex" d'Artagnan said hugging the boy closer "He loves you very much"

"I don't care!" Lex snapped petulantly "He hurt you with that slut and I hate him for it!, I hate him and I wish he was dead!"

"Lex!" d'Artagnan cried in horror, he sat up and stared at his Alphon looking both stricken and appauled "How can you say such things?, I was not much older than you when my Aphan died and let me tell you it is not something to rejoice, you must never wish for such things, never!"

"But..."

"No buts Louis Alexandre!, I meant it, you dissappoint me behaving like this, what d'you think your Tante Anne would say?, or your Oncle Jean?", Lex pouted, his expression mulish and very like a young Charles's at that age, reluctantly and with great begrudging he nodded his head

"I'm sorry Oman", d'Artagnan narrowed his eyes not truly believing his Alphon but he was too tired both physically and emotionally to continue this right now and so nodded his head and settled back down pulling Lex close to him and closed his eyes wishing hard that when he awoke a miracle would have happened and everything would be good again, a miracle he knew would not come to pass.

Chapter Text

Athos watched Lex leave the court heading for his chambers, the boys head turning sharply away from him as if his body was giving off a bad smell that offended the boys nose.

Sighing deeply Athos looked up to the head of the court trying to catch d'Artagnan's eye only to be equally as scorned by his mate, if he could still be called that, God knows they had not been intimate with each other since his drunken fumble with Sylvie. Oh they had laid together during heat to try once more to conceive another heir for the succession but there was no love in the coitus, it was purely an act of duty without tenderness or pleasure for either of them.

d'Artagnan couldn't get away from Athos fast enough, seeming as if he loathed his very touch, wouldn't look at him during the act, and turned his face away if Athos went in for a kiss. It was so very different from their earlier years together when they could hardly keep their hands off each other, were frequently falling into bed together amid peals of laughter and hot passionate carresses.
It wasn't just the sex that Athos missed it was the closeness, the tenderness they use to share, simply laying in bed together cuddling, spooning while they slept, talking about anything and everything, all of it was gone thanks to that single act of stupidity eighteen months ago.
Even now nearly two years later Athos could remember every detail of that night, a miracle considering how drunk he'd been, yet somehow it remained fixed in his memory serving to haunt him painfully.

 

Eighteen Months earlier

Athos was slumped on the chaise steadily working his way through a third jug of wine.

He'd cut back on his drinking after Lex had been born wanted to make a good example for his Son, but the horror of d'Artagnan's stillbirth and near death several months before had sent him sprawling back into his vice with a vengence.

It was wasn't that he blamed d'Artagnan for the loss of their Litter, or the miscarriages before that, these things happened and it was no one's fault. No, it was the terror of how close he'd come to loose d'Artagnan following the birth.

Even now months later he could remember the screams from the bed, the metalic scent of blood in the air, d'Artagnan's blood that had run like a river from his body as he had struggled to deliver the too small too weak bodies of the Pups.
Athos could remember the anguished cry d'Artagnan had given as the Pups had come into the world too weak and frail to cry out, their tiny bodies more like dolls as they had been quickly washed and wrapped in swaddling.

Athos had held them both for only a few moments, their tiny fragile bodies loosing their weak grasp on life within hours just enough time for them to be baptized affording them a Christian burrial.

Meanwhile d'Artagnan had been fighting for his life, his sick weak body raked with fever as his womb stubbornly remained swollen and refused to shed it's after birth properly resulting in the dangerous sickness that had come so close to claiming d'Artagnan's life.

For days and days Athos had been at his side holding his trembling hand as he had sweated and moaned, vomited, and writhed on the bed, he'd been in pain and delirious with none of the usual remedies working for him, in the end Lemay had risked his own neck by performing the Moorish treatment of scraping the Uterus clean, it had been a risky and painful proceedur but it had worked and slowly but surely d'Artagnan had recovered, more or less.

 

The grief had stolen the light from his eyes, the joy from his heart, his damaged body frequently gave him pain and problems as his womb refused to bleed after his heats even though there was no conception, and his heats were becoming wildly erratic.

Lemay could not diagnose what the problem was, he could only help try and treat the symptoms while addmitting that the reason d'Artagnan had been unable to carry to term since Lex may well be because of damage done during that long hellish labor.

That news had done nothing to help bolster d'Artagnan's self esteam, determined to blame himself he sank into depression that nothing and no one could pull him from, not even Lex.

Every heat he lay with Athos desperately trying to conceive, almost making himself sick in his desperation to give his Alpha more Pups something Athos would be quite happy to be without. It wasn't that he disliked the idea of more Pups it was simply that he hated how unhappy d'Artagnan was, how ill the pregnancies and births were making him, he'd come so close to loosing him during birthing twice now that he did not know if he wanted to risk a third time.

All of this lead up to how he found himself in his and d'Artagnan's chambers drinking himself stupid and mulling over his maudlin thoughts while the Louvre Maid Sylvie bustled about

"Are you quite well Monsieur?" she asked pertly as he he nearly dropped the wine jug as he refilled his cup

"I'm sick" Athos grunted sleepily, "Sick of wine, of birthing, of life!" he flopped back in the chaise and messily drank spilling wine down his chest as he did "My Omega hates himself, hates me touching him, yet still wants to conceive again!", part of Athos's mind knew he shouldn't be saying this to the maid but he was so drink addled that he couldn't stop himself, couldn't stop the tears that were rolling down his cheeks "I'm so scared I'll loose him!" he whispered brokenly "I'm terrified the next miscarriage or birth will kill him and I can't bear to loose him!"
There were soft hands on his body tenderly stroking him, caressing his face and running down the opening in his loose shirt to stroke his chest making him humm in appreiciation
"You deserve happiness, you deserve better" a voice whispered next to his ear making Athos frown because it didn't sound like d'Artagnan's voice but surely it must be him climbing onto his lap and pressing so wonderfully against his cock

"I love you!" Athos whispered his heavy eyes half lidded and the image before them blurred and his reached out to pull the warm body closer, again the form was wrong, as was the clothing but Athos's drink dulled senses ignored this as he was kissed with fiery heat and thighs tightened about his hips while skillful fingers made their way down to undo his breeches and reach inside for his cock

"Oh my God Oh My God!".
The horrified note in the familiar voice snapped Athos too attention and to his utter shock he saw d'Artagnan standing pale faced in the door way, more his lap the disheveled and far too pleased with herself Sylvie slipped looking very unconcerned as d'Artagnan fled from the room looking ready to vomit

"d'Artagnan wait!" Athos cried fumbling with his breeches and staggering after his mate at which point Sylvie followed him and snaked her arm about his chest pressing a kiss to his neck

"Forget him and come back to me!" she breathed "I'll give you what you've been missing!"

"get off me!" Athos snarled shoving her away but not before the then Eleven year old Lex had seen everything and given his Aphan a look of such hatred Athos knew he would remember it for the rest of his life.

 

Present Time

It didn't matter how many times he'd appologised or tried to explain neither d'Artagnan or Lex would listen to him, which was both frustrating and understandable. Athos had to addmit that if he'd found d'Artagnan in a similar situation with another then he wouldn't be quick to forgive and forget either, but that didn't mean it hurt any less.
A feeling that Aramis must share if the tension in his friend was anything to go by as he hovered besides the first time pregnant Lemay.

 

"Things no better with d'Artagnan then?"
Athos jumped at the question and turned to see Porthos standing beside him, wealth and privelege had done little to change Porthos as a person, he was still the loud, brash, giant of a man with a heart as soft as sugar as he had ever been. His appearance however was changed.

One thing Porthos had always enjoyed even before having money was dressing elaborately, his doublet had been the most decorative with punch work and embossing, now that he had enough wealth to do so he had spent a fortune on finery!.

While he was keeping away from the satins and silks worn by most courtiers, prefering Leather, suade, and velvet but all three were of the finest quality, the leather butter soft and equisitely embroidered or elaborately embossed, the suade was smooth and dyed perfectly so there was no fading of colour, the velvets were thick and plush to the touch the embroidery upon them as fine as that on the leather.

Athos looked his old friend over and gave a weak smile taking in the unusually somber choice in garb out of respect for the situation, "You haven't lost your touch when it comes to sneaking up on people" he commented wryly

"Gotta keep up appearences" Porthos replied giving Athos a grin "You didn't answer the question though" he prodded "You and d'Art?"

Athos sighed and shook his head "Does it really need answering?", Porthos gave him a sorry smile and squeezed his shoulder

"I'm sorry"

"Not as sorry as I am" Athos muttered "This is all my fault, all my own doing, if I hadn't gotten so drunk then I wouldn't have ended up with Sylvie and d'Artagnan and our Alphon wouldn't hate me"
"Hey you were pissed out of your mind and it's not like you actually slept with her" Porthos said "d'Arts just being stubborn and your lad doesn't hate you not really, he'll come round"

"Really?", Athos gave Porthos a cynical look "Lex hasn't acknowledged me as his Aphan in months has hardly said two words to me since it happened", Athos shook his head and tugged on his doublet to straighten it "I'm going back to the garrison, I'm not needed here"

"Athos..........." Porthos started to protest but his old friend wouldn't listen instead he simply turned and left making Porthos grind his teeth in annoyance and go to join Aramis and Lemay.

 

Aramis would never forgive himself for betraying Lemay, he hated himself for that weakness, for hurting his Omega so very much, why he had fallen into bed with Marguerite he didn't know, it wasn't even as if she were particularly attractive or overly intelligent, in fact there was nothing about the Betan Woman was remarkable and Aramis had swiftly tired of her, but saddly not before Lemay had found out about the affair.

Unlike d'Artagnan who had completely refused to forgive Athos, Lemay had not held the affair against Aramis at all, in fact he'd blamed himself for it, blamed his own body for not conceiving sooner seeing it as a failure he was responsable for.
This self reproach hurt Aramis, made him furious at himself for doing this to Lemay, nothing he said or did seemed to ease the misplaced guilt that the Omega held in his heart and nothing would make Aramis forgive himself for what he'd done.

The pregnancy, now four months along had come as a beautiful blessing for them both, Aramis had been over joyed that they were finally going to have the family that they had longed for, and Lemay was beyond ecstatic that after more than ten years of struggling to conceive, taking herbal concoctions to try and boost his fertility, submitted his body to endless examinations at the hands of midwives and Omeg-ologist (Most of whom were far less qualified than he was as a doctor), followed special diets to either loose or to gain weight he had succeeded in conceiving a litter.

The unhappiness that had been present in his expressive green/blue eyes had finally lifted as he had confirmed his pregnancy at six weeks, he'd been thrilled at the show of morning sickness!, had been smiling even after having his head down the privy every morning for weeks on end!. A warmth that had been absent from his cheeks gradually shone through giving him a healthy glow, a relaxed contentment settled about his eyes and mouth, for the first time in years when he smiled he really smiled instead of just stretched his lips over his teeth, he had a bounce in his step and a much more cheerful expression on his face.

For Aramis it was a joy to see him so happy, a protective pride swiftly settled over the Alpha, he hated being parted from Lemay for very long, wanted to be close to him to make sure he was well and happy, he could now understand why Athos and Porthos had hated others touching d'Artagnan and Alice during their pregnancies, he certainly hated it himself!, Lemay and the Litter were his and his alone the thought of others daring to place their hands upon him made him want to rip them to shreds!.

Though in complete contrast to this he also felt himself ready to burst with pride at the looks of approbation others were giving Lemay, a confident swagger coming to his hips as he walked besides his Omega all but preening before everyone at the fact he had a beautiful fertile mate.

This was only increased by the fact that Lemay was starting to show, not just in the slight roundess of his belly but a softness over the rest of his body that Aramis thought looked adoreable, Lemay said it was water retention, that different Omegas and Betas carried differently, some like d'Artagnan were all bump while other grew rounder all over, Aramis didn't care he just thought it looked cute and God knows he couldn't keep his hands of Lemay's growing belly to the point that Doctor had suggested they invest in some sort of wheeled cart for them to be moved about on so Aramis could in fact spend the whole day petting him!.

"I'm not going to break if you move or look away for five minutes you know!" Lemay said with a slight smile bringing Aramis out of revorie, he gave him a small smile and a shrug as if to say "I can't help myself"
"At least it was peaceful at the end" the Doctor sighed meaning Louis, "He died without a struggle"

"Thats good" Aramis said, he looked up as Porthos joined them the older Alpha looked tired and irritated, a brief glance about the room showed why, Athos had left no doubt to go and fall into another bottle, "No headway made between d'Artagnan and Athos then?"

"Nothing" Porthos grunted "Athos is determined to drink himself to death while d'Art is equally as determined to hate him for the rest of his life, and I think the Prince is aswell!"
Aramis sighed and made a face at this while Lemay narrowed his eyes at Porthos

"D'Artagnan's hurting, you can't expect him to just pretend it never happened" he said with an edge to his voice that made Aramis wince "As for Lex?, he adores his Oman, it's not a surprise that he'd angry with Athos as the result of his indiscretion with Sylvie" giving both Alphas a cold look he walked over to join Constance making Aramis groan and give Porthos a glare

"Thanks for that!, all I need is him reminded of what jack asses Alphas are!".

 

Chateau de Feron

 

Phillipe Feron the illegitimate Son of the Late Henri IV stretched out on his chaise his cadaverous face creasing with discomfort at the pain from his disease ravaged body, these days he could hardly walk, he had to shuffle along on crutches his half crippled body lurching without grace about the halls of the Louvre ellictiting looks of disdane and mocking comments from the courtiers, as if being born a bastard wasn't damning enough without his body falling apart aswell.

Anger over his situation festered in Ferons heart with a large dose of envy and greed.

Why should that Gascon Omega be named the heir of Louis when he was not even a child of Henri IV?, why should the whelp have been blessed with wealth, legitimacy, and good health. Well maybe not good health not since he'd started breeding. A cold smile spread over Feron's lips at the suffering d'Artagnan had endured over the past several years something he hoped to see increasing and soon.

Already he had sent a letter to Gaston in Lorraine alerting him of Louis death, between them they would over throw d'Artagnan, his adolescent whelp, the drunken fool of Musketeer Captain, any others who stood in their path and then take the throne for themselves.

Feron was no fool, he knew he had no legitimate claim to the throne, even if he killed Gaston there were others which a far stronger claim than he, a bastard had and the People of France would never stand for it, however Gaston's claim was legitimate he could take the throne without oposition once d'Artagnan that brat were dead, and Feron would be at his side as First Minister of France the power behind the throne.

Gaston was a fool, an easily manipulated overly arrogant fool whom Feron knew he could control with ease.

Chapter Text

Athos stomped up the steps of the garrison to his office which he was frequently using as an appartment too since he was not overly welcome at home.

It wasn't really late but he felt exhausted, no doubt from the mental and emotional stress he'd been suffering. He grimanced as his mind chose torment him with memories of times before when he'd been stressed and fatigued and d'Artagnan had tended to him.

Bittersweet memories of being lead into a steaming hot bath where he had lain soaking away his aches as d'Artagnan had washed his hair and slowly shaved his face with a cut throat razor never missing a stroke or giving him a single nic.
After he'd bathed to the point that his limbs felt pleasently boneless Athos would be drawn from the tub and laid on the bed on his front with d'Artagnan straddeling him and with scented oils would spend an hour massaging his back, neck, and shoulders, managing to find each and every kink and knot and worked them out.
Once he was done Athos would roll over and draw d'Artagnan close and enjoy being fed sweetmeats and other tasty treats from the Omega's hand inbetween kissess and caresses, and when he fell asleep it would be with his head on the Omega's chest with d'Artagnan's fingers stroking through his hair.

Athos desperately wished he could be experiancing that right now, that he could cuddle up with d'Artagnan, breath in his scent and kiss him deeply, but the only comfort he would find tonight would be in a bottle or three of wine.

Sighing deeply Athos entered his office his hands going to his sword belt to remove it but movement out of the corner his eye halted his actions and he turned sharply only to scowl as he saw Sylvie sitting on his narrow bed.

"Hard day?" she asked running her finger tips down the opening of her loose chemise and between her breasts "Want to talk about it?"

"No!" Athos growled continuing to undo his sword belt and set his weapons on his desk "Leave" he said only to roll his eyes as Sylvie rose from the bed undoing her chemise completely and opening it to reveal her breasts and sauntered over towards him

"That Omega doesn't deserve you" she purred "His baren body no longer excites you, his sulking and unreasonable behavior are unbefitting your station as an Alpha....." Sylvie trailed off as Athos grabbed her by her upper arms and glowered at her

"You never speak of d'Artagnan like that again d'you understand me?" he snarled giving her a shake for a good measure, "He is a greater person than you will ever be!, and if I hear of you speaking like that about my mate again I will personally slit your tongue, Now Leave!" he yelled throwing her towards the door making Sylvie stumble and nearly fall to the ground.

Breathing heavily the beta woman covered her breasts and glared at Athos angrily "You liked me well enough before!" she cried "You couldn't get enough of me as I recall", Athos favored her with an unimpressed look not even bothering to hold back his disdane

"I was drunk Sylvie, so drunk I didn't even know what I was doing!, I thought you were d'Artagnan!, thats who's face I had in my mind!, not yours, I never wanted you then and I don't want you now and never will in the future" he spat at her "It's d'Artagnan I love, and even if he never forgives me, even if he hates me for the rest of our lives I will never stop loving him"

Tears began to fill in Sylvie's eyes at Athos's words, pressing her lips together in a tight line she turned and fled from the office leaving the door to slam behind her.

Raking a hand through his hair Athos undid his doublet and walked over to the bed, pulling a bottle of wine out from under the bed and pulled the cork out with his teeth spitting it on the floor, flinging himself backwards onto the bed Athos brought the bottle to his lips and drank deeply hoping that the wine would blot out the pain in his heart.

 

Palais des Cardinal

 

Richelieu had left the majority of his property and wealth to Treville and Viollette, with some bequests to Louis, and his siblings.
After his death Treville and Viollette had continued to live in the palais even though for Treville every corner held a memory and brought a tear to his eye, at least at first, then as the grief had become more managable he had started to smile with memories, recalling the best of times they had spent in this grand Chateau together.

The huge celebrations and banquets that Richelieu had begrudgingly thrown and spent the whole event sulkily pushing food about his plate and clock watching until the party ended so he could go and flop in his preffered chaise with a cat on his lap and Treville by his side!.

The long lazy summer evenings they had enjoyed together quietly reading, Treville one of his (Trashy Novels) as Richelieu reffered to them as!, and the Cardinal delving into some impossibly long winded work such as Cicero or Socretes!.

It was funny that Treville didn't recall their passionate moments as much as he did their relaxed and playfull moments, oh he remembered them laying together of course, but it seemed that compared with their lives and the things they had laughed about, discussed, fretted over, and enjoyed, sex just paled in comparrison. Sex, while always enjoyable had never been the main point of their relationship, certainly not as the two of them had gotten older and their libidos had lessened with age as all do. No their relationship had been based on love, shared interests (Literature aside), an enjoyment of healthy debates that could lead into loud arguments something they both enjoyed a great deal as they fired off each other trying to make the other see their point of view.
It was these memories that Treville treasured the most above all others, well perhaps not all, the greatest memory had been giving birth to Viollette in their bed chamber with Richelieu defying society by staying by Treville's side the whole time as he had struggled and strained to push their daughter into the world.

Heading to the nursary Treville slipped inside the door quietly and smiled down at his four, soon to be Five year old daughter as she slept in her bed curled around her favorite cuddly toy, a large rabbit who's ears were hanging off and nose had been well worn away over the years from her dragging him about by either ears or nose!.

Sitting down on the bed besides Viollette Treville ran his fingers through her dark chesnut curls and bent forward to kiss her head
"I love you sweetheart" he whispered
"Oman?" Viollette mumbled shifting slightly to blink sleepily at Treville

"I'm here baby, you go on back to sleep" Treville said stroking her head

"Kay" Viollette sleepily said "Love you Oman"

"I love you too" Treville said placing another kiss on her head before leaving her to sleep and going to his own room where he flopped down on the bed and ran a hand over his face
"God I wish you were here Armand" he murmered shaking his head as he considered what they were now facing.

 

The council was still in disary since Richelieu's death with Aramis and himself desperately trying to hold the others together and keep them from splintering into factions. Louis death was not going to help this dissension and without a strong council besides him d'Artagnan was going to have an even more shaky hold on the throne.

One of the major problems was the fact d'Artagnan was an Omega, while he had already provided an heir, an Alpha male heir at that for the throne of France he was still the inferior sex and gender and that was how many of the council saw him and always would.

They would rather have an Alpha or a Beta on the throne than an Omega, some favored Lex who while still young would not be the youngest of Kings in history and with a regent and protecter he would be able to rule, of course the council would want to place themselves in positions to control the young monarch so they could milk his power and wealth for themselves.

Others wanted Gaston of all people to be made King!, Gaston, a lying traitor!, yes he was a Beta male but he cared for no one and nothing for himself, he would rip France apart with his self serving attitude and plunge them into civil war!.

The few who favored d'Artagnan did not favor him as King so much as regent with limited power and have Lex on the throne in his place.
Even fewer favored d'Artagnan as King and trying to keep the council from over throwing the young King was going to be a nightmare, especially with France at War with Spain and many civilions disquieted over poverty and loss of their homes due to war, the injured soldiers not receiving adaquet compensation, and the late soldiers families left to fend for themselves.
They were not quiet at the point of rebellion yet but they were not far from insurrection and without strong support about him d'Artagnan would not be able to hold the country together, and to be frank Treville didn't know what to do to help him or if he would even be able to.

Louvre
Twenty four hours later

 

The council conveined with d'Artagnan presiding along with Anne, all of them were dressed in black of course and would remain so for six months of mourning for Louis.

"The date for the funeral is set for three days time" Treville said taking the floor "A full state funeral will proceed, the service will be held a Notre Dam and then there shall be a solomn procession through Paris to his Majesty's tomb"

"Have we any idea of the cost?" one of the councilors asked making the others shift uncomfortably, while some might feel the same they were not foolish enough to voice it

"No matter the cost my late cousin shall be given the burial befitting his station" d'Artagnan said in an ice cold tone "I will tolerate no short cuts on this, no expense is to be spared, we can always be frugel afterwards"

"With all due respect your Majesty" Feron said the word Majesty sounding condescending as he addressed his much younger cousin "We can not spare expense when it comes to your coronation and that must take place in a very short space of time"

d'Artagnan swallowed convulsively and shook his head "I can't even begin to think about that right now" he whispered "That is something that can wait"

"Sweetheart you can't put it off forever" Anne said placing her hand over d'Artagnan's and squeezing it "Louis would not want you too"

"I know that" d'Artagnan said giving her a small smile "But I'm not ready, and nore is France yet, we can wait a few months, give us all a chance to grieve for Louis first, however" he added "We do need another first Minister of France and I can think of no one more suited for us"

"Me!" Anne cried followed by all the council save Treville and Aramis erupting in shock, d'Artagnan held up a hand to quiet them

"This is what I want" he said "So long as you agree Anne I would have you at my side at the head of my goverment"

Anne sank back in the chair her face a mask of surprise and wonder, truly she felt completely overwhelmed by this, a woman at the head of a goverment, making her way in the world of politics, it was an incredible oportunity and an immense compliment of her abilities from d'Artagnan to offer her this position truly though she could not say she was certain that she could do this
"I need some time to think first before I give you an answer" she said to d'Artagnan "I would not want to rush to a decision of such magnitude"

"Very wise" Treville agreed as d'Artagnan smiled and nodded his head in consent

"Then Gentlemen if we are all agreed?" d'Artagnan said rising to his feet only to double over and clutch his stomach with a wince

"Charles?" Anne cried in alarm

"Get Lemay!" Aramis barked to one of the guards

"No no I'm fine" d'Artagnan said letting out a deep breath "There's no need to call Lemay"

"Are you sure?" Treville asked looking d'Artagnan over he knew the omega had been having problems with his courses since the still birth and wondered if this was another bout of his womb having not shed it's lining

"I'll be fine" d'Artagnan said making himself smile and by sheer stubborness alone he walked from the room without a single wince and mantained his composure right up until he reached his chambers where he fell to his knees clutching his abdomen and moaning in pain.

He and Athos had lain together not two months ago during his heat and he had not bleed, part of him had hoped he might be pupped but not now not as he felt hot blood spotting against his thighs and his stomach cramped in pain, once again he had not conceived once again his body had failed it's duty, tears gathered in his eyes and he let them fall let himself grieve for what was not to be.

 

Garrison

 

Naturally despite his promotion to General Porthos still spent most of his time at the garrison helping Athos train recruits and working out with the Musketeers who were still serving after more than ten years.

Today was no different and Aramis smiled at the familiarity as he walked into the garrison seeing Porthos with two Recruits in head locks who were rather colourfully questioning his parentage!

"Somethings never change!" the Minister chuckled tipping a wink at Porthos who shrugged his broad shoulders lifted both cadets up over them and dumped them in the horse trough head first!

"Porthos I asked you train them in combat not give them a bath!" Athos complained from the balconey looking equal parts amused and disinterested!

"They needed to cool their hot heads down!" the large man quipped laughing all the more as the unfortunate Cadets surfaced spitting water and cursing as lewdly as a drunken sailors!

"Minister?" Athos asked raising an eyebrow "To what do we owe the honor?"

"I have news from the Louvre for you both" Aramis said jauntily climbing the steps to the office and entering the Captains office with Porthos just behind him and Athos bringing up the rear.

 

Both Porthos and Aramis grimanced at the stench inside the office of unwashed sheets, sweat filled shirts, and stale alcohol.
There were bottles everywhere some broken, some empty, and some half full that Athos had clearly fallen asleep drinking.

"Ever think of hiring a housekeeper?" Aramis drawled looking the place over in disdane "I've smelt fresher brothals!"

"Naturally!" Athos muttered slumping down into his chair and picking up a glass that was full of brandy "So go on then, what is this news?"

"Firstly the funeral" Aramis said "It will take place in three days time, full entourage and a solomn procession through the city which d'Artagnan will lead with the Dauphin"

"Thats not exactly safe" Porthos said while Athos shifted uncomfortably at the mention of his estranged mate and Pup

"His majesty has made his mind and will not be swayed on this" Aramis said shrugged his shoulders and sitting down in the spare chair "The second piece of news is his decision of whom to appoint as the new First Minister"

"Oh?, Treville?" Athos asked not overly surprised considering how close d'Artagnan was to Treville

"No, the Dowager Queen"

"What?" both Athos and Porthos yelled at once making Aramis balk and hold up his hands in protest against the joint yelling

"He wants Anne as the First Minister and she is considering it" he said "Treville and I think it is a good idea, she has the prestige, the diplomatic experiance, and the ability to work in politics"

"It hardly helps his position to do something so........unconservative" Porthos said

"I need to speak to him" Athos said rising to his feet and picking up his hat

"Athos I don't think blundering in is going to help the situation between you two" Aramis said making Athos turn back to him with a glare

"This is not about our relationship, this is about his decision making, bad ones at that"

"Athos you'll only piss him off!" Porthos sighed getting a mirthless smirk from Athos who shrugged

"It's all I seem capable of doing anyway".

 

Louvre

 

The bleeding had stopped after only an hour leaving d'Artagnan a little uncomfortable with cramps but otherwise fine, rather than taking some pain killers and going to bed he went out into the gardens found Lex with his fencing master whom he dismissed for the day and took up the days lesson with his Pup enjoying the sparring especially since Lex was getting as good as both he and Athos with a blade.

"Now remember your footwork" d'Artagnan encouraged as he forced Lex into defence "Don't drop your shoulders and keep your movements fluid"

"I'm trying!" Lex panted as he tried to get under d'Artagnan's guard and continued to be forced into defence as d'Artagnan proved too swift for him and before he knew it he was disarmed and his Oman's sword was at his throat "Bugger it!" he cursed

"You've been spending too much time with your Oncle Porthos!" d'Artagnan chuckled holding out a hand and pulling him to his feet with a grin which faded as he saw Athos walking over the lawn towards them "All I bloody need!" he muttered feeling Lex tense under his hand as he put his hand on Lex's shoulder, taking a deep breath he forced a neautral expression on his face as he greeted his estranged mate
"Captain"

"d'Artagnan, can we speak?" Athos asked hating the formal use of his title

"You should address him as Majesty!" Lex snapped pulling free from d'Artagnan and standing before him his chin held high and a challenging look in his eyes as if he were daring Athos to strike him "He is King now, your King"

"Indeed" Athos agreed with a smile "As he is yours too Petit Dauphin, and you are our Alphon", this was apparently the wrong thing to say to Lex as he flared up with anger at his Aphan his fists balling and eyes all but shooting fire

"I'm Oman's Pup not yours you hear me?, I'm not yours!, I'll never be yours again!"

"Lex thats enough" d'Artagnan said placing a calming hand on his Pups ridgid shoulder "You don't speak to your Aphan like that, not for any reason at all"

"But Oman..........."

"No buts Lex, you can go to your chambers for the rest of the day, no horse riding or fencing till tomorrow", Lex glared at his parents his bottom lip pushed out into an all to familiar pout, letting out a frustrated snarl the young Pup ran from the gardens storming back through the Louvre towards his chambers where he through himself inside and slammed the door before flinging himself down on the bed in temper.

 

"You wanted to talk" d'Artagnan said with a sigh sheething his sword and beckoning to the gardens, Athos fell into step besides him the two of the walking at a comfortable pace

"It's about your recent decisions" Athos said "Making Anne first Minister especially"

"She hasn't accepted yet and she'll be a bloody good first minister" d'Artagnan replied

"I agree she will but I'm not sure that such an unusual appointment is the best thing to do considering your.........position at present", Athos regretted his words as soon as he saw the pain on d'Artagnan's face, "I just don't want to see you hurt" he added making d'Artagnan give a sarcastic laugh and look at him with a sneer on his face

"You don't want to see me hurt?, you?"

"Oh for God sake d'Artagnan!" Athos cried running a hand over his face in irritation "Nothing happened with Sylvie!"

"No of course not, you were just checking her mouth for missing teeth!" d'Artagnan drawled "And I suppose you were just trying to warm your hands on her body?"

"Well I'd get a damn sight warmer from her than I would with your ice!" Athos snapped back his head snapping to the side as d'Artagnan slapped him

"You bastard, you worthless bastard" he hissed "If you had any idea what I went through............."

"Of course I bloody know!" Athos snarled back a hand held to his face "D'you think I was blind?, that I didn't see the pain your were in or how ill you were becoming?, d'you think I didn't hear your screams of agony, your tears of grief?, d'you think I didn't grieve for Francoise and Robert?" he yelled at the Omega who had the grace to flinch despite forcing himself to maintain a stoic expression on his face "Well I damn well did!, I wept night after night, day after day and was so worried I was going to loose you that it made me sick to my stomach!", taking his hat off Athos ran a hand through his hair and paced shaking his head "I was pissed out of my skull when Sylvie came onto me, I didn't know what I was doing, what she was doing!, Christ I thought it was you!, that you were kissing me!"

"Right!" d'Artagnan half laughed half sobbed "because she and I look so much alike don't we?"

"You did get the drunk part?" Athos asked at d'Artagnan's lack of response he let out a huff and looked away swallowing hard so as not to cry "D'you want a divorce?" he asked in a tight voice "Want to end what we have together?"

"What do we have?" d'Artagnan asked shaking his head "What are we doing besides hurting each other?"

Athos nodded his head clenching his hands into fists to keep from screaming "Very well, we'll approach the Pope and I'll give evidence of adultery, I won't fight you on this I'll do whatever is necessary"

d'Artagnan felt like he'd just been punched in the stomach it took everything in him to keep from breaking down in tears, from grabbing hold of Athos and throwing himself into his arms, of begging for another chance at their marriage, it was only his stubborn pride that held him back and had him giving a single nod of his head being unable to speak due to the lump in his throat. Clenching his teeth Athos saluted him turned and marched away without a backwards glance tears running down his face, had he looked round he would have seen d'Artagnan sinking to the ground in a flood of tears himself.

Chapter Text

Alpha Parent-Aphan
Omega Parent-Oman

Alpha son- Alphon
Alpha daughter- Alphter
Omega Son- Omeon
Omega daughter- Ometer
Male Alpha Nephew- Alphew
Female Alpha Neice- Aleice
Male Omega Nephew- Omphew
Female Omega Neice- Omeice
Alpha brother- Alphrer
Alpha Sister- Alphta
Omega Brother- Omerer
Omega Sister- Ometa

 

D'Artagnan was beyond upset in the days that followed, while he was hurt beyond belief by Athos's actions regarding Sylvie he still loved the Alpha very much and part of him had hoped that one day they might work things out and now that seemed like an impossability.

Constance had offered her support and advice when he'd told her about him and Athos planning a divorce as had Lemay though it did little to ease his aching heart.
Nore did the news go down well with Aramis when Lemay told him what was going on.

 

"The two of them are being rediculas" the Alpha sighed "They still love each other, more than love each other and yet all they're doing is pushing each other away"

"d'Artagnan's heart broken" Lemay said leaning back in his chair with a hand over his middle a frequent gesture he had developed since falling pregnant, one that Aramis found rather endearing "I fear for his health" he sighed shaking his head

"He's sick?", Aramis was instantly alert not just as a friend but also becuase and illness in the royal house right now would be disasterous

"In his heart yes, depression, self hatred, despair, he's falling apart" Lemay replied "Physically?, He doesn't eat properly or rest enough, he is frequently anemic, he bleeds too heavily and I doubt very much he will ever conceive again, and if he does I doubt even more that he'll carry to term, in fact I fear another pregnancy might kill him considering the state his womb is in".

 

Aramis let out a deep sigh saddened by this since he knew as did everyone how much d'Artagnan wanted another Pup, seeing the misplaced guilt on Lemay's face Aramis leaned forward and laid a hand on his knee giving him a gentle smile "You have no reason to blame yourself over this Querida, you did everything you could for him, Christ knows if it wasn't for you he'd have died of infection or blood loss after that still birth"

"I know" Lemay whispered "I just wish I could do something for him", rising to his feet Aramis went round behind Lemay and wrapped his arms about him kissing his cheek

"I know you do, it's one of the things I love most about you, your kind and gentle heart" he whispered "If it were not for your beautiful nature you wouldn't have forgiven me for my stupidity, Christ knows why you did, I'd have kicked me out on my arse!"

Sighing Lemay tipped his head back to look up at Aramis and reached up a hand to cup his mates face "I forgave you because I love you and you swore it would never happen again"

"And it never will" Aramis promise "I'll take your scalpol to my knot before I cheat again!", Lemay chuckled at that and glanced down towards the offending organ

"I hope you don't, I'm rather fond of that Knot, and I have several plans for it which require it to still be attached to your body!"

"Oh really?" Aramis purred a very well known smile spreading over his face "Just what kind of plans are they then my good Doctor?"

"Wicked plans my beloved Minister!, the kind that no Doctor should ever consider performing on a patient of his!"

"Ooh good!, I do so hope that you will make these plans a reality very soon!"

Lemay chuckled again and licked his lips lasciviously "I plan too!".

 

Louvre

d'Artagnan stood silently as his body was washed by two maids, his hair already rinsed through with clean water and oil of walnuts was wrapped in a turban of brown silk waiting to be dried and combed and styled, the oils would add softness to his hair and a touch of reddish brown to the dark locks.

Letting the maids pull his arms out and wash his hands and fingers individually he closed his eyes and sighed deeply focusing on his breathing to remain calm and collected for what he needed to do today.

He acknowledged Constance's arrival in his chambers with the barest incline of his head, the female Omega was dressed in a gown of black devoid of any ornaments and embroidery, her hair was tightly coiled into a bun on the top of her head and a veil of black lace was pinned over it to cover her hair.

"Lex?" d'Artagnan asked moving now from the bathchamber to the bedchamber where he stood allowing the maids to dress him, like Constance his clothing was equally as plain and jet black, even his stockings were in black and his shoes had had the diamonds removed for the occaision

"He's ready" Constance replied "Her Majesty is with him your Majesty"

d'Artagnan's nose wrinkled and he shot her a reproving look "No Your Majesty from you Constance, you've always called me Charles or d'Artagnan don't stop now please"
Constance smiled and noded her head, she went to the dressing table and picked up one of the mother of pearl combs "May I do your hair then?, as I always did?"

"Very well" d'Artagnan agreed dismissing the maids, who dipped curtsey's before leaving him and he went and sat before the age spotted mirror letting out a contented sigh as Constance unwrapped the turban and gently began to massage his temples "You're good at this" he breathed closing his head and relaxing

"And you need it, you've been wound tight as a coil for days now"

"It's a tense time"

"I know and I understand but please don't put too much pressure on yourself" Constance said taking up the comb and starting to brush his hair that smelt sweetly of the nut oils
"You don't have to do everything yourself or on your own"

"Don't I?", d'Artagnan opened his eyes and met her gaze in the mirror "I am King now Constance, to be a King is to be alone in the world, the ultimate decision rests with me, as will the blame, I will have no privacy or peace now until death for my life will not now be mine, it will be France and a country is not a Kind or gentle Master"

Constance stopped brushing his hair and lay her hands on his shoulders giving them a gentle squeeze, "I'll be with you always I promise" she said "Whatever you need"

Reaching up d'Artagnan caught one of her hands and gave her a smile in the mirror "Whatever would I do without you?" he said smiling more when Constance placed a kiss on his head

"You'll never have to find out".

 

Notre Dame

The Cathedral was packed with mourners, at the front were the court and royal family guarded by the Musketeers and Des Essarts City Guard with the commons in the back of the church.

Lex did both his parents proud by managing to hold in his tears at the funeral, showing emotion in public was not befitting royalty and d'Artaganan had taught Lex well in controlling his emotions until in private where he might release them without anyone watching and judging.

Despite a small wobble of the lips Lex managed to maintain his composure though he gripped tight to his Oman's hand and his Tante Anne's hand as she silently shed her tears behind her black veil.

The ceramony was beautiful giving Louis the funeral he deserved, Treville lead the pole bearers taking one of the corners on his shoulder and the four of them marched smartly from the Cathedral followed by d'Artagnan, Lex, and Anne, after them came Athos leading the Musketeers who were all in dark cloaks and wore black sashes over their doublets, behind them the courtiers followed and the solomn procession was lead through the streets that were lined with Parisions all of whom removed their hats or scarfs and bowed their heads as the funeral party went past them.

In the crowd Feron stood beside a man with a scarred face and dangerous look in his eyes watching the procession closely "You see the whelp?" Feron whispered to the man

"I see him" the man replied, his name was Grimaud, he was a murderer, a man without a conscience or a soul, he worked for the highest bidder and was troubled by weaknesses in the forms of sex, alcohol, or opiates, his pleasure was in slaughter and blood shed both of which he excelled in "He looks sick" Grimaud noted eyeing the pale shade of d'Artagnan's usually olive skin and the dark shadows under his eyes

"He's been weak and sickly since the still birth, he is most likely baren now" Feron said "He nearly bled to death when he lost his brats"

"A shame he did not" Grimaud commented "It would have saved us some trouble", together they moved away from the crowd going to where Feron's carriage was waiting, in his condition he could not walk far at all, and had to rely on his canes just to hobble about as he did, "You are sure about Gaston as the King?" he asked keeping his pace slow for the Duc

"Gaston is a weak fool he will be easily manipulated and controlled" Feron assured Grimaud and climbed into the carriage with a grunt "Both Charles and Louis Alexandre must die, and there can be links to me or the court"

"There will be none" Grimaud assured him "An attack by unknown bandits, no faces to be seen and few survivors to tell the tale to the court"

"Hmm, you might want to think about taking out the Musketeer Captain and the Minister of War, perhaps the Minister of Welfare too, they are all too much trouble and will not let the sluts murder rest unavenged"

"I will see to it" Grimaud breathed, stepping away from the carriage he pulled his hood lower hiding his face more and disappeared into the shadows.

 

Louvre

A wake was held at the palace, a somber affair with only quiet talking amongst the courtiers and no dancing or music.

Taking a glass of wine Anne made her way over to where d'Artagnan was speaking quietly with Treville the two men both giving her sympathetic smiles and d'Artagnan embracing and kissing her cheek when they saw her

"How are you holding up your Majesty?" Treville asked

"I am well enough thank you Minister" Anne replied with a grateful smile, while some courtiers had already turned from her, were breaking alliances with her since she was now out of power and could no longer potentially help them in advancing, her real friends like Treville were being a constant support to her
"I wanted to speak to you about your offer Charles" Anne said to d'Artagnan

"Should I.....?" Treville asked indicating that he would absent himself if asked

"No please there is no need for secrets between us" Anne said "Besides this concerns you too"

"You've made your decision then?" d'Artagnan asked taking a sip of his wine

"Indeed, and I have decided to accept", d'Artagnan's face broke into a smile and without thought for protocol he pulled Anne into a hug!

"Thank you so much!" he whispered in her ear grinning even more as she hugged him tighter "We'll do this together"

"Yes we will" Anne promised sharing a wink with Treville both of them happy to see that despite having to grow up fast d'Artagnan still had alot of Pup in him.

 

Lex had gone out into the gardens and was sitting on the stone bench in the rose arbour swinging his legs back and forth a distant look on his face.

Having seen his Alphon go out into the gardens Athos had followed and now quietly approached him sitting down on the bench beside him
"The first time I kissed your Oman was not far from here you know?" he said with a deep sigh "It was just up on the pateo during a ball"

"I know" Lex grunted "When he was bonded to Rochefort", the boy looked up at his Aphan with a scowl on his face "Why did you let Oman be bound to such a monster?, let him be hurt so much?", while neither d'Artagnan or Athos had told him the details of what had happened with Rochefort but Lex had heard talk about the court about his parents unconventional marriage and what had occured with Rochefort
Athos sighed and rubbed his hands over his face feeling very out of his depths here "It's complicated Lex, your Oman didn't want Rochefort to hurt me or others as he had threatened to do, he asked me not to get involved no matter how much we loved each other"

"He still loves you", the words were spoken in a low and sulky tone "He tries to pretend he doesn't, that it's only anger he feels but really he does love you I know he does"

Athos placed a hand over Lex's shoulder and gave him a squeeze "And I love your Oman very much"

"Yeah?, why did you fuck that slut then?" Lex spat at his Aphan "Why did you hurt Oman so much if you love him?"

"Because I'm an idiot, because I was drunk out of my skull and didn't know what I was doing, because I'm bloody fool!" Athos cried rising from the bench and pacing, turning back to Lex he shook his head "I didn't want to hurt your Oman, I love him more than I can begin to say, and I love you too Lex, I loved you when you were kicking inside your Oman's belly, I loved you when you were first placed in my arms crying and wriggling, I loved you the day you took your first stumbling steps, and I love you now and I always will"

Lex wanted to be churlish wanted to say something horrible and storm off, but his Puppish need for his Aphan stopped him from doing so and in a small voice he whispered "I love you too Aphan"

Athos smiled broadly and breeched the distant between them and pulled his Alphon into an embrace, for a moment Lex was frozen stiff then he relaxed into the hug and rested his head against his Aphans broad chest
"You've got to make things good with Oman again" he mumbled "I want him to be happy again"

"So do I mon petit" Athos sighed kissing Lex's head "I just don't know how to make things right with us".

Chapter Text

One of the first orders of business that d'Artagnan had to address as the new King of France was the long awaited visit of Prince Kadim of the Ottoman Empire.

He was acting as Ambassedor for his Father the Sultan Ibrahim, and was coming to France to negotiate a new and hopefully lasting and prosperous trade agreement between France and the Ottoman Empire.

"This trade agreement will give us unlimited access to all spices, silks, perfumes, and a goodly supply of gold, silver, and jewels" Feron said at the council meeting "In return we have only to offer our support in their maintaining their borders from Spanish agression"

"Oh only!" Treville snorted "In case it has slipped your aging mind my dear Duke, we are currently at war with Spain and have no forces available to support other countries!"
several of his fellows on the council voice their agreement at this

"A moment if you please Treville" d'Artagnan said holding up a hand

"Your Majesty" Treville said bowing his head

"As I read this situation Gentlemen and Lady, my late cousin Louis XIII approved this negotiation to take place and was looking forward to making this trade agreement and alliance with the Ottoman Empire, correct?" he looked about the council seeing several nodding heads "I also believe that in return for our support of the Ottoman Empire's freedom from Spain, they in turn shall support our freedom from Spain", d'Artagnan did cast Anne a slightly sympathetic look since they were at war with the country of her Birth but as she ahd said herself at the time war had been declared She had been Queen of France much longer than she had been Princess of Spain.

The former Queen gave him a smile and reached for her wine goblet and took a sip
"I also think that with careful negotiation upon my part I could perhaps persuade the Sultan Ibrahim to support our war against Spain and perhaps back our troops in the feild?", d'Artagnan spoke in a beguiling and suggestive tone to the council making several (Treville included) smile at the inuendo in the way d'Artagnan spoke, yes the Omega was more than young and beautiful enough to charm any Alpha, and he was both intelligent and skilled enough in political matters to work this deal to their favor.

 

Feron smiled at d'Artagnan his face mocking and disbelieving of the Omega's skills and the tone he spoke in was condescending,
"Are you sure you are.....how shall I say?, fit for entertaining this Prince?" he asked "You have not been well of late"

Anne glared at Feron as did Treville, it was true that d'Artagnan had not been well the past weeks, he had been suffering from frequent stomach upsets, painful cramps, and spotting.
He was also easily fatigued, prone to headaches, and far too pale to be healthy, his normally tanned skin had lost it's golden olive hue and dark smudges had taken up a perminant residence beneath his eyes that he was being forced to use make up to conceal.

Every morning now he coated his face in walnut oil and a powder of sandle wood to help hide the paller of his skin and the shadows.
As men wearing make up was becoming more and more fashionable amongst the aristocracy along with the use of elaborately curled wigs, his use of make up could be dismissed as simply a fancy of vanity, certainly the adding of kohl over his eye lids and just under his eyes gave him a smokey and exotic look that was down right seductive to behold, especially in the evenings at dinner when he would add a touch of cardamon seed oil to his lips making them redder and all the more kissable.

While the whole court knew, at least in some part of d'Artagnan's ailments, though thankfully not the full extent, it was more than unseemly for Feron to bring them up in such a mannor, and it was certainly not meet of him to suggest that d'Artagnan was unfit in any way at all.

Gritting his teeth d'Artagnan forced a smile to his face as he faced down Feron and spoke in the most superior tone of voice he could muster
"I can assure you my dear Phillipe I am perfectly well and more than capable of both entertaining our guests and negotiating a treaty with them, besides..." he smiled a little wider and gestured to Anne "I shall have the assistance of my First Minister to aid me in doing so shall I not my Lady?"

"You will indeed Majesty" Anne said with an equally calculating smile thrown Feron's way

"Well then I believe that is the matter settled" Treville said with a sigh "If we can now discuss the need to send further munitions to the front?".

 

After the council ended d'Artagnan hurried to his chambers where he swiftly changed his courtly attire for that of plain leather breeches and a corse tunic of hessian, a stained cloak of grey with a large hood was the finishing touch to his disguise and using the servants stairs he exited the Louvre and made his way swiftly to the stables, taking Zad and rode into Paris to Lemay's practise for a secret examination.

Constance was of course in on the act, she put it about court that the King had a migraine and would remain in his chambers in silence and darkness until it had past.

The reason for the secrecy was that d'Artagnan didn't want anyone else to know that he was going to see Lemay as he didn't want the court further speculating about his health.
He wasn't a fool, and he certainly wasn't deaf, he knew that the state of his health was a hot topic for gossip, everyone from the Duc's and Duchesses, to the bloody scullery maids were talking about his health, his fertility, Christ they were more than likely discussing his bowel movements aswell!. The last thing he needed was to add more fuel to the fire by summoning Lemay to attend upon him so this subterfuge was created to avoid any further gossiping and speculations.

 

Keeping his head down as he rode through the streets he managed to keep from being recognised and entered Lemay's practise quietly being shown in by the Doctor himself and smiling at the growing bump on his friends frame.

"You're doing well I see" he said "I assume you're alright?"

"Doing very well thank you, though I'm bloody huge!" Lemay sighed "Bloody water retention!" he threw up his hands in exasperation "Why can't I be like other Omegas and Beta Women and breeze through the pregnancy looking all glowing and just have a nice neat bump?, instead I get an arse that I swear is growing as fast as my middle, ankles the size of my thighs, and cravings that are driving me up the damn wall!"

The fact that d'Artagnan burst into laughter at Lemay's woes probably wasn't the best thing but he couldn't help it, Lemay sounded so dramatic that it was hilarious and it was all he could do not to end up bent double with his laughter!
"Oh screw you!" the Doctor grunted shoving past d'Artagnan who followed him snickering unrepentantly "You wanted an examination I believe?" Lemay asked

"Yes, a very full examination" d'Artagnan said running his fingers across the mantle piece and tapped his nails on the surface nervously "I think................I think there may be something very wrong with me" he whispered closing his fingers into a fist and gently thumping it on the mantle "I....I'm spotting on and off, sick practically every day, I have no energy and.........." he paused and took a shaky breath "I scared it's something serious" he confessed to Lemay "I'm scared that I've got.......a cancer"

"I'm sure you don't" Lemay was quick to state making d'Artagnan snort delicately, "We'll do an internal examination to check that there are no growths, but I'm sure you'll be fine" he said going to the narrow cot bed he used for examinations

WHile he normally hated internals d'Artagnan made no fight about be so examined and swiftly stripped down to his shirt and climbed up onto the cot laying himself down and taking a deep breath to relax himself, especially his internal muscles.

Lemay lay a thin sheet over d'Artagnan's hips for modesty sake and then helped him roll his shirt up baring himself from the ribcage down.

"Okay lets get the unpleasent part over with first" the Doctor said taking up the speculum "Knees bent, feet against your bottom and legs parted"

"You know that by rote!" d'Artagnan snorted doing as he was asked, after so many pregnancies he hardly had any modesty left and Lemay had seen everything he'd got more than once so there would be little point in being shy about this.

"Just relax for me and take steady even breaths" Lemay instructed gently inserting the speculum inside d'Artagnan's body, the Omega winced at the intrusion but made himself stay relaxed as Lemay pushed the instrument deeper inside him and moved it about "Sorry" he appologised when d'Artagnan took a sharp intake of breath "I'm having trouble finding your cervix"

"S'okay" d'Artagnan whispered trying to fight the natural instinct his body to tense up, he resorted to biting his bottom lip and clench his fist as Lemay continued to shift the speculum about and mutter to himself until he apparently found what he was looking for

"Thats odd"

"What?" d'Artagnan demanded half sitting up and wincing at the motion "What is it?, is it a cancer?"

"No, no there are no irregular growths I can see, scar tissue yes but no tumours of any kind" Lemay replied removed the speculum and stood up with a frown, d'Artagnan lowered his legs and met the intrigued expression on Lemay's face

"What?" he asked

"I'm not certain" Lemay said washing his hands in a bowl of water and laying the speculum in another, "Tell me your symptoms again, Nausea and vomiting?"

"Yeah almost everyday, I can't stand the sight or smell of pork products either, spotting, fatigue, and headaches"

"Any dizzyness?"

"Yes, it's worse in the mornings"

"How about abdominal cramps and or bloating?, pains in the breasts?, a need to urinate more"

"Wha....?, Lemay! I am not pregnant!" d'Artagnan snorted realizing what Lemay was hinting at "I bled heavily a month ago"

"How heavily?" Lemay asked walking back over to the cot "For how long did you bleed?"

"I......" d'Artagnan shook his head and shrugged "A day, day and a half?, look Lemay I can not be pregnant, I haven't fallen in two years!, my heats and courses are all over the place it just................" he broke off and ran a hand through his hair shaking his head again while laying a hand over his belly "Why would you even think of this?" he asked looking back up at Lemay "You said yourself my chances of conception was all but non existant!"

"I know what I said d'Artagnan but you have all the symptoms and your uterus has moved up from the pelvis caverty, the only time it does that is during pregnancy".

 

d'Artagnan sagged back on the cot uttlerly shocked out of his mind, he hardly noticed as Leamy began to examin his abdomen, swiftly locating his uterus and then using an ear trumpet to listen for heartbeats.

Pregnant

He'd been trying to get pregnant for the last two years without success, had thought of little else save his bodies failings, had cursed the unfairness of it and berated his body for betraying him so, letting him down in such a simple task.
He had expected, or at least imagined that he would feel elated to fall pregnant, to be happy, or at least releaved that he was capable of conceiving, yet as he lay on the cot with Lemay examining him and judging how far along he was all he could feel was terror twisting his stomach painfully.

"You are definately pregnant, pushing fourteen weeks I would say" Lemay said with a smile "Congratulations", the Doctor frowned when he saw d'Artagnan was biting his bottom lip and struggling not to cry "What is it?" he asked "Aren't you happy about this?"

"I'm too scared to be happy" d'Artagnan admitted looking up at Lemay with tears shining in his eyes "I've lost so many Pups, miscarriage and still birth I.......I just can't face going through that again!", as his tears began to fall he sat up and swiped at his face letting out a shuddering breath as Lemay sat down besides him and put an arm about his shoulders "You must think me so ungrateful"

"Not in the least" Lemay said "What you are feeling, being scared of loosing the Pup, suffering more pain, anyone would feel like this"

"But I've wanted to get pregnant so much, I've wanted another Pup for so long, I thought I would feel happy about this, I want to feel happy about it!"

"I'm sure you will once you've had time to let the news sink in" Lemay said with a sympathetic smile "And no doubt once you've spoken to Athos.........."

"No!" d'Artagnan suddenly exclaimed cutting Lemay off "No one must know of this, no one at all, not until it becomes impossible for me to hide my condition", wiping any further tears from his face he scooted off the bed and grabbed his clothes to hurriedly dress himself "I have to get back to the Louvre before I'm missed"

"d'Artagnan you can't hide this" Lemay said getting up from the cot

"Not indefinately no, but I can for a good long while yet"

"d'Artagnan...."

"Lemay I can't go through another public miscarriage or still birth!" d'Artagnan exclaimed, with a sigh he leaned back against the Doctor's desk "I can't have everyone watching me and gossiping, whispering about when I'll loose this one, speculating on whether or not I'll survive the birth" he said "I don't want anyone to know about this until I'm too big to hide it anymore"

"You'll be struggling to hide it from twenty weeks, certainly by twenty four you'll be showing too much for concealment, and do not even consider using a corset"

"I won't, I'll wear loose clothes, add sashes to my doublets and elaborate cloaks to conceal the bump, I'll eat more than normal let people think I'm just getting fat, God knows half the bloody peacocks at court are so superficially they'll be stupid enough to believe it", d'Artagnan finished getting himself dressed and placed his cloak back on pulling the hood low to hide his face "I'm trusting you not to tell anyone Lemay, not even Aramis" he said to the Doctor "Complete secrecy"

"I understand" Lemay said "But please take care of yourself"

"I will" d'Artagnan promise giving his friend a grateful smile, he turned to leave but Lemay called out to him calling him back

"You'll have to tell Athos at some point you know"

"I know" d'Artagnan said "But not now"

"He does love you, you know" Lemay said "He's a bloody fool but he does love you, this could be what'll bring the two of you back together for good"

"Or drive us apart completely" d'Artagnan countered "Either way I can't think about it right now, I need...............I want to just get through this pregnancy, not worry about my ruined marriage" he wrapped his hands about his middle and smiled "This Pup is my priority now not Athos, whatever happens there will have to happen on it's own because I can't spare either the time or face the stress of it"

"Even if he might be able to help with the stress?"

"It's just to difficult Lemay I just can't deal with it at the moment" d'Artagnan sighed "Now I have to go" he paused and gave Lemay a hard look "You won't say anything will you?, not even hint?"

"I promise I won't" Lemay swore "But I want to see you each week for check ups and I want you to keep yourself calm, eat a wholesome diet, and take plenty of rest"

"I will" d'Artagnan agreed with a smile having been told the same thing for his last seven pregnancies, "I'll see you next week then"

"I'll come to the Louvre and see you there" Lemay said "It doesn't have to be nesacarilly for an examination, I could just be visiting a friend" he said as d'Artagnan started, relaxing the King nodded and made his departure leaving Lemay in the peaceful silence of his practise to brood over being asked to keep such a big secret for heaven only knew how long
"Please God let him tell at least Athos and Constance soon" he murmured "We can't keep this quiet forever and I don't want to have to try".

Chapter Text

Louvre

Constance looked up from her embroidery at the sound of heavy foot steps and smiled as she saw Porthos coming down the corridor
"Are you looking for his Majesty" she asked setting the embroidery aside and smoothed her skirts as she stood up

"Aye I wanted to talk to 'im about protecting the munition and grain supplies to the front" Porthos said with a smile as he appreciatively looked over Constance's gown, it was a well chosen colour of peach brocade satin with a very pale pink embroidery upon the full skirts and a teasing threading of cream ribbons running up the bodice ending in a bow at her breasts.

The colour emphasized her peaches and cream complexion and the healthy pink of her cheeks that was wonderfully offset by her rich red curls that were arranged to frame her face with a tight coil and plaits at the back of her head.

"You look very beautiful today my Lady" he said "Very beautiful indeed, rather like the first flowers of spring after a long and grey winter"

Constance laughed at the unusual flattery from Porthos and tapped his arm in gentle reproval "I would thank you to remember I am a respectable widow Monsieur le General and flattery will get you no where"

"Really?" Porthos asked with a sigh "Ah well y'can't blame an Alpha for trying can you?"

"I suppose not" Constance said a whistful smile on her face "Since dear Ninon's passing compliments have been few and far between", the sorrow in her voice and the whistfulness in her eyes was well known to Porthos for they were feelings he had himself since his loss of Alice in the child bed. As a wealthy widower thanks to Alice's estate and his rank of General he was a fine catch as a bride groom and mate but he had not given any thought to remarriage nore even to having a brief fling with a willing partner, he had been willingly celibate these long years as he nursed his broken heart with the aid of his dear friends, as he stood before her now he realized that Constance had been as celibate as he despite being young enough to bear many more litters before heat-cessesion took away her fertility, despite her beauty, her wealth and position as Dowager Comtesse de larroque

"You have never thought about wedding again yourself Madame" he asked and at Constances's questioning look her shrugged "You are young and beautiful you must have Alphas and Betas lining up for your hand!"

Constance laughed blushing a little at the compliments and elegantly shrugged her shoulders "I have not thought to look for love again since Ninon, for so long my heart was far too sore and all I could think of was my Pups"

"Ah yes, how are they?"

"Lively as ever, at their lessons at present, His Majesty was kind enough to grant them to share in The Dauphins lessons which is affording them a great education"

"And Prince Lex a couple of playmates to make mischief with!"

"Don't I know it" Constance snorted shaking her head "The three of them cause chaos on a daily basis!", Porthos laughed with her amused at the thought of the three Pups running rings about their elders and making such trouble!, as she sobered Constance pushed a curl behind her ear and gave Porthos an appologetic look "I am afraid that an audience with His Majesty is impossible this day, he is laid up with a migraine and can not see anyone"

Porthos winced knowing the pain of such accursed troubles himself and nodded "I will speak to him when he is recovered then, if you can tell him that I desire an audience?"

"Of course"

"Then I thank you Madame and bid you a goodday" Porthos bowed politely but paused before leaving an idea striking his head "I wonder Madame........would you care to take a walk in the Tuilleries one afternoon with me?"

Constance's eyebrows rose in surprise at this offer yet she couldn't think of a reason why not in fact it was quite a delightful idea "I think I would like that very much" she replied with a growing smile

"Tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting of course?"

"Till tomorrow then" Constance said dipping a cursey to Porthos and smiled to herself as he departed a fluttering in her stomach that she had not felt since Ninon both surprising and pleasing her.

 

Paris

 

Lemay hated hiding anything from Aramis.

After their reconsilliation following Aramis's affair with Margurite they had sworn that there would no longer be any secrets between them to avoid any further hurt, so to now be keeping such a huge secret from his mate unsettled Lemay despite the fact he was under orders from his King.

He could well understand why d'Artagnan didn't want to announce to the world that he was expecting another child, to do so was to risk further humilliation if he were to suffer the misfortune of another miscarriage or still birth, while he would get concern and sympathy from his friends and family he would receive nothing by mocking pity from others and snide remarks about his being baren whispered behind hands.

Lemay knew all about those remarks himself since he had been on the receiving end of many in the long years it had taken for him to get with Pup and now he was he did fear that he would miscarry or suffer a still birth, that God would take from him what he had so longed for all these years, part him wished he could lock himself away into some sanctuary safe from all dangers to his unborn Pup. A rediculas desire since as Doctor he knew that he would not be able to protect his Pup like that, if it was not meant to be then there was nothing he or anyone could do to prevent a miscarriage or stillbirth, natures secrets on these matters were still locked away from them and until that changed no matter how well learned a physician was they would still loose Pups and babes.

At least there was one thing he could be sure of, working out d'Artagnan's dates he would be out of his own confinement by the time d'Artagnan was due to give birth. So long as he went full term, if he were to deliver early then another physician would have to attend him, not something d'Artagnan would be happy about or comfortable with but there would be no choice.

"Perhaps Monsieur Dubois" Lemay mused out loud thinking of the Doctor who would attending him when his time came, the fact that Lemay trusted him to deliver his own Pups would certainly go over well with d'Artagnan who would be more likely to accept him if the need arose which Lemay prayed it would not for he doubted d'Artagnan would survive another miscarriage, oh physically he probably would but mentally and emotionally he would be broken beyond repair, not even his love for Prince Lex would be enough to keep him from falling into his grief, especially not with his marriage to Athos in such tatters.

"He needs to reconsile with him" Lemay whispered
"Who needs to reconsile with whom dearest" came Aramis's voice as he arrived home and wrapped Lemay into his arms delivering a deep and lasting kiss while his hands ran over the curve of his belly "Hmm have you grown at all since I left this morning?, have there been any changes at all in my absence?"

"Apart from my ankles swelling to the size of tree trunks no!" Lemay scoffed leaning back into Aramis contentedly as he held him close cuddeling his precious bump

"You should sit and put your feet up then so you may rest them and let me tend to your needs" Aramis stated guiding Lemay to a chair and sitting him down, he carefully swept the pregnant Omega's legs up and rested them on another chair

"Aramis I have to get the dinner on!" Lemay protested attempting to rise only to have Aramis push him back down and begin to rub at his shoulders tenderly

"I will cook tonight Querida" he said kissing his head "You and our petit rest together and let me play servant this night", several more kisses were delivered before Aramis moved away to start making dinner preperations "You never told me who you were speaking of Querida?" he asked

"Athos and d'Artagnan of course" Lemay replied settling back in the chair "The two of them need to be reconsiled, sooner rather than later"

"Tell me something I don't know" Aramis agreed with a deep sigh "But they are both as stubborn as mules, what can we do?"

"Seduce them" Lemay said making Aramis spin round and gape at him causing the doctor to laugh "Not for ourselves idiot!, for them, have them constantly placed in each others presence, preferably in romantic settings and reminded of their love"

Aramis appeared to think this over and made a humming noise in his throat "And here I thought I was the romantic one in this relationship!" he drawled.

 

Louvre

d'Artagnan was still in shock when he got back to the Louvre, pregnant, he had never expected to actually fall pregnant again, had resigned himself to being barren for the rest of his life and now suddenly be having another Pup left him completely flumoxed with what and how he should be feeling.

After briefly speaking with Constance and assuring her that Lemay had said that he fine he had retired to his chambers to think and now sat on his bed biting at the skin about his nails trying to make sense of all this.

Of course he was elated, he had so longed for another Pup that he was over the moon to be having one, but he was also frightened of suffering further heartache and felt very alone at this moment, very very alone.

Part of him wished to go to Athos to tell him that they were to have a litter, but the thought of facing Athos right now was not something he could bare to consider, facing Athos would bring him all the more stress than he could stand right now and Athos would insist on being involved and d'Artagnan wasn't sure he wanted him involved at all.
He was certain that he wasn't going to let anyone know about the pregnancy for as long as possible and at least that subterfuge would give him something to distract his mind with right now.

 

Rising from his bed he went into his anti-chamber to his desk and took up quills and paper beginning drawing out new clothing for himself to help conceal his pregnancy for as long as he could.

It would be a simple matter to add pleats to the length of his doublets, it wouldn't be flattering in the least in fact it would make him look rounder than he was, but if he started to wear that sort of thing now before he was showing then people wouldn't notice when he did, also drawing designs of embroidery on every other pleat would help create an optical illusion and take peoples minds of wondering if he was hiding anything.

Half length cloaks of silk and satin to be hung over his left arm and side would also help hide his thickening waist and growing belly. Tapping the feather of the quill to his lips he added boning to the bodice of the doublet to help flatten his breasts which would soon be filling with milk, he could also easily bind them with bandages once he really began to show to further hide the fullness.

Once he was satisifed with his designs he went to his trunks and began selecting the doublets he would have altered to save on the expense of having new clothing made when the treasury was not exactly deep at present, although once the army took Girona that may change and both Porthos and Treville had been confident that they would be able to take the city and it's wealth, something that would aid the poor of France and refill the treasury in one fell swoop.

 

Going to the door he summoned a passing maid to him "Find Madame de larroque and tell her I wish to see my Tailor in the morning and for him to bring material samples"

"Yes Majesty" the maid said with a curtsey and gaped when d'Artagnan flipped her a couple of livre

"Treat yourself child" he said with a smile

"Thank you Majesty" the girl whispered in awe of the coins which would certainly go a long way to buying her a new gown.

 

Settling back into his chambers d'Artagnan had selected three doublets to have altered and planned to have two new ones made complete with new breeches aswell.
His selection of doublets were one of dark mightnight blue leather, one of plum satin, and one of dark amber damask that was bracaded with gold thread.

"Perhaps a red, and a brown for my new doublets" he mused running his fingers over the satin, smiling he lay his hand over his belly "Will I be designing doublets and breeches for you soon or gowns?" he asked wondering if he were carrying a boy or a girl, and for that matter alpha, beta, or omega, "I don't really care" he said to the tiny being inside him "So long as you are healthy I will be happy, very happy".

 

Tuilleries

Constance had been surprised by d'Artagnan's decision to have his clothing changed so drastically, he had always avoided heavy pleats on his doublets and rarely wore the short capes that men adorned themselves with for fashion sakes, but now had ordered the making over of three of his doublets and the making of two new ones complete with said pleats and three capes to go with them.

The two new doublets were in Cranberry and charcoal satin embroidered and brocaded which would go well with his dark grey breeches and his black breeches. The second doublet was in chestnut leather and was plain as d'Artagnan clearly intended to use this one for riding, fencing, and hunting as he did his dark blue leather that he was having ash grey leather pleats added to.

His purple doublet of satin he had ordered to have both lilac silk and gold brocaded satin pleats added, and the dark amber damask he had ordered dark mahogany silk to be added. His new capes were of dove grey silk, mahogany satin with an under layer of gold, and a broacaded lilac silk cape.

While the outfits would be elaborate and beautiful if not over flattering to the figure Constance was surprised by the radical change in d'Artagnan usual style but when she asked him why he simply said he fancied a change and would say no more.

 

Letting her King keep his own council, especially on something as trivial as clothing was not too much of a trouble to Constance so she let things be and simply made ready to meet Porthos in the Tuilleries.

It surprised Constance that she was somewhat nervous about her........date with Porthos, she had known the Musketeer many years, he was a friend and yet this seemed to steping out of the bounds of friendship and into the unknown as it were, this feeling only magnified when she actually met up with Porthos in the gardens and took his arm for a walk among the beauty about them, however it was not an unpleasent nervousness it was a bubbly feeling in her stomach that she had not felt since she had started courting Ninon.

 

Porthos too was feeling much the same, having taken far longer than normal with his daily dressing and ablutions, he'd paused over long at the mirror to trim his beard and add a touch of perfume to his person a spicy scent that mixed well with his natural scent and seemed to add to his powerful appeance and presence.

He also felt his heart skip a beat when Constance walked, or rather glided into the gardens in the same peach gown as the day before, though in the sunlight with a white lace scarf over her hair and loosely thrown over one shoulder she looked twice as lovely as she had in the Louvre halls.

"Madame de Larroque" Porthos greeted formally and offered a bow to which Constance chuckled and curtsied

"Lets dispence with such formality now, we've been friends for far too long for such things"

"Quite" Porthos agreed offering her his arm which she gladly took "I look forward to deepening our friendship too" he said with some caution in case he was reading things wrong, but Constance pressed slightly closer to his side and gave him a beaming smile

"I look forward to it too".

Chapter Text

Aramis decided to call what he liked to phrase a co-conspiritor meeting.

Ie he had Porthos and Constance join him and Lemay at their house to discuss the plot to get Athos and d'Artagnan back together.

"Did anyone see you on your way here!?" he asked of Porthos as he showed him and Constance into the house

"How the bloody hell should I know!?" Porthos demanded "This is friends meeting up not a sodding war council you idiot!", Aramis pouted at Porthos's refusal to treat this as a battle stratergy and grunted as Constance shoved her coat into his chest to hang up!

"Evening Lemay, bloody hell how many have you got in there!?" Porthos greeted the Doctor who rolled his eyes

"Charming as ever Porthos, nice to see that having a title hasn't given you any graces!" Lemay sighed sharing a look with Constance that said 'Bloody Alphas!'

"How are you my dear?" Constance asked crossing the room and kissing Lemay's cheeks as he did hers "You're looking well, glowing in fact" she said standing back to get a better look at the Doctor, true while he was unfortunate enough to have water retention with this pregnancy the added roundness looked good on him, it gave his sharp features a softer and more gentle appearance that teamed with his high colour and glossy hair had him looking younger and prettier

"Why do people always say that to pregnant women and Omegas?" Lemay asked "Between heartburn, indigestion, and needing to pee all the time I don't feel like I'm glowing!", Constance laughed and nodded her head

"I know that feeling well!" she said with a ruefull smile "Trapped wind, constipation, starving hunger that suddenly becomes nausea and vomiting with the Pup decides to shift and kick!, sleepless nights because your back hurts so much you can't get comfortable no matter what you do, and your feeling hot all the time and your skins so sensative that no clothing feels right......" she broke off shaking head remembering all she'd gone through carrying her twins
"Sore breasts, leaking nipples, protruding navel, aching pelvis, stretch marks, acne, swollen ankles and feet, varicose veins!" Lemay continued with a long suffering sigh

"Makes you glad to be an Alpha doesn't it!?" Aramis whispered into Porthos's ear, the larger man grunting his agreement!, "Well!" Aramis said spreading his arms and beckoning for everyone to come to the table where wine and cake was already laid out "We know why we're here I believe"

"Hm you've got some half witted ideas on how to get d'Art and 'Thos back together when it's clear they want nothing more to do with each other!" Porthos drawled making Constance snicker at the half witted remark while Aramis just looked sourly at him

"I'll have you bloody know that the only one of us here thats half witted is the one who thinks those two don't belong together" he spat back at Porthos who narrowed his eyes
"We might all know they belong together but they seem very intent on not being together and I don't see how we can change that"
"Then you lack imagination my friend!" Aramis said with a dramtic flourish of his hands only to yelp when Constance kicked him under the table
"Leave off the poetry and talk practically!" she snapped "I'm sick to bloody death of seeing Charles white as a sheet and misrable as sin!, if theres a bloody chance of getting him back to Athos then lets damn well do it!"

"Aramis thinks we should set them up on romantic dates" Lemay said while Aramis made a show of rubbing his shin! "Pic-nics in the Touilleries, walks through the Luxemboug gardens"

"Oh eye and a moonlit swim in the bloody Seine too no doubt!" Porthos scoffeed reaching for wine "This isn't one of those medieval novels you love reading you know?"

Aramis sneered at Porthos his cheeks colouring some what at the mention of his love of bodice rippers!, "What would you suggest then?" he asked "For them to be hunting and suddenly meet up................." he broke off and his eyes lit up as a thought reached his mind "Perfect!"

"What?" Porthos asked with a frown

"The day Lex was conceived" Aramis said "On a hunt in the Kings forrest wasn't it?", the smile he had on his face swiftly spread over the faces of the others as they reached the same conclusion themselves, there was nothing like rememberance for a couple to reignite the spark of romance and since d'Artagnan and Athos had passion enough to put a furnace to shame with heat a spark was all that would be needed.

 

"When do we do this though?" Constance asked taking up a slice of apple cake to nibble on dantily "That Turk is coming to visit soon, d'Arts time is going to be taken up entertaining him"

"A perfect time to set them up then" Aramis replied "Athos will have to be present as d'Artagnan's mate and Prince Consort, hunts and pic-nics will be a guarantee", he leaned over the table with a grin pouring himself some wine "Constance you will have to make sure d'Art looks his most beautiful, you do his hair, his clothing, make sure everything is low cut and add some kohl to his eyes so they're smouldering!"

"He's just had his wardrobe style changed though" Constance said shaking her head while Lemay shifted uncomfortably, something Aramis did not miss, "He's wearing a totally different style, lots of pleats and bonded bodices to his doublets"

"Why would he do that?, pleats won't do him any favors figure wise" Porthos asked wrinkling his nose

"I don' know but he was determined, and the designs are very elaborate with costly cloth and embroidery" Constance replied with a shrug of her shoulders

"So much for elegant dressing then" Aramis sighed running a hand through his hair, "Make up for it with hair and make up, since he's taken to wearing make up now"

"I'll see what I can do" Constance said with an acidic smile

"You and me will deal with Athos then" Aramis said slapping Porthos's elbow getting a disgruntled grunt

"We get the easy job eh!"

"We make sure he's washed, wearing clean clothes, and is sober" Aramis stipulated "D'Arts hardly going to feel forgiving if he's stinking like a brewery and wearing clothes that are filthier than a brothels sheets!"
"Charming analogy love!" Lemay groaned pinching the bridge of his nose "But well described, since Athos was rat arse when he did............whatever with that tart of a maid d'Artagnan won't feel inclined to forgive and forget if he's still crawling into a bottle every chance he gets"

"So cleanliness and sobriety is a necessity" Aramis agreed and raised his glass of wine "To operation Cupid!?" he offered getting a series of groans "I am so unappreciated!".

 

Later that night as they made ready for bed Aramis caught Lemay about his thickening waist and kissed his throat tenderly "Querida is there something you need to tell me?" he asked making Lemay stiffen "You seem to have something weighing on your mind, something troubling you" Aramis breathed gently kissing Lemay's head as he spoke "If you tell me maybe I can help"
Lemay winced and closed his eyes tight, he wanted to tell Aramis everything but he had made a promise to d'Artagnan and he couldn't betray that trust not even for his mate, not when d'Artagnan had been such a good friend to him all these years
"I'm just worried about d'Artagnan, how much pressure he's under" he replied, not a total lie, he was worried about that, especially considering the pregnancy that d'Artagnan seemed determined to keep a secret

"Lemay......"

"Don't" Lemay whispered turning round and pressing a kiss to Aramis's lips "Just take me to bed my love" he breathed slipping a hand down between them to cup Aramis's hardening length making the Alpha suck in a sharp breath and stiffen "Remind me of the night our Pup was conceived" the Omega purred squeezing Aramis's balls just so causing a growl to escape the Alpha's lips, in a very short space of time Lemay was being flung down onto the bed and his night shirt tossed the floor as Aramis took great pleasure in reliving the night they made their Pup.

Garrison

 

Athos was less than impressed when Aramis and Porthos descended upon his domain at barely dawn making far too much noise dragging him out of bed and shouting for hot water to be brought up to his rooms while throwing open his trunks to search for clean clothes.

"Can't a man die of alcohol poisoning in peace?" he asked grumpily while reaching for a half empty bottle that was swiftly moved out of his grasp by Porthos who lifted him by his collar and slung him into his chair by his desk

"What the hell d'you two want?" he moaned resting his thumping head in his hands and massaging his temples gently not that helped matters much

"You to pour yourself out of the bottle and smarten up!" Aramis replied finally finding a shirt that didn't heave of sweat or have stains on it, the rest he tossed into the laundry basket with a grimance and didn't dare look to Athos's under wear!

"You want to win d'Artagnan back?" Porthos asked "Have a chance of repairing your marriage?"

"Yes", despite his hang over Athos sat up with far more interest looking at his friends who clearly had a plan in mind

"Well, the first step is to smarten up" Aramis said going to the door when it was knocked and taking the bucket of hot water from one of the recruits "Wash up, shave, trim your hair, start wearing clean clothes, and for God sake stop drinking like a bloody fish!"

Athos opened his mouth to make a retort but his chin was caught by Porthos who turned his head to scrutinize his teeth, "They need a good cleaning too, and you're breath smells like a dung heap in July!"

"Then don't get so close to me!" Athos snapped batting Porthos's hands away "How is pampering myself going to help me win d'Artagnan's affections back?" he demanded of Aramis who had prepared the sink and had the soap and razor ready

"Because you'll be making an effort to please him, showing him you're serious about wanting him back and turning over a new leaf" Aramis explained "Now d'you want to shave yourself or shall I do it?" he asked, Athos rose an eyebrow and cocked his head looking at his friends/conspiritors!

"Considering all the options available I suppose I should just put myself in your hands!" He drawled leaning back in the chair and folding his hands over his chest "I put myself completely at your mercy Gentlemen!".

 

Louvre

 

The Turkish Prince Kadim was in his early thirties with four mates, His first and favorite mate was his Omega Mehr, the second, third, and fourth were Beta by the names of Dilara, Inci, and Melika. Between them they had already born his six offspring, two Alpha males, one Alpha Female, one Beta Female, an Omega male, and an Omega female.

Standing at six feet two inches he was tall, his dusky skin, dark hair, and smouldering dark eyes were as exotic as his colourful clothing of silks. Garbed in Traditional Turkish wear he cut a handsome and intriging presence as he came into court to be presented to d'Artagnan and Lex.

His private secetary Fatim and personal body guard Cengiz traveled with him along with a company of thirty persons made up of guards, valets, grooms, and a personal cheff to prepare his food and drink.

d'Artagnan smiled slightly as he extended his hand to Kadim for the Prince to kiss looking fill over the handsome Alpha and feeling a pleasent warmth in his belly as their hands met
"Prince Kadim I bid you welcome to my court" he said catching the Prince's fingers in his own and meeting his eyes while breaking into a full smile "I hope that you will enjoy your time here", raising an eyebrow Kadim licked his full lips breaking into a smile himself

"I am very sure I will your Majesty"

Kadim straightened up letting d'Artagnan's hand go but kept the smile on his face as he introduced his secetary and body guard to d'Artagnan both of whom bowed deeply to the young King

"Allow me to present my Son and Heir Prince Louis Alexandre" d'Artagnan said gesturing to the teenage Alpha who puffed his chest up and stood straighter to appear taller and broader

"Delighted to meet you, your Royal highness" Kadim said looking the boy over and by his expression was impressed with what he saw "A credit to you your Majesty"

"My pride and joy" d'Artagnan replied with a beaming smile "And please call me Charles, your Highness"

"Ah if I am to call you Charles then you must call me Kadim" the Prince said his smile growing broader still as he was introduced to Dowager Queen Anne, and Treville whom he would be conducting business with along with d'Artagnan, stepping back slightly from the dais he smiled again "I have gifts for you" he said extending an arm and snapping his fingers for his servants to bring said gifts forward

There were lengths of the finest silks in royal purple and sapphire blue. Sweet smelling oils and perfumes, and case containing a beautiful diamond necklace, corronette, and bracelette set in gold.

"Thank you very much Kadim, you are far to generous" d'Artagnan said running his finger tip over the diamond coronette

"Ah they are mearlyt a triful compaired to your beauty which shines like the moon light over the Bosphorus" Kadim all but purred "Have you ever seen such a sight?" he asked "I have been told you are well travelled"

"Indeed, I found Constantanopal a very rare beauty, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there" d'Artagnan replied beckoning his valets forward "Now I have gifts for you too which I hope will be to your taste"

"I'm very sure I will", Kadim smiled broadly as he was presented with sables of the finest quality, a costly tapestry, and a thick neck chain of gold set with pearls and emeralds
"I will treasure these gifts my whole life" he breathed and beckoned to his valet to adorn him with the neck chain "I shall always wear this and be forever reminded of your fair self".

 

The courtiers were a buzz with shocked gossip as the easy speach and flirting between the two royals, shock that grew all the more when d'Artagnan invited Kadim to join him for a walk in the gardens, a private walk with only Constance and Cengiz present!.

"Well" Treville drawled to Queen Anne "The Prince certainly makes an impression!"

"To say the very least" Anne replied sighing deeply "I hope their flirtations do not end in tears".

Chapter Text

Louvre

D'Artagnan and Kadim walked slowly through the gardens taking their time to go round the ornamental maze enjoying the pleasent weather.

"Your French is very good, I am impressed" d'Artagnan said "I had expected us to be talking through a translator or I would be doing my best with what Greek and Turkish I know!"

"I have had tuition to prepare for this meeting" Kadim replied "I was not aware that you spoke Turkish"

"Not well" d'Artagnan admitted with a rueful smile "I learned some when I was traveling but I am by no means fluent"

"I am sure you speak my tongue very well!", the words were said in a sultry whisper that made d'Artagnan shiver with apreciation, it had been a long time since he had flirted with anyone, oh he had shared the odd banter at court but being married and royalty had put him well off limits to most. But more than that early in his marriage he had been too devoted to Athos to even bother looking towards anyone else, then as things had started to turn sour he had become too misrable to be remotedly interested in romance.

It was pleasant to be desired by such a Handsome Alpha, and there was no doubts about it, Kadim was exceptionally handsome, tall and dark, staring into his eyes was like falling into pools of melted chocolate or hot fresh coffee.

He was very different to Athos who was rather fair and pale eyed, blood shot eyes in fact these days!, and unlike Kadim who's person smelled of exotic spices Athos smelled of stale wine and sweat, was unkempt and constantly appeared about to collapse from exhaustion.

Part of d'Artagnan wanted to help him, he was his mate after all, and seeing him in such a state of misery and disaray did tug at d'Artagnan's heart, but then every time he was tempted to reach out to Athos, to offer him help he remembered finding Athos with that slut crawling all over him and his own hurt came back to him along with his anger and any tenderness towards Athos vanished as fast as it had come on.

"I had though I would be meeting your Consort aswell as your Alphon" Kadim said with a smile which faltered slightly at the flinch that ran through d'Artagnan

"Athos is Captain of the Musketeers and has many duties which keep him very occupied"

"If I had a mate as beautiful as you I would not stray far from your side no matter what duties I had!" Kadim purred giving d'Artagnan a flirtatious smile

"Oh you'd be surprised what makes my husband stray from me" d'Artagnan muttered with more than a little bitterness, he jumped as Kadim's arm came about his shoulders and he found himself being turned towards the Turkish Prince

"I do not wish to cause you pain Tathm" Kadim said "And I sense that you are hurting over something", d'Artagnan gave him a weak smile and sighed deeply

"Is it that obvious?" he asked tiredly "And I thought I made such a good actor!"

Kadim smiled sympathetically and stroked d'Artagnan's cheek "I am sure you can make people believe anything you want them to believe, make yourself appear to be happy even when you heart is breaking, sparkle and shine before your whole court even when your falling apart inside" he whispered to the young King "But your eyes give you away Tathm, you wear your expression in your eyes, while you may school your face and hide what you feel in side your eyes still reveal the truth"

d'Artagnan wet his lips and drew in a shaky breath as he stared up into Kadim's eyes "And what do my eyes reveal to you?"

Kadim smiled cupping d'Artagnan's chin in his palm "They show me that you an Omega of great passion, of deep feeling and intense spirit" he breathed "They tell me that there is a tempestuous fire burning inside you, unquenchable and utterly untamable!"

"You keep calling me Tathm" d'Artagnan said with a half smile

"D'you know what that means?" Kadim asked

"My sweet, you keep calling me your sweet!"

"Yes" Kadim whispered "Because you are sweet!, and I'll bet you taste as good as honey!".

 

Saint Antoine

 

Sylvie trudged through the filthy streets with her arms folded under her breasts a sulky expression on her face as she kicked at the trash in the streets.

Damn Athos, damn d'Artagnan!, what was it with them that they couldn't part with each other properly, it was clear that they hated each other now, that there was no love left between them!, they should just part for good and that way she and Athos could be together!.

It must be some kind of enchantment that made d'Artagnan capable of keeping Athos hot for him!, if she believed in it then Sylvie would call it witchcraft!, it wasn't like the Omega was even fertile anymore!, he was baren now and had only managed to provide Athos with a single Pup and not a very bright one at that!, Sylvie sneered at the thought of Lex, the simpering excuse of an Alpha Pup devoted to his Oman and rejecting his strong handsome Aphan!, if he'd been her Pup Sylvie would have knocked his head off his shoulders for how he treated Athos!, but she'd bet that d'Artagnan put him up to it, encouraged him in betraying his Aphan!.

"If he weren't so drunk then Athos would see the truth!" she spat moodily "See d'Artagnan is nothing but a baren excuse of an Omega and Lex is a weak and stupid Pup and neither of them is worth the bother"

"I quite agree" a voice said from the shadows catching Sylvies attention

"And you are Monsieur?" she asked with a frown

"A friend" the man said stepping from the shadows and pushing back his hood to reveal a scarred face "I believe we may have a lot in common Madamoiselle" he said extending a hand to her "Allow me to introduce myself, Lucien Grimaud".

Louvre

 

Sobering up was not pleasent to say the least, Athos went through all the misery of the withdrawal from alcohol, his body ached, his stomach churned and had him vomiting for hours, he shook and sweated, had no energy or desire to do anything but curl up and die!.

For days on end it went on with him desperate for a drink, even the piss water that the Wren called wine would have been a blessing right now!, but somehow he managed to keep from giving into the temptation, partly because he wasn't even able to make it across the room without collasping!, but also because he was determined to fight this and not let it beat him.

After two weeks of what felt like hell on earth Athos was recovered from the worst.

That wasn't to say he wasn't shaky or fragile because he was, but for the first time in nearly two years his head was clear, he didn't get dizzy standing up, he could taste food properly, his hands didn't shake, his head wasn't aching, and he could see clearly.

Thanks to Aramis's intervention he was looking better since his hair and beard had been seen to, and he no longer looked like "An unkempt shaggy dog!" as Aramis had put it, his clothes were clean and smelled of cloves rather than wine, his stockings and shirts had all been stitched so they were no longer full of holes, even his boots were polished!.

He almost felt like a new man as he went to the Louvre after his long absence which had been explained as ilness, not far from the truth really considering how sick he'd been, he was of course not expecting a miracle to happen, for d'Artagnan to fall into his arms with declarations of love just because he smelled nice and looked human again!.

But nore was he expecting to walk into court and find his Omega engaged in sensual dance with a Turkish Prince!.

 

With their palms pressed against each other and eyes locked upon each others d'Artagnan and Kadim swayed to the music that Kadims servents played upon their instruments.

With their friendship having grown fast any formality had fallen away from the pair and they now acted as long time friends, and some even said (In hushed whispers of course), like lovers.

Lovers they could easily have been mistaken for as they moved to the music clearly oblivious to anything but each other, their smiles were for each other alone, their eyes never leaving the others, and their bodies leaning ever towards each other as if an invisable cord was pulling them together!.

"He's in bed with him I'll bet my reputation on it!" one of the courtiers whispered to another in Athos's hearing

"Probably" the other muttered "At least with him being baren theres no risk of a bastard!"

Athos ground his teeth painfully at these words they were uttering wanting to rip their tongues out for daring to imagine that d'Artagnan would ever lower himself to betraying his marriage vows!, and also wanting to rip apart that amourous Turk for daring to place his hand upon his mate to begin with!.

Athos was not a man prone to jealousy, he had bouts of it as all do but had never been a truly jealous man, so to have that feeling twisting in his stomach, souring his mouth, and filling his heart with anger was a new experiance for him, and not one that he found very pleasant to say the least.

His leather gloves squeaked as Kadim put his hand about d'Artagnan's waist to draw him in close and his tongue slit open as his teeth bit down when the Omega laughed letting himself be manouvered by Kadim as if enraptured by him!.

"Cool off before you do something stupid!"

Athos started at the words and glanced to the side to see Treville next to him, the Minister gave him a hard stare clearly not in the mood for any denials on Athos's part which was good because Athos wasn't in the mood to play nice anyway

"He's my mate!" he hissed sounding like an angered cat!

"Your Mate who is King of France and is cultivating a friendship between himself and the Turkish Prince which will be a benifit to both our peoples!" Treville hissed back "For God sake don't do anything to ruin this!"

A sensable part of Athos's mind knew what Treville was saying was true, that d'Artagnan and Kadim weren't doing anything wrong, but his Alpha wasn't seeing with logic but base fury at the sight of another Alpha handling his mate!, a deep growl rumbled it's way from Athos's chest making the courtier near him back away in surprise, Treville swiftly locked his arm about Athos's elbow preventing him from marching across the court and starting another war by holding the Alpha back before he could go and rip Kadim apart!

"Let me go!" Athos snarled struggling against Treville who refused to back down and kept a damn good hold on him pulling him back through the crowd and out of the chambers into the corridor where he finally let him go all but throwing him into the wall!

"For God sake Athos think!" Treville snappered running a hand through his thinning hair "D'you really imagine d'Artagnan will be inclined to forgive you if you cause him embaressment in there today?" he demanded of the Alpha "D'you think thats the way to win his heart back after all these months?"

Of course it wasn't, Athos wasn't too stupid to see that but his natural instinct to protect what was his, to guard against a threat, to meet a challenge with his teeth bared was making him want to throw all logic aside and just burst in there and rip Kadim to shreds!, and then when he was done dismembering the upstart of an Alpha he would pull d'Artagnan to him and reassurt his claim to the Omega right there on the blood stained floor!, would make sure that everyone knew that d'Artagnan was his and his alone and that he would kill any who tried to come between them!.

"Just calm down!" Treville said holding up his hands to Athos palms up in a gesture of peace "They're just dancing nothing more, a bit of laughing, a few flirtatious words, nothing else"

"He's my Mate!" Athos growled grinding his teeth "My Omega!"

"An Omega whom you cheated on with a slut of a servent girl!" Constance snapped having come up the corridor behind Athos and made him jump at her presence "Maybe now you know how he felt when he found you with her!" while she was on side with trying to get d'Artagnan and Athos back together Constance wasn't going to forget her first loyalty which was to d'Artagnan and d'Artagnan alone, listening to Athos snarling, claiming d'Artagnan as if he were a cave man and had the right to lock him away from the world and prevent all others from touching or even looking at him roused her anger which sharpened her tongue as she spoke "He's been desolate for months because you!, sickly, depressed, all thats kept him going is Lex!, and now you come swanning in here sober for the first time in God knows how long and think you can start throwing demands about?!" she gave a shallow laugh and pushed her manicured finger nails into his chest "Well you've got another think coming!"

Athos glowered at Constance glaring at her as if his rightous anger alone would win the day!, but the Omega held her ground without a single waver, "For the first time in God knows how long d'Artagnan is smiling again, has a bounce in his step, is looking less pale and more alive!, now you might not like the cause of it but I am damned if I'm going to let you ruin it for him either!"

"He's my mate" Athos repeated "That Prince has no right............"

"But you do do you?" Constance asked cutting him off "To shag that whore?, why, because you're an Alpha and he's an Omega?"

"I didn't sleep with her and I was drunk!" Athos snarled

"Well thats nothing new!" Constance sneered not even flinching as Athos got into her personal space his whispered harshly into her face

"I was drunk out of my skull when Sylvie climbed onto my lap and began kissing me!, whats d'Artagnan's excuse for this?" he demanded glaring at her

Wetting her lips Constance leaned forward and answered in a single worded whisper deflating Athos completely "Solice".

 

Shoving past him she walked past Treville and went into the chambers where a fresh tune was being played and people were clapping in time to the beats leaving Athos sagging against the wall with only Treville for company
"Is it too late?" he asked pinching the bridge of his nose "Did I leave it to late to make things right between us?"

Treville sighed and put his arm about Athos's shoulders pulling him close and leading him away from the merriment, "I don't think it's too late" he said honestly "But I don't think it'll be easy either" he cautioned "d'Artagnan's been hurt alot, he's come through it by the skin of his teeth and may not be ready to forgive you yet, you may have to work very hard to earn that"

"And I will!" Athos insisted wiping his face and clearing his throat "But how can I when that Turk is prancing about groping him!?"

Treville scoffed and shook his head "Jealousy will not win this either, you'll only make yourself look the fool and further anger d'Artagnan"
Athos groaned and sighed at the same time creating a strangled noise as he threw up his arms in defeat

"What the hell do I do then!?" he demanded "What is it that I am supposed to do that will make things right?"

Treville shrugged "Be patient, show him your tenderness not your ferocity, remind him of what he fell in love with and then maybe things will work out right".

 

Royal Appartments

 

d'Artagnan sat before his mirror dressed in his billowing shirt and beeches alone as Constance combed through his hair.

He wasn't really showing yet, maybe a slight thickness to his waist but nothing more, and even that was only visable when he was naked and scrutinized himself in the mirror, it wouldn't be this way for long though, soon he would be showing, soon it would be that much harder to hide his condition without anyone getting suspicious.

The first person to know really ought to be Athos, but after so many weeks without contact since they had........declared their marriage over he had no idea how to even approach the subject with his estranged mate.

"I saw Athos today" Constance said as if reading d'Artagnan's mind "He was in court, clean and sober for once"

"I didn't see him" d'Artagnan said with a frown

"He.....was rather jealous and had to be escorted away by Treville before he caused a scene" Constance confided meeting d'Artagnan's eyes in the mirror "He didn't like you dancing with Prince Kadim"

"He........why....." d'Artagnan trailed off looking and feeling rather bewildered, yes he was flirting with Kadim but he wasn't being untoward with him, they hadn't even kissed save on the knuckles!, it was all courtly flirtation, poetic and frivolity not real!.

Although d'Artagnan had to admit even to himself that the temptation for it to become more than casual flirting was nawing at him, he had wondered what it would be like, to be possessed by Kadim, to lay under that long lean dusky body, to feel those warm hands running over his skin!, to have sex for pleasure and not to make a Pup for the first time in years!, dear God that was tempting as sin itself!.

However quite contrary to this was the feeling of guilt that struck d'Artagnan just at the thought of betraying Athos, made his stomach twist uncomfortably and left him chastising himself for even considering such a thing, yes they were fighting, yes they were parted, but they were still mates and above all other things d'Artagnan was carrying Athos's Pup the one thing that mattered most in the whole world, and nothing, no flirting, desire, or anything else would allow him to remotely risk the life of his Pup.

Chapter Text

The Wren

 

Grimaud took Sylvie to a room above the tavern that he rented for the night ignoring the jeers and cat calls from the drunken populas within the Inn who clearly believed that he had simply picked up a whore for the night.

Sylvie did not so much as blush as he took her up the stairs to the room and locked the door securely behind them so no one would enter univited.

"I am not a whore Monsieur if that it what you think" she said folding her arms beneath her breasts and resting her weight upon her left hip her expression challenging as Grimaud set the two pewter cups down on the table and poured wine from the bottle he had bought at the bar

He looked at her over his shoulder amusment upon his normally expressionless face
"The King would have us all believe you are, after your little.............dalliance with his Husband"

"A lie!" Syvlie spat making Grimaud raise his eyebrows "Athos loves me and I love him, he has been trying to escape that, that,........harpy Omega who sank his talons into him and holds him prisoner by devilsh wiles!"

Had he been a man with any humour in his heart, or in fact had a heart at all then Grimaud would have laugh out loud at the deranged shrieking of the obsessive little slut before him, honestly he wasn't sure if it were amusing or pathetic that she actually believed the rubbish she was spouting.

But either way it did not matter to him, in the end he would kill her once she had out lived her usefullness, and her obsession with Athos and desire to remove d'Artagnan from the picture was very useful to him and Feron at present.

 

"I did not bring you here to spend a night between your thighs Madamoiselle, I have no desire for such things, with men or women so you can rest assured that you resputation will remain intact as will your virtue" he stated holding out a cup of wine to her "I wish to offer you the chance to do what you desire so much"

Sylvie accepted the wine and look curiously at Grimaud, "Destroy d'Artagnan of course" he said with a cold smile that was like a wolf baring it's teeth to a rabbit, "And with him gone Athos will be all yours!"

This got Sylvie's attention, her sulky expression changed into one of eager inquisitiveness and she sat down upon the bed smoothing her skirts under her and looked at Grimaud with rapt attention, "What would you have me do Monsieur?" she asked

"Act as my eyes and ears inside the Louvre" Grimaud said "You are a Maid still and have access to the royal appartments I believe"

"I do"

"Then you shall go where I and others can not, you shall tell me everything you see whether or not you think it important, you will tell me everything you hear, I wish to know each and every detail of the Kings life, what he eats, when he baths, when he bleeds, and especially who he speaks to and what his plans are" Grimaud explained to her "Serve me well and you shall be richly rewarded, fail or betray me and you will die", just to be certain she would not mistake his words for that of a joke or idle threat Grimaud had a blade beneath her chin pricking her flesh hard enough to draw blood!

"Be certain Madamoiselle, if you fail me or speak of this to anyone else I will find you and I will have you riding upon this blade like a common whore before I slit you from groin to gullet!"

Mad she might be, obsessed with Athos certainly, but suicidal Sylvie was not and sat frozen staring up at Grimaud hardly daring to breath with the blade against her vulnerable throat, swallowing hard she forced her dry lips apart to whisper to him
"I swear I will be loyal!"

Grimaud stared down at her his dark souless eyes fixed upon her fearful face as if he were spell bound by the sight, after a few more seconds he let her go and swallowed down his wine, "I know you will" he grunted, "I'll make sure of it".

 

Louvre

 

Determined to show d'Artagnan that he had turned over a new leaf Athos entered the dining hall for the evening meal smartly atired and smelling fragrantly of a spicey perfume, he exchanged and glance with Treville as he entered the hall and smiled at the sight of Constance dancing with Porthos, the two of them looking very comfortable with each other as they danced the Basse. In fact he had not seen Constance or Porthos look so happy since the deaths of Ninon and Alice.

"Good for them" he murmured quitely to himself happy to see that they may be finding happiness with each other.

Straightening himself up he aproached the top table nodding his head to usher who anounced him alerting d'Artagnan to his presence since the King was engrossed in conversation with the Prince Kadim.

"His Grace Comte de la Fere, Captain of the Musketeers Olivier d'Athos"

d'Artagnan looked up startled to see Athos, his surprise growing when he noted the clean clothes, trimmed beard, and washed hair that was pulled back into a pony tail tied with a thong of leather.

"Your Majesty" Athos greeted bowing from the waist as the rest of the court stared in silence, everyone poised on the edge of their seats waiting to see how this would play out.

 

Aware of the audience they had and not wanting to add to the gossip mongering or upset Lex, d'Artagnan smiled pleasently enough to Athos though the smile did not reach his eyes
"Husband" he greeted bidding Athos to rise and take the seat upon his right between himself and Lex

Seeing there would be no royal storm erupting before the courtiers returning to their dancing, dining, and talking while Athos settled himself down taking a serving of venison and a helping of potatoes dauphinois along with a cup of water rather than wine.

"What brings you here then?" d'Artagnan asked picking at lobstar meat with little interest

"Can not an Alpha visit his beloved mate?" Athos replied refusing to rise to any bait d'Artagnan might throw him "And see his dear Alphon, your a well Lex?" he asked the Dauphin who beamed at him

"Very thank you Aphan"

"Good", Athos cut his meat and ate delicately dabbing his lips with a napkin

"Run out of wine at the garrison did they?" d'Artagnan asked

"No in fact, I have not partaken of wine, or spirits in some time now" Athos said smiling at d'Artagnan "Can you not tell?", d'Artagnan narrowed his eyes looking Athos over, for the first time in months his eyes were clear, his skin was clean, he smelled of spices and perfume not alcohol and sweat, his hands were steady rather than trembling from drink
"Do I pass Muster?" Athos asked with a smirk at d'Artagnan's scrutiny bringing a blush to his cheeks and he hastily looked away
"You are looking rather fetching yourself tonight" Athos added increasing the blush to d'Artagnan's cheeks that was not brought on just by the rouge he wore, "Positively enchanting" he all but purred noting the slight shiver that ran down the Omega's spine

It was astonishing really how he could be furious with Athos and still feel so much desire for him, so much pleasure in receiving him praise, perhaps it was because they had been apart for so long, or because Athos looked to be more like the Alpha he'd fallen for that had d'Artagnan feeling so flustered, or maybe it was because of his pregnancy that d'Artagnan felt so moved by Athos's presence, the Omega desire to submit to his mate effecting his senses making him feel tongue tied and eager to feel his Alphas hands upon his person.

"It is good to see you at last your royal Highness" Prince Kadim said managing to break through the fog that seemed to have bound itself about d'Artagnan and gave him a chance to think clear and collect himself while Athos and Kadim introduced themselves to each other

"I am honored to meet you, your Highness" Athos said politely enough through there was an edge to his voice and a spark of challenge in his eyes, a subtle warning to the other Alpha to keep away from his Omega, "I believe you have been enjoying the company of my Mate"

Kadim smirked hearing the challenge and was amused by it rather than taking the threat to heart and backing off as others may have done, "Indeed" he said smiling broadly showing pearl white teeth "I have very much enjoyed His Majesty, he is delightful in all ways", he deliberately left out the word Company to further entice Athos who only just kept from growling at the impudence!

"He is a very unique and special Omega" Athos said his smile becoming a grimance with the force it took to keep it upon his face "You as I understand have four Mates do you not?, surely that must make it hard to focus your attention upon them individually, personally I could bare to have such distraction from d'Artagnan, he is my everything as you might say"

"Oh I find that having multipul mates makes me appreciate their individuality all the more" Kadim said "Though should I ever find an Omega as devine as Charles here then I would give up all others and never again so much as look upon another, much less lay hand on them"

It was a barb at Athos's fumble with Sylvie and the older Alpha hardly kept from baring his teeth and snarling at the younger Alpha, however d'Artagnan had grown both uncomfortable and tired with what was turning into a potential cock fight and rose from the table, "I wish to dance" he said looking through the courtiers and selecting one that was a pleasing enough dancer "Comte St Martin, you will indulge me?"

"With pleasure your Majesty" the Comte replied bowing extravagantly

"Do try not to kill each other while I am away" d'Artagnan said to Athos and Kadim "It'll be a nightmare trying to get blood out of the table cloth!".

 

Kadim and Athos watched d'Artagnan go to the dance floor and begin to dance with the Comte a chuckle escaping Kadim's lips
"Such a fiesty Omega"

"I enjoy it" Athos said drinking his water and longing for wine

"As do I!" Kadim purred grinning at Athos's glare "While I may have four mates I do nothing to upset them, I keep them all extreamely happy"

"Hmm cloistered away from the world unable to go out unless their faces are covered" Athos drawled "And aswell as having those mates how many concubines do you have in your hareem?", the smirk dropped from Kadim's face and grew on Athos's

"Make no mistake here Prince Kadim, while I would do naught to shame my beloved d'Artagnan by attacking you here I will happily slaughter you in the future if you continue to covert him like this"
Kadim waved away his body guard who stepped forward protectively and narrowed his eyes at Athos "Think you are up to the challenge Comte de la Fere?" he jibed
"No I don't think it, I know it!" Athos said rising from his seat "And you had better not forget it!" he whispered int Kadim's ear as he went past going to the dance floor where he cut in between d'Artagnan and Saint Martin taking the dance himself

"Hm, I do love a challenge!" Kadim murmured slumping back in his chair to watch the spectical of d'Artagnan and Athos dancing.

 

d'Artagnan was startled when Athos cut in but managed to keep from missing the steps allowing Athos to take his hand and lead while hissing in Athos's ear as soon as he had the chance
"What are you doing?"

"Reminding everyone that you are married to me since they seem to have forgotten of late" Athos replied smoothly moving through the dance without missing a single step

"Oh I thought it was only you that had forgotten that!" d'Artagnan snarked making Athos chuckle darkly

"So much fire in you, it's a wonder you don't burn yourself!"

"Take care I don't burn you!"

"Oh but you already have!" Athos purred suddenly pulling d'Artagnan to him and holding him tight so he could not run or slap at him, d'Artagnan's face was upturned to him and he was panting slightly through both fear and excitement with more than a little desire creeping into his scent that Athos noticed and smirked at, daring to run his hand through d'Artagnan's hair and cup his neck pulling him closer still
"You have already engulfed me in flames of desire and passion for you!, I am in an inferno of longing for your touch upon my body, the feel of you in my arms, the taste of you in my mouth, your scent filling my lungs!"

d'Artagnan let out a slight whimper his heart pounding and a tell tale dampness forming between his thighs

"My love for you d'Artagnan his scorching my heart, leaving my soul writhing in torment in the need for your smoldering touch, your delicious heated kiss, and the over wealming warmth of your embrace!", taking a chance Athos pulled d'Artagnan in and delivered a lingering searing kiss that dilated d'Artagnan's pupils and had him moaning as they broke apart, "Know this my love" Athos breathed smiling at the naked desire on d'Artagnan's face "No matter what bile you spit at me, or how ever much you goad me I love you and I always will!".

Letting go of d'Artagnan Athos turned and walked back to the table while the King stood stock still shaking with need and lust while his mind wirled in confusion at the conflicting feelings bubbling in his heart.

"Damn you Athos!" he whispered only just able to keep from touching his belly where his secret pup slumbered "Why do you always have to make things so difficult!".

Chapter Text

"And just what were you hoping to achieve from that?"

Athos rose and eyebrow glancing up to see a less than impressed Treville by his side "

"I was merely dancing with my Husband and Mate!", the innocent act didn't work with Treville who glared at him

"Dancing!, you call that display dancing!, you were two seconds away from baring his neck and sinking your teeth into it in front of all and sundry!" Treville hissed "You were dominating and staking your Claim on the King of France before the entire court!"

"So what if I was!?" Athos snapped back "He is my mate!, my Omega, I have the right to claim him and assert Alpha dominance upon him!, I would not force him to bare his neck but if he did so here and now I would have every right as his Alpha to sink my teeth into the bonding glance and show my claim upon him to all!"

"Not on the King of France you don't!".

 

Panting a little as he fought to control his temper Treville broke protocol by taking Lex's recently vacated chair, the young Prince was practising his dancing steps with Constance's daughter Gabrielle.

Letting out a deep breath Treville clenched and unclenched his fists determined to make Athos understand what he was clearly missing at this point.

"Athos I know that you love d'Artagnan, and I know you wish to show that love to the whole world and I support you in that, but you need to remember that he is not the dauphin anyway, he is not just your d'Artagnan, He Is the King of France!, and while everyone knows he is an Omega and is Bonded to you he can not be seen as submissive, he can never appear to be claimed to be anything but completely in control at all times, never controlled by another even if the other is his Mate".

 

Athos opened his mouth wanting to argue this, wanting to say that he had done nothing wrong and it wasn't like he wanted to control d'Artagnan, but his common sense shut him up as he knew what Treville said was true, in private he and d'Artagnan could do as they wished but in public he would have to walk behind d'Artagnan and show his submission to his King, something he had not been doing tonight as they had danced.

"I just wanted to remind him how much passion we have for each other" he mumbled picking up his water and sipping it while truly longing now for wine

"And in private that would be fine but not before the bloody court!" Treville stressed "He is in no way secure enough on the throne for such behavior to go unlooked, there are still far too many who would see him brought down and another sat upon the throne in his place"

"Who!?" Athos demanded instantly alert for danger to his pack "Who are they, who dares say such things!?"

Treville snorted and nodded to the court "Look around you, listen carefully and you will know them".

 

Scowling Athos did so and saw to his growing unease just how many courtiers whispered behind their hands to each other, exchanged furtive glances and secret signals, eyed d'Artagnan with disdane for his being an Omega and therefore unfit to rule.

It was not just a gathering of a few in a corner, it was not a coup being led by a single individual, it was many different faces that cast unforgiving eyes upon the young King, that shook their heads and whispered of how wrong it was that he was now their Monarch.

"In truth Athos Prince Kadim is the least of your worries when it comes to d'Artagnan" Treville said making Athos glance at him and then glare as he saw d'Artagnan dancing with the Prince, "There is a growing unrest within and without the Palace, a faction of those who are not prepared to have d'Artagnan be our King and for Lex to follow him on the throne"

"What!?", Athos's attention snapped back on Treville and he scowled at him furiously "And why have I not been told of this!?, I am the Captain of the Musketeers!, I am personally responsible for the safety of him and Lex not to mention they are my mate and Alphon!"
"I'm telling you now" Treville said in a tone so calm that it only added to Athos's growing ire

"You should have told me when you first suspected anything!" he snarled

"And I might have done had you been sober!" Treville snapped back loosing his own temper at Athos obtuse attitude "There would have been little point in my telling a drunk anything!, and I have no evidence that I can present you with!, only rumour and whispers in the shadows no absalutes on who the key players are"

"But you must have suspects" Athos pressed "Some you believe are liable to be involved"

Treville sighed sitting back in his chair and looking round the hall, "I am almost certain Feron is involved, he has hardly been subtle about his lack of support for the crown since Louis death"

"He's a cripple though, a dying one at that he couldn't lead a rebellion"

"Not physically no but he could master mind and fund it" Treville said "While he is unable to do things himself he is excelent at manipulation and sewing seeds of discord"

"But why?, he couldn't take the throne himself he's a bastard he'd never be considered a suitable heir"

"Unless there were no other legitimate heirs available" Treville said "But that would require the deaths of d'Artagnan and Lex, Gaston and his daughter, Queen Maria-Henrietta of England and her offspring, the Duchess of Savoy Christine and her Son" it was very unlikely that Feron would manage such a mass slaughter or that anyone would to get a bastard on the throne, it was much more likely that Feron was planning to put someone else on the throne that he could manipulate and rule through.

Lex, in his minority would be completely under his Uncles control, and the privy council would likely appoint Feron Lord Protector over Athos as he did have royal blood albeit on the wrong side of the sheets.

Gaston, while hot headed and ambitious was not a clear thinker or planner, he tended to act without consideration needing anothers to strategize for him, again Feron would be easily able to control him as first minister which he would most assuredly have himself appointed.

"We need to find out who he is in league with" Athos said looking about the court "He has the Red Guards under his comand but that is not a sizeable army, not with most having been sent to the front, he must have backing from other Nobles who have private armies, though if he is in league with Gaston then it is possible that the Duke of Loraine would support the couse and give him an army"

"Not without a price" Treville mused "But then Gaston is stupid enough to agree to it without thinking ahead"

"Who else knows of this?" Athos asked

"No one yet, I thought I'd let you inform Porthos and Aramis in due course", Athos nodded his head sighing deeply

"Just when I thought things couldn't get anymore complicated!" he muttered.

 

Chateau de Feron

 

Laying down upon his chaise before a roaring fire Feron let out a sigh derived from both pain and satisfaction.

Thanks to his last clandestine meeting he now had the support of not only that fool Gaston and his cousin Charles of Lorraine, but the Duc de Landes, Comte Charente, and most recently Duc de Loiret all of whom had pledged their arms and service to bring down d'Artagnan and Lex and place the crown upon Gastons head.

The Comte and Duc were not fools, ordinarily they would not even think about working with Gaston who had proven to be nothing but a fool whos reach exceeded his grasp.

However Feron had placated and persuaded them to support their cause, Gaston would be nothing but a figure head, a mere puppet upon the throne whos strings he would pull one way or another assuring the prosperity of the Nobles who were keen for further land, titles, and monies.

As for an heir to the throne?, Gaston was young enough to wed again and beget future heirs, but if not then his daughter or offspring from her would do just as well, she was of marrying age and was presumably fertile, there was no reason to think that she couldn't provide the throne with an Alpha or Beta male, no more bloody Omegas that was for damn sure!.

 

Feron lay back relaxing his muscles as the opium he had taken in his wine began to take effect, weaving it's magick over his pain wracked body and leaving him feeling pleasently disconected from the world.
It was a wonderful feeling, not just being out of pain for a time but to be freed of ones body, to feel as though one was floating, utterly weightless like a feather on a breeze.

It was almost like being able to dream while one was still awake, like the subconcsious mind took over and allowed him loose himself in the world of fantasy free from the pain of his crippled body.

His doctors warned him he was taking too much of the opium, that is was damaging his insides, but what did they know?, his spine was crumbling, he was falling apart a little more each and everyday, what did it matter if the opium ate his intestines when he was already dying from this disease?, better to die in a blissful haze than writhing in agony all but incoherant of the pain.

 

Would seeing d'Artagnan bleeding out on the floor of the throne chamber with his whelp spitted on a spear bring him as much balm for his aches as this wonderful little drug did?, Feron thought it might, and if not it would certainly bring him more than a little pleasure.

 

Louvre

 

d'Artagnan was not known to be an early riser these days, he prefered to leave his bed and break his fast late and keep late hours in the court in the evenings.

It was a trend that pleased the youths of the court who liked to stay up at night gamboling, dancing, and fornicating. While the elders of the court scowled and shook their heads stating the folly of youth believing the King should rise early rather than play at night.

This however served Sylvie well as she rose early like the rest of the Louvre servants to start on the cleaning and cooking for the day.

It also gave her the chance to slip unobserved into d'Artagnan's chambers and secrete herself in the shadows out of sight of the King and others, though if she were discovered then by carrying a duster she had a ready excuse for her presence.

 

As always d'Artagnan would rise between ten and eleven each day and would summon his Maids and Valets to attend upon him.

Fresh hot water would be brought up from the kitchens for him to wash in and should he require it he would be shaved by a valet who was skilled with a razor blade. Though as an Omega he grew facial hair much slower and alpha and beta men so he only required shaving once or twice a week at the most.

Once he was clean he would be presented with a clean shirt which he had lowered over his head and shoulders while he stood with his arms about his waist still in his night shirt, only when the clean linen was in place did he remove the voluminous night shirt and slip his arms into the shirt sleeves.

Next would come his brais and hose of silk which a valet carefully slid up his legs and stood back letting d'Artagnan fasten them himself which surprised Sylvie since in truth he should be doing nothing for himself at all.

After this he would select his breeches and doublet which would then be placed upon his person followed by either shoes or boots and either a cape or sash to complete his outfit.

By this time Madam the dowager Consort de larroque would arrived to do d'Artagnan's hair and make up as was her privlage as the chief of the Ladys in waiting, going to his glit mirror d'Artagnan would sit before the glass and let Constance do her work on his hair and face during which time they would openly talk and Sylvie would listen keenly to what they had to say.

"I think if you persist in flirting with Prince Kadim before Athos, and continue to remind said Prince that you are wed to Athos then you will soon have a cock fight upon your hands!" Constance said with a chuckle, since the dinner several days past Athos had been coming to court everyday and had engaged in a verbal sparring match with Kadim the two of them baring teeth and issuing barely concealed threats as d'Artagnan blushed and squirmed between them both uncomfortable and enjoying the fact that the two Alphas were all but fighting over him!.

"You know it's not fair on either of them to behave like this" Constance said using the perogative of friendship to chide d'Artagnan where others would not be permitted to "You laugh and joke with one, then rush off to dance with the other, spend a day riding with Kadim and the evening playing cards with Athos!"

"Athos and Lex, we're teaching him how to play" d'Artagnan said his eye lids closed as Constance applied a layer of kohl

"How to play the fool?" Constance asked pertly making d'Artagnan open his eyes to glare at her, "You can't do this Charles it'll end up causing pain for everyone and I don't want to see you get hurt!" she stated almost pleading "If you and Athos are...........overcoming your difficulties then I applaude it, but if not then don't toy with him, it's too cruel"

"I'm not toying with anyone" d'Artagnan snapped sitting up straighter and reaching for his brush to roughly pull it through his hair "I am being polite to Athos and I am friends with Kadim, nothing more!"

"Which is why you did not relinquish you grasp upon Athos's arms after La Volta for a full minute I suppose!"

d'Artagnan reddened but did not reply, in truth since Athos's............dominance of him before the court, his declaration of undying love the Omega had been desiring him more and more, when alone and thinking clearly he could recall his hurt and anger at Athos over the drunken fumble with Sylvie, but now when he was with Athos his mind seemed to forget everything and all he could think of was how much he wanted to fall into Athos's arms and be swept up in the burning passions his Alpha had reignited between them!.

"You still love him don't you?" Constance said taking the brush from d'Artagnan and began to bring his hair back to plait it into a single braid at the back of his neck

"You know I do" d'Artagnan sighed "I never bloody stopped loving him Constance!, he's..........I don't know!, he hurt me so much, made me so angry with him that I want to hate him!", he looked at her in the mirror his eyes sparkling with unshed tears "But I can't, I still love him and still want him as much as I ever did"

Constance smiled gently and laid her hands on his shoulders kissing his head "You can have him back, he still loves you the same", but d'Artagnan shook his head

"It's not that simple though"

"Why?, if you love him and he loves you why can't it be that simple?"

"Because I don't know if I can trust him" d'Artagnan said saddly "And without trust love is not enough".

 

Garrison

 

Both Porthos and Aramis sagged in their chairs silent and sullen after Athos had informed them of what Treville suspected.

Tension hung thick in the air between the three Alphas with the knowledge of yet more animosity in the Kingdom they had sworn to protect, but this time it was far more personal to them, especially to Athos, d'Artagnan and Lex were his pack, a threat to them was an attack on him, and inturn and Attack on Athos was an attack on Porthos and Aramis who would not let such a thing stand.

"Treville knows nothing for sure?" Aramis asked breaking the heavy silence

"No nothing certain just suspicion at present"
"Feron's a slimy bugger though, I wouldn't put it past 'im t'try somethin'" Porthos grunted bitting at his thumb nail "We need t'keep a close eye on both d'Art and the Dauphin"

"Well from now on all food is being checked before it even reaches the royal table, as is all form of drink to make sure there is no chance of poison" Athos reported "Anyone entering or leaving the Louvre will undergo scrutiny even if they are well known by the guards"

Porthos snorted in amusment "Make Des Essarts lot work for their bloody livin' for once eh!?", (The good natured rivalry between the Musketeers and the Palace Guard were well known among all)

"Quite" Athos agreed with a wolfish smile

"On a brighter note how goes it with winning back d'Arts affections?" Aramis asked his smile becoming cheeky "I've seen you squaring off with Kadim several times and sharing more than one or two lingering glances with our young King!"

"Not to mention rather erotic dances!" Porthos chuckled watching as a blush spread over Athos's cheeks and a slightly bashful, slightly pleased with himself smile spread over his lips

"It's early days!" he said letting the pair of cackle dirtily at his expence, truth be told he was feeling rather confident in his recent efforts to win back d'Artagnan's love, oh he was still being prickly certainly, he was not going to make things easy for Athos. However he was thawing to him, beneath all the anger and the steely wall of stubborn determination to hate Athos, d'Artagnan was still drawn to him and in love with him, that much Athos was sure of now, and while it would take time to break those defenses down he knew it was possible and once he had done so he could have d'Artagnan back, all he had to do was be patient and persevere.

Chapter Text

Louvre

"So you will have five thousand Turkish troops along the border to aid our war against Spain will trade with our merchants freely and offer the sum of five hundred thousand in ducats in return for assurance of our never attempting to invade or show any hostility towards your country or peoples" Treville concluded

He sat at the council table with d'Artagnan and the rest of the privy council concluding their negotiations with Prince Kadim

"That is correct" Kadim's secetary said "Free trading, access to your shipping lanes and ports, and support againts military agression from Spain"

"I think we can promise to keep the Spanish too busy to even remotely think about attacking Turkey!" d'Artagnan said making Kadim chuckle along with several members of the Council, Feron however looked muelish, though since this was his natural look few paid it any heed until he spoke up

"We can also be certain can we that you will not be spreading your Heretical Beliefs amongst the good people of France?" he asked earning himself glares from Treville and Anne, and a dark look from d'Artagnan while Kadim and his secetary looked afronted

"Choose your words carefully Feron" d'Artagnan said in an ice cold tone "My late Cousin may have been lenient with your ascerbic tongue but I shall not and should you continue to insult the guests of my Kingdom then you will swiftly find yourself removed from court, permanently"
Treville had trouble hiding his smile at this though as did several of the Council members who did not especially like the illegitimate Duc
"Besides which" d'Artagnan said with a smile to Kadim "One mans Heretic is another Mans Faithful devotee"

"Indeed" Kadim agreed sharing the smile "Though if I may say so, after seeing the beauty of the Catholic King of France I am sorely tempted to change my religeon to Roman Faith!", a ripple of amused laughter ran round the court and d'Artagnan blushed a little at the compliment very pleased Athos was not present since it would have undoubtedly set off another cock fight between them.

"On that note considering that your visit to our court will soon be coming to an end I have a surprise arranged for you" d'Artagnan said "A long weekend at my late cousins hunting lodge in Versaille"

"Excelent idea your majesty" Treville applauded very fond of hunting himself

"Versaille, where is that you Majesty?" Kadim's secetary asked

"Versaille is about ten miles South West of Paris" d'Artagnan explained "There is only a small village there but my cousin had a chateau built within the land to enjoy the excelent hunting in the lands surounding the area"

"It will be only a short ride then?" Kadim said

"About an hour or so on Horse back" Treville confirmed

"We shall journey there tomorrow morning and stay through the weekend" d'Artagnan declared "Not the whole court only a small party since there is not enough room to house such a large number, but of course we will have a full escort of Musketeers for our protection"

"I shall inform Captain Athos myself" Aramis said

"Thankyou Aramis, will you and Lemay be able to join us?" d'Artagnan asked hopefully

"I should think so, though I suspect that he will need a carriage to travel to Versaille"

"He may use my personal carriage with Madame de Larroque" d'Artagnan said generously and looked to Queen Anne knowing she disliked guns and hunting gave her the perfect way to avoid the trip "Would you be willing to mind the fort as it were in our absence?"

"Certainly" Anne replied with a warm smile "I wish your Majesty good hunting".

 

Garrison

 

Athos was running drills when Aramis came into the garrison to see him, he had his sword over his shoulder and was barking orders at the cadets telling them to keep their arms up and not to drop their shoulders and to remember to move their feet.

His hair was damp with sweat and he was stripped down to his shirt and breeches with mud splattering his shirt from his exertions making Aramis feel a little envious at the fact his wounded leg prevented him from enjoying the vigourous activity that he had so enjoyed, however he smiled warmly at Athos's greeting and quickly relayed the news of the hunting trip to him.

"He could have provided us a little more warning in advance" Athos sighed rubbing his forehead "God sakes Claimont keep your bloody shoulder up how many more times?" he yelled at the cadet

"Sorry sir!" Clairmont appologised

"Well at least he's given half a days notice, its more than Louis ever did!" Aramis offered reffering to Louis anoying habbit of deciding these things on the spur of the moment and expecting everyone to jump at his command and have everything ready for him despite having been given no warning!, "Anyway this is the perfect oportuity for you initiate Operation Cupid!" he stated making Athos groan

"I thought Porthos had gotten you to drop that stupid name!"

"Whats stupid about it?", Athos glowered but Aramis carried on regardless "What you need to do is get d'Artagnan seperated from everyone in Versaille, a midnight rendevous, a moonlight pic-nic for just the two of you, champagne, sweet meats, strawberrys and cream...."

"You've been reading those bodice rippers again haven't you?" Athos sighed pinching the bridge of his nose making Aramis scowl

"Do you want my help or not?" he demanded

"Do I have a choice in the matter!?" Athos asked

"No so shut up and listen up because you need to do everything I say!".....

 

Chateau de Feron

 

Grimaud moved like smoke through the room as he aproached Feron who was hunched over his table moaning as Marcheaux massaged his back trying to ease the pain in his spine
"I have your opium" Grimaud reported setting it on the table

"Thank God!" Feron grunted waving Marcheaux off to reach for the drug, cutting himself a sliver he placed it in his wine and swallowed it in a single gulp

"The pain will ease soon" Grimaud said walking over to the fire and raising his hands to warm them over the harth

"My pain will never be eased" Feron groused hobbling to his chaise and laying down upon it with a groan "And that little slut of an Omega upstart tried to further humble me today, believing he is above me!, that he has the power to belittle and banish me!"

"Little shit" Marcheaux sychophantically put in being ignored by the two men

"I want his head!" Feron growled savagely "I want him and his whelp removed from my presence for good!"

"They'll be dealt with soon enough" Grimaud said

"No!" Feron snarled before breaking into a violent coughing fit that left him breathless and clutching at his sides panting heavily "This weekend d'Artagnan dies!".

 

Grimaud finally turned from the fire and frowned at Grimaud "We are not ready, we do not have the men or the oportunity"

"The slut has given us the perfect oportunity" Feron hissed looking at Grimaud through his tangled hair with blood shot eyes and pupils that were contracted by the opium "He is to take a hunting trip in Versaille this weekend, a small party with token Musketeers as protection, the perfect time to strike if ever there was one"

Grimaud narrowed his eyes thinking things over "A small group you say?"
"A dozen or so nobles and about that of Musketeers"

"If the Musketeers are taken out along with the King the Nobles will panic and flee" Grimaud said nodding his head "Any remaining will have to focus on their safety and the safety of the Dauphin whom they will rush to protect after the death of the slut"

"And he can be easily disposed of once his Aphan and Oman are dealt with" Feron breathed rapidly sinking into the opiums embrace "Do it Grimaud and I swear I shall reward you a thousandfold"

"I know you will" Grimaud said watching dispassionately as Feron slipped into a drugged sleep "And I will make sure you do".

 

Versaille

 

The hunting party reached Versaille by late morning after a leisurely ride from the Louvre.

Servants had of course gone on ahead with some of the Musketeers to ensure everything was ready before d'Artagnan arrived with Kadim so they might already have chambers prepared and be served with wine, (Tea for Kadim and the other Turks).

"This is far more luxurious than I expected" Kadim said looking at the Chateau which to many would be considered a grand palace but to Louis it had simply been a retreat from the rigours of court, "I think I shall enjoy my time here very much", smirking his full lips towards Athos he slipped his arm through d'Artagnan's to go into the Chateau making the other Alpha grind his teeth and bark out orders to his Musketeers far louder than normal

"We sure havin' Athos loose with a gun near Kadim's a good idea!?" Porthos asked taking Constance's hand to help her from the carriage as Aramis did with Lemay taking great care of him as he stepped from the carriage

"I'm not made of glass you know!?" the Doctor sighed rolling his eyes as Aramis bent to kiss the bump and whisper to the pup within uncaring of who saw them!

"I trust Athos is fully prepared for carrying out Aramis's idea?" Constance asked smoothing her gown and taking several deep breaths of air to settle her stomach after being jolted about in the carriage for an hour

"Indeed everything is ready" Aramis said with a proud grin "Tonight he will commence with operation cupid and love will once again owww!" he broke off rubbing the back of his head where Porthos slapped him!

"Stop actin' the fool and get inside will yer!" the larger man grunted "Operation Cupid!, bloody rediculas".

 

Since it was too late to hunt that day d'Artagnan showed Kadim about Versailles, the Chateau, the lake house, the gardens, and grounds the two of them talking easily about the differences here to the Louvre and Saint Germain, and of course the great differences in these palaces and that of the Sultans Palace in Constantinopal.

"It is delightful to see Beta Women and Omegas without their faces concealed from sight as they take the air" Kadim said admiring the ornamental gardens

"Will you institute a change amongst your people on your return to Constantinopal to have Beta Women and Omegas uncovered?" d'Artagnan asked making Kadim laugh brightly

"I think not, delightful though the thought would be, my people would not look kindly upon it, would see it as an afront to Allah"

"I'll never understand that" d'Artagnan admitted "But then I don't understand the Huegonot belief that fine clothes, jewelry, stain glass windows, religeous idols and other forms of beauty are an afront to God, nore the Catholic belief that we should be ashamed of our bodies and taking pleasure in sex is agaist God"

"You will never be one to engage in a religious war then" Kadim said

"No, never" d'Artagnan confirmed "For one thing the war with Spain is costing enough, and for another....." he paused and smiled "Like a Queen of England once said, I will not make windows into Mens Souls"

"Queen Elizabeth I believe" Kadim said with a smile "Who held the throne alone and defeated all those who oposed her"

"Including the Spanish Armarda" d'Artagnan said grinning "Of all the Monarchs of Europe who have come before me it is she who I admire the most and whom I aspire to, though without the vow of Virginity of course!"

"Of course!" Kadim chuckled "Lest your beautiful Alphon Lex would not have been born which would have been a grave mistake", speaking of his beloved Alphon d'Artagnan's hand strayed to his thicking belly where the very first flutters of life were beginning, too faint for others to feel but he could feel it, the movement of the life in his womb bringing him hope as this Pup quickened and grew a little larger everyday

"You must miss your family greatly having been parted from them for so long" he said to the Prince who nodded with a sigh drawing them to a stop beneath the arch of roses

"I miss my mates, I miss my Pups and children, both legitamite and those I sired on concubines, but I know I shall greatly miss you when the time comes for me to depart these shores"

d'Artagnan felt the familiar confusion of emotions at Kadim's affection for him, on the one hand he was happy that the handsome prince found him attractive, on the other hand though he was still in love with Athos and was still bound to him making any affection between himself and Kadim scandalous if it went any further than friendship and pehaps mild flirtation, however that did not mean that his stomach didn't flutter to have Kadim's sultry gaze upon his person and that his heart did not beat just a little faster whenever they touched as they did now when Kadim's hand stroked his cheek

"May I take a liberty here your Majesty and ask to gain permission for something?" he asked

"You need to ask my permission to ask me something?" d'Artagnan asked with a smile

"Indeed" Kadim breathed moving closer to him making d'Artagnan shiver slightly with desire and a little fear of the great risk he was running here "What I wish to ask you is.......rather.......forward"

d'Artagnan wet his lips and took a breath nodding his head to give Kadim permission to ask his question
"I would ask you my dearest Charles if I may visit your bedchamber this night" Kadim purred
"I have never felt such passion for anyone before in my life" he said to d'Artagnan taking his hands and bringing them to his lips to kiss his knuckles "My heart burns with desire for you, my body is flush with yearning for your touch!, my eyes are blind to all but your beauty!"

"Kadim....." d'Artagnan began

"I know it is forbidden! I know we should not but I can not help how I feel for you!" Kadim breathed "If it were possible I would be honorable and ask for your hand in marriage but I know that is not to be so I would ask they we might enjoy some passion before we are forever separated"

A pained look past over d'Artagnan's face and he let out a deep sigh of sorrow "I will not say I am not tempted, and I admit that were things different, were I not already bound to another by both law and love then I was very happily lay with you My sweet Prince" He said to Kadim offering him a sad smile "But as it is I fear what you wish, what either of us may wish can never be".

 

Kadim sighed deeply swallowing down his disapointment and his hurt, covering it with a smile and kissed d'Artagnan's fingers once more
"You are forever gracious even in refusal, I hope that your Husband is worthy of your devotion to him"

"Thank you" d'Artagnan said gratefully with his hand slipping over his growing middle once again hoping that Kadim's good wishes to him came true.

 

Late Evening

 

d'Artagnan was preparing for bed, was sitting in his night shirt with a velvet robe over his shoulders before his mirror having Connstance brush out his hair and started when she began to tie white roses with the thorns removed from the stems into his hair

"Am I to bed in a flower patch!?" he asked with a bemused chuckle

"Not in the least, unless of course it pleases you to do so!" Constance replied with an impish smile finishing setting the flowers in d'Artagnan's hair to form a coronette, she then took up his perfume, the sweetest one that had a scent of cinamon to it which she sprayed onto his throat and then went to his trunk and brought out a very revealing robe of filmy silver/green that shimmered in the candle light

"What..........?" d'Artagnan began rising from the chair but Constance mearly set the robe on the bed and went to remove the thick one from his shoulders preparing to remove his night shirt but d'Artagnan moved out of her reach "What is going on?" he demanded

"A surprise" Constance said picking up the green robe and handed it to him "For which you must dress and allow me to blindfold you till you reach your destination"

"Blindfold?" d'Artagnan drawled shaking his head "Very well I submit myself to you Madame!, do as you will with me!".

 

Once dressed and blindfolded d'Artagnan was taken by Porthos to awaiting horses and was taken from the Chateau into the woods where Aramis was waiting with Athos having helped him set up a romantic moonlight pic-nic.

A canopy had been errected beneath the trees looking out on the side of the cliff overlooking the Chateau of Versaille.
A carpet complete with plush cushons was beneath the canopy and plates of dainty food were set out along with champagne that sparkled in the light of the candles that hung in holders from the tree branches creating a beautiful setting that had d'Artagnan gasping when his blindfold was removed and he saw the pic-nic and Athos standing beneath the canopy champagne in his hand which he stretched out towards d'Artagnan

"Is this your doing?" d'Artagnan asked of a smug Aramis who looked like the cat who'd gotten the cream

"Perhaps!" Aramis purred mounting his horse while Porthos chuckled dirtily "I bid the two of you good night, and.......much enjoyment!"...............

Chapter Text

As Porthos and Aramis rode away d'Artagnan aproached the pic-nic with narrowed eyes and an amused smile on his face while accepting the glass of champagne from Athos noting that the Alpha still stuck to non alcoholic drinks, choosing the sip from a glass containing a peach nectaire.

"What is all this then?" he asked looking around at the romantic setting his eyebrows rising even higher at the sight of Athos's clothing which was not his typical uniform but a simple pair of leather breeches, a clean white shirt under a long green robe.

Green robes
White flowers

The colours worn at an Alpha an Omega bonding ceramony.

 

d'Artagnan sighed and shook his head taking a seat on the plush cushions and gestured for Athos to join him
"What do you think this is going to achieve?" he asked as Athos sat besides him and took a sugared plum from the plate that Athos lifted

"I thought we could enjoy each others company away from all the eyes and ears of court" Athos replied taking another drink "I thought we could talk, enjoy the beauty of the night....perhaps speak of........memories"

"And perhaps relive some of those memories?" d'Artagnan drawled liking the sugar off the plum with darts of his tongue

"Depends on which memories you mean!", Athos's reply and wiggling eyebrows made d'Artagnan snicker and relax back on the cushions with a smile
"I can think of many I'd like to relive" Athos said leaning back to rest his weight on his elbow as he gazed at d'Artagnan "Remember a couple of years ago when we returning from a trip to Fontaine Bleur?"

d'Artagnan hummed and grinned "When the heavens opened in torrential rain and the Nobles with us descended into panic about their fine clothes being ruined!, half insisting on riding back three miles to take refuge in a Monastery, while the other half wanted to ride on to the nearest village and take shelter there"

"You grew so sick of their arguing and indecision you checked Zad into a cantar and had the two of us riding off the village leaving them to dither about and risk pneumonia in the cold and wet while we went to seek shelter"

"Only along the way to the village we found an abandoned cabin, only one room and nothing but a pallet bed on the floor with the straw half rotten from age, yet for us it might aswell have been a feather bed"

Athos's smile grew and he reached out stroked d'Artagnan's cheek, "We let the horses loose to graze and shelter under the trees while we went into the cabin. Soaked to the skin we stripped off and bundled up together beneath a filthy sheet to keep ourselves warm"

"Oh we did more than that to keep warm if I recall!" d'Artagnan giggled recalling the fun they'd had in the cabin, acting like two peasents in the wild unconcerned for anyone or anything but each others pleasure, then finally falling asleep in a tangle of limbs to the sound of rain splattering the wooden roof over their heads

"It took them nearly a full day to find us!" Athos chuckled "Poor Treville was beside himself with worry for our safety!, gave me a good ear bending for running off with you like that!, Porthos and Aramis just teased me"

"As Constance did me!" d'Artagnan said with a whistful smile "A week after we got home we discovered I was pregnant again, our fourth I think...or would have been had I not miscarried", his expression became sad and distant and a hand protectively curled about his middle

"It wasn't your fault" Athos said sitting up straighter and took d'Artagnan's hands into his own "The miscarriages, the still birth, none of it was your fault"

"Wasn't it?" d'Artagnan asked his voice breaking and his eyes shining with unshed tears "I'm an Omega it's is my purpose to carry and produce offspring!, it's what my body is made for!, but instead......." he broke off as a sob filled his throat and tears rolled down his cheeks, "I failed!, I lost them, my useless body wouldn't do what it was supposed to and they died!"

Athos surged forward pulling d'Artagnan into his arms holding him close and kissing his face as he wept "It wasn't your failing, it wasn't anything you did wrong it was just.......an act of nature, cruel and painful, but not of your making or mine", d'Artagnan shudded and burried his face in Athos's chest clinging to him tightly and breathing in his familiar scent as he wept out his grief taking comfort in Athos's warm and soothing embrace.

 

For the longest time Athos held d'Artagnan as he sobbed rubbing his back and kissing his hair as he cried himself out, then eventually set him back against the pillows handing him a handkerchief to blow his nose and dry his cheeks.

"I'm sorry" d'Artagnan said sniffing as he wiped his face "You've done all this and all I do is blubber like a child!"

"Don't" Athos soothed squeezing d'Artagnan's upper arm "It's good the shed tears as it helps ease grief, or so I am told" he said with a smile "And as for all this, it is the least I can do after my poor behavior"

He was speaking of Sylvie of course and d'Artagnan sighed shaking his head, it was a night for truths it seemed, and while he had naturally been angry about Athos's fumble with Sylvie, more than anything he had been hurt and humiliated, that Athos had been seeking fornication elsewhere had proved to d'Artagnan all the negatvity he had believed about himself to be true, something he spoke of now to Athos.

"In retrospect I can hardly blame you for seeking pleasure elsewhere when you received nothing but misery from me, Christ!, I have hardly been hot, or desirable these past years nore even appreciated your touch when you made the effort......"

"No!" Athos exclaimed cutting d'Artagnan off, sitting up right again he took the Omega's hands and looked him squarely in the eye, "You were grieving, ill, you could not be blamed for not feeling amorous!, and as for your appearance....", he let go of one of d'Artagnan's hands to cup his chin as the Omega tried to look away "You are as beautiful today as you were when we first bonded", when d'Artagnan scoffed he jerked his chin to maintain eye contact between them, "I never expected you to look the exact same way you did over a decade ago!, no one passes time without changing, without aging!, I have changed and aged!, my hair is greying, I have lines on my face, maintaining muscle tone is harder than ten years past!"

"You still look as handsome as ever though" d'Artagnan said
"As do you" Athos said stroking his cheek "What will it take for me to convince you of that?, to prove to you how beautiful you are?" he whispered leaning in so their lips were hardly a quarter of an inch apart "I still dream of you every night" he breathed "I see you in every shape and form my sleeping mind takes. I dreamt of the Birth of Venus and saw you standing in the clam shell naked and unashamed as the whole world beheld your beauty!"

d'Artagnan let out a moan of desire as Athos's lips passed briefly over his own in a teasing swipe of damp warm skin
"I dreamt of us both as Mars and Venus risking the wrath of Vulcan as we gave into our desires for each other!"

"Who might Vulcan be when I am married to you?" d'Artagnan whispered, his hands moving up into Athos's hair and about his neck "Who's wrath might we be risking?"

"No ones so far as I know!" Athos purred a smile spreading over his face "So we may do as we wish with no fear of repurcusion!", d'Artagnan let out a giggle as Athos pushed him onto his back, laying over him to finally kiss him with a passion that had been so long absent from his life it was like fresh cool water being given to a dying man in a desert. With tears pricking at his eyes again though this time they were tears of joy not pain, d'Artagnan ran his hands over the familiar planes of Athos's body hungrily breathing in his scent and spread wide his legs allowing Athos to push up his robe and slide his eager hand between his damp thighs to stroke and tease the sensative flesh to make d'Artagnan whine and squirm and buck his hips rubbing his hardening length against Athos's surging errection.

Athos's sinking into paradise as he lay in d'Artagnan's welcoming embrace, free for the first time in so long to hold, touch, caress, kiss, and taste each and every inch of d'Artagnan's body. Their coupling over the past couple of years had been cold and perfuntory a simple act to procreate no more romantic than that of animals rutting in the wild. This however was love making, pleasure for them both which they ravenously took to, gorging themselves on the feel of each others bodies as rampantly as starving men with a feast.

Pressing his knees against Athos's sides d'Artagnan keened as Athos entered his body and clamped down with his inner muscles as tight as he could bucking his hips and grinding his pelvis against Athos as he began to move in and out of his body delivering heated kisses over his neck and chest his beard providing the most delicious scraping against his skin that he had not realized how much he had missed the feel of the rough stubble which was as potant as the caresses of his calloused hands that were wrapped about his hips and shoulder supporting and holding him as Athos thrust with greater speed and depth driving all coherant thought from both their minds leaving them as slaves to their bodies desires until they were both crying out in ecstacy their voices echoing about the glade and lay back to rest beneath the star lit sky above them.

 

d'Artagnan was the first to move, recovering from his orgasem and going to get fresh champagne and the strawberrys and cream, he poured a large glassfull and brought it over for them both to share but again Athos refused
"Would one hurt?" he asked

"I fear it would yes" Athos replied taking a strawberry instead "It is better I abstain"

"D'you feel better for it, giving up alcohol?" d'Artagnan asked sitting down cross legged and sipped at his drink

"I do actually, at first I felt like shit, was sick for days, but now my head is clear, I can taste food again I even have an appetite for it!, I no longer spend my time in a drunken haze or in hunger over and sick to my stomach!"
"Instead you spend your time spitting and snarling at Turkish Princes!", Athos grinned and snagged a strawberry which he ran through the cream and pressed against d'Artagnan's lips to feed him getting a playful swipe of d'Artagnan's tongue against his fingers

"Only ones making eyes at My Mate!" he growled making d'Artagnan giggle, "I swear I'll gauge his bloody eyes out if he carries on learing at you like he does!"

"He's just flirting!" d'Artagnan chuckled making Athos growl once more "But fear not, there is but one Alpha in my heart and he fills it so completely that I can not so much as gaze upon another!"

"A feeling I know all to well" Athos said extending his arm which he wrapped about d'Artagnan's shoulders as he curled into him resting his head upon Athos's chest

"I've missed this" he sighed closing his eyes and entwining his hand with Athos's shivering a little as Athos's free fingers trailed up and down his throat "Not just the sex, though tha was very, very good, but the.....tenderness, to just snuggle together like this"

"Hmm me too" Athos breathed kissing his husbands head "This will be a new start for us now, as new dawn so to speak putting the past behind us"

"Yes" d'Artagnan breathed turning his head and kissing Athos's lips "A new beginning all round"

"And I swear I shall never do anything to hurt you again so long as I draw breath"

"Nore I you" d'Artagnan whispered biting his tongue as he thought of telling Athos about the Pup, right now he could pass off the roundess to his middle as gained weight but soon it would not be possible to maintain this subterfuge. He did want to tell Athos he truly did but the fear of getting Athos's hopes up yet again only to have them dashed should the Pup be taken from them in another miscarriage or still birth.

Just the thought of bringing Athos further pain and disapointment when they were only just starting to work on saving their marriage and reigniting their love had d'Artagnan quashing his desire to speak out firmly, refusing to speak of this until he felt more certain of the Pups survival, although in truth he knew that he would never be certain of his unborn Pups safety intil he or she was laid whole hale in his arms at birth.

Chapter Text

Versailles

Lemay and Constance were in the chambers assigned to Aramis and Lemay during their stay at Versailles enjoying a pleasent conversation over a cup of wine each.
"You and Porthos seem to be getting along well" Lemay said raising his eyebrows knowingly at Constance who blushed a little and smiled into her cup making Lemay laugh brightly

"It's early days" Constance said to the Doctor "We're......courting, getting to know each other, which I know sounds silly because we've known each other for years, but this is different"

"Hm, you getting to know each other as prospective lovers not friends" Lemay said nodding his head and smiling fondly as he remembered the early days of his relationship with Aramis, thirteen years ago now!, it seemed like a lifetime had passed since then with how much had changed, not least of all the long desired pregnancy.

"Kicking yet?" Constance asked as he cupped his belly
"No, moving though, I can feel it when he or she turns or wriggles about I don't think it'll be long before the kicking starts, though I wish the little sod would stay off my bladder!", Lemay smiled ruefully as Constance laughed recalling her own discomfort with Pups resting on ones bladder when she had been pregnant with Charles and Gabrielle.

Thinking about her previous pregnancy made Constance consider the possibility of having more Pups with Porthos. She had always hoped to have a large family, saddly that hope had been put to rest when Ninon had died and she had contented herself with her twins never expecting for love to come her way again, now however she was thinking about her relationship with Porthos becoming serious enough for them to bond and try for a litter.

While not old Constance knew her biological clock was ticking, she was in her thirties now and if she wanted further offspring she was going to have to get on and have them within this decade.

 

Presetly Aramis and Porthos returned from setting d'Artagnan and Athos up for the night both looking disgustingly pleased with themselves.

"I take it everything went to plan then" Lemay said shifting forward on the love seat so Aramis could sit behind him and pull him to his chest while resting his hands about the proud curve of his belly

"Well d'Art didn't shoot us or order our executions so yeah I think it went well!" Porthos replied sitting besides Constance but not touching her as openly as Aramis was with Lemay, it was still too early in their relationship for that

"I'll bet they're stripping off and doing it under the stars like a pair of Pagans at a fertility celebration!" Aramis mused with a dreamy expression on his face "Ah what a time that must have been!, rampant orgys, open passions, decadent feasts of the flesh!"

"Slavery, gladiatorial games, brutality!, yeah wonderful times!" Lemay snorted rolling his eyes

"No doubt he'd 'ave spent 'is days ensuring there was a shortage of Vestal Virgins!" Porthos snickered getting a sour look from Aramis

"And what would you have been doing?, bashing in skulls in the arenas?" Aramis shot back leering as Porthos flipped him off

"Given our ages we'd all most likely be dead by now in those days" Lemay said "They rarely had long lives"

"Or sense of propriety" Constance added

"Ohh is our Madame Larroque a prude!?" Aramis teased grinning as she narrowed her eyes at him

"Leave off Mis" Porthos said "Not all of us are exabitionists like you!"

"Pray to God the Pup takes after Lemay and not Aramis or he'll be jumping out of windows to get away from enraged Husbands before long!" Constance laughed

"Heaven forbid!" Lemay muttered running a hand over his middle feeling the pup stir and move becoming more active by the day as his or her body grew larger and stronger, he was more than half way through the pregnancy now, was heading towards the final weeks and his confinement before the birth something he was greeting with both excitement and nervousness.

The downside about being a physician was know everything that could go wrong.

Having delivered many infants over the years he had seen too many tradgedys to be complasant about his own pregnancy and labour, he knew all of the risks both to himself and the Pup, every complication and threat that could come about during that most tense time, and the worst part of knowing about them was knowing that he wouldn't be able to do anything about it if it did occur!, while he was a Doctor he could not deliver his own Pup, could not operate on himself!, he would have to put himself in anothers hands which was never a pleasing prospect for anyone.

What was it that was said of fear?, that the real fear was loss of control, to not be in control of the situation, something people could not easily accept in any circumstance.

"You okay?"

Aramis's voice started Lemay a little as he realized that he'd been day dreaming and had stoped paying attention to his surounds
"I'm alright" he said turning and giving his mate a smile "Just thinking"

"About.....?" Aramis asked pressing a kiss to his temple

"The birth, what it'll be like going through it myself instead of delivering someone else of their Pup or baby", another kiss and Aramis's arms tightened about him slightly

"You know I'll be there with you, the whole way, I don't care what propriety states I won't leave your side for the whole time"

Lemay smile resting his head on Aramis's chest and patted his forearm "I know, and I promise not to break too many of your fingers!"

"Thats a relief!", the pair looked up as Constance and Porthos got to their feet clearly about the depart

"Don't get up" Constance said with a wave of her hand "We can see ourselves out"

"See you tomorrow morning" Aramis said with a smile and brought one of Lemay's hands to his lips kissing the knuckles one by one, "How about we retire to bed ourselves?" he suggested with his voice dropping several octaves seductively

"Why, are you feeling tired!?" Lemay teased with a growing smile

"Oh I'm feeling something alright, but tired certainly isn't it!".

 

Porthos gallantly escorted Constance to her chambers and stood on the thresh hold both tempted and reluctant to enter as she paused in the doorway
"We should probably say goodnight" she said feeling some what flustered and unsure

"Yeah" Porthos agreed with a sigh "We'll be hunting tomorrow and need a good nights sleep"

"Hmm, be up early for the ride"

"Yes.........", they stared at each other both tempted and nervous, unsure of what they should do, if it were too soon for this, if they should wait. They had not been courting long, there was no formal arrangment between them for a prospective bonding and marriage, in truth they should wait, should indeed have a chaperone, but they had both been alone for so long, had lost so much already, they knew how short life could be and how important it was to enjoy each and every moment since it may well be the last.

That knowledge pushed them both to forget what society dictated and into each others arms kissing with the hunger of those deprived love and lust for far too long.

Porthos kicked the door shut with his boot stumbling across the room with Constance to the bed and lifted her by her corseted waist to lay upon it. Eagerly his calloused hands lifted her brocaded satin skirt and chemise to run up her legs over the teasing ribbon of her stockings to her naked thighs and her sex between them, he made Constance arch and cry out as his fingers slipped into the moist warm flesh teasing her and making his Cock pulse with excitment.

Constance's nimble fingers made short work of Porthos's doublet buttons and it was quickly thrown to the floor along with his shirt and her shoes, though Porthos left her stockings in place finding them a pleasing sight upon her legs.

Between them they undid her stomach and her skirts tossing the clothing aside without a second thought leaving Constance in her chemise and corset alone and wantonly laying back on the pillows with her thighs readily parted for Porthos to lay between them and sink inside her body.

While she was no virgin her years of abstinance had left her tight and Porthos's cock and surging knot bruised her insides enough to rouse a cry from her as he filled her. He was also larger than Ninon had been making Constance bit her bottom lip and squirm as he seemed to fill every part of her and hit every sensative spot she had with gentle but firm thrusts.

His hands ran over her breasts that was all but spilling out over the top of her corset, his full lips were kissing her throat and his beard scratched at her skin in a teasing prickle as he worked his way up to her mouth to kiss her again as her hands explored his large muscles running over them and holding them tight, everything about Porthos was big and it made Constance feel protected and excited to be in the arms of such giant!, one capable of such ferocity in battle but also of such tenderness as he showed now, taking care not to hurt her as he pumped his hips back and forth and ran his hands up one of her clenching thighs that was pressing into his side, wrapping her other leg about him resting her heel against his back she clung tight to Portho's body tipping back her head and bucking her hips as hard as she could to meet his thrust, she cared nothing for who heard them crying out, who would find the stained sheets come morning, what would be whispered of them in court, all that mattered right now was the two of them and the pleasure they were creating in this moment.

 

It was shortly before dawn when d'Artagnan and Athos rode back to the Chateau and were greeted by bemused guards who took Roger from Athos and shot them both curious looks as they entered the Chateau hand in hand and beaming brightly, their night together had been a success in more than just sex, they had gotten a lot of things out in the open and laid to rest festering issues affording them the chance to to now rebuild their marriage.

"We should probably go and get some rest before breakfast" Athos said wrapping his arms loosely about d'Artagnan's waist "Wash up and change our clothes at least!"

"Hmm a wash yes, but I think sex can replace sleep very well!" d'Artagnan mused with a grin

"I think you maybe right!" Athos chuckled leaning forward and capturing d'Artagnan's mouth in another kiss "So shall we go to my chambers or to yours?" he asked as the kiss ended

"Mine" d'Artagnan replied "The beds bigger!".

 

d'Artagnan and Athos were not the only ones running late a few hours later as the party went out to the courtyard to mount their awaiting horses.

Constance looked suspiciously flushed in the cheeks and her riding habbit was oddly crumpled as if she'd been caught in a fray!, Porthos had a smug self satisfied grin on his face that left no one with an ounce of common sense in the dark as to what had happened between them!.

Aramis matched Porthos's cheshire cat grin with on of his own as he walked arm in arm with Lemay and openly kissed him before the entire party before mounting Belle.

Lemay did not hunt and in his condition he felt he would rather remain at the chateau than ride, he did however insist that Aramis go as he knew he enjoyed hunting and did not want to deprive him of the expedition.

Lastly were d'Artagnan and Athos both of whom looked sleep deprived but supiciously bright eyed and rosey cheeked not to mention the red marks on their necks and the less than subtle glances they kept giving each other!.

"Looks like operation Cupid was a success" Aramis said with a proud smile that not even Porthos groan could shift!.

 

Prince Kadim looked d'Artagnan over appreciatively and nodded his head "You look radiant this morning" he said smirking as Athos moved Roger to stand besides d'Artagnan "I trust you slept well?" he asked raising an eyebrow as d'Artagnan giggled

"I did much last night my friend but sleep was not one of them!" the young King laughed caring nothing for the shocked gasps and whispers coming from the rest of the party, the guards who'd greeted them this morning had already started spreading gossip, but noon he doubted that there would be a soul in Versailles that didn't know that he and Athos had spent the night together and may be working to repair their marriage.

For his part Athos puffed up like a peacock with smug pride that he had no qualms about rubbing Kadim's face not even having the grace to look chastened at the exasperated look d'Artagnan shot him or the rolled eyed comment of "Alphas!" that followed!.

 

d'Artagnan rode at the head of the party with Athos, the dogs, falcons, and beaters going on before them to scare out the game for them to hunt.

"Fifty Livre for the first kill" d'Artagnan called out as they rode through the woods "And I would remind everyone to make the kill clean and quick, there is no need for the animal to suffer"

"Sire"

"Majesty", came the replies.

 

Kadim urged his horse on to ride besides d'Artagnan giving him a charming smile even as Athos glared.
"Have you ever taken part in a bear hunt my dearest Charles?" he asked "It is a favorite sport in my country, very dangerous and most exhilerating"

"Indeed I have" d'Artagnan replied "When I was visiting your lands I was invited to take part in a hunt"

"And what did you think?" Kadim asked pressing closer to d'Artagnan as if they were sharing secrets

"I found it exhilerating" d'Artagnan said "But I can not say I enjoyed it over much, to me, the way the dogs were allowed to set upon the bear was cruel, while I enjoy the hunt I do not enjoy cruelty", Athos all but leered at Kadim chalking this up to a another win for his side and sat back in his saddle looking revoltingly pleased with himself

"If your ego grows any larger you'll have trouble lifting yourself up to move about!" d'Artagnan scolded having not missed the smugness

"I don't know what you mean!" Athos lied trying and failing to look innocent!

"No of course you don't!, and I'm the virgin Mary!" d'Artagnan muttered, his head turned and his eyes looked to the sky as birds suddenly flew from the trees and bushes, several of the party readied their weapons and fired bringing down several game birds for the beaters to go and collect

You are not shooting?" Kadim asked d'Artagnan who had not reached for his own gun

"I prefer to wait for larger prey" d'Artagnan replied turning to look to one of the Nobles riding in the Party "Welldone Comte d'Tours, the prize money is yours for first kill"

"Thank you Majesty" the Comte said taking off his feathered hat to bow shallowly from the horse he was on, d'Artagnan smiled and nudged Zad making him walk a pace to two forward his body caught in a half turn as he made to look back to the track they were on just as shot rang out!.

 

For a second no one reacted thinking that it was mearly one of the party shooting at a bird or rabbit, a second later panic took over as d'Artagnan let out a winded cry falling from Zad with blood blossoming over his left breast!.

"We're under attack!" Porthos bellowed

"Protect the King!" Athos shouted jumping from Roger to d'Artagnan's side relief flooding him when he found that he was both alive and responsive though frighteningly pale and rapidly loosing blood

"Captain!" one of the Musketeers cried as they formed a battle formation one of them falling from his horse as another shot rang out followed by several more

"Find who is behind this and eliminate them" Athos ordered looking up as Kadim knelt besides him taking off the colourful sash he wore as a belt about his waist to press into the wound

"Be strong Tathm" he whispered stroking d'Artagnan's cheek "Allah will not forsake you"

"I'm fine" d'Artagnan said his voice shaking and his eyes wide with fear as gripped Athos's arm "The Pup!" he panted his voice half lost in the noise of gun fire and battle cries as the Musketeers met the brigands head on, Aramis and Porthos had quickly resumed their soldier personas making sure Constance and the other beta Women and Omega males were in the centre of the group of Nobles with themselves on the outside.

For the most part the rebel band who had dared attack the royal party kept to the trees and hidden from sight to fight with guns but some of the bravers ones ventured out with their swords drawn including a tall and heavily cowled man who's face was so hidden in shadow only his cold dead eyes and scars were visable.

"Surrender in the Name of the King" one of the Musketeers roared at him only to be fixed with an empty stare

"Never" Grimaud whispered raising his gun and firing shooting the Musketeer dead without a seconds hesitation and sinking his sword in the belly of another!, he cared nothing for the thugs who fought besides him, they could all perish as far as he was concerned, he hardly registered the flesh wound his thigh received as one of the Musketeers fired a pistol at him, his focus was upon d'Artagnan who was being lifted up by both Kadim and Athos with Kadim's body guard hovering over the Turk protectively, his scimitar drawn and ready.

"Porthos take the head and lead them back to the Chateau" Aramis said loading his harquebus "I'll follow with d'Artagnan and Athos"

"Aye, the Turks an'all I 'ope!" Porthos grunted kicking Filip forward and bellowed to the nobles "Follow me, ride hard and don't look back!"

Between them Kadim and Athos got d'Artagnan onto his feet prepared to lift him onto Roger to ride back to the Chateau but d'Artagnan clung to Athos wild with fear
"The Pup Athos I can't loose the Pup!"

"What Pup, what are you talking about?" Athos asked shaking his head not understanding what he was talking about and worried that d'Artagnan had hit his head and jared his brain

"The Pup!" d'Artagnan panted his body dizzy with blood loss and fear that making him hyperventilate "I was..........wanted to tell you........"

"Look out!", two gun shots rang out simultaneously, a ball hitting Grimaud to left of his abdomen making him grunt with pain and stagger backwards clutching at his side, the other ball striking Aramis at the top of his belly!.

Chapter Text

"Aramis!"

d'Artagnan's scream was joined by his desperate lurch forward to reach his friend as he toppled to the ground clutching at his belly with blood seeping through his fingers.

With his own injury and weakened state d'Artagnan only managed that single step before crumbling to his knees nearly pulling Athos down with him who was torn between helping his friend and his mate, d'Artagnan however was not so torn and pushed at Athos

"Go I'm fine!" he insisted as the Alpha dithered a striken look on his face, but after a moment he did as asked and went to Aramis's side

"d'Artagnan!" Aramis panted through gritted teeth

"Hush" Athos said easing Aramis's from the wound to view it and swiftly cut the satin sash from Aramis's doublet to force into the wound and staunch the flow of blood

"Lemay!" Aramis gasped reaching out to Athos and grabbing his arm tightly gazing at him with wild eyes "You. Must. Take. Care. Of. Him!" he demanded "The Pup!"

"You'll take care of them yourself Aramis you are not going into Gods care this day" Athos stated taking off his belt to wrap about Aramis's waist and tied it tight to further help stop the flow of blood

"If you can take him I will help his Majesty" Kadim said making Athos look over his shoulder, he felt a guilty stab of jealousy that he firmly pushed to one side since now was not the time for such thoughts at the sight of d'Artagnan in Kadim's arms

"The enemy are in retreat Sir!, do we follow?" one of the Musketeers shouted

"No" Athos called "Take formation we ride for Versailles" he stated helping Aramis to his feet and carrying, half dragging him to Roger and helped him into the saddle climbing on behind him, he shot a folorn look to d'Artagnan who was helped upon Kadim's horse by the Prince and his body guard

"I'll be fine 'thos, just get Aramis safe" the young king panted a hand pressed suspiciously over his middle rather than his torso, Athos had not forgotten his words about the "Pup", what he had meant still baffled Athos, it had been months since they had last lain together save for the night before, there was no way he could be pregnant!, not unless......., No, no Athos knew that d'Artagnan would never have betrayed him, would not have lain with another. His gaze must have lingered as they waited the few minutes for the Musketeers to remount their horses and take up battle formation, for d'Artagnan gave him an apologetic look

"I didn't want anyone to know" he said a single tear rolling down his cheek "I swore Lemay to secrecy, I couldn't face another public miscarriage"

"What?", Athos couldn't absorb what d'Artagnan was saying, couldn't seem to understand it, his brain refused to process the information he had just been given and there wasn't time to ponder upon it, Aramis was failing fast and there was no telling if there were more bandits in hiding, they had to get back to Versaille at once.

 

Grimaud cursed as clutched at his side running through the woods to his waiting horse, a proud Andalusian whom he mounted with a pained goan almost bent double in the saddle.

He hated retreating, hated loosing a fight, hated failure of any kind, yet right now he had no option, if he had remained to fight he would have died and there would be no chance to go after d'Artagnan again.

While this was a retreat it was strategic not a defeat for there was still a chance to kill the King again in the future.

 

With Porthos having riden ahead with the nobles he had been able to alert the servants at the Chateau of the crisis giving them a chance to prepare hot water, clean linens, bandages, and to send to the village for additional medical support should Lemay require it.

This foresight was fortuitous as now it was not only d'Artagnan who was hurt but Aramis too.

"Oh God!", the hysterical cry was wrung from Lemay's lips as he was greeted with the sight of Aramis laying limp in Athos's arms in the saddle "What happened, Aramis!, what....how bad......", Lemay was babbling as he ran to Aramis whom Athos carefully lowered from the horse into the awaiting arms of two servants

"He was shot, upper abdomen" he said to the Doctor who had taken Aramis's hand into his own shaking ones staring with teary eyes at Aramis's pale face "d'Artagnan........the King...."

"Tend to him Lemay" d'Artagnan said cutting Athos off his hand pressed firmly to his wound "He needs you more than I"

Lemay was faced with same horrible choice Athos had been earlier, to tend his husband or his friend, both needed medical attention and both he loved unconditionally, Aramis's wound was life threatening where d'Artagnan's was a flesh wound, however d'Artagnan was pregnant, the shock and blood loss might cause a miscarriage....

Once again it was d'Artagnan who made the choice urging Lemay to go with Aramis and save his life deciding to trust the doctor from the village to treat his own wound
"God be with you Majesty" Lemay said gratefully for d'Artagnan's selfless request

"And you" d'Artagnan whispered his gaze lingering upon Aramis's pale frame as he was whisked into the chateau.

 

Within minutes of their arrival at Versailles the chateau was a flurry of activity, half of the Chateau going to the Kings chambers, and half to Aramis's. Some like Constance and Porthos were allowed inside to lend aid to the physicians, others were forced to wait outside for news choosing to gossip, speculate, plot, and generally get in the way of the servants who were sent in and out for more water and linens.

Doctor Beauchamps was the physician who attended d'Artagnan.

While a small village doctor he had plenty of experiance at dealing with a variety of ailments from child birth, to belly flux, to gun shot wounds, and while he had never attended upon anyone as important as d'Artagnan he was more than competant and after an initial nervousness maintained a business like demena that d'Artagnan appreciated.

Stripped of his clothes down to his braies with Constance and Athos's help d'Artagnan could not help but feel vulnerable and exposed as he lay on his bed his rounded belly revealed to all for the first time.

"I must ask your Majesty how far along you are?" Beauchamps asked eyeing his belly with a well trained eye able to tell the difference between a pregnancy and fat

"Eighteen weeks" d'Artagnan whispered letting out a horse cry as Beauchamps assistant and apprentice cleaned and salted his wound

"Sorry Majesty!" the boy gasped fearfully

"I'd rather pain than infection" d'Artagnan grunted looking to Athos who was stood at the foot of the bed staring at him blank faced, or rather at his belly, "I was going to tell you" he whispered

"When?" Athos demanded looking up and suddenly his expression was one of outrage!, of betrayed anger directed at d'Artagnan for keeping this most important news from him!
"When would you have told me?, when the Pup was born perhaps, when your belly could no longer be hidden from view?, When were you going to tell ME!", the last was shouted at d'Artagnan and Athos grabbed the foot of the bed shaking it in his wrath making d'Artagnan shrink back from the anger
"How long would you have kept up this deception?, forced Lemay to hold his tongue?, how many others would you have manipulated into keeping this secret?" he snarled at the Omega

"Athos this isn't the time" Constance protested as the physician and his apprentice checked that the ball had passed through d'Artagnan's body silently, their eyes down cast and tried to appear inconspicuous as war erupted between the royal couple, "Will he be alright?" she asked them

"The wound is not severe my Lady" Beauchamps replied "Half an inch lower though and well........" he didn't need to go on for they all knew that half an inch lower would have meant the ball went through d'Artagnan's heart.

The Omega shuddered appreciative of just how close to death he'd come but still more concerned with the Pup in his womb and shot a beseeching look to the Physician
"Please, before you do anything else check that my Pup yet lives" he begged
"Majesty your wound needs to be stitched" the Physician protested but d'Artagnan was adamant

"I will allow you do perform whatever proceedur you feel necassery but only after you have checked on my Pup Doctor Beauchamps"

Beauchamps sighed in defeat and nodded his head, snapping his fingers he ordered his apprentice to fetch his ear trumpet so he might check the heartbeat of the fetus.

 

Athos still hovered uncertainly at the foot of the bed a dark scowl on his face that was betrayed by the worrying wobble of his lips showing he was more concerned than angery.

Feeling very vulnerable at present d'Artagnan held his hand out to Athos imploring him to come to his side, "I would have told you I promise" he pleaded desperate for his mates support right now

Athos's alpha instincts were screaming at him to go to his mate, to offer support and comfort in his distress but his pride was arguing, his impotent anger at being kept in the dark about the pregnancy making him reluctant to go and take d'Artagnan's out stretched hand, his reluctance only added to d'Artagnan's distress making him choke on a sob his hand curling into a fist as he looked away from Athos letting a few tears roll down his cheeks

"Asshole!" Constance whispered going back to d'Artagnan and taking his hand to offer her support since Athos did not appear to be giving his, "If all you're going to do is stand around like a useless statue why don't you go and see how Aramis is doing!?" she snapped at him "I'm sure Lemay will be grateful of the support!"

Constance's scolding had the effect of snapping Athos out of his sulk, he opened his mouth to speak but closed it again as Beauchamps pressed the ear trumpet to d'Artagnan's belly, he held his breath praying that the Pup yet lived and he and d'Artagnan would not suffer another loss, his heart skipping beats as the trumpet was moved over the gently curved middle until Beauchamps looked up with a smile
"A good strong heartbeat you Majesty, I believe he or she has come through this ordeal unscathed"

"You're sure?" d'Artagnan pressed running a hand protectively over his belly

"I am Majesty, now if I may see to your own wound......."

"Of course Doctor, thank you" d'Artagnan said laying back, his eyes met Athos's the Alpha's expression having softened somewhat

"I'll go and check on Aramis" he said offering a tight smile "I'll be back soon and we can.....talk...."

"Yeah, we need to" d'Artagnan agreed "Give 'Mis my love"

"I will".

 

Still some what in a daze Athos left the royal chambers and crossed the Chateau to Aramis's rooms which were in a flurry of activity, Lemay ordering servents to bring more water and linens, bloody bandages being taken away to be disposed of, courtiers pacing about in the corridor forbidden entry which Athos was allowed, and inside the chambers the scene was an image from hell.

Aramis was laying upon the bed ashen and sweating, beneath him a sheet was soaking up blood steadily as Porthos kept pressure on the wound with a bandage.
The air was oppresively hot from the banked up fire and the revolting stench of blood mixed with sweat hung heavy in the air making Athos's stomach turn as he approached the bed
"How is he?" he asked Porthos not daring to look at Lemay washing his equipment in boiled water

"Bad, bleedin' internally, Lemay thinks 'is liver's been hit" Porthos replied stone faced with fear "He's gonna try an get the ball out an stitch the wound inside"

"Can you do that?" Athos asked looking to a pale faced Lemay who held his scalpol in a trembling hand his eyes glimmering with unshed tears

"I don't know!" the Doctor admitted "But if I don't try to stop the bleeding then he'll die!".

Chapter Text

It took all of Lemay's experiance and knowledge as a physician to keep himself from balking as he used the scalpol upon Aramis's flesh.

A quick clean and precise cut down into his abdomen made in a single stroke of the blade to avoid tearing the flesh and doing more damage than necassery.

While he must have cut up near a hundred or more cadavers and performed many surgery's on patients before now Lemay could not help but to feel sick at the sight of Aramis's abdomen cut open, the two sides of his flesh parted and a thick flow of blood oozing from them like gravey from a pie.

It was't like he didn't care about his other patients because he did, but this was personal, if he lost a patient then it hurt him, he mourned along with the family for the loss but that grief would be as nothing compared to what he would feel if he were to loose Aramis. Just the thought of such a loss made his heart ache and his stomach clench, for it to become a reality was an unimaginable horror that had Lemay's very Soul shuddering away from.
It made this surgery that much more difficult, his concentration was affected by his fear, his eyes stinging as he fought back tears, and his wrists aching as he did his best not to let his hands shake at all.

Swallowing thickly he opened up Aramis's abdominal cavity exposing his liver where the ball sat just at the edge, it was acting as a plug in a sense keeping the organ from leaking but it could not remain where it was and Lemay was going to have to act fast to close the organ once he removed the ball.

Setting down the scalpol into the tray that Porthos had ready for him he took up the tweezers eyeing the wound, he couldn't stitch fast enough to keep the organ from spilling it's dangerous contense into Aramis's stomach, nore could he leave stitching inside his body as it would eventually infect him, this left him with only the option of cauterising the wound however he doubted that would do his liver any good either, the only other thing he could think of was to stitch the liver and the outer wound but to operate again to remove the stitches in two weeks time.

Nodding his head he turned to Athos "Get ready with the swabs as I remove the ball and don't take the pressure away until I tell you"

"I'm ready" Athos said his face grim and eyes steely as he prepared himself for this, he closed his eyes and tried not to think about how his hand was inside his friends body or that the wetness he felt was his friends blood, keeping his face turned away from the wound he heard Lemay disposing off the ball and washing his hands hurriedly to begin stitching Aramis's liver which he did swiftly and neatly moving Athos's hand slowly until the organ was sealed and Athos could withdraw his hand

"More swabs and more water" Lemay ordered his body shaking with the exhileration of having succeeded in closing the liver, he wanted to clean out Aramis's abdomen of any excess blood before he closed the wound, and he would only be making a basic job of closing it as he would be operating again within the fortnight

Washing his hands again and taking up a clean needle and cat gut he carefully stitched Aramis's abdomen, not as neatly as he would normally but enough to close it for the time being and washed the wound over with salt water before going to one of the side tables and creating a paste of enchina, witch hazel and peanut seeds which he coated a dressing in to place over Aramis's abdomen before binding it in bandages
"The herbs will help stop bleeding, prevent infection, and take down some of the inflamation" he explained to Porthos and Athos "He'll have to remain flat on his back until I've removed the internal stitching and then he'll need a further two months of restricted activity to hive his abdomen a chance to heal", he startled as Porthos placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile

"You've done really well here today, better than anyone else could have done"

Lemay tried for a smile but his mouth wouldn't cooperate managing only a grimance
"I won't believe it until he wakes up" the Doctor said taking Aramis's wrist to check his pulse, "The next twenty four hours will be the most telling, he'll need strong red wine, red meat, eggs, and dark green vegetables to help rebuild his blood, and he'll have to remain in Versailles, we can't risk moving him back to Paris until his abdomen is healed, the chance of it reopening it too great and he can't afford to loose anymore blood"
"I'm sure d'Artagnan won't mind that" Porthos said looking up at Athos who nodded

"I'll speak to him myself" he promised Lemay who nodded biting his bottom lip as tears began to roll down his cheeks

"I can't loose him!" he whispered "I couldn't bear it if he were to......if...." he broke off into a choked sob burrying his face into Porthos's chest as the large man pulled him into an embrace "He has to live!, I can't do this without him!" Lemay wept "Me and the Pup need him!"

"And you'll have him by your side" Porthos assured him rubbing his back and letting Lemay cry himself out "Mis is a stubborn bastard he'd never give in without one hell of a fight, he'll come through this and be back to his charming, agravating self in no time, you'll see".

Sniffling and wiping at his cheeks Lemay looked up at Porthos through tear wet lashes "You really think so?" he asked

"I know so" Porthos said "I've known that daft sod over twenty years God bloody help me!, and I know he won't give in to a poxy bullet fired by a two bit bandit!, he'll be alright you'll see"

Lemay nodded his head and took the handkerchief Porthos offered him blowing his nose and wiping his face before turning back to Aramis and stroking his pale cheek "I hope you're right" he breathed.

 

d'Artagnan lay back in bed his shoulder stitched and a fresh clean bandage about the wound to keep it covered, he had refused laudinum incase it effected the baby and made do with heavily sugared hot tea and a cup of brandy to help ease the pain and let Constance tuck him in without comment, though her expression spoke volumes.

"You're angry" he said at length gaining her attention "Because I didn't tell you about the Pup"

"Angry?" Constance asked "No I'm not angry" she said thumping the matress as she tucked in the sheets "I'm hurt Charles, hurt and disappointed that you didn't trust me enough to speak to me, to tell me!" she cried at him"I thought we were friends?, after all we went through together why couldn't you trust me?"

"I'm sorry" d'Artagnan whispered "It was't you I didn't trust, or Athos, I just.........I just couldn't say anything"

"Why not?" Constance demanded

"Because if I told anyone.....if anyone knew.........I thought I'd.....loose the Pup" tears were rolling down his cheeks by now as he tried to explain to Constance his reasons for keeping silent about the Pup "I just couldn't loose another one Constance" he whispered his voice horse with emotion "I couldn't go through that again!, I just thought that if I didn't say anything then nothing could happen to the Pup"

"Oh Charles" Constance moaned her expression breaking into one of sympathy, getly she sat dow on the side of the bed and pulled him into an embrace mindful of his injury or course

"I wanted to tell you, I wanted to tell everyone" d'Artagnan said as he clung to her "ut I was just so scared that if I acknowledged the pregnancy it'd be like a jinx you know?"

"I know" Constance said rubbing his back "But you can't keep something like this secret, you've got tell people eventually"

"And I would have!" d'Artagnan said sitting up and swiping at his face "I would have told you I was going to tell everyone, just not yet, I wanted to be sure that everything was going to be alright"
Constance nodded a sympathetic smile on her face and she handed him her handkerchief to dry his eyes and blow his nose, "I suppose thats why your wardrobe choices have changed so radically, and why you've been so adamant about no one seeing you naked"

"Yeah" d'Artagnan said with a breathy huff of air a hand going to his delicately rounded stomach "Though I'm not sure how much longer I could have hidden this!" he added with a rueful smile "Though now the Cats out of the bag it'll be nice to wear more flattering clothing!"

"You'll publically anounce the pregnancy then?", it wasn't really a question as Constance knew he would, he'd have to he couldn't keep this quiet indefinately not when so many people now knew

"I'll make a public anouncment as soon as I return to Paris"

"That might not happen right away" Athos said slipping into the chambers quietly and picking up the last of the conversation "Lemay says Aramis is going to need to stay here for several weeks before he'll be fit to travel"
"How is he, is he alright?" d'Artagnan asked moving to sit up and winced as he put pressure on his shoulder

"Lemay's operated and removed the ball, he's stitch up a tear in Aramis's liver and patched him up for now but will operate again to remove the internal stitches in two weeks" Athos explained as he slowly approached the bed very away of how vulerable d'Artagnan was and how delicate the situation between the two of them was aswell.

 

Easily able to realise that the two of them needed privacy Constance took her leave so they could talk in peace and hopefully work things out.

 

"So" Athos said sitting beside d'Artagnan on the bed "We're having another Pup!", kid of lame but it did start the conversation without beating about the bush

"We are" d'Artagnan whispered his hands protectively cupping his belly

"How long have you known?", the question wasn't spoken in an accusatory mannor simply a desire for information

"A couple of weeks" d'Artagnan said taking a deep breath "I was going to tell you Athos, I was going to tell everyone eventually, but I wanted to be sure that everything would be alright this time, I couldn't face telling the world and then loosing the Pup and having to bear the scorn or pity", he looked down at the bedsheets and spoke in a very small voice "I didn't want to disappoint you again either"

Any residual anger Athos had been feeling evaporated at that moment, his heart and stomach clenched at d'Artagnan's words, his self reproving belief that he was at fault for the loss of the Pups.

"I have never blamed you for the miscarriages" Athos said horsely "Nore would I ever, and you could never disappoint me", d'Artagnan's head snapped up and he looked at Athos as if astonished by this making him ache inside all the more for the self hatred d'Artagnan still seemed to have in regards to the misfortune in having litters, "I wish you would believe me when I say it's not your fault" he sighed "The miscarriages weren't anyones fault, it was just.......natures cruelty, nothing more"

"They say if a woman or an omega miscarrys then they must have sinned" d'Artagnan said quoting the old belief that the Church had made so popular that stemed back to Eve and the apple

"I don't believe that" Athos said with utter conviction "How can it be so?, that innocents miscarry and murderers birth healthy offspring?, there is no justice there if it sin that causes such things"
D'Artagnan had to admit Athos had a point and in truth he'd never believed that superstition himself, but after so much loss he'd been desperately looking for a cause and he'd only managed to blame himself, believe that he was some how at fault for the loss of the Pups even if he were mistaken in thinking so

"How do you feel about this?" he asked gesturing to his belly "Us having another Pup?"

Athos's rose his eyebrows and sighed deeply shaking his head "To be honest with you I'm not sure how I feel" he admitted "I think I'm in shock, I'd resigned myself to us having only Lex and I was satisfied, if the cost of more Pups was going to make you ill or worse that I'd loose you then I would have rather we not have more"
"And now?" d'Artagnan asked

"Now?.......I'm.......I'm scared" Athos said looking from d'Artagnan's eyes to his middle and back again "I'm scared that you'll be hurt again either by another miscarriage or by a difficult birth, I'm terrified that this time Lemay might not be able to save you and if that happens........", moving forward on his hands and knees d'Artagnan took Athos's hands and cupped his face while sitting back on his knees

"I'm not going anywhere" he promised "I won't ever leave you, no power on this Earth will have me leaving your side!", taking Athos's hands he placed them over his belly where the Pup slumbered in his womb "I'm scared too" he admitted "I'm scared that I'll miscarry, I've been terrified of that since I found out I'm pregnant, but more than that I'm excited and very happy about this more than I can explain"

Athos gazed down at the rounded curve of d'Artagnan's belly his hands slowly cupping it protectively and a smile curving his lips as his inner Alpha purred
"Mine"
"Yeah" he whispered looking up at d'Artagnan "I'm happy too" he admitted "Scared and happy"

"Maybe we can help each other not to be scared" d'Artagnan suggested relaxing in Athos's touch which soon became a whole embrace as the Alpha repositioned them both laying himself about d'Artagnan spooning around him with their hands layed over his small bump

"That sounds like a good plan to me" Athos agreed pressing a kiss to d'Artagnan's temple and smiled as the Omega snuggled against him relaxed and content.

 

Paris

Louvre

The messenger from Versailles had ridden at break neck speed to reach the Louvre and had almost fallen from his horse as he dismounted in his haste to reach the dowager Queen and Minister Treville.

Panting, mud spattered, and stinking of sweat he fell into a clumsey bow and he was granted admittence to the libary where they were discussing matters that would be brought up in council that week.

"It's King your Majesty, My Lord!" he panted out "He's been shot!"

"He what....!" Anne gasped a hand going to her throat and her face turning white in horror

"How baddly man?" Treville barked placing a supportive hand on Anne's shoulder

"I know not Monsieur, he has been taken back to Versailles where the physicians attend him now, and Monsieur Aramis too has taken a ball to the abdomen".

Had he been alone Treville would have cursed, but as he was with Anne he kept his language polite and focused on keeping the situation under control summoning servants to carry his orders
"Double the guards about the Dauphin, eight fully armed Musketeers are to be with him at all times, his food is to be tasted twice and no one but myself and his God Mother the Dowager Queen are be allowed access to him unless I give my express permission" Treville ordered "Send word to the garrison that a contingent are to ride to Versailles and protect the King there, I doubt there is any chance that we can keep this quiet but lets do what we can to keep a panic from arising, with any luck it is only a flesh wound and his Majesty will be back with us soon, if not........" he paused and drew a shaking breath to steal himself "If not then preparations will have to be made for the Dauphin's accension to the Throne".

 

Bowing the servants left giving Treville a moment to breath before he had to start acting again, "What do we do?" Anne asked looking torn between tears and vomiting for fear

"Theres nothing we can do but wait and hope" Treville said wishing he had half of Richelieu's wit and abilities at this point, his late Alpha would have known how to handle a situation like this, would have had the council and the masses eating out of his palm!, Treville have never had such a nack for politicing he was far more a man of action than a man of words and saddly right now words were going to be needed more than physical deeds.

"We should summon the privy council" he said decisively "People will panic as word speads and we can be sure it will so we have to make plans to control the situation, with luck d'Artagnan will be fine, I won't believe otherwise until I am told so, but in the meantime we must secure the kingdom and the Dauphin"

"Very well" Anne agreed biting her bottom lip "And God help us all if he is not"

"Little Lex especially" Treville agreed "Thirteen is far to young to reign".

Chapter Text

Versailles

Aramis shifted on the bed moaning uncomfortably his eye lids fluttering and eyes moving rapidly beneath them as he dreamed.
"Hush my love you're safe, all will be well" Lemay whispered soothingly to him, he took a cool flannel and dipped it into a bowl of cool water then gently wiped Aramis's forehead and cheeks.

Aramis's face was flushed and sweat was beading on his forehead which Lemay washed away then lay the back of his hand over Aramis's forehead to check his tempreature.

"How is he?" Constance asked quietly coming to join Lemay, she smiled a little at the sight of Porthos sprawled in an arm chair snoring quietly

"He's got a fever" Lemay sighed rubbing his face tiredly

"A bad one?"

"No, it may just be his body's own natural defenses against illness kicking in to fight any potential infection", Lemay sat up straighter his face creasing for the pain in his back which spasemed both from the way he had been siting and from his pregnancy

"I can watch him while you go and get some rest" Constance offered but Lemay shook his head immediately as she knew he would

"I have to stay with him, I have to be here"

"Lemay..."

"I'm fine really!" the Doctor insisted trying his best for a convincing smile that failed completely!

"Fine hm?" Constance asked "And when was the last time you ate?, or rested?"

Lemay glared at her "Which one of us is the Doctor here?"

"Which one of us is pregnant?"

Lemay's glower grew worse since he knew what she was saying was true, he did need to go and rest and eat, he might not want to do either but he didn't have only himself to think about, the Pup inside him needed him to be healthy and that meant taking care of himself by eating and resting. He knew that Aramis would want him to do so aswell, would scold him if he did neither.

"Alright" he sighed in defeat "I'll go and eat and get a few hours rest, but you must call me the second theres any change"

"Of course I will" Constance replied taking the water and flanel from Lemay and taking his seat as he left it for her rubbing the center of his back "Is there anything I need to do for him?"

"Just keep wiping his face check his pulse every half an hour, you know how to take a pulse?"

"Just below the wrist" Constance said

"He's been holding fairly steady between fifty and sixty beats a minute" Lemay said "Let me know if it drops below forty five or rises above sixty five, and especially let me know if his fever rises and if he wakes up"

"I will I promise" Constance said "Now go and get some food and sleep for a few hours"

"Yes Ma'am!".

 

Soaking the flannel Constance washed Aramis's face slowly and gently smiling as he saw some of the tension ease from his features as his skin was cooled
"You better get through this you impossible romantic!" she said "Because I don't know what Lemay and that Pup will do without you", she sniffed as a single tear rolled down her cheek, "Or what the rest of us will do for that matter".

 

 

D'Artagnan remained asleep as Athos awoke after an hour.
Warm and comfortable he didn't move much simply looked down and smile at the sight of d'Artagnan laying snuggled against him his hands over Athos's resting about his rounded belly.

Pregnant

Another Pup

Athos had to admit he was still in shock over this and more than a little terrified of the prospect.

It wasn't that he didn't want another Pup with d'Artagnan or that he wasn't happy to be having one, it was simply that he was scared of loosing d'Artagnan to another hellish labour, God knows he wouldn't forget the last one anytime soon, the screaming, the blood, dear God the blood!, it had seemed like a river of crimson had flowed from d'Artagnan that God forsaken night.

It was a miracle that d'Artagnan had survived the still birth of the twins and the sickness that had followed, were Lemay not the talented physician he was then Athos was sure d'Artagnan would have died, and the tragedy was that after he'd become coherant enough to learn of the Pups being stillborn he'd wished he'd died.

So much grief and pain had come from them trying to have another Pup, so much strain on d'Artagnan's body and he'd blamed himself every time he'd miscarried, blamed his body for failing to carry the Pup. Hurting Athos in turn for the fact that he couldn't convince d'Artagnan that he wasn't to blame that it wasn't his fault, that it was just an act of nature.

Athos wanted to be happy about this pregnancy, wanted to be as excited as he'd been when d'Artagnan had been pregnant with Lex, and the first time after, not worried about the risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, and childbed fever, but as much as his heart warmed at sight of his mate growing heavy with his Pup he was still frightened about what might yet be.

Thinking about it now he could well understand why d'Artagnan hadn't wanted the court to know let alone the whole world, all that added stress on top of his natural and understandable fears of loosing the Pup
"It's going to be a nightmare" Athos whispered shaking his head already imagining the court when they heard of the pregnancy, all that gossip, all those whispers behind hands, all those rumours that would start flowing

"Think he'll carry it this time?"

"He probably won't survive the whelping, not that it'll be a loss, better an Alpha on the throne than a weak willed Omega"

"Pray God it's a Beta boy or another Alpha the last thing they need is a beta girl or an Omega!"

"I hear he's not even really pregnant!, he's just wearing padding and they'll smuggle an orphan into the Louvre when he's due to whelp!"

"I hear he consulted with Witches and Mages to conceive this Pup! that he sold his soul to get pregnant again"

"He has to lay in bed with his legs up against the wall to keep the Pup inside!, I even heard tell that he had his maids tie him by his ankles to hang from the ceiling!".

 

All of these stupid rumours would start to circulate with none of the courtiers caring about what d'Artagnan might be feeling or thinking.
His face creased and he groaned as he thought of Sylvie and what her reaction to the pregnancy would be, He knew she hated d'Artagnan whom she saw as her rival for his affection when in truth he had never felt anything for her, what she would think when she learned of the pregnancy what she would do.............

Athos paused a cold feeling settling into his heart as a horrendous thought crossed his mind, of Sylvie hurting d'Artagnan, or the Pup, or both of them.
The thought both frightened him and had his Alpha growling in desire to protect his mate and Pup.

Would Sylvie stoop so very low as to attempt such a thing?, he didn't want to think so, to think she would be that wicked or twisted, but after their last encoutner Athos couldn't say that he was sure that she wouldn't do such a thing which meant he would have to either have her dismissed from the Louvre, arrested on suspision of treason of which he had no proof since in truth she hadn't done anything, or simply make sure that any contact she had with d'Artagnan and the Pup was limited and within in the company of others preferably armed guards!.

There was of course a fourth option which he would not consider unless Sylvie did act against d'Artagnan, and that was to kill her.

While such things could and had been done in the past when a person was suspected of being a threat to the throne Athos had no stomach for cold bloodied murder and neither did Treville, so unless Sylvie did make a move to harm d'Artagnan they would let her be, but, if she did act against him then she had better pray that God would have mercy for her because Athos certainly would not.

Paris

The Louvre

With Lex quietly confined to his own chambers under heavy guard for his protection Treville and Anne went to the council chambers to speak with the Privy council who had all received an emergency summons.

At present Lex didn't know what had happened to d'Artagnan that was something that Anne wanted to tell him herself and not when she was going to have run off and deal with the Privy council she wanted to be able to give Lex all the time and support he needed to face this.

Constance's Pups Gabrielle and Charles were with him as was Treville's Pup Viollette so he was not alone, the three of them could distract him with games and hopefully keep him from becoming too curious about the growing number of guards about his person.

"Ready for this?" Treville asked Anne as they joined each other at the double doors before the council chambers

"Not in the least" Anne replied taking a steadying breath and straightened her spine and tilted her chin up "Lets get on with it" she said schooling her worried flustered features into an expression of determination.

 

Feron was of course already present in the council chambers when Anne and Treville arrived, when he had recieved the emergency summons his heart had skipped a beat in excitement and he had struggled to keep a smile off his face at the thought of d'Artagnan's death.

It took everything he'd got to keep from smirking as the worried Minister and Dowager Queen joined them
"Are we all present?" Treville asked taking his seat and received murmurs of yes
"I thank you all for coming so promptly and I apologise for the lack of information you have received but I felt it best to keep things a quiet as possible to avoid a panic"

"What has happened?" one of the councillors asked

Feron held his breath as Anne and Treville exchanged an uncomfortable look between them, taking a breath Treville wet his lips and replied as calmly as he could
"King Charles X has been shot by rebels while hunting in Versailles".

 

"Dear God!"

"Is he dead?"

"What do we do?"

All these questions and remarks ran round the council table however Treville held his hand up to quieten them
"We only know that he was wounded at present we are waiting for more news to arrive from Versailles" Treville replied "Musketeers have been sent to secure the Lodge and the guards about the Dauphin have been doubled already, I have also ordered that he is to have no less than eight guards with him at all times and to have his food and drink tasted twice before he consumes it"
"Should the King die then he will have to be corronated in his minority" one of the councillors said "Which means a Lord Protector will be required to support him through his minority until he can take the reigns of government himself"

Here Feron spoke up drawing himself up to sit tall and proud as he addressed the Council "As the young Dauphin's Kin and a Member of the Royal house of Bourbon it would be both my honor and duty to take the role of Lord Protector"
Feron's co-conspiritors smiled secretively at this anouncment, the other members of the council however looked aghast at the meer thought of Feron acting as Lord Protector.

"I believe" Anne said in a scathing tone of voice a look of pure disgust on her face at Feron's suggestion, "That the Dauphin's Aphan the Comte de la Fere will be a more than worthy Lord Protector"

"He is not a member of the royal family" one of Feron's supporters put in

"By blood no, by marriage yes" Treville stated "As the Dauphin's Aphan we can be confident he will only act in his Alphons interests not his own, something we could never be sure of with the apointment of someone else"
"Pray God it does not come to that" one of the councillors said crossing himself

"What of the rebels?" Another asked "Have they been aprehended?"

"Not to my knowledge" Treville said "While I want them brought to justice I believe the priority is securing the kingdom and the royal family"
"We will have to make some sort of public anouncment" one of the Councillors said "We'll have no choice, soon rumours will spread and from there panic will ensue"

"As soon as we have more news we will make a formal anouncment" Anne said "But until we know more I believe controlling the amount of information getting out would be best, especially considering the Dauphin, this is his Oman we are talking about, he must be told everything before anyone else".

 

This the whole council agreed on and to try and limit the gossip spreading while they waited for more news to come from Versailles.

As the council broke Feron was flanked by his supportors to speak quietly in the shadows where they would not be over heard.

"What now?, if the Comte is elected as Lord Protector all your plans are worth nothing!" the Duc de Loiret hissed "And I for one will not put myself in danger to support you!"

"Nore I" The Duc de Landes agreed

"You must prove yourself to earn our continued support Feron or you will be on your own" the Comte de Charente said "If it comes to it I will turn my allegiance to the Dauphin and not yourself"

Feron grit his teeth as his back spasemed painfully and his patience grew thin "This is hardly the end of the game Gentlemen" he said to them "Merely the first stage"

"First stage of what?" Landes sneered "You promised us his death all we have heard is that he's been wounded!"
"A wound that could easily lead to death" Feron purred with a sickly smile, if he'd hoped his confidence would inspire them then he was very dissappointed as they continued to glare at him

"You had better pray that he does die Feron" Loiret said "Because if not and he starts to look for who paid an assassin then you will find no safe harbour among us".

 

All three of the Nobles left Feron who didn't repress the shudder of fear that ran down his spine, he needed information and he needed it now.

Moving as fast as his crippled body would allow he hobbled to his apartments in the Louvre cursing the fact that until further notice the Louvre was on lock down as was Versailles, the only ones who could leave were those given express permission by Treville and Feron had no intention of speaking again with him if he could help it.

Slamming the door he hobbled over to his desk pausing when he saw blood on the marble floor. Leaning his weight against the desk and breathing heavily he followed the trail of blood with his eyes into the shadows where Grimaud was crouched with a bottle of brandy in one hand and a bloody cloth pressed against his side with the other.

"He's not dead" the mercenary said "I missed the shot and was forced to retreat".

Chapter Text

Paris

 

Louvre

 

"What the hell do you mean he's not dead?" Feron hissed sounding like an enraged serpant about to strike

"I mean..." Grimaud forced out moving away from the wall with a wince and staggered to the table where he sat down in Grimaud's chair and took a long drink of the brandy in his hands "Exactly what I said, The King is not dead, what part of that statement are you having difficulty in understand?" he cocked a mocking eye at Feron who glowered back at him

"You failed"

"A moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one"

Feron snarled and lurched for his wet board snatching up a goblet and filling it with wine "You expect him to sit like a statue for you to take pot shots at?", he looked to Grimaud who didn't even have the decency to look chastened instead he was examining his bullet wound, no, he was digging his finger into it and........pulling out the ball!. Feron winced at the sight of the blood spilling from the wound and downed the wine hurriedly to quell the bile rising in his throat

"I need a needle and thread" Grimaud stated looking to Feron who snorted

"Think me a dresser do you?", as always Grimaud gave no sign of humour merely placing his bloody cloth back over the leaking wound
"Well I can't have you bleeding to death here I suppose!" Feron sighed "Getting rid of the body would be a terrible hastle!, I'll summon that serving wench you have so graciously brought into out confidence!" his mocking sneer was lost on Grimaud was necked his brandy burping like a drunk at a dockside Inn

"She might yet be a best advantage" he said giving Feron pause "Rochefort poisoned him, I believe with cantarella which likely left him with weakness in the blood, it would not be too difficult to add it again to his food"

Now Feron laughed outright "You think it'd be that easy to slip poison to the King?, Rochefort managed it because it was in his own household not the Palace!, here d'Artagnan's food a dozen tasters as does the Dauphin's!, it'd take a miracle to get poison by undetected"

Grimaud shrugged "Perhaps not ingested then, there are after all other ways", he smiled darkly as he gained Feron's attention "Cyanide for instance is just as toxic inhaled as it is ingested"

"Cyanide?"

"It is derived from many things, the stones of peaches especially"

Feron looked thoughtful "It's a possibility" he allowed "The little tart is known for her jealousy, for her attraction to the drunken Captain, so she would be a natural suspect for poisoner"

"A ready made scapegoat" Grimaud agreed raising his brandy in a salute "And what of the Dauphin?"

"The Dauphin?, the boy will need a regent till his majority, should the drunk die with his slut oman then I as the last remaining member of the royal family will naturally be elected as regent, De Facto King"

"Only for five years though"

Feron shrugged "I am not a healthy man, I do not expect to live more than a decade more, if that, but these years I do have I fully intend to have all I possibly can" he smiled a sickly twisted smile at Grimaud "And I will thoroughly reward those who aid me in achieving my rise"

"Indeed" Grimaud said "And those of us who do aid you will insist upon it".

 

Versailles

Sitting on the bed in a tangle of linens and pillows d'Artagnan and Athos continued their talk about where they would go from here, especially in regards to the surprise pregnancy and announcing it to the world.
"Maybe we shouldn't tell straight off" Athos said to d'Artagnan making him frown "Maybe we should keep them all guess for a while longer, let those loose lips and over active tongue wag in suspicion and rumour for a while and only tell when we're ready"

d'Artagnan smiled letting out a small laugh "Are you serious?"

"Why not?"

"Well.......I can't hide this forever!" d'Artagnan said gesturing to his middle "People will start to notice!"

"So let them notice!" Athos said an impish grin spreading over his face at the thought of giving the court of sychophants and gossip such delicious gossip "Lets keep this between ourselves and our family until we're ready to tell"

"It would give them something to wonder about" d'Artagnan said a cheeky smile growing on his own lips "We can enjoy this without everyone forcing their opinions on us, and it'll certainly be funny to watch them all whispering and wondering while we wait and bide our time"

Athos's smile was positively wicked as he agreed with d'Artagnan "We can add some fuel to the fire too, a few carefully placed gestures on our part perhaps?"

"Touching my belly you mean?, perhaps complaining of a food craving or two?".

 

They may have gone on but at that moment Constance knocked on the door looking tired and rumpled having had little sleep and spent most of her time staying at Aramis's bedside only leaving him when Lemay had returned after getting a few hours rest himself.

"A messenger from the Louvre" she said without preamble "No doubt to discover your condition"

"Christ!" d'Artagnan cursed running a hand through his hair and getting to his feet "I never even gave a thought to what poor Treville and Anne must be going through!, and Lex!, dear God he must be terrified!"

"He may not have been told until they have more news" Athos said practically "But lets go and let this messenger know that you are well enough so we can releave Treville and Anne".

 

Deciding against dressing properly and simply having a robe over his night shirt d'Artagnan went down with Athos to greet the messenger who was waiting in the presence chamber.

He was of course wind blown and spattered with dirt from the road but on Constance's instructions had been given food and wine which he immediately aside upon seeing d'Artagnan and bent into a deep bow
"Majesty!"

"Rise" d'Artagnan said waving off protocol "You have come from Paris?"

"I have Majesty" the messenger said looking between d'Artagnan and Athos who had taken up a protective stance beside the young King "We were told that.....that is to say........." the poor boy fumbled to find the right words his cheeks growing flushed and his hands fidgiting at his waist in anxiety until d'Artagnan took pity upon him
"You heard that I have been shot" he said shortly "That is true I was shot but thank God it was a flesh wound only not a more serious injury"

"Amen to that" Athos murmured

Shooting him a smile d'Artagnan went on "However while I was spared a serious wound Monsieur Aramis was not, he is in a very serious condition and must remain in Versailles for several weeks yet"

"I....I will inform her Majesty the Dowager Queen and the Minister Treville" the Messenger said "And as to your own condition....."

"Well as you can see I am well enough, please inform Minister Treville, her Majesty the Dowager Queen that I am not at deaths door and will be returning to Paris as soon as Monsieur Aramis is better" d'Artagnan said deliberately running a hand over his belly to show the roundness something that the messenger did not fail to notice, his eyes bugging at the obvious sight of pregnancy!

"We appreciate their concern" Athos added slipping his arms about d'Artagnan his hands joining the Kings over the small bulge at d'Artagnan's middle "And send assurance that His Majesty is quite well"

"I....I'll tell them this Magesties" the poor messenger was staring at d'Artagnan's abdomen as if he were carrying the baby Jesus!, it took everything in both d'Artagnan and Athos not to laugh at him and his wonder since he looked so comical gaping as he was at d'Artagnan's belly!.

In an act of kindness d'Artagnan bid that the messenger rest himself and enjoy his meal before he returned to Paris this also gave him time to write a brief letter to Lex to assure him that he was well enough and would be coming home as soon as possible.

"Maybe we should have him come and stay here with us?" he asked Athos

"Better to not disrupt his routine too much" Athos said placing a kiss on d'Artagnan's head "Besides until those brigands are caught I don't want either of you riding abroad" he added his jaw tightening at the thought of those who had dared attempt to harm d'Artagnan, whoever they were they had better pray that the soldiers killed them in the wild because if he ever got his hands upon them then even a traitors death would seem like pleasent alternative!.

"God forbid they ever get within ten leagues of our Lex" d'Artagnan said sealing the letter and turning to look up at Athos with a smile "Lets go and see how Aramis is doing, I want to see him", Athos nodded his acceptance of this also keen to see how his friend was doing and offer support to Lemay at such a time.

 

At first Aramis thought he might have a hang over!, his tongue felt too big for his mouth and was dry and furred, his head was heavy and fuzzy with a dull ache that he usually got after a night of excess. However his stomach was burning with pain that he had never before experianced.

Letting out a soft whimper Aramis opened his eyes and tried to sit up only to be left gasping in agony as white hot pain wrapped about his waist nawing at him like a dog with a bone!.

"Easy love, thank God you're awake!", blinking open his eyes against Aramis saw Lemay at his side pushing a glass of water to his mouth from which he gratefully drank

"Lemay....." he breathed once he'd downed the glass full "Whats going on?" he asked his voice weak, dear God he felt as shaky and frail as a new born foal!, he hardly had the strength to lift his arms and considering the pain in his stomach he didn't dare try to move again

"You were shot Mis" Porthos said coming up behind Lemay looking tired and worn "He operated on you, saved your life"
A slow smile spread over Aramis's pale blue tinged lips "Of course he did, a miracle worker is my Lemay!"

Lemay let out a weak choked laugh as he stroked the hair back from Aramis's forehead "I don't know if I have worked a miracle yet my love" He said "I had to remove the ball from your liver and stitch internally, I'll have to reopen the wound a few weeks from now to remove the stitches, you have only few stitches and tight bindings on your waist so for now you must remain on bed rest to prevent further bleeding" Lemay bit his lip looking down at the firmly bound bandages at Aramis's waist and blinked back tears "I am doing everything that can be done to prevent infection, and I will do my best to prevent further damage during surgery......" he broke off as Aramis cupped his cheek and gave him one of his soothing smiles that always served to calm him when he was distressed

"I know you will do more than anyone else could" he assured him "And I will be fine, nothing, not even the devil himself will keep from holding our boy or girl in my arms a few months from now"

"Aye, an d'Arts new one eh?" Porthos said

"What?......" Aramis looked between Lemay and Porthos in confusion

"We have some things to talk about it seems!" Lemay said with a grin as there came a knock on the door

"I'll get it" Porthos said leaving Lemay to explain to a very curious Aramis

"d'Artagnan's pregnant?"

"He is" Lemay confirmed "He's been keeping it secret to avoid all the gossip and stress"

"And I swore Lemay to secrecy too" d'Artagnan said coming to the foot of the bed Athos beside him with Porthos "I just couldn't face the scorn if anything happened to the Pup" he said cupping his middle a contrite expression on his face "I'm sorry that I deceived you and had Lemay play a part in the deception"

Aramis shook his head and held out a hand to d'Artagnan beckoning him closer
"It's alright Querida" he said taking d'Artagnan's hand as he came close enough to do so "I understand why you did it", he winced in pain breathing heavily

"Let me get you some Poppy milk" Lemay said rising from the bed and going to where he had his utensils set up

"How are you feeling Mon ami?" Athos asked eyeing the pale blue tinge to Aramis's skin, a symptom of excessive blood loss

"I'll be fine" Aramis said a wan smile on his face "I have my Angel to keep me well" he said extending his hand to Lemay as he came back across with the Poppy milk which he gave to Aramis followed by a drink of wine to help settle him
"Everyones alright?, did we get the bastards?" he asked
"Saddly not but we will" Athos assured him very keen to get his hands on the brigands "If you like we can keep them alive until your back on your feet so you can have your satisfaction?" he offered getting a feral grin from Aramis

"I'll hold you to that!".

Chapter Text

Louvre

Treville and Anne both sagged in relief when the messenger brought back the news that d'Artagnan was well.

Anne crossed herself looking to heavens and murmured a prayer of thanks under her breath for her cousins survival.

"You are sure of this?" Treville pressed while he wanted to believe that d'Artagnan was alive and well he had served too long in a royal court to not be well away of obfuscation when it came to perilous matters and he needed to be certain that d'Artagnan was well before he called off the lock down on the Louvre

"Indeed I am Minister" The messenger stated with great enthuseasm "I spoke with him myself, while pale and only garbed in night wear he was walking about without support and seemed most hale to me"

Treville literally sagged with relief at the messengers words feeling like a lead weight had been lifted off his shoulders and back, the niggling headache that he'd been dealing with since this nightmare had began eased some what
"Did his Majesty say when he would be returning to Paris?" Anne asked of the messenger while Treville continued to bask in the glorious relief that had been delivered

"He intends to remain in Versailles for some time yet your Majesty" the messenger said "The Minister Aramis was gravely injured and requires further treatment and a lengthy stay in Versailles before he will be well enough to travel, I believe his Majesty intends to stay with him until he is more certain of the Ministers's recovery"

"Thats no surprise" Treville said "Pray God that Aramis recovers swiftly"

"For Lemay's sake as much as anything" Anne said thinking of the pregnant Omega and what he must be going through, a horrible nightmare to say the least

"Is there anything else?" Treville asked the messenger who seemed strangely disinclined to depart straight off as he had thought he would, after so long in the saddle the lad must be tired and longing for a bath and bed yet he was reluctant to leave a curious expression on his face "Is something wrong?" Treville asked impatiently

"It's umm...well I...."

Treville sighed as the messenger stammered "Come on lad spit it out we don't have all day for this!"

The boy startled and flushed shifting from foot to foot uncomfortably "It's the King Minister Treville" he whispered looking about with wide eyes as if expecting there to be spies listening at keyholes (Which considering the mutiple factions at court there probably were!), "He was......acting strange so was his Royal Highness the Prince Consort"

"Strange how?" Anne asked while Treville snorted

"His Majesty had just been shot! they were bound to be cautious and unnerved"

"His Royal Highness was certainly most solicitous to his Majesty that is true" the Messenger said "But was.......it was how his Majesty held himself and how his Royal Highness held his Majesty"

"Which was?", Treville was now thoroughly tired with this conversation and very keen to get the lad on his way but the boys next words gave him pause

"Their hand over his stomach Minister Treville and his stomach was round!".

 

Treville made an abortive move forward before snapping his head round to look at Anne to see if she knew anything of this, a round stomach, hands upon it, those were signs of pregnancy!, Anne however looked just as shocked as he did, certainly she knew no more than him.

"Is it so then?" the messenger asked eagerly "His Majesty is pregnant?"

Treville snapped his gaze back to the Messenger and barked out a response acerbic enough to have done the late Cardinal proud "If his Majesty were with Pup do you not think that a formal announcement would have already been made?", Treville couldn't help but take a little pleasure in seeing the boy flinch and flush "Now go on out of here!" he ordered "And stop letting your imagination run away with you!"

"Minister, Your Majesty!" the messenger whispered bowing low and departing swiftly.

 

"That won't stop him gossiping" Anne said letting out a sigh and turning to Treville as soon as the doors were closed

"Nothing will stop that" Treville said dismissively "Servants gossip worse than teenage girls!" he turned to Anne completely a frown on his face "Is d'Artagnan pregnant?" he asked, the question was not especially directed at her but asked in general though Anne replied anyway

"Not to my knowledge but it is possible" she said
"But why keep it a secret?" Treville asked again just speaking aloud rather than to Anne

"Maybe he was frightened?" Anne suggested shrugging "He wanted to be sure before making an announcement?" she shook her head "We don't even know he is with Pup all we have is some boys speculation to go on"

"True" Treville admitted

"And we have greater matters to attend" Anne stated "I will speak to Lex now tell him his Oman is safe and well enough if you will attend the council?", Treville grimanced but nodded his head accepting the charge however displeasurable!.

 

Lex was playing chess with Gabrielle when Anne entered the chambers.

Violletta and Charles were watching the game and tossing a soft leather ball back and forth.

Lex wasn't a fool in fact he was very wise for his age and had known something was going on when the number of guards about his person had doubled. Then when he'd been all but confined to his chambers he'd been certain there was something very serious happening and had both longed for an feared the answer to what it was.

Was his Oman dead?, if so then how?, was he now King?, he wasn't ready for such a burden he couldn't be King yet!, there was no way he could rule a country, command the armies!, he had not even bested his sword master yet! how could he lead an army!.

Fear had kept his heart quick these long hours, unsettled his stomach and robbed him of his appetite as he waited for news, almost dreading it, dreading the inevitable arrival of someone to tell him that his Oman was gone and that he was now King of France.

He shared none of these fears with his friends, doing so would have some how made them more real than just keeping them hidden inside his heart, however that didn't stop him from jerking at the sound of footsteps, or from biting his nails and worrying his lips as the time dragged on and on.

Then finally his Tanta the dowager Queen Anne arrived in his chambers looking tired but happy.

"Tanta?" he asked rising to his feet from his seat before the chess board, he alone did not bow or curtsey to her but she did to him as he was now Dauphin of France and she was only the Dowager Queen.

"Dauphin I have news for you" she said gesturing to the love seat by the window where they went to sit.

Suspecting that the dowager Queen and Dauphin wanted privacy to speak Charles and Gabrielle took Violletta into the anti chamber to continue playing with the soft leather ball.

Anne smiled and took Lex's hands into her own and stroked the back of them with her thumbs feeling the slight tremor running through them despite Lex's stubborn desire to look strong and unafraid.

"A day ago your Oman was shot while on his hunting trip in Versailles" she held up her hand as Lex instantly began to panic "Fear not Dauphin he received a flesh wound only and is already back on his feet"

Lex visibly slumped in his seat letting out a deep breath and feeling his limbs become shaky at the news that his Oman was not dead as he had feared
"Can....May I go to Versailles and see him?" he asked Queen Anne who smiled sympathetically

"I'm afraid not Dauphin, this is the Kings orders, until those responsible for the attack are apprehended he wishes for you to remain at the Louvre under guard for your protection", from within a deep pocket on her skirt she gave it to Lex "He has written to you to assure you of his health and likely to explain further"

Dissapointed and disgrunteled Lex took the letter and broke the wax seal revealing his Oman's script on the paper, rising from his seat to read what his Oman had written.

Dearest Lex

 

I know that you are likely feeling a mixture of emotions right now and I wish I could be with you, take you into my arms and comfort you, to reassure you that I am not leaving your side or placing the burden of the Crown upon your head at such a young age.

I am sure that you want to come to Versailles and see me but I am afraid I can not risk your safety upon the roads at present, until these brigands are caught I want you to remain in Paris under the care of your Oncle Treville and Tanta Anne.

I promise to return to you as soon as I can but Aramis was seriously wounded during the attack and requires more treatment, I would not leave him at this time and I hope you understand this and can be patient.

When I do return to you we will have much to celebrate my darling.
Your Aphan and I have rekindled our relationship and are working to rebuild our marriage, however this is only one thing we will have to celebrate, but I will explain this in person.

Please do as I say and remain in the Louvre grounds, do not put yourself in any danger I beg you. Be good for your Oncle and Tanta they will keep you safe until I return.

Your loving Oman

 

Lex folded the paper back over and looked up at Anne with tears shining in his eyes that he tried to hide since to show emotion stung his pride as it would any teenager!
"He........he says that he is well and will come home soon" he said swallowing hard and blinked back his tears "He and Aphan are back together too!, he says they have something good to tell me when they get back"
"Well thats good isn't it?" Anne said rising from the seat, were Lex younger she would have pulled him into her arms and hugged him but he was at the age were hungs were not overly well received now, "Any hint as to what this good news might be?" she asked thinking back to the messengers speculations that were likely already spread right around the court by now!, God knows court gossip was worse than wild fire!

"He doesn't say" Lex said bouncing on the balls of his feet "He does say I have to stay at the Louvre, I'm not to leave the grounds"

"No" Anne said having been told as much by the messenger, while she and Treville could take the Louvre off lock down they wouldn't be risking Lex's security in the least

Lex pressed his lips together and looked over Anne's should out of the windows "Can I at least go outside?" he asked tired of being cooped up "Maybe ride my horse round the grounds?"
Anne had to bite the inside of her lip to keep from smiling at the request, Lex hated being kept inside under any circumstances and after twenty four hours confinement it came as no surprise that he wanted to leave the walls of the Louvre

"I think that if you have a couple of guards with you that Oncle Treville will allow it" she said again struggling not to smile when Lex broke into a huge grin "I will go and speak to him directly" she said giving Lex a smile and took her leave of him to go and seek out Treville.

 

Versailles

 

As much as he had wanted to give Kadim a Princely send off before he went back to Turkey this was simply not going to be possible now, with Aramis's health still hanging in the balence, the bandits still on the loose d'Artagnan was unable to do anything more than offer Kadim a meagre ceramony at the Chateau rather than at the Louvre.

Tired, sore, and keen to return to his bed d'Artagnan grit his teeth and had Constance dress him in his finest outfit they had in Versailles and held a very small court with only himself, Athos, and Constance in attendance to bid farewell to Kadim.

"I am sorry that the end of my visit has been thus" Kadim said "I have enjoyed my time in Paris and am sorry to see it end, especially with injury to yourself"

"I thank you for your concern but I am quite well as you can see" d'Artagnan said with a warm smile "I too am sorry to see you depart", besides him Athos grunted and shifted, he still was no fan of the flirtatious Turk and was not sorry to see him leaving, in fact he would have been quite happy to apply his boot to the Prince's backside to get him out the door!

"I will never forget my time here King Charles, nore your beauty and the depth of your grace till the end of my days I will treasure them in my heart"

Athos grit his teeth and ground down on them hard in temper wanting to go and punch the Prince for his.......dark eyed lusting gaze that was all over d'Artagnan!

"I will never forget you either Prince Kadim, nore your honor that is more than worthy of a Prince"
Kadim bowed from the waist coming up with a smile that was almost a smirk which he shot at Athos unable to resist one last dig at him "Should you ever find yourself in my lands, or desiring my company do not hesitate to tell me of it for I shall receive you most graciously!"

Athos now growled out right making Constance roll her eyes and d'Artagnan have to surpress a laugh, at least until Kadim and his party had left, then he turned to his seething mate with a smile
"He's going back home you know?, we'll be hundreds of miles apart"

"Still too close!" Athos snarled "I swear if that smirking lascivious little........"

"I think that will do!" d'Artagnan said rising from the throne and pulling Athos too him "You've nothing to worry about, all I had with Kadim was a harmless bit of flirting, I'm yours alone"

"Dman right you are!" Athos growled and with a show of Alpha strength swept d'Artagnan up into his arms and proceeded to carry him from the presence chamber "And I am going to make sure you are very aware of that!".

Chapter Text

Versailles

Aramis whimpered and bit down hard on the wooden spoon that was wedged between his teeth as Lemay removed the stitches from his wound and cut into the barely reconected flesh.

While he was dosed up on opium and wine to ease the pain it didn't stop him from feeling it. What it would be like if he were having this done without any pain relief he didn't dare to imagine!, this was bad enough and the pain was dulled a great deal by the potant drugs in his system that left him in a sleepy docile state rather how one found oneself between being sober and drunk. That pleasant floaty feeling that turned the world fuzzy and warm.

"Another swab Porthos" Lemay instructed as he cut down through the layers of flesh into the abdominal cavity to Aramis's liver, taking the thick folds of clean cloth he staunched the blood flow trying to keep Aramis was loosing anymore blood than absalutely necessary to the proceedur.

"Forceps" he ordered as the liver was revealed to him "Try to relax 'Mis" he whispered to Aramis "Breath out and relax as much as you can"

Aramis made a noise in his throat and slowly complied, ignoring his bodies natural reaction to tense up to protect against pain and made his body fall limp to aid Lemay as best he could, groaning and clamping down harder on the spoon as the forceps were placed into the wound and the flesh was spread wider so Lemay could get inside him and begin removing the stitches from his liver.

"Oh God!"

"For Christ sakes keep your eyes shut!", the first came from a rather green about the gills Porthos who made the mistake of looking into the wound!, the latter from Lemay who didn't have time or the inclination to deal with a squeamish Musketeer!

"Liver's healed remarkably well" the Doctor said impressed by the organs self healing as he took out the stitches one by one

"I ain't never eatin' Liver an Onions again!" Porthos groaned sounding on the verge of vomiting!

"Shufft urrrp ur u'll feefth oo urs!" Aramis garbled out round the spoon (Shut up or I'll feed you yours!)

"Bloody Musketeers!" Lemay grumbled dabbing about Aramis's liver to mop up any excess blood before he began to close the wound "About as much use to me as a chocolate tea pot!"

"Hey!" Porthos protested

"Hmmmnnn!" Aramis added groggily

"Shut up you, and you lay still!" Lemay barked at them "I'm not done yet".

 

For Aramis it felt like forever as Lemay carefully cleaned and restitched the wound.

He was counting the seconds as he ground his teeth on the spoon praying for it to end. His side burned with an unending pain as if hot coals had been placed inside his abdomen and were searing him from the inside out!, and the needle Lemay was using to draw the thread through the wound felt like it was a spear being driven into his flesh and the thread like it was barbed wire not cat gut!.

"Just a little more love I promise" Lemay soothed

"M'okay" Aramis garbled out panting now and sweating heavily, Porthos took a cloth and dipped it into a bowl of water washing his face and took his hand

"You hang in there yeah?" he said his usually booming voice soft and gentle showing just how worried he was for his friend "You jus' think o'that Pup o'yours yeah?, he's gonna need his Aphan t'teach 'im t'be a Musketeer ain't he?"

"He?" Lemay chuckled appreciating Porthos's help at bolstering Aramis "Could be a she"

"Be a right li'l princess if she is" Porthos laughed "Bet either way you'll spoil 'em rotten"

"Naturally" Lemay agreed making to tie off the thread "And their Oncle Porthos will no doubt do so aswell"

"Aye I'm lookin' forward to it".

 

Carefully Lemay placed a dressing over the wound and them wrapped it securely in bandages and tucked Aramis back into bed with another dose of opium and wine to help him sleep through the worst of the pain.

"You were really brave my love" he said kissing Aramis's lips "I'm very proud of you"

Aramis smiled sleepily the opium rapidly pulling him down into sleep, "Love you Lemay" he whispered with his eyelids fluttering "Love our Pup"

"Our Pup's perfectly safe" Lemay assured him stroking his cheek as Aramis drifted off to sleep "And we'll both be right here with you as you heal my love".

 

d'Artagnan was on his feet in a moment as Porthos entered the salon where he, Athos, and Constance were awaiting news on the surgary.

"Aramis?" he asked his eyes wide with worry

"He's gonna be fine" Porthos said letting out a sigh himself as the others did much the same "Came through surgary well, Lemay says theres no sign of infection and that his liver has healed it'self, all he needs now is to rest up"

"Which he will be welcome to do right here in Versailles" d'Artagnan said not about to force Aramis to make the journey back to Paris until he was ready to do so, saddly however he could no longer remain in Versailles himself. While the council had been reassured his condition was good and that he had only suffered a flesh wound they were demanding he return to court, rather vehemently or so Treville's letters reported.

While he and Athos wanted to see their Alphon very much they also did not want to leave Aramis which made this departure very difficult even though Aramis had said he understood and bore them no ill will promising to be back on his feet as fast as he could to rejoin them in Paris.

As a kindness d'Artagnan had given Porthos leave to remain at Versailles with Aramis and Lemay knowing that he wouldn't want to be seperated from them right now, not when Aramis was laid low, Aramis was the sibling he'd never had he loved him like family and would not be parted from him during a time of need unless it was a matter of life and death.

Constance however had to go back to Paris, she had her Pups to care for and couldn't be separated from them any longer.
Since their romance had been blossoming over the past few weeks the separation was going to be difficult to bear, but they both knew they had no choice in the matter. Besides which they could always keep in contact via messengers until Aramis was fit to journey back to Paris himself.

 

"I'm not sure how long we'll be able to keep this hidden you know?" d'Artagnan said to Athos some time later as they walked through the gardens and gestured to his belly that had grown in a rather rapid surge forming a firm round dome that only his most concealing of clothes could hide.

"It'll add fuel to the fire" Athos said placing a hand over the bump "How long d'you want to keep quiet anyway?" he asked

"I don't know".

They stopped besides a small fountain, d'Artagnan moving a few paces away from Athos and crossed his arms over his chest as if to shield himself from harm
"When I first found out I was pregnant again I didn't want to tell anyone, I didn't want anyone to know until I could be sure that the Pup would be born healthy, and I know thats not a possibility, not really, I can't hide the pregnancy until the birth and thats the only time I am ever going to be certain that everythings fine"
Athos nodded letting d'Artagnan speak on, "I know we can't keep this secret forever, I know that soon enough I'll be too big to hide it, but I don't feel ready to tell the world, not yet at any rate"

Athos rolled his lips against his teeth and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet "Well you're only just at the fifth month aren't you?"

"Uh huh"

"As far as we know Aramis should be ready to return to Paris by the time you're six months gone, so how about we make the announcement then?".

 

It was a fair suggestion that d'Artagnan had to admit, six months was well into the pregnancy the chances of something going wrong were far lower, but then he'd been seven months when he'd miscarried the twins, but could he really wait to reach seven months or eight?, not unless he was prepared to use a corset to tie his belly in which he certainly was not prepared to do since it would not only be unbarably uncomfortable it could hurt the Pup.

"Six months" he said by way of agreement and offered Athos a smile to try and cover his nervousness "By then the court should be turning themselves inside out with curiosity"

"We'll have to tell Treville and Anne once we get back though" Athos said slipping an arm about d'Artagnan's shoulders and flipped a coin into the fountain for luck even though he knew as well as anyone that gardeners and servants alike fished the coins out to spend them!

"And Lex" d'Artagnan said wondering how their Alphon would react to the prospect of a sibling, he had seen his Oman suffer miscarriages and still births, become grieved and sick with each loss, for him to not be happy about the pregnancy would not be unexpected since he was old enough to know the risks of child and pup birth.

Having said that at thirteen he was also old enough to reason with and be appeased should he be unhappy about this though d'Artagnan hoped that he would not, feeling as vulnerable as he did at present and would likely continue to feel until the Pup was safely delivered he wanted the full support of his family not to have to deal with arguments and divisions, God knows he was going to have enough of that when dealing with the Privy council, which reminded him of something.

"There is one thing we have not discussed" he said to Athos who hummed "What happens in the event of my death"

"d'Artagnan....!"

"I know you don't want to think about it and I understand that, but ever birth is a risk and there is the possibility I might not make it" d'Artagnan said practically "Obviously the Crown and throne would pass to Lex but at his age he would need a regent to rule until he turns eighteen"

"Anne?" Athos suggested thinking of the dowager Queen

"Would be a good choice but as she is Spanish not a popular one" d'Artagnan said "However with her as Regent and yourself as Lord Protector of the Realm it may work, especially with the support of Treville, Aramis, and Porthos since they are on the council and their votes carry weight and influence"

Athos sighed closing his eyes tight praying that this never came to pass but knowing that they had to make these plans just in case the worst happened
"Feron won't like it" he said

"He's a bastard no one cares what he thinks!" d'Artagnan said causing Athos to chuckle at his easy dismissal of Feron, it was just a pity the man himself was not as easy to dismis altogether!.

Louvre

Feron was not surprised when he was accosted by Loiret, Charente, and Landes, he was however unhappy about it especially since he did not have any news to reassure them.

"The King is alive and well Feron" Charente snarled spitting into Feron's too pale face "He's returning to court within the week!"
"You assured us that you had everything in hand!" Loiret hissed glaring coldly at Feron "Yet now rumours are abound that the King is not only alive and well but Pregnant!".

Feron had of course heard the rumours, hell the whole court had and probably most of Paris if not the whole of France!, from servant to servant, ladies maid to Valet, noble, to noble the gossip had spread and everyone was was asking the question

"Is the King with Pup?".

Treville and Anne had been curiously silent on the matter, either they knew the truth and were keeping silent under royal orders, or they too did not know and were waiting to hear confirmation from the King.

"No one knows that he is or not" Feron said trying to appear calm in the face of this adversity or perhaps trying to charm them with a relaxed look, but if this was the case than he was failing misrably as the nobles continued to glower at him!.

Clearing his throat Feron tried a new tactic, "While the King is indeed alive and returning to Paris this game is very far from over"

"Oh really?" Loiret sneered "And how do you come to that conclusion?", his fellow nobles added their own grunts to this making Feron grit his teeth to keep from reacting to their scorn

"While this attempt on his life failed there is no reason to think that the next will not succeed. At present the King, council and Musketeers have no idea who was behind the attempt on his life, there is no reason for them to link us to the attack"

"Link you Feron, we have had no contact with this assassin of yours" Charente was quick to point out "It's your head on the block not ours and we will deny any involvement with you if things turn ill"

"Things will not turn ill!" Feron protested or at least tried to protest

"What do you call this then?" Landes demanded, but before Feron could make a response Loiret spoke again

"What if the King is pregnant?"

They looked at Feron expectantly, always a master at subterfuge Feron smiled a sickly smirk "If he is with Pup then we may need take no action against him considering his past.....difficulties" he replied "Another Miscarriage or difficult birth could very easily be the end of him"

"Thats true" Charente said looking to the other two Nobles "He nearly bled to death last time, not mention that......sickness, he probably won't survive the labor"

Loiret and Landes were not so easily swayed though and continued to give Feron hard looks "Ifs and maybes are not enough Feron, and even if the King did die in child birth that drunkard Captain is still alive as is the Spanish bitch!, they would prevent any of us taking power"

Loiret tilted his chin at Feron "Either you kill all those in our way and secure our futures or we will destroy you ourselves and let the world know that You and You alone were responsable for the attempt on the Kings life!".

 

To his credit Feron did not quaver, in fact he gave no response at all as the Nobles shoved past him after delivering the threat to his life. With as much dignity as he could summon when crippled into hobbling about court on canes he staggered to his chambers and collapsed into his chaise letting out a deep breath

"Problem?"

Feron started a little until he saw Grimaud's presence in the shadows, lurking there like some ghastly monster from a childs ghost story!
"Loiret, Landes, and Charente demand we kill not only d'Artagnan but Queen Anne, and Athos aswell" Feron breathed sagging back down tiredly "The King maybe pregnant again!"

"That hardly matters!" Grimaud said emotionlessly "Pregnant or not he dies!, and if Athos and Anne need to die then they die".

Chapter Text

Chateau de Feron

 

Sylvie held the small pellet in her palm starring at it in confusion

"Just a drop of water added to that pellet will turn the air around it poisonous" Grimaud explained to her

Eyes widdening Sylvie looked up in worry "If the air becomes poisonous then how will I survive?" she asked

"We have already thought of that" Feron said and struggling up from his chaise he laid out a contraption upon the table before Sylvie and Grimaud.
To the casual observer it was just a candle holder, at least with it's stem closed, but opened up it reveal a compartment inside where a tiny bowl of water could be placed and the pellet held secure upon a piece of thred until the candle had burned down and the wax was melted, then it would drop down into the water and the toxin would be released.

"Notce the holes cut into the sides of the stem?" Grimaud pointed out to Sylvie

"Yes"

"From here the poison will be released and fill the air", Grimaud paused looking to Sylvie "For maximum effect it would be best that this be released in a small room, with little air"

Frowning Sylvie thought for a minute then her eyes shone with enlightenment
"The bathing chamber" she said "The windows are kept shut while he baths in case he catches chill, if it is released in there then he will surely die!"

"Perfect" Feron stated a dark smile on his face

"And I will have Athos!" Sylvie enthused completely blind to the fact she was just a means to an end, that she would be made scapegoat if not just had her throat slit as soon as the job was done, after all it was not now only d'Artagnan they needed to be rid of but Athos and Anne too, so Sylvie's little daydream of a happy ending with Athos was never going to come true.

"Take these then and place them in the King's bath chamber" Grimaud said handing her the candle holder which she placed inside the voluminous foldes of her skirts "And remember you breath no word of this to anyone"

"On my honor" Sylvie swore brightly "And I will thank you on my wedding day"

"Of course my dear" Feron said smiling a sickly smile that became a grimance and a roll of the eyes as soon as she was out of the door and on her way back to the Louvre
"She is completely insane"

"Which makes her perfect" Grimaud drawled pouring wine "Even if she talks no one will believe her, not that she'll get the chance, the moment d'Artagnan is dead I'll wring her neck"

Feron chuckled "You truly care for no one do you?", even he as cold hearted as he was could help but feel a shiver run down his spine as Grimaud turned his empty eyes upon him

"I survive longer that way" he breathed, "And once the King is dead I will string up his husband and gut the Spanish Queen, and I will shed not a single tear for any of them".

 

Louvre

d'Artagnan's return had calmed the council and courtiers since they now had proof that he was alive and well, but it had also sent the rumour mill into over drive.

He deliberately wore his most unflattering clothes to prounounce the roundness of his belly, complained of meat tasting strange and desire to eat certain dishes!.

Athos constantly placing a hand over his belly and being overly solicitous towards him added to those rumours furiously.
This of course led to questions from Anne and Treville, questions that they answered gathering their family in the royal sitting room away from prying ears.

"By now I'm sure you've heard all the gossip and speculation about my condition" d'Artagnan said, he was perched on the edge of the chaise his fingers nervously twitching as he entwined them tightly on his lap "I appologise for all the mystery, all I can say in my defense is that I was scared"

"Scared?, of what?" Anne asked with a frown

Pausing d'Artagnan glanced to Athos before continuing, the Alpha laid his larger hand over d'Artagnan's and squeezed them reassuringly as if to say "I'm here, you're safe"
Taking a breath d'Artagnan wet his lips and answered Anne "I was scared of miscarrying again".

 

Anne's heavily jeweled hand flew to her mouth in shock as she gasped her eyes going wide
"You.....you are...." Treville broke off equally as gobsmacked as Anne

"Pregnant" d'Artagnan confirmed nervously "Yes, yes I am, five months in fact, and as I said I do appologise for keeping this from you I simply didn't feel ready to tell anyone in case it went wrong again"

"Oh Charles!" Anne whispered her eyes shining with unshed tears, getting to her feet she went to him and embraced him "Congratulations sweetheart, I know how much you wanted another Pup"
"I hardly know what to say" Treville said rising too and offering Athos his hand which Athos shook

"And you're already showing!" Anne exclaimed as d'Artagnan opened his doublet

"A little yes" d'Artagnan chuckled

"Have you thought of any names yet or is it too soon for that?" Treville asked

"Either Henri or Philip for a boy, Antoine or Isabelle for a girl" d'Artagnan replied glancing to Lex who was sat silent on a poof, quietly d'Artagnan rose from his seat and went to his Alphon and sat on the chaise before him "Lex sweetheart what do you think about this?" he asked

Lex shrugged his shoulders looking back up at his Oman "You're pregnant, what can I say to that?" he replied folding his arms a stubborn expression on his face

"Lex" Athos cautioned while he did understand his Alphons worry about d'Artagnan's life and the possibility that he might loose it in the child bed he wasn't going to put up with him being churlish to his Oman especially not when d'Artagnan needed support not temper tantrums

"What if you die!?" Lex shouted at d'Artagnan ignoring his Aphan and scowling darkly "Did you think of that?, you nearly died having the last Pups!, and what about me?" he demanded "If you die then I have to be King of France and I'm not ready to be King!", feeling hot tears pricking at his eyes the pre-pubescent shot up and ran from the room for his bed chamber not wanting anyone to see him crying and think him still a Pup for doing so!

"I'll go" Athos said but d'Artagnan rose shaking his head

"No I will" he sighed doing his doublet back up "It's me he's angry with after all"

"I don't think he's angry" Anne said compassionately "Just scared"

"I know" d'Artagnan agreed "Which is why I'm going to speak with him, to try and put his fears to rest".

 

Lex was laying face down on his bed sniffing hard into his pillows when d'Artagnan came into his room
"Go away!" Lex snarled turning his back and scowling at the wall opposite

"I think not my little Prince" d'Artagnan said climbing up onto the bed and wrapped his arms about Lex who stubbornly refused to respond "I know you're frightened darling, I understand that I really do"

Lex grunted his jaw tightening as he resolutely refused to allow himself to sink into his Oman's embrace as he so wanted to, Pups did that not big strong Alphas of thirteen!

"I'm scared too you know" d'Artagnan said "So's your Aphan, with every birthing there is a risk of things going wrong, but d'you know how we get through it?" he asked kissing Lex's head "In believing that it'll all be alright and at the end I'll be holding a new Pup in my arms, your little sibling"
For several moments Lex lay still biting his bottom lip, then finally gave into the urge to cuddle up with his Oman and rolled over pressing close to d'Artagnan
"Why d'you have to have another Pup?" he asked "Aren't I enough?"

"Oh sweetheart" d'Artagnan sighed kissing his head "I don't know if I can explain it to you, when you're older and have your own family you'll be able to understand why having Pups is wonderful and why you want them, it's not a matter of one being enough or two or three, it's..........it's a deep longing inside you that is beyond explaination, beyond any words, all I can tell you is that I love this Pup inside me as much as I love you and I want him or her just as much as I did when I was carrying you", stroking Lex's head making him look up he smiled "Holding your new born Pup in your arms is a magical experiance, it's something you can't imagine until you actually do so, and the desire to do so is so strong that you just can't resist doing it again and again despite any risks"
Lex sighed worrying his bottom lip again and admitted in a small voice "I don't want you to die Oman!"

"I know" d'Artagnan said stroking his back "I don't want to either, and I don't believe that I will, I believe that in a few months you'll have a new sibling and I will be right here with you still"

"Promise me you won't die?"

Now it was d'Artagnan's turn to sigh "You know I can't promise you that" he said wishing that he could "But I do promise that I will fight to stay at your side that I will do everything I can to live on for a long time yet".

There came a knock at the door and Athos slipped inside "Room for one more?" he asked
"Come on up" d'Artagnan said with a smile and shifted a little so Athos could lay down besides him and Lex

"Everything alright now?" Athos asked wrapping his arms about his family

"I think so" d'Artagnan said

"Good" Athos said "And Lex are you going to help me look after your Oman?, make sure he's well rested and taken care of?"

"Course!" Lex promptly replied

"Thats good because he needs to rest and be relaxed now, and" Athos paused with a grin "You can help us bedevil the court!" he added a twinkle in eyes "We're not going to tell them about the Pup for another Month yet!, but we want them to be gossiping and wondering before then!, can you help us do that?", asking an already very mischievious Pup to help with mischief was either a master stroke or a disastor waiting to happen!, either way it worked to perk Lex right up so he might help his parents torment the court!.

Versailles

 

The first day after his second surgary Aramis had still been sleepy and docile as Lemay had kept him doped up on laudinum to ease the pain and it had served to leave him drifting in and out of sleep and easy to nurse.

Today however he was more awake, and far more demanding.

"I swear to God Mis if you try to get up from that bed again I'll break both your bloody legs!" Porthos grumbled as he settled Aramis once again after yet another escape attempt!

"It's just so boring here!" Aramis whined sounding for all the world like a five year old being deprived of a treat!, Lemay had born his dramatics as much as he could and finally taken his leave to go and get some much needed rest, while Porthos and the others had made sure that he ate and slept he had still been far more active than was easy for the seventh month of pregnancy.

So now Porthos had the thankless task of keeping Aramis in bed and entertained until Lemay returned, and God knows Aramis wasn't making it easy!

"Just a short walk about the gardens!" he moaned

"No"

"Only a few minutes in the sunshine please!"

"I'll bloody gag you if you don't shut up!" Porthos growled glaring at the over grown Pup in the bed who pouted at him, "You ain't goin' no where Mis, not until Lemay says so an if that means I have to tie you to the damn bed then so help me I will do it!"

"Ugh!" Aramis complained dramatically "What am I supposed to do?, I've been laying here like an invalid for weeks now!"

"Two weeks and a handful of days" Porthos grunted
"I need something to do!, I'm going out of my mind!" Aramis exclaimed gesturing wildly with his hands, "Porthos my friend, my dearest friend......!"

"No, whatever it is no!"

"Please!"

"Shut up Mis!".

 

This worked for a short time and Porthos relished the peace knowing that it wouldn't last, Aramis was far too talkative to keep quiet for long, sure enough Aramis turned back to face him a bright smile on his face making Porthos groan and grit his teeth!

"So tell me my Friend, hows it going with the lovely Madame de Larroque?".

 

Louvre

With slightly shaking hands Sylvie placed the poisonous candle holder in d'Artagnan's bathroom with the rigged candle inside it.

Once lit it would burn for a full fifteen minutes before the wax melted and the thread released the pellet of cyanide into the water releasing the poisonous fumes.

Letting out a breath she made to leave only to freeze when she heard voices and d'Artagnan and Athos came into the bed chamber talking
"I think he'll be alright now, especially with you plan of getting him involved with mischief!"

"Well what can I say?" Athos chuckled "He takes after you in his love for that!", d'Artagnan let out a squark and slapped at Athos's chest making him laugh and sweep the Omega into his arms and lean in for a deep kiss.

Sylvie watched from the shadows her jealousy growing as Athos and d'Artagnan fell back on the bed, Athos between d'Artagnan's thighs his hands quickly undoing the Omega's doublet and breeches just as d'Artagnan was doing to him.

To keep herself from crying out Sylvie bit down onto her fist as she watch the mates strip each other and Athos sink inside d'Artagnan with practised ease, their bodies moved in perfect sync with each other, their hands finding every sensative spot from years of knowledge as they grinded on the bed in an unhurried rythem.

It was like a knife strike of pain through her heart as she watched Athos kissing the length of d'Artagnan's throat, sickness swirled in her belly as he arched back at the scratch of d'Artagnan's nails down his back something he clearly enjoyed by the growl that came from deep in his throat and the renued vigor he had at thrust into d'Artagnan's pliant body

"God I love your legs!" he breathed as d'Artagnan wrapped them about him pulling him close, he ran his hands down d'Artagnan's slender thighs squeezing them as d'Artagnan bucked beneath him wantonly.

Sylvie's nails sank into the palm of her hand hard enough to draw blood as she watched the mates, watch Athos kissing d'Artagnan, watched d'Artagnan daring to bite Athos's throat!, watched them caressing and gripping each other tightly. Silently she screamed her fury as they climaxed and fell against each other panting and sated.

Damn d'Artagnan!, damn his cunning and his guiles!, he had bewitched Athos, enslaved him!, only his death would set Athos free and thanks to her, Grimaud, and Feron that would soon come about and then Athos would be hers and hers alone!
"Soon" she whispered leaving by the servants enterance while the King and Consort dozed in each others arms "Soon".

Chapter Text

Louvre

"My Oman is craving cinnamon buns and cherry conserve, he can't get enough of either right now!"

"Dauphin?", the Valet gulped his eyes going wide as he took Prince Lex's orders for the royal breakfast feast which was being thrown the following morning to celebrate d'Artagnan's escape from death, well at least that was the official story, the real one was that d'Artagnan wanted to publically show himself to prove that he was well so quiet any rumours to the contrary. Also it gave them a chance to poke fun at the court gossips and add to the rumours of his pregnancy hence Lex's comments about cravings.

"Oh yes he's digestion has been unsettled of late too, perhaps some sweet mint tea aswell as hot chocolate and coffee" Lex added "Oh and some of those apple danish pastries cooked till they're golden brown and crisp on the outside and very sweet on the inside" he gave a fake laugh "He has such a desire for sweet things at present, and his appetite is growing by the day!"

"Yes Dauphin" the Valet said taking the orders and scuttling off keen to spread the news of d'Artagnan's cravings among the servants who would then whisper it to the Ladies maids and Valets who would in turn pass it on to their husbands and mates and within hours it would be all over court.

Grinning Lex went to the next servant he could find to continue his antics "Make sure that an extra cushion is added to the King's chair, his lower back is paining him" he ordered "And be sure there is a footstool, his ankles sometimes swell now"

Two maids gasped and gaped at each other at this making it very hard for Lex not to burst out laughing at their expense, certainly after this if there were any left in the Louvre who hadn't heard the rumours about d'Artagnan being Pupped they wouldn't be in the dark any longer!.

"Having fun Dauphin?"

Lex's mirth dimmed as Feron's hushed voice spoke from the shadows and he revealed himself, the noise in the chambers had hidden the sound of his canes that would have otherwise forwarned him of his presence.

"Cousin" he sighed straightening up and loosing any expression on his face, as young as he was he knew that his cousin Feron was not to be trusted and when he was in his presence he moddeled himself on his Oman, being polite but empty, that way Feron could not be offended nore could he learn anything he could use against them in the future.

"I hear that you are to have siblings at last" Feron said making his shuffling way forward to the tables and picked up a silver goblet to admire "The King's round belly, dizzy spells, fatigue, and now his food cravings?" setting down the goblet he looked to Lex who was regarding him with a disinterested look "He is pupped is he not?"

"You would ask me that?" Lex replied incredulasly "Surely it would be better to ask his Majesty himself would it not?"

Feron chuckled "You certainly inherited your Oman's wit along with his dark hair and eyes"

"I'll take that as a compliment!"

"No doubt his sharp tongue and fiery Gascon temper too"

"Undoubtedly" Lex said a false smile on his face, glacing around the chambers to be sure that no one was close enough to see him he moved closer to Feron and spoke in a hushed whisper "I know you dislike my Oman, I know you hate the idea of a ruling Omega, and I know you whisper in the dark and plot against my family, and I know that while I have no power now one day I will be King and when that day comes if it is brought about by anything other than natural causes I will have you paraded through the streets and drawn and quartered whether or not I can prove you are guilty of my Oman's murder because I know that some how some way you are responsible!"

Lex might have only been thirteen years old but he spoke with such conviction such force and with such passion in his eyes that Feron could not help but to pale and swallow hard before trying to cover his slip with a laugh "Dauphin...."

"Enough!" Lex barked authoritively "I command that you leave me presence at once and think on what I have said"

"Lex..."

"I said go!", Lex's voice echoed about the chamber startling servants and guards all of whom looked at Feron the guards clasping the hilts of their swords in case they were summoned to arms.

Clenching his jaw tightly Feron gave a haphazard bow with his head and made his slow struggling exit before he was embaressed anymore than he already was.

Being unable to walk with any great speed meant that he had ample time to consider Lex's threat and weigh it in his mind. Partly he wanted to dismiss it as the bold talk of an arrogant youth, but something in him refused to brush it aside completely. What Lex had said about becoming King was true, the moment he did the power in France would shift once again, the Nobles who disliked having an Omega ruler would be immediately appeased since an Alpha would be on the Throne, a young virial Alpha at that who was growing taller and stronger everyday, he would easily gain the loyalty and support of his whole country and if he wished for his bastard cousin to be blamed for his Oman's untimely death and executed for treason then he would have no opposition especially because no one cared what happened to a long dead Kings aged and crippled bastard.

This put Feron in a difficult position, he could go ahead with the plan and let d'Artagnan be poisoned, then Athos and Anne disposed of, but then he would have to eliminate Lex too to protect himself, but that would send the country into chaos which was why he had decided to put aside any such notions and place himself behind Lex as Lord Protector rather than move Gaston into place as the next King.

"What to do?" he whispered to himself sinking down onto his chaise, somehow he doubted that a traitors death would be any worse than what Athos would do to him if he suspected that d'Artagnan had been murdered by his orders, he'd be lucky if his body was only in four pieces and not four hundred pieces!.
Couls he trust that after the murder of both parents and his Tanta that Lex would feel too vulnerable to act out in retribution?, no of course he couldn't, Lex may well feel vulnerable but he would also be grieving and grief more often than not made people angered and anger could easily fuel a desire for vengence which would lead to Feron himself dying a very grusome death.

This realization left him with one single choice and not one he was happy about, he would have to call Grimaud off, have him dispose of that stupid slut Sylvie and lay low. With Grimaud he could advance his fortunes, the man had an unfailing nack for finding wealth through shady means, and if he kept himself quiet, appeared to agree with d'Artagnan then he may be able to live whatever time he had left in reasonable comfort, a comfort that he could be sure he would loose now if d'Artagnan died.

 

Royal apartments

 

"So what d'you want to do exactly?" Constance asked running a critical eye over the clothing spread out over the bed

"To make this lot less........."

"Hidious!?" Athos offered from where he was lolling lazily at the top of the bed under the pretence of helping when all he was really doing was lounging about making useless comments!

"Thank you so much for your input dear husband!" d'Artagnan said scathingly

"Well we can take out the pleats and create a smoother shape to the doublets without too much difficulty" Constance said "And if we keep the extra material it can be added later as you......um........"

"Get bigger?" d'Artagnan offered amused at her not knowing quite how to say it politely

"Right!, and maybe we can lessen the boning on the bodice of the doublet, although I think with the pleating removed it will look quite flattering" Constance said holding up one of the doublets to d'Artagnan "Maybe we can draw the hem down into point rather than have it in a straight cut"

"I'll get rid of the sashes" d'Artagnan said decisively "The short capes though, I think I'll keep those"

"Hm, they'll also help keep your belly hidden a bit longer too, if you wish it hidden" Constance agreed

"Well I'm not exactly hiding it anymore, but neither am I announcing it, not yet" d'Artagnan said rubbing the small of his back which was twinging, he was also feeling stabbing pains in his thigh, obviously the Pup was laying on the sciatic nerve causing it to react, a feeling he knew all too well having suffered from it during his previous pregnancies, "I'll bath later" he said letting Constance know so she could tell the maids and alert the Kitchens to prepare the hot water

"I'll massage your back if you wish" Athos said fiddling with a doublet till Constance smacked his hands away scowling at him

"Unless you can be helpful why don't you leave!" she said as she set about snipping out the pleats easily to begin making over the doublets

"God sake don't let him try to stitch anything I don't want to wear a patch work quilt!" d'Artagnan protested

"Hey!"

"Heaven sakes go and take Lex for a ride or practise fencing with him!" d'Artagnan said in exasperation "You are useless with a needle and you know it!, and all you are doing here is distracting me and Constance when we need to work fast on these or I'll have nothing to wear!"

"Well that works well for me!" Athos said with an unrepentant grin rising to his feet and wrapping his arms about d'Artagnan kissing his cheek and nuzzeling his neck "I much prefer it when you wear nothing at all!"

D'Artagnan made a purring noise in his throat leaning back against Athos while Constance rolled her eyes
"I'm sure the court would appreciate seeing the King in all his glory!" she commented groaning as she saw the couple locked in a very passionate kiss "Dear God can't you two delay your second honeymoon until when you're alone!?"

"Mmm spoil sport" d'Artagnan grumbled as he and Athos broke apart

"Well I'll go and take Lex out" Athos said "And leave you two to your needle work"

"Have fun" d'Artagnan called after him as he departed, picking up a doublet and beginning to cut the pleats on it to make it over.

 

Lex was of course eager to go riding with his Aphan and swiftly went with him to the stables to mount up and set out through the woods.
The best part about having his Aphan ride with him was that he didn't have to have a contingent of gaurds acompanying him since Athos was Captain of the Musketeers.

"Will you still be Captain of the Musketeers after you've been corrinated?" Lex asked as they drew closer to the stables

"I should imagine so" Athos replied in truth he hadn't given it much thought, nore about the corrination really, well his own corrination not d'Artagnan's, that was well in his mind and he knew that it would happen soon, but his own corrination as Prince Consort of France?, that he hadn't really though about. Wearing a crown was not something he had ever thought he would do not even when he'd wed d'Artagnan surprisingly enough, and he had to admit that the prospect of his corrination was unnerving.

"Oman still hasn't set a date for it has he?" Lex asked "Will he do it before or after...." he lowered his voice "The Pup comes?"

"I'm not sure to be honnest" Athos said "I'll speak with him later, though I would think that he would have the corrination before the birth to make everything secure", he didn't add that it would make the court feel more secure for him to be corrinated before the birth in case the worst happened during the delivery

"I hear he's demanding special foods!, that he's craving things"

"Really?"

"Yes I heard it from one of the chamber maids!, and she caught sight of him and says his belly is round as a ripening apple!"

Athos cleared his throat loudly to announce his and Lex's presence as they entered the stables giving the stable hands a chance to seperate and pretend they hadn't been gossiping about d'Artagnan!

"Looks like the plans working!" Lex snickered heading for his horse while Athos went to Roger

"So it seems" Athos drawled patting Roger's flanks "C'mon we've time for a good ride before we need return for dinner, by which time I would hope that your Oman has finished sewing!".

 

Feron's chambers

 

"You take many risks summoning me here again" Grimaud said having slunk through the shadows to the chambers to speak with Feron after he had been summoned

"We must change our plans" Feron said he had spent hours thinking over the Dauphin's words his threats and had made his decision, to keep from killing d'Artagnan, "The poisoning attempt must not go ahead, we can not do this"

Grimaud's head shot up his cold eyes narrowing on Feron "Whats this?" he demanded dangerously

Feron held up a hand which shook, more from his opium use than fear though there was some of that too "We can not kill d'Artagnan, at least not like this, if he dies of anything other than natural causes the Dauphin will have me put to death for his murder"

Grimaud shrugged "Then we kill him too!, make Gaston King as we first intended"

"No" Feron shook his head rising unsteadily to his feet "No to kill the Dauphin and to bring Gaston in would cause chaos, not something I wish for", he lay a heavy hand on Grimaud's shoulder to support himself as he headed for the wet board "I know this will make our plans for power more difficult but we can still work to secure ourselves" he chuckled darkly "He may still die in child birth, hell when he's in his child bed we can slip something into the warm ale to take his life and it will be blamed on child bed fever or something"

"If he's pupped" Grimaud gritted out his eyes burning with fury "Ifs, maybes, possibles, they are not enough!"

"They will have to be" Feron said turning round a smile on his face that became frozen in place as his eyes widdened and the wine cup fell from his hand to clatter on the floor spilling red at his feet, red which was added to by the blood spilling down from where Grimaud had sunk his dagger into his sola plexis and twisted it to cause an unstoppable bleed, "Lucien....!" he choked out dropping to his knees and wavering as the blood poured from the wound leaving him dizzy and weakening

"Not enough" Grimaud said looking down on him in disdane "Now there is no reason to keep from killing d'Artagnan, and his husband, cousin, and Pup!, Chaos may not work for you, but for me?, it works very well, there is no better time to set oneselfs up than in a power vacum, and thanks to you I have the address to contact Gaston du Orleans whom I think will be very happy to work with the man who gave him the throne of France"

Stepping over Feron's corpse Grimaud poured himself wine and drank to his plan even saluting Feron!, "Safe journey to hell my friend".

Chapter Text

To delay the finding of Feron's body Grimaud locked the door to his chambers before he left the Louvre, he briefly thought about going and finding Sylvie to kill her too but figured there was little point, whether she spoke or not it hardly mattered she would lead her questioners to Feron and he was dead he could hardly lead them to Grimaud himself and without him to back up her claims Sylvie had no proof that Grimaud even existed.

There was also another reason to keep her alive for a while yet, she might still prove useful to him, as a servant she could come and go from the Louvre as she pleased, she was good at hiding in the shadows, being invisable as servants tended to be to the Nobles so she was perfect to use as a spy to gather information, she was also obssessed enough with Athos to be easily manipulated to Grimaud's will, so long as she thought what she was doing would aid her in getting Athos for herself she would do whatever he asked of her.

 

While he was intending to ride for Lorraine and seek out Gaston to allie himself with the Duc d'Orleans whom he would make King he decided to remain in Paris long enough to see that his poisoning worked and d'Artagnan died, if it did not for whatever reason then he would try a different tactic and would send a message to Lorraine in his place.

With his dark cloak sweeping behind him Grimaud made his way through the old passages and back out of the Louvre into Paris disappearing into the shadows to await the news that the poison had succeeded.

 

Versailles

 

"Beloved!, you look twice as radiant as I remember!, honestly you are golden you are glowing so much"

Lemay rolled his eyes at Aramis's over exuberant declarations on his beauty, having looked at himself in the mirror he knew very well that he was not glowing or radiant, he had dark circles under his eyes from too little sleep and too much worry, his skin was pale from being inside all the time, and his hair was in need of a trim aswell as being tangled with only a quick run through of a comb to dislodge the worst of the knots!.

"Flattery will get you no where" he said to Aramis who pouted at him "You are not getting up from that bed until I am satisfied that you won't start bleeding again", he took up Aramis's wrist and measured his pulse and lay his hand over his forehead feeling for any signs of fever
"Any dizziness?, palpatations?" he asked stripping back the bed covers to examin the wound

"No, but I do have a cramp!" Aramis said "It requires some attention"

"Where? in your abdomen?" Lemay asked worriedly shoving down the bed covers to check for signs of internal bleeding

"No not my belly a bit lower than that!", Aramis took his hand and guided it between his legs a cheeky grin on his face "I know you said I can get up but you said nothing about getting IT up!"

"Aramis!" Lemay scolded trying to pull away but Aramis refused to let go and taking a chance he put his other arm about his mate and swept him up onto the bed so she was laying upon it together
"Aramis!" Lemay cried trying to escape him "Your wound!"

"Is fine, I am fine!" Aramis said keeping firm hold on his mate "All I need is to be close to you and our Pup together"

"But..."

"Lemay stop fretting and let me enjoy you" Aramis said kissing his throat "It's been far to long since we've simply held each other and enjoyed some kissing, and" he sighed "By the time I'm fit to do more than this you'll be unable to lay with me because of our Pup and then we'll both be far to exhausted looking after our little bundle of fun to consider doing anything but curling up together sleeping!, so please lets just enjoy what we can while we have the oportunity to do it"

Lemay's resolve, which due to Aramis's skill at kissing and caressing was already very weak was now crushed completely, with a softend expression he snuggled deeper into Aramis's embrace chuckling as he felt his belly move as the Pup squirmed about kicking and wriggling
"I think he's missed you, missed your touch as much as I have" he said looking down at the prominant bump

"He?" Aramis asked running his hand over the bulge "This is a male is it?"

"Or she" Lemay said rolling his eyes "Either way I believe they have missed you"

"As I have them" Aramis said leaning forward to place a kiss on the bump but the motion made his side ache angrily forcing him to lay back down with a groan "I'm sick of this!" He sighed "I want to be sweeping you off your feet, making love with you, taking care of you!, instead of stuck laying in this bed like a useless lump!"

"You are not useless love, you're wounded you need to be resting so you can heal!"

"I know that!" Aramis grumbled "But it's....frustrating being unable to do what I want to do"

"I know" Lemay said stroking his cheek "But think of it like this, in a few weeks I'll be going into confinement, I'll need you to take care of me, bring me food, keep me company, rub my aching back and swollen feet, putting up with me complaining about being huge and uncomfortable, and you will need to be fit and healthy to do all this"

Aramis sighed rolling his lips and pouting slightly "So I should stop complaining and trying to rush things, risking set backs and simply rest and let myself be cared for so I will be ready to care for you when you need me to"

Lemay grinned "I don't mind your complaining but I think Porthos may end up sewing your lips together if you don't reign it in some!"
Aramis snickered "Porthos can't even thread a needle much less stitch something!, you should have seen his botched attempt at sewing a tear in a sleeve several years ago!, he ended up making the sleeve three inches shorter than the other!", Lemay grinned laughing too and curled up closer to him resting his head in the jointure between Aramis's head and neck

"Maybe you could start thinking up names for our Pup while you're having to rest here" he suggested "It won't be long before he or she is here and will need a name"

"Hmm Pup names" Aramis murmured kissing Lemay's temple "I'll see what I can do".

Louvre

 

d'Artagnan smiled at the maids as she tipped hot water from buckets into the metal tub that was lined with sheets to keep the metal from rubbing his skin
"Thank you all, you can leave me to bath alone" he said grateful for the bell shaped silk sleeves of his robe that covered his bump very well, while he wasn't hiding his pregnancy deliberately anymore he also wasn't announcing it and one look at his naked body would leave even the dimmest of people in no doubt as to his condition.

The maids curtsied and took their leave shutting the door behind them so no cold air would get into the chamber while he bathed.

Stripping off d'Artagnan rolled his shoulders and rubbed his pelvis where it ached with his pregnancy, taking great care he stepped into the bath and sank down into the water relaxing his muscles in the warmth and tipped his head back wetting his hair and reached for the chestnut oil and soap which he used to wash his locks and add some additional colour to his hair.

Once his hair was washed he moved on to scrubbing his body first with a pummice stone to get rid of dead skin, then with a loafer and used a sweet smelling soap on his skin to both clean and soothe after the pummice.

Ablutions done he settled back in the warm water shutting his eyes and relaxing content to enjoy the relaxation of the bath.
Quietly he began to sing only just above the sound of his breath his hands running over and round the curve of his belly already imagining baths in the future which he would share with the Pup as he did with Lex when he'd been an infant, sometimes having Athos with them, the three of the snuggled in the bath their precious Pup in their arms, and later when he was older and stronger sitting between them splashing chubby hands into the bubbles and squealing in delight
"We'll be doing that with you soon" he whispered to the unborn Pup "Bathing with you, taking you riding, teaching you to talk and walk" he smiled picturing the many milestones he would see his Pup achieve with Athos at his side swelling with pride
"Grow strong inside me little one and live for me" he said "And for your Aphan and Alphrer".

As d'Artagnan lay relaxing and talking to his unborn pup the candle that had been rigged burned down releasing the thread and dropped the cyanide into the water awaiting it.
The pellet fizzed and bubbled as it struck the water dissolving down into the liquid and releasing it's deadly fumes into the air.

With all the steam in the bathroom had d'Artagnan's eyes been open it was unlikely he would have noticed anything and as it was his eyes were closed as the fumes spread into the steam filling the air and making their way into his lungs with every inhale.

Just like the smoke from a fire the fumes worked on d'Artagnan to make him sleepy and leaden, even as he began to cough and splutter with his eyes wattering he was unable to try and save himself from the poison that was rapidly taking him from sleep into unconsciousness.

 

"Waiting for someone?"

Athos startled a little and half turned to see Anne in the doorway as he waited in the royal salon tapping finger nails against the window frame

"For my Claudine actually" Athos said, Claudine was one of the senior servants in the Louvre and he had ordered a lovers platter to take to d'Artagnan, hot chocolate, strawberrys and whipped cream, and petit four "I'm taking a....surprise to d'Artagnan"

"A surprise?", Anne rose an eyebrow a knowing smile on her face that brought colour to Athos's cheeks "Candle light, sweets, d'Artagnan all warm and glowing from his bath......"

"Stop please!" Athos protested making Anne giggle at his embaressment

"All's well on the council" Anne said "They're all bursting with curiosity about d'Artagnan's condition, especially with all of Lex's comments about cravings, swollen ankles, and backache!"

Athos didn't even bother to try and repress his grin at the nobles expence, considering they spent most of their time plotting and gossiping about them it was pleasent to get one over on them for a change, recalling Lex's words earlier about the corination Athos posed a question as he waited for Claudine
"I don't suppose there has been any decision on the date for the Corination yet?"

"Non that I know of" Anne replied "Though I do know the Lords are getting restless and want d'Artagnan to be crowned sooner rather than later, so if you can talk to him and get him to set a date...."

"I'll see to it" Athos said and cleared his throat with a bright smile as Claudine came in with a silver tray loaded with what Athos had requested

"My Lord" she said dipping a curtsey and handing it to him

"Thank you Claudine" Athos said he opened his mouth to take his leave from Anne but she rose a hand

"Say no more, go to your mate" she said dismissing him with a fond if a little sad smile, it wasn't that she resented Athos and d'Artagnan their happiness only that she missed having a mate, a lover of her own. In her position as a widowed Queen it was very unlikely that she would ever rewed, as she was a Queen she could not take a mate that was any less than a royal Duke as it would lower her station, and at her age with also being unable to bear young it was very unlikely any monarch would take her hand, so she would have to resign herself to being a widow and content herself with the memories of her husband even though it left her bed cold and empty at night.

 

Humming a tune Athos made his way into his and d'Artagnan's chambers kicking the door shut behind him and set the tray down on bed.
Grinning he stripped off his boots and doublet untucking his shirt and loosend his collar, taking up the hot chocolate he went to the bathroom to go and join d'Artagnan in the bath.

The poisonous fumes hit Athos the second he opened the door made his cough and retch his eyes stinging and watering.
Dropping the hot chocolate he bent double coughing feeling his head growing dizzy with the fumes "d'Artagnan!" he choked out seeing his limp husband laying in the bath tub, sucking in as much air as he could he scrambled across the bathroom reaching for d'Artagnan and hauling him from the bath over turning it with a great flood of water which sent him rolling to the floor d'Artagnan flopping besides him like a landed fish.

More coughs wracked Athos's body and his vision blurred even more as he tried to reach for d'Artagnan, to save him!, "God help us!" he whispered as darkness swept over his vision and began to fill his mind.

Chapter Text

There was a dull thumping in Athos's ears as his blood pounded through his veins, his limbs shook as he continued to fight the waiting unconsciousness his nails clawing at the tiles on the bathroom floor in desperation to reach d'Artagnan.
Sweat was beading his forehead and his throat felt clogged, his tongue too big for his mouth as if he were dying of thirst.

The fuzzy shape of d'Artagnan faded further from his sight as his limbs turned to lead leaving him slumped on the floor his hands out stretched reaching for d'Artagnan.

A muffled noise ran past his ears, distorted and unintelligable, his addled mind couldn't make sense of what was happening anymore, all he could make out was blurred images shifting before his fading vision and then he was moving, was rolling over and being shifted making the dizziness in his head all the worse and his stomach swirl as if he were at sea in a storm, letting out a groan he let himself slip into darkness sagging in the hands of those carrying him away.

"Call physicians!" Brujon bellowed, he and two other Musketeers plus three palace guards had been alerted to trouble by the sound of Athos over turning the bath tub and had burst into the royal chambers fearing that the monarchs were under attack, and while there was no physical enemy d'Artagnan and Athos were certainly under attack, from poison!
"Get all the windows open, clear the air!" he shouted carrying d'Artagnan down the hall, ordinarily he and the others would be fearing for their heads at viewing d'Artagnan without clothing, but right now he couldn't have cared less as he hurriedly carried the young King and Athos down the corridor to another set of chambers where he gently lay d'Artagnan down on the bed and frantically felt for a pulse

"Should we get the Minister of War?" one of the guards asked

"Yes, and the dowager Queen, and for God sake get those phyisicians!" Brujon shouted releaved to find a pulse in d'Artagnan's throat, "The Captain?" he asked looking to Clairmont who laid Athos down besides d'Artagnan

"Alive, I don't think he breathed in as much of whatever that was as the King did"

"Thank God" Brujon whispered feeling horribly young and very inexperianced and baddly wanted someone else to take charge right now since he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do.

His wishes were granted as a breathless Treville burst into the room having run all the way from his chambers and taken the stairs two at a time to reach them
"Minister sir!"

"How are they?" Treville asked ignoring the bows his attention on the King and Prince Consort

"Still unresponsive" Brujon said "I've had physicians summoned but with Dr Lemay in Versailles....."

"Dr Desalle is more than competant" Treville said bringing his thumb up to his mouth and chewing on the nail nervously

"He is pregnant then" one of the guards murmured staring at d'Artagnan's obviously pregnant stomach that was plain to see since he was stark naked still

"Is this really the time for that!?" Treville snapped shooting the hapless guard a look that would have made a ravening wolf quiver in fright!

"D'Artagnan!", Anne's choked fearful voice filled the air along with the sound of her hurrying high heels clacking on the floor as she ran, "Oh my God tell me he still lives!" she cried as she all but fell into the room

"He does we still await the physicians though" Treville replied while Brujon flipped a coverlet over d'Artagnan's modesty

"What happened?, how did this happen?" Anne asked eyeing d'Artagnan and Athos, while unconscious Athos was breathing easier and look a lot better than d'Artagnan who's skin was flushed almost beetroot red

"There was some kind of poisonous vapor in the air your majesty" Brujon said "The Bathroom was full of it"

"How could anyone get so close to the King as to do this?" Clairmont whispered worrying his hands

"They must already be here at Court" Treville stated his face darkening and his jaw tightening "This is the second attempt of his Majesties life in a matter of weeks, it is no coinsidence, nore were those who attempted to shoot him common thieves or brigands but professionals, this poisoning attempt was a professional attack upon the King!"

"And whoever is behind this is within the court" Anne whispered "Feron?"

"The Late Kings brother?" Brujon asked with a gasp

"His Bastard half brother!" Anne corrected "And I am willing to wager everything I own that he is behind this!"

"Maybe" Treville allowed "But we can't go accusing him without cause or any Noble for that matter, but we can question them all and we will start with Feron".

 

Dr Desalle along with three other physicians arrived in flurry being lead to the chambers by a terrified and tearful Constance to attend the stricken royals and ordered the chambers be emptied save for themselves leaving Treville free to go with Brujon and two other Musketeers to Feron's chambers leaving Clairmont and others guarding the doors to the chambers where Athos and d'Artagnan lay.

Meanwhile Anne went to speak with Lex who as if yet did not know what was happening though the fact he'd suddenly been shut up in his rooms with extra guards again he must know that something was very wrong.

"It's Oman isn't it!?" he demanded the second Anne came in giving her no chance to speak before he was upon her looking both frightened and angry, frightened about what had happened to his parent and angry that he was being locked up again
"Whats happened to him?, where is he?, wheres Aphan!?"

"Lex please lets sit down" Anne said trying to guide him to the window seat but Lex would have none of it standing his ground

"Tell me whats happening!" He shouted his shaking hands curling into fists and boyish face filled with a hardness that looked out of place on him. Anne sighed heavily and swallowed hard

"There has been an attempt on the life of your Oman" she said, Lex inhaled sharply his body stiffening in fear "He was poisoned with some kind of vapor in his bathroom, and your Aphan was poisoned with him when he tried to pull him from the room"

"B..both of them?" Lex whispered his voice trembling

"The physicians are with them now, both are still alive and with Gods help will survive"

"God?" Lex whispered looking away from his aunt and walking towards the crucifix that was hanging on the wall "He seems to have been much absent of late".

 

Acompanied by Brujon and two of the palace guards Treville marched on Feron's chambers and pounded hard on the door "Marquis d'Feron by order of the First Minister of France and Minister of War I demand you open the doors and submit both yourself and your chambers to be searched and questioned"

Silence followed Treville's words and continued even after he repeated the demanded and pounded on the door again, "Right thats it" He snapped stepped back and kicked the door as hard as he could splintering the wood and breaking down the lock forcing it open.

"Monsieur Lavois won't be happy" Brujon commented eyeing the damage to the door

"Screw Monsieur Lavois!" Treville grunted heading for Feron's desk and began to scatter the many papers strewn there "Dear God doesn't the old bastard keep any kind of order?" he cried "Bill for the expense of his grooms besides the monthly stipends for the Red Guard!, an invoice from his tailor besides his secetary's notes on the last council meeting!"

"Desk looks like it's been ransaked" Brujon said looking at the open draws and spilled out contense "Maybe we weren't the first ones here?"

"Or Feron left in a hurry" Treville mused, though that idea was ended the moment one of the palace guards cried out bringing himself and Brujon to where Feron's corpse lay in cold congealed blood

"We weren't the first ones here" Brujon dead panned his nose wrinkling at the smell

"The body's cold Sir, he died several hours ago" the eldest of the Palace guards reported "Knife to the stomach by the looks of it"

"And considering the state of his health he wouldn't have been able to put up a fight" Treville sighed running a hand through his thinning hair, Feron had been his best lead, of all of those at court who disliked d'Artagnan's reign Feron was the worst but now he was literally a dead end!
"Search the whole apartment, find everything and anything that can lead us to who did this!" he ordered

"You think this is related to the attack on the King?" the younger of the guards asked

Treville pursed his lips "A murder and an attempted murder in the Louvre within twenty four hours what are the chances it's not related, that the same person who killed Feron tried to kill the King?"

The Guard nodded his head and jerked as another guard appeared at the door "Minister Treville Sir!, the Prince Consort has regained consciousness!"

Treville was on the move in an instant shouting orders as he went for Feron's corpse to be taken to the morgue and examined, every inch of his chambers and his Chateau to be turned upside down and searched from top to bottom to find even the tiniest shread of evidence.

 

Athos had regained consciousness shortly after Desalle and the other physicians had began to treat him and d'Artagnan, had awoken to the displeasure of being cupped in fact and had sworn quite colourfully about it!.

d'Artagnan remained unconscious also under going the cupping while the physicians considered leaching him!.

"Athos!", Treville's bark even after all these years served to make Athos sit up straight and jump to attention!, his head spun as he jerked up right and he slapped the physicians hand away when he tried to press some foul smelling brew on him to drink

"It will help purge you"

"That would purge a goat!" Athos snapped shoving the offending concotion away with disgust his attention on Treville "Have you found out who's behind this?" he asked

"No" Treville admitted tersely "And my best lead is dead, Feron has been murdered!"

Athos's eyes widdened while the physicians gasped "Feron's been killed?"

"Stabbed, a professional blow, a single wound designed to cause maximum damage, couple that with this poisoning attempt I'd say it's fair to say that the killer is also the poisoner"

"It was a professional who poisoned their Majesties" Desalle offered holding up the candle holder that had been used for this and brought to the physicians once the air in the bathroom had cleared enough for guards to enter "A pellet of cyanide was held on a thread attached to the candle and then released into a small amount of water where it dissolved and released it's toxin into the air"

"Cyanide!" Treville whispered "Athos are you...."

"He'll be fine" Desalle said before Athos could answer "As will his Majesty I believe, though if he'd been in there any longer......"

"Anything you need to aid their recovery Doctor is yours" Treville swore

"Then I would ask that you have the Palace Guards set up a triage in the gardens so I can care for both my patients in the open air which will help to purge their lungs of the toxin better than anything else"

"I'll see to it at once"

"What about the Pup?" Athos demanded once again shoving away one of the other physicians who kept trying to get him to lay down "Stop pawing at me you fool!"

"There is a fetal heartbeat Your Majesty" Desalle said sympathetically "However I can not make any guarantees to the Pups survival, on that only time will tell"

"I will see to the triage" Treville said sucking in his bottom lip and worrying it, whatever Desalle said he wouldn't stop worrying until d'Artagnan was conscious once more.

 

Athos sagged back on the bed staring up at the ceiling "He can't loose the Pup" he whispered more to himself than any of the physicians "It will destroy him completely", the Physicians exchanged looks between themselves wanting to help, to reassure but were unable to do either since they could not be certain that the Pup would survive.

 

Anne watched as Lex paced back and forth waiting for news that finally came when Constance came in.

"Athos is conscious and recovering, and Dr Desalle believes d'Artagnan will recover too, he's having them both taken down to the gardens as he believes the fresh air will aid the purging of the poison from their bodies"

"I'm going to join them!" Lex stated before Anne had a chance to speak and he was out of the door shoving away his guards before anyone could stop him!

"Certainly d'Artagnan's Pup!" Constance sighed lifting her heavy skirts to hurry after him along with a groaning Anne!.

 

The Flower garden closest to the Palace was where Treville had chaise, canopys, and guards set for d'Artagnan and Athos to recover and ordered them both carried down on stretchers ignoring Athos's vitriolic outbursts that he was perfectly fine to walk and followed behind them to make sure Athos remained on the stretcher!.

"Will this surfice for their treatment Doctor?" he asked Desalle

"I believe so" the Doctor said helping the guards settle d'Artagnan on the chaise and tucking a blanket about him "If you can keep the number of people about them to a minimum?"

"Of course" Treville said startling as Lex ran into the gardens

"Aphan!, Oman!"

"Lex!" Athos cried sitting up right as his Pup burst into the small triage panting from his run, Constance and Anne hurrying behind him with the guards

"Are you alright is Oman alright?, the Pup!, what of the Pup?" he panted out taking Athos's hand and watching as d'Artagnan was settled on the chaise

"Oman will be alright" Athos said tugging Lex down onto the chaise and putting his arms about him to support and comfort him "We don't know about the Pup, not yet"

"If he looses the Pup......." Lex broke off looking at his Aphan with tear filled eyes not needing to finish the sentence as both he and Athos knew the loss would tear d'Artagnan apart and destroy him completely.
Pressing a feirce kiss to Lex's head Athos held tight to him silently praying for the Pup to cling onto life and bring further grief to them, in time he would think about who had done this, would exact revenge, but right now all he could think of was his mate and their unborn Pup and hope that all was not lost to this act of evil.

Chapter Text

Louvre

 

Council Chambers

 

Treville grimanced his ears aching as soon as he entered the chambers and was set up by the lords who all clamoured for his attention at once as if they were unruly toddelers instead of fully grown adults!.

"Is the King alive?"

"We heard he was poisoned!"

"Athos is said to have been poisoned too!"

"Is the Dauphin safe?"

"Do you have the culprits?"

 

Moddeling himself on his late mate Treville drew in a deep breath and calmly took his place at the table and gestured for the Nobles to sit and fall silent before he began to speak.

"It is true that the King and Prince Consort have been poisoned with Cyanide which had been placed in a rigged candle holder and filled the air with toxic fumes in the Kings bathroom, the Prince Consort succumbed to the fumes when he attempted to rescue the King who had already fallen unconscious"

"Dear God!"

"Cyanide!"

"This is the work of a lunatic!"

"What of the King, Treville?, is he alright?" Loiret asked sharing an uneasy glace with Landes and Charente

"He is recovering" Treville said "Dr Desalle believes he will make a full recovery, Athos has already regained consciousness and is breathing easily"

A collective sigh of relief ran about the chambers at this, several of the Nobles crossing themselves and praising God, Charente however leaned forward his heart beating wildly in his chest a symptom shared by his fellow conspiritors

"Do you know who was responsible for this terrible crime?" he asked praying that Treville was still in the dark

"I have reason to believe that the Marquis de Feron played a part in this" Treville replied sending a shudder down Charente's spine, Loiret looked like he'd just swallowed a fly and Landes turned as white as milk!

"Have you seized the Marquis?" one of the other Nobles asked

"Saddly no" Treville said "By the time myself, Musketeers, and guards reached Feron he was already death, murdered by persons unknown"

"Christ!" the Noble whispered "A poisoning attempt and the Marquis murdered!?"

"Can you be sure that Feron did not come upon the culprit and fall victim to them?" Landes asked some what shakily

"No" Treville admitted "I am having his chambers here and the Chateau de Feron searched from top to bottom and all of his servants questioned"

"Only questioned?, not tortured?"

Treville made a face more than able to recall his time in prison being tortured by Marie de Medici's bastards during her coup against Louis, "I do not use such methods unless I have no other option" he said "If Feron was involved in plots against the crown then I very much doubt he would have let any of his servants in on his secrets, however they may well have seen someone coming or going from his chambers and Chateau, that will at least give us a description to work with"
"God speed in finding out who is behind all this" one of the Nobles said crossing himself

"Amen" Treville agreed.

 

Louvre Gardens

 

d'Artagnan's head was throbbing and his throat painfully dry as he came round
"Easy now Majesty" a voice said close to his ear and he felt hands upon him and a cup pressed to his lips from which he gratefully drank soothing his throat and opened his eyes to see Dr Desalle leaning over his giving him the water

"How d'you feel Majesty?" Desalle asked as he drew back the empty cup handing it to one of the other physicians

"My head hurts" d'Artagnan admitted "And I feel.............like I've been drunk" he shook his muzzy head "What happened?" he asked sitting himself up a little

Desalle stepped back allowing an impatient Athos and an almost frantic Lex to come forward. Lex all but threw himself at his Oman burrying his face in his chest and clinging tightly to him caring nothing for the fact that under other circumstance he would have found such a move embaressing and Puppish!

"I'm alright darling, everythings alright" d'Artagnan assured him stroking his head gently while looking up at Athos "What happened?, the last thing I remember I was taking a bath!"

Athos sucked his lips inward and took d'Artagnan's hand squeezing it gently "You were poisoned" he said "We both were, with Cyanide, a pellet was rigged to fall into a cup of water and fill the air with toxins"

d'Artagnan's eyes widdened in horror at Athos's words, automatically he looked down to his swollen belly "The Pup?" he whispered fearing the worst
"There is a heartbeat your Majesty" Desalle said "However I can not make you any promises that the fetus will continue to survive"

d'Artagnan sagged as his worst fears were laid before him, that he was likely to loose his Pup, Athos however squeezed his hand again making him look up at his mate
"Nothings going to happen to the Pup" he said with more certainty than he felt "He's held on so far theres no reason to think that he won't continue to do so"

"He?" d'Artagnan asked with a tremulous smile "You think it's a boy then?"

"I'm sure of it" Athos said laying a warm palm over d'Artagnan's belly where it was joined by Lex's

"I'd like an Alphrer or a Brother, or an Omerer" he said

"Well I hope you won't be too disapointed if it's an Alphter, Sister, or Ometa" d'Artagnan chuckled ruffling Lex's hair, the teenager shrugged

"Be okay I s'pose" he mumbled making both his parents chuckle, perhaps it was fate or maybe just good luck but at that moment when both Athos and Lex's hands were laid over d'Artagnan's bump the Pup chose to give it's very first kick!.

 

d'Artagnan gave a choked gasp his heart flipping at the sign of the Pups health and strength, Athos gave a surprised laugh while Lex just about jumped out of his skin at the shock of the Pup's kick

"He must know we're talking about him!" Athos said grinning even more as another kick came

"Or she knows and is not happy about being reffered to as male!" d'Artagnan laughed beyond releaved at his Pups movements, while not a guarantee of his or her survival it gave d'Artagnan reassurance and comfort.

 

Presently Treville came to the garden having finally escaped from the council chambers and the endless streams of courtiers who were all demanding information.

As she had let Treville bear the burden of speaking to the council alone Anne took charge of the courtiers and held court in the throne room to address their questions and reassure them of d'Artagnan's continuing life and of course their own safety which was often far more in their thoughts than the health of their King.

"How is he?" he asked Constance who was the first person he saw as he entered the make shift infirmary

"You can ask him yourself" she said leading him to where d'Artagnan was laid back on the chaise with both Athos and Lex feeling his belly for more kicks from the Pup

"Thank God your Majesty" Treville sighed upon seeing that d'Artagnan was awake and well enough, while he was pale and drawn he was clearly not at deaths door, and nore was the Pup if the Kicks were anything to go by

"Jean" d'Artagnan greeted with a warm smile "I seem to be causing you nothing but worry these days"

Athos snorted "Thats not so unusual!" he laughed dryly "As a Pup you were notorious for getting into trouble!"

"Hmm and I recall a rather head strong Pup who demanded to be trained by the Musketeers!" Treville mused

"And who took off on a world tour at sixteen and frequently disappeared from the his Guards to seek out adventures!" Constance put in

d'Artagnan blushed "I don't know what you're talking about!" he sniffed

Lex however look very intrigued "Were you really trained by the Musketeers?" he asked having not heard this before

"I was for a time" d'Artagnan said his nose wrinkling as an unpleasent smell assailed it, the scent was coming from a steaming cup of some concoction that the physicians had brewed "I am not drinking whatever that is!" he said as soon as the physician got close "I've smelled corpses that are less oderous!"

"Come your Majesty this is to help purge your system of the poison"

"How?, by turning my stomach inside out!?" d'Artagnan asked waving the cup away in revulsion

"Majesty!"

"I said no!" d'Artagnan stated firmly "Now take that vile filth away and bury it before you give someone else a case of poisoning!"

The physician flushed bowing and backing away to dispose of his concoction of "Vile filth" as d'Artagnan had termed it
"Pity Lemay isn't here, he'd know exactly what to do" Constance said then flushed and glanced to Desalle "Not to impune your work"

"No offence taken your Grace" the physician said

"Well with any luck he, Aramis, and Porthos will be home soon" d'Artagnan said sighing and looking to Treville "I don't suppose my pregnancy is a secret anymore?"

"I'm afraid not" he confirmed "Too many people have become aware of your condition since a few guards did view you.....naked, briefly of course!, but they won't have kept what they saw to themselves!"

"Should have their eyes gauged out!" Athos grunted

"Behave!" d'Artagnan scolded making Lex giggle "I'll make a formal announcement to the court as soon as I can"

"Love you don't have to do anything you don't want" Athos said but d'Artagnan shook his head
"We both know thats not true" he said "I have to do this, and on the bright side it will help assure them that I am healthy and the poison did no lasting harm"

"D'you have any leads yet?" Athos asked Treville who sighed deeply hating to have to break the happiness of the mood with what he had to impart, but he could not delay anymore in doing so

"I am afraid not yet, and Majesty I am sorry to have to tell you this but I must inform you that Philip Marquis de Feron has been murdered within the Louvre"

"What?" d'Artagnan gasped making to move but was held back by both Lex and Athos "Who by?"

"I don't know yet" Treville admitted "But I doubt that it is not related to the attempt on your life, I'm having his chambers and his Chateau searched for any and all leads"

"What about Sylvie?" Athos said making d'Artagnan flinch and Lex growl at the mention of her name

"The maid servant?" Treville asked

"She has access to the whole of the Louvre, she's in perfect position to do something like this"

"Maybe so but I doubt she's bright enough to come up with such an elaborate scheme" d'Artagnan said "She's too oportunistic to plan something like this"

"I have to agree" Treville said "This was an attempt by a professional, as was the stabbing of Feron, a single thrust in the perfect place to cause a mortal wound, we are looking for someone who has become expert in the art of murder, not a maid with a grudge"

"She could have hired someone" Athos grumbled

"On a maids salary!?" Constance snorted "Come off it Athos!, she might be a jealous slut but she's not got the funds to hire someone capable of this!"

Athos look prepared to argue but d'Artagnan laid a hand over his forearm "If you want to speak with her do so, but don't interrogate her or drag her to the Chaterlet to do so, the Garrison will suffice"

Athos nodded already planning to do so since he was very far from sure that she was not involved.

 

Elsewhere in the Louvre Landes, Loiret, and Charente huddled in the shadows all three sweating with fear
"Could the idiot have anything in writing about us?" Charente asked

"God knows" Loiret cursed "But if they find so much as a single hair of ours in Feron's chambers of Chateau then we'll be swinging by our necks!"

"Worse!" Landes whispered his face pale "We're traitors to the crown, we'll be drawn and quartered!", this was a hidious death that had all three shuddering at the thought of

"We've no choice" Loiret said "We have to search the chateau ourselves and make sure that there is no record or damning evidence"

"Thats a risk" Charente cautioned "If we're caught by those bloody Musketeers....."

"And if those "Bloody Musketeers" find evidence against us we're completely screwed!" Loiret snapped "We are agreed yes?, we go tonight and search that Chateau for any and all evidence"

"What about who killed Feron?" Landes whispered

"Probably that shadowy Manservant of his" Loiret shrugged "I've heard the vermin grew up on battle fields robbing the dead!, a dog like that would hardly think twice about biting it's master!"

"So long as he doesn't bite us" Charente said with a sigh "Very well tonight, Midnight we search the Chateau".

Chapter Text

Louvre Gardens

 

"Have you given any thoughts to the coronation?"

"Hm?" d'Artagnan asked looking up from his light meal of bread and vegtable broth

"We need to set a date don't we?" Athos said sipping the dandylion tea that he and Athos had been prescribed by Desalle to help flush their systems of the Cyanide and wrinkled his nose with distaste! "God this stuff is vile!" he complained

"Madame de Longville swears by it" d'Artagnan said with a grin "Claims it keeps her young and beautiful!"

Athos scoffed "She's got a face like a horses backside!"

"Charming comparrison!" d'Artagnan snickered "You do have a point though", he sighed sobering "As to the Coronation I haven't given it that much thought, I know I should but....."

"You've had other things on your mind" Athos said placing his hand over d'Artagnan abdomen

"Well I will be speaking to the council and making a formal announcement of my pregnancy anyway, we can discuss dates for the coronation then, before the birth would be best, and the hell with protocol of you walking three steps behind me, I want you at my side all the way as my Prince Consort"

"Prince Consort" Athos breathed shaking his head "It hardly seems possible"

"They'll be asking how you wish to be addressed" d'Artagnan said "Your Majesty?"

"You're title it'll be confusing" Athos said

"Your Royal Highness will be confusing with Lex as thats his title"

"Your Grace would be fine"

"That would be confusing with Duc's, Duchesses, Comtes and Comtesses" d'Artagnan argued "You're serene Highness?"

"Serene?" Athos rose an eyebrow

"One of the Russian Czar's mates used it" d'Artagnan said with a shrug

"Serene Highness" Athos said "Very well I'll take that form of address", d'Artagnan laughed at his unimpressed expression and patted his knee

"It's not so bad, Majesty feels so pretentious and pompous"

"It means you're majestic" Athos said "Powerful and awe inspiring"

"Hmm I don't feel majestic" d'Artagnan said "When I've got the crown on all I feel is a damn ache in my head!", using the bread to scrape up the last of his soup d'Artagnan set the bowl and plate aside and picked up his cup of tea downing it as fast as he could and making a face at the taste of it

"I'm going to interrogate Sylvie tomorrow" Athos said wanting d'Artagnan to be aware of him coming into contact with her since she had nearly destroyed their marriage

"Talk not interrogate" d'Artagnan stressed "You don't know that she's done anything so don't treat her as a criminal before you have an evidence against her"

Athos made a grumpy grumble but nodded his head agreeing to d'Artagnan's terms even if he didn't like it, "The sooner we get some leads the better though" he said "I want you safe, our family safe"

d'Artagnan shifted closer to him resting his head against Athos's shoulder "You make me feel safe" he said "At ease, very few can make me feel that way"

"I know" Athos whispered putting his arm about d'Artagnan's shoulders and held him close "You and I are quite alike when it comes to having been born into positions that make us uncomfortable, longing for privacy instead of attention"

"If not for me you would have achieved that" d'Artagnan sighed knowing that it was only because of their marriage that Athos had been forced back into the spotlight having hidden away as a Musketeer leaving the life of a Comte behind him

"Hey I went into this with my eyes open" Athos assured him turning d'Artagnan's head by cupping his chin "A life in obscurity or before the eyes of the world doesn't matter so long as it's a life spent with you"

d'Artagnan smiled leaning in for a kiss "You always know what to say"

"Hm no" Athos said manovering them to lay down on the chaise with his arms about him "Words are not my best attribute, actions however?, that I think I am very good at!".

 

Chateau de Ferron

 

The three Nobles met outside the Chateau grounds just before midnight tethering their horses to the branches of a tree so they wouldn't wander off
"Didn't you think dark colours would be more practical?" Landes sneered at Charente's silver brocade satins

"All I have in black is mourning attire" Charente said with a sniff "Some of us care about fashion"

"Hence your curls and earring!" Loiret snickered flicking the single pearl Charente had hanging from his ear lobe making Charente slap his hand

"Can we get this over with?" he snapped "I want to get far away from here as quickly as possible and never speak of Feron ever again!"

"Oh don't worry" Loiret said patting his shoulder "Once this is done we can all go our seperate ways and pledge out alliegence to King Charles and quash any suspicions of treason"

"All Feron's doing anyway!" Landes stated always eager to pass off the blame to another "His plans and schemes!"

Preparing the rope with the anchor on it they were using to scale the walls Loiret exchanged a glance with Charente and rolled his eyes!, swinging the anchor round to build up speed he flung it over the wall and then pulled on it till it caught on the lip of the brick and scaled the wall jumping down the otherside "Hurry up!" he urged

"Alright we're coming!" Charente grumbled following after him and then Landes.

 

Trying to keep quiet they made their way across the grounds to the chateau going to the nearest window which Loiret pressed his cloak against to muffle the sound when he broke the glass

"Won't a broken window be suspicious?" Charente asked "Wouldn't picking a door lock be better?"

Loiret shot him an unimpressed look "Can you pick locks?" he asked

"Of course not!, I'm high born not a lowly thief!"

"Then why the hell would you think I can pick locks fool!"

"Maybe we should have hired a thief to do this" Landes muttered looking around anxiously

"Know plenty do you?" Loiret sneered "We hardly need anyone else with evidence against us!", taking out his pistol he used it's but to break the glass and cleaned the window free before scrambling through

"What if they suspect something from this?" Charente continued to worry while Landes climbed in after Loiret

"Then they'll suspect someone stealing evidence but not have any proof of who it was" Loiret whispered back "Now shut up and hurry we need to get into Feron's study and out of here quickly!".

 

They made their way through the Chateau lead by Loiret to Feron's study which fortunately for them was not locked, and headed inside going straight to the desk
"Think he kept any incriminating evidence there and not in a locked chest?" Landes asked going through the papers on the desk while Loiret began to go through the draws

"Check them" he said taking up a ledger which only turned out to be a list of accounts

"Is there a key there?" Charente asked bending down to one of the chests which had a lock on it

"Actually the Key is right here!".

 

All three men froze at the sound of Treville's voice and from the shadows the Minister and four Musketeers stepped out lighting candles as they did
"Thank you gentlemen on making this so easy!" Treville said a smug smile on his face

"M..minister Treville!" Landes stammered turning white as a sheet "I.....We..we were just....."

"Searching for any evidence that proved you were in league with Feron to assassinate the King?" Treville finished "I'm afraid we already found that this afternoon, however a diary is not great evidence, the three of you breaking in here looking to steal evidence is"

Landes gulped looking desperately to Charente and Loiret then burst into noisy tears babbling about how it wasn't his fault and that he was mislead!
"Quite you fool show some dignity!" Loiret snarled in disgust

Charente however looked to Treville "Minister you are a sensible man, you know as well as I that the Kings rule is unstable, surely in light of recent events it would be better to........have us pledge our loyalty, which we were all going to do!"

"After you destroyed the evidence against you and kept quite about Feron's shady contact who was no doubt behind the poisoning attempt upon the King?" Treville replied "No Charente" he said firmly "There will be no saving you from this, you are traitors to the crown and will pay the price for it, however..." he trailed off letting the three men perk up their ears at this

"However?" Charente asked eagerly

"However" Treville said "I maybe able to spare you all a traitors death which you know would have you drawn and quartered, if you all make full confessions of exactly what you plotted with Feron, who is contacts are and what they plot then The King will show you mercy", Treville was taking a liberty here since he had not discussed this with d'Artagnan but was confident that he would agree once he learned of why Treville was doing this

"Mercy?" Loiret asked lifting his chin up proudly

Treville smiled "Instead of a traitors death your sentences will be commuted to swift painless beheadings"

"Oh no no!" Landes whined his knees going out and the two Musketeers holding him had to lift him back up

"Beheading?, why not exile?" Loiret countered

"So you could plot to return?, no, you all knew the risks when you plotted against King, you knew what the outcome would be if you didn't win and you have not, now your choice is either a horrific death of being pulled apart by horses or have you head removed in one deft stroke and pass from this life without suffering"
Landes babbled incoherantly while Charente crossed himself and Loiret clenched his teeth and straightened up nodding his head in confirmation
"Long live the King" he said with a sneer letting the Musketeer arrest him "Though considering theres already been two attempts on his life and he's not even coronated yet I some how doubt he'll survive that long"

"Both attempts have been thwarted" Treville stated "And if there are any in the future we'll prevent them too" looking the three men over with disgust he nodded his head "Take them away" he sighed and lent against Ferons desk "I'll question them myself in the morning, throw them into the Chaterlet for now".

As the men were led away he rubbed his forehead tiredly "You're lucky you died as swiftly as you did Feron" he muttered "Had I gotten my hands on you I'd have made you beg for death before the end!".
It was at times like this he missed Richelieu most of all, the Cardinal's political mind would have forseen all this, would have protected d'Artagnan and prevented any of this from happening, at this sort of thing Treville was always struggling to find his way and emmulate his late mate.
"God I wish you were here Mon Amor" he whispered touching the jeweled crucifix at his throat, a keep sake from his Alpha "I fear this is not the end only the beginning of our troubles".

 

Louvre

 

D'Artagnan agreed to the terms that Treville had offered to the three Lords when Treville told him of them at breakfast the following morning, he had little taste for torture and brutality so a swift merciful execution was far more easy to stomach than the horror of drawing and quartering.

"I'll address the Privy council and the court tomorrow" he stated grimancing as he drank more of the dandylion tea that was still being forced on him "Inform them of my pregnancy and of Loiret, Charente, and Landes treason"

"I'll join you in interrogating them after I'm done with Sylvie" Athos said to Treville

"You really think a half wit maid servant is involved in this?" Constance asked dripping honey onto a piece of crunchy bread

Athos shrugged "Theres just something about her that unsettles me" he said "I can't explain it, I just know that........that I don't trust her", d'Artagnan gave him a gentle smile and squeezed his knee under the small table that had been set up for the breakfast in the garden

"Just make sure you don't put her under thumbscrews or whatever!" Anne said sipping some coffee and smiling as the sun shone over her "I think we should have a dining place set up out here permanently! outdoor dining is very pleasent!"

"Hm this would be a nice place to do so, a private area for the family" d'Artagnan agreed "It's close to the Louvre in case of rain and a simple oil skinned canopy can be easily errected" he smiled "I'll have the royal masons commissioned to make us an avant garde dining room!" he said "It'll be nice to speak of something other than politics and assassinations!"

"Quite!" Constance declared "Enough of such dreary subjects! lets talk about celebrations for your coronation and especially what clothes you'll wear!".

Chapter Text

Garrison

 

Sylvie couldn't believe it when the summons was brought to her by a page telling her to go to the garrison at Athos's behest.

She immediately ceased her work which was dusting in the royal Libary and went straight to her quarters which she shared with three other girls. Ducking beneath the clothes line that was hung up drying out petticoates and aprons, she went to her bed and pulled the small wooden chest out from under it which contained her best gown and quickly set about changing out of her clothes into it.

As gowns went when compared to what Constance and Anne wore it was nothing special, a pale butter yellow chemise, a stomacher of dark green and grey with a matching skirt and a kirtle of dove grey that she tied with a sash of blue/grey tightly about her corseted waist. She changed her thick wool stockings for a pair of silk ones that she had spent half her wages on several months back and slipped on a pair of elegant high heeled shoes instead of her usual clogs.

Taking up her comb she want to the small slither of mirror on the wall and brushed through her tight cork screw curls braiding it back off her face and making an alice band out of green and white ribbons. As she did so she checked her face and then scurried back to her chest and took out her make up, a kohl stick which she used to darken and line her eyebrows and put a line over her eyelids drawing it out into a flick at the corner to make her lashes look longer, to her cheeks and lips she added a little rood and pinched her cheeks to bring blood to them to create a blush.

"Athos!" she said to her reflection "We will be so happy together, I promise you!".

 

Athos unlike Sylvie did spend his time prooning himself in anticipation of their meeting, instead he made sure there was nothing on his desk that she should not see, checked on the cadets and recruits, and saw off a company as they made their rotation with others returning from the front.

What he really wanted was a cup of wine to steady his nerves, but he knew that one cup would never be enough, it'd become two, then three, then the whole bottle and before he knew it he would be a drunk again something he was determined to leave in his past. So instead he drank coffee and read through reports until the knock came on his door at which point he set the paper work aside and drew in a steadying breath rising to his feet preparing himself for this.

"Come in" he called out folding his hands against the small of his back and making himself stand easy even though his spine was rigid the second Sylvie walked, or rather bounced enthuseastically into the office beaming brightly and threw her arms about his neck trying to kiss him!

"I knew you wanted me knew you wouldn't stay away!" she declared attempting to kiss him even as Athos took hold of her wrists disentangeling her from her neck and moved her back

"Sylvie...."

"Oh I have missed you so much!, I've dreamed of you every night!, longed for your touch!, your presence, I knew all that was need was to break that baren witches spell!" Sylvie babbled at Athos brightly "Once he's gone we can be together properly!"

"Be together?" Athos repeated letting go of her wrists and stared at her in utter horror, not just of her words but of the fact she was obviously deranged enough to believe what she was saying, she wasn't just a vindictive slut she was insane, her unstable mind a formed an obsession with him, latching onto him and making d'Artagnan a fairy tale villain whom had to eliminated in order for her to be with Athos in the classic fairy tale happily ever after.

The question was how far would she go to achieve this desire?.

"Sylvie" he said as calmly as he could manage given the circumstances "You know that the King and I are married, that we love each other........"

"No it's not love! it's black magic that he has cast over you making you think your in love!" Sylvie scoffed starting to pace "He has you in his thrall, pretending to be pregnant when everyone knows his body is baren just to make you stay with him!, but you see the truth now don't you?" she turned and beamed at Athos brightly

"The truth?"

"That we are meant to be!" Sylvie exclaimed crossing the room and taking his hands "As soon as he is dead we can be married, we'll have Pups soon there after I am sure!, many strong Alphas to make you proud!", in her mania she was blind to the look of revulsion on Athos's face as she spun out her fantasy for him "We will be wed a Notre Dame!, I will wear cloth of gold and white silk!, diamonds and pearls!, the bells will ring out in cheer for us and our joy!"

"Sylvie, dear god you need help!"

"Help?" Sylvie laughed "No dear heart I need no help I can handle everything you'll see!, I know the poison failed but next time I'll get it right and d'Artagnan will die and we can finally..............", she never got the chance to finish her sentence as Athos suddenly grabbed her shoulders in a bruising grip and snarled at her furiously

"Were you behind that?, did you poison my mate and unborn Pup?, answer me damn you!" he bellowed shaking her

"Athos you're hurting me!" Sylvie protested squirming in his arms to no effect

"I'll do a damn sight more than hurt you if you don't answer me right now!" Athos bellowed "Did you try and murder my husband!?"

"I tried to set you free from his influence!, I tried to get rid of him for good!" Sylvie cried "I know this time it didn't work but next time it will!"

"What next time?, what d'you have planned?, what scheme did you and Feron plot?, where is his attack dog?, that creature that lurks in the shadows?, where is he!?"

"I don't know!" Sylvie cried breaking down into tears "I don't know where Grimaud is or what he plans to do and I don't care all I want is you!", with tears running down her cheeks she reached out for Athos grabbing hold of his doublet tightly and imploring him with her large sad tear filled eyes "Why are you angry with me?, everything I've done has been for you!, for our future!".

 

Athos made a groaning noise in his throat and turned away from Sylvie pinching the bridge of his nose, part of him wanted to rip her apart, wanted to take his sword and thrust it through her heart!, wanted to wrap his hands about her throat and squeeze the life out of her for all she had done!, but his heart, his conscience would not allow him to do so, were she sane then perhaps it would be different but her words, her actions, they all proved she was very far from sane, while she had commited treason she had not done so out of true malice but because she was mentally afflicted, she needed to be treated with compassion, sent somewhere she could be cared for not sent to the scaffold or run through by him.

"Athos it's all going to be alright you'll see!" Sylvie stated wrapping her hands over his shoulders and pressed herself against his back "We can still be together!"

"Sylvie no!" Athos said turning and taking her wrists "We are never going to be together!, I don't love you I never did and I never will!"

"Athos...."

"No Sylvie" Athos stated cutting her off "You have commited treason a crime for which you could be drawn and quartered and were it not for the fact that I do not believe you are sane or truely capable of judging your actions clear then I would be leading you to your death myself!", breathing hard Athos swallowed and calmed himself reigning in his anger towards Sylvie "I am placing you under arrest in the name of King Charles X of France and Navarre, you will be held in the Chaterlet awaiting trial and then I expect you will be sent to a convent for the remainder of your days"

"What!, no!, Athos I love you!" Sylvie shrieked trying to struggle against him as he led her out of the office "We are meant to be together I would give my life for you!", desperately she clawed at his hands and dug her heels in the wooden balconey as Athos continued to ignore her pulling her along even as she fought against him sobbing out her love for him

"Brujon, Clairmont arrange transport to take this prisoner to the Chaterlet" Athos said "She is guilty of treason but not sane see to it she has a private cell and is treated with compassion not cruelty"

"Yes Sir!" Brujon said looking alarmed and shocked as did Clairmont

"Athos please!" Sylvie cried tugging hard on Athos's arms "I beg of you to listen to me to hear me!"

"Sylvie I do hear you" Athos said "And I am sorry for you, sorry that your mind is so twisted as to believe this, I wish I could help you heal you but it is not within my power to do so and I must protect my husband but I promise I will see to it that you get help not persecution"

Sylvie cried out and fell to her knees sobbing and keening loudly while clinging to Athos's legs!, "Sylvie come on now please!" Athos said reaching down and took hold of her to try and lift her back onto her feet "Come on stop this!"

"I love you!" she screamed clinging on harder

"Captain we have a wagon" Brujon reported jogging up the stairs and pausing looking at Athos and the clinging Sylvie

"Give me a hand will you" Athos said having failed to extract Sylvie on his own

Brujon looked uncomfortable at the thought of man handling a woman but complied with the order gingerly taking hold of Sylvie's shoulders "Come on now Madamoiselle" he said attempting to lift her up but a suddenly move Sylvie wirled round and tore the main gauche from his belt and backed away from the Musketeers holding the blade out in front of her

"I won't let you lock me away as if I were an animal!" she spat "I won't be treated as if I am a monster!"

"Captain!" Brujon asked his hand on the hilt of his sword but was unwilling to draw it against a woman

"I've got this" Athos said "Come on Sylvie" he said reaching out a hand to her "I know you're not a monster, I know you're not an animal, you need help and I am trying to get it for you!"

"Help?" Sylvie cried swiping at Athos who leaped back narrowly avoiding having his palm sliced open "I don't need help!, I love you! I thought I could save you from the King but his hold on you is too great!, he has swallowed your heart and mind taken you from me for good!"

"Sylvie" Athos said trying again to reach her as she backed away to the very end on the balconey "Sylvie please put don't the knife and let us help you!"

Sylvie shook her head sniffing hard "You can't help me and I can't help you" she whispered "This is the only way", quick as a flash she threw down the knife and climbed up onto the wooden railing looking over her shoulder "I love you Athos!" she said with a sorrowful smile and jumped!

"No!" Athos roared lunging forward to try and grab hold of her but it was too late and he was forced to watch Sylvie plunge down onto the ground below where she landed with a sickening crack of broken bones and blood rapidly spread under her smashed head.

"Dear God!" Brujon whispered crossing himself

"Call.......call a physician to pronounce her dead, get the mortuary to collect her body" Athos said looking pale "I....I need to tell Treville and the King of this"

"Yes Sir" Brujon said swallowing down his nausea at the sight of the blood pooling under Sylvie's head "Are you alright Sir?" he asked

"Not really" Athos admitted "But I will be".

 

Louvre

Naturally the news of Sylvie's suicide shocked everyone including d'Artagnan when Athos told him what had happened
"Poor woman" he whispered shaking his head "I hated her for driving a wedge between us but I never wished her dead, I never thought she was so insane that she would do something like this!"

"Neither did I" Athos said sitting down on the edge of the bed and resting his forehead in his hand "The things she said...........she truely believed that she and I were....fated to be!, that she was saving me!"

Turning his lips inward d'Artagnan crossed the room and placed a hand on his shoulder making Athos look up at him his guilt clear on his face "Athos this isn't your fault" d'Artagnan said stroking his cheek "You had no idea what she would do, what she was capable of, you showed her a mercy that many would not have, you have no reason to berate yourself for this"

"You didn't hear the things she said" Athos said "It was.........sickening, and heart breaking since she truely believed it all!, had convinced herself of all of this!"

"But it's still not your fault" d'Artagnan said sinking down onto his knees and taking Athos hands into his own

"Isn't it?" Athos asked "Had I not been so drunk all those months ago, not given her opportunity or reason to think that there was ever going to be a chance between us!"

"Then she would have latched onto someone else" d'Artagnan said "This was not your fault not at all now please I beg you don't blame yourself!"

Athos shook his head looking down at d'Artagnan kneelt before him imploring him "Kings do not beg, nore do they bend the knee to others" he said leaning forward and pressing a kiss onto d'Artagnan's forehead

"Well maybe this King does" d'Artagnan said with a smile "At least to his mate"

"Well his mate would rather he sat beside him than knelt on the floor" Athos said raising d'Artagnan up and guiding him to bed "At least we have a name to work with, Grimaud, whom Treville believes is the Lucien that Feron mentions in his diary and ledgers"

"Lucien Grimaud" d'Artagnan repeated "I've never heard of him"

"Nore have I" Athos said "He's not a noble, nore is he a bastard of any Nobles, I think he's rebel and so does Treville, he wants to canvas Paris, especially the Court of Miracles to see if he is known of there"

"Porthos would be best at that" d'Artagnan said "Is Aramis fit to travel yet?"

"Maybe" Athos mused "We can send word, but you're right Porthos will be the most equipped person to go into the court to find information"

"I'll send the royal carriage to escort them back, while Lemay may allow Aramis to travel I doubt very much he'll let him ride"

Athos snickered "I can just imagine how Aramis will feel about that!", a knock came on the door and Constance came in

"Sorry to disturb you but I thought you'd like to know the maids and I have finished altering your clothes"

"Good, thank you" d'Artagnan said rising up from the bed "At least I'll have something to wear to face the council, though I wish I had more reassurances for them, a discenter still on the loose with enough skill to have attempted to kill me and escape justice twice is not going to make them feel secure" he said pulling a face

"Make them feel secure! what about you?" Constance scoffed

"Oh I'm just an expendable Omega King!" d'Artagnan said with a false smile "So long as there is someone to take the throne and keep their backsides secure then they don't care!"

"Well I care and they'll have to get off their backsides and see to your safety if necassery or they'll feel my boot up them!" Athos declared rising up and taking d'Artagnan into his arms holding him

"You'll join me to face the idiots then?"

"Of course" Athos said kissing d'Artagnan's cheek a slightly impish look in his eyes "Besides, I can't wait to see their faces when we announce the pregnancy!".

 

Normally when d'Artagnan went before the privy council he didn't make a huge effort with his appearance because he wasn't trying to impress them with his looks, today however he did so.
He made sure the make up on his face was flawless, his face powdered in sandlewood and bismuth with a little rose petal oil on his cheeks to add a faint blush, his eyes he outlined in kohl and dusted the lids in sandlewood making his eyes look more sultry and his lips he painted in carnelean making them an alluring red.

His clothing he also took pains over, today was more than just seeing his council and making announcements. It was a show of strength and power, he had to make sure that the whole council knew that he was King and he was capable of ruling inspite of all the adversity he had faced so far and may do so in the future.

He chose to wear his gold embroidered burned amber damask doublet which he teamed up with his mahogany leather breeches and matching boots. A dark gold sash he had hung from his right shoulder and fastened his sword about his hips wincing a little at the tightness of the belt which he had to wear lower than normal due to the pregnancy.

Along with this he also had added a heavy jeweled chain of gold which lay over his shoulders, from his ears he had rubys the size of grapes hung, on his fingers he wore rings, a diamond studded band, a wish bone with a ruby pendant, a large ring that came down over his knuckle in the shape of a dragon with emerald studded eyes, a celtic band of white gold upon his thumb, and a silver band set with a cluster of seed pearls. To finished the outfit he had set upon his head the crown.

"Well?" he asked looking Athos who had also dressed as a high born Noble this day

"Every inch the King of France" he said smoothing down his gold embroidered burgundy doublet of satin with burgundy leather sleeves and matching leather breeches which finished with polished boots.
About his neck he fore once added a large white collar embroidered with lace which he lay out over his shoulders and at the throat had pinned a sapphire set into a gold broach.

He also wore his signet ring as the Comte de la Fere, a sapphire ring, and a large onyx ring.

The only remains of his usual Musketeer uniform was the pale blue cloak that he wore over his left shoulder and of course his customary sword, main gauche, and pistols.

"Ready?" he asked taking d'Artagnan's hand

"As I'll ever be" d'Artagnan breathed and schooled his features into an impenetrable enigmatic mask.

 

 

"His Majesty King Charles, His serene Highness the Prince Consort and comte de la Fere" the usher announced as d'Artagnan and Athos entered the privy council chambers, every Noble rose and bowed including Treville and Anne who dropped a curtsey until they had reached the head of the table and were seated

"Be seated" d'Artagnan said resting his hands on the table and clasping Athos's to show their united rule "You have all heard the terrible acts which have taken place over the past few days, the attempt upon my life, the death of my late Cousins bastard Brother the Marquis de Feron, and the arrest of the Duc De Landes, the Comte de Charente, and the Comte de Loiret for high treason"

"Indeed Majesty" one of the council stated eager to curry favour "And we are all deeply shocked and disturbed by the news"

"There is no doubt of the guilt of Landes, Charente, and Loiret?" another asked

"The three of them have confessed" Treville stated "Their names also appear upon several documents that were found in Feron's possession that tie them to the attempted assassination of our King"

"Dear God!"

"Christ have Mercy!"

"We have also discovered the name of an individual that they had in their employ" Athos said "A man by the name of Lucien Grimaud"

"And where is he now?" one of the Nobles asked

Athos sighed and exchanged a glance with Treville before replying "Saddly we know not, nore what he intends to do next, he has it seems disappeared, but we have discriptions of him from the three condemned lords and warrents for his immediate arrest are being circulated to ever border and city"

The Nobles murmured and grumbled clearly not happy about this but content to let Treville do the hard work in finding Grimaud rather than get off their own lazy backsides to lend a hand!.

"On a brighter note however we have several announcements to make" d'Artagnan said glancing at Athos and sharing a smile "We are very happy to announce that we our expecting a Pup in a little less than four months time!".

 

This time the whispers and comments became loud as the council congratulated the royal couple and clapped for them
"It is certainty that this Pup is strong considering what he or she has already survived" Anne loudly stated, a rehersed line to help bolster the support from the council, the more they believed that there would be a strong succession for the throne the safer d'Artagnan would be, and it would also help make them think of the coming birth as one which would bring joy instead of the sorrow d'Artagnan's last pregnancy had done

"This is indeed glorious news Majesty" one of the Nobles, the Duc de Toulouse said, he was one of the most powerful men on the council and his votes often led the others votes having his support did a lot to help secure d'Artagnan

"Thank you Duc, we are of course thrilled" d'Artagnan said with a bright smile "However this also means that we must bring our coronation date forward" he looked about the council and gave them a charming smile "We would like to be annointed and Coronated before my laying in"

"I think it is a wise choice to make" Anne said "Thanks to our recent victorys in Spain, and our treaty with the Turks our coffers are full once more, we can certainly afford a grand event"

"And.." Treville offered "It will help show that the world that the French throne is secure"

This pleased the council very much, their jobs and lives were much easier if everyone thought that the throne was secure and if all they had to do was help throw a celebration and wear their finest clothing then they would be more than happy to do so!

"A celebration will help cheer the commons too" d'Artagnan said "Everyone loves having something to celebrate"

"We will send wine, bread, meat, and cake out to the villages and handed out through the streets of Paris" Anne said "Filling the commons bellies is guaranteed way to have them celebrating your rule"

"We will also release those guilty of lesser crimes from the chaterlet and pardoned" d'Artagnan said meaning petty thieves and pick pockets, certainly not those who had harmed others

"Fireworks of course, and a feast fit for Roman decadence!" Treville declared

"Ah speaking of prisoners Majesty" one of the Nobles asked "What of Loiret, Landes, and Charente?"

Exchanging a glance with Treville d'Artagnan faced the council "I have conversed with Minister Treville and in return for the information that they have provided I have decided to exercise leniency and commuted their sentence to a swift beheading in private rather than a public drawing and quartering. I will also allow their families to keep their lands and titles instead of having them return to the crown", he held up a hand to forestall any arguments over this "While the extra fortune would come in handy I believe showing these mens families kindness and mercy will help keep peace through out the land, their heirs will have no cause to rise up against us in the future as they will keep what is theirs by birth, that which their Fathers and Aphans risked when they dared commit treason"

This speach appeased the council and quieted them "Now if there is no further pressing business I call this session to a close" d'Artagnan said and rose gracefully from his chair taking Athos's hand and departed from the chambers his head held high keeping hold of his composure until he and Athos were alone, then they both burst into laughter at the expressions that had been on the lords faces!.

Chapter Text

Versailles

 

Aramis supressed a wince as he walked down to the royal carriage, he'd been finally allowed out of bed and allowed to walk a little for over a week now, not as much as he wanted or tried to convince Lemay that he was capable of but it was better than laying around like an invalid.
"Take it easy" Lemay said following him carrying some of their belongings something else that iritated Aramis, Lemay was heavily pregnant, would be going into confinement within the next month!, he shouldn't be carrying their clothes and things it should be Aramis himself doing that as an attentive Alpha, but right now his stomach muscles wouldn't allow him to do so, or rather Lemay wouldn't allow him to do so wanting to be sure that his abdominal muscles were healing and they weren't going to tear.

While Aramis did appreciate this he hated seeing his mate struggle to carry things when his back and pelvis were under so much pressure from the advanced pregnancy.

"You take it easy yourself" he said making himself walk faster "I'm fine, you on the other hand are very pregnant in case you forgot"

"Oh yes it's so easy to forget that, between the backache, leg cramps, cravings, indigestion, constant need to piss, the fact I haven't seen my feet in weeks and am the size of a horse I can see how easily it could slip my mind that I am carrying Your Pup!"

Aramis had the grace to wince at this but not the sense to remain silent "Why is it only my Pup right now?"

Lemay turned and glared at him, "Lets just get into the carriage and head home then!" Aramis said offering a charming smile and offered his arm to his mate to help him into the carriage, Lemay continued to glower then climbed into the carriage muttering under his breath about Alphas and their over active sex drives!

"If he's this bad now then how much worse will he be when he's in confinement?" he whispered to himself

"Murderous is he's anything like Alice was!" Porthos offered making Aramis jump a little at his presence which he hadn't noticed, for such a large man he had the uncanny ability to move like a cat!

"How did you survive it?" Aramis asked with a wry grin

"I learned to duck a lot!", Porthos patted him on the back and headed for his horse

"Duck a lot!" Aramis repeated "Great advice!, so glad I asked for your help!".

 

Sitting himself down Aramis frowned seeing Lemay wince and rub his side "You alright?" he asked
"Just some aches and pains nothing to worry about" Lemay replied "Omegas have braxton hicks earlier than betas remember, because our Pups are bigger than children"

"True" Aramis agreed remembering d'Artagnan, Alice, Treville, and Constances pregnancies

"Don't worry love I'm fine" Lemay said snuggling closer "And we'll be home in an hour or so then we can both stretch out in bed"

"I can certainly think of one muscle I wouldn't mind stretching out!" Aramis leered making Lemay chuckle

"The one that got me into this state no doubt!" he said rubbing his belly

"You up for that?" Aramis purred stroking his finger tips down the side of Lemay's throat right where he liked it and made the Omega shiver appreciatively

"Well I suppose if your abdomen is not painful and you feel fit...."

"Oh I feel very fit!, in fact you can feel it for yourself!"

"Mis!" Lemay scolded rolling his eyes

"What!?, it's been weeks since we.......had some fun!, it's been torture!, cruel and unusual punishment!"

"A few weeks of no sex and you call it torture!, how will you feel when I'm far to tired from caring for our Pup to have some fun?", there was an edge to Lemay's voice that Aramis didn't miss, since Aramis had cheated once it made sense Lemay would be a little uncertain about his fidelity in the coming weeks when Lemay would be unable and then disinclined to have sex, and would likely be feeling vulnerable and unattractive about his body.

Aramis took his hand and kissed it "I'll be so happy with our Pup and you and likely so knackered myself from sleepless nights that sex won't matter at all" he wrapped his arm about Lemay's shoulders and pulled him close "I won't care if you don't instantly snap back into shape either, all I'll care about is your happiness and health"

"Really?" Lemay asked in small hopeful voice

"Absalutely" Aramis assured him then grinned impishly "Besides I like the extra flesh on you backside, it gives me more to grab hold of!", the playful slap he got was very much worth it!.

 

Louvre

d'Artagnan stood upon a stool in his chambers with his arms akimbo as he was draped in fabric by the tailor
"Red, red and gold I think" Constance said "Very regal"

"Oh thank you so much it's only taken an hour to decide that!" d'Artagnan acidly replied

"Satin or velvet?" the tailor asked "Brocade?"

"Oh definately velvet for the robe"

"Definately!" d'Artagnan mimiced rolling his eyes

"Ermine too on the sleeves and the collar and hem" Constance dictated "I think the rest should be in Gold brocade, or maybe red with gold embroidery..." finally she looked to d'Artagnan "What d'you think?"

"I think I need a piss!" d'Artagnan replied stepping down from the stool and handing the swaths of fabrics to the tailors assistance just as Athos came in or rather was dragged in by Treville

"I believe he is needed here?" Treville asked

"You'll pay for this!" Athos growled scowling at the minister making Lex who was lounging on the chaise draped in fabrics snicker in amusment

"Thank you Minister" Constance said with a wickedly malicious smile "Not trying to get out of being fitted for your coronation clothes are you?"

"Of course not Constance!" Athos drawled his voice dripping with sarcasem "I just love standing around having pins stuck in me like I'm a pin cushion!"

"Hm just like I love need a piss all the time and waddeling like a penguin!" d'Artagnan grumbled heading into the bathroom

"Well I can see everythings under control here so I'll leave you all to it!" Treville said smiling jovialy despite Athos's death glare!

"Your Serene Highness if you will just slip off your doublet and step up onto the stool..." the tailor asked

Athos shot him a smile that could have stripped paint!, "Why not?" he growled undoing his doublet and taking off his sword belt with exagerated actions and tossing it down onto the chaise and stepped up onto the stool d'Artagnan had vacated and spread his arms with an expression that looked like a man facing an execution squad!.

 

Rubbing the small of his back which he was arching more than usual to acomodate the weight of the Pup in his womb d'Artagnan came back in from the bathroom and snickered at Athos's put upon expression
"Lets have a look at these fabrics then" he said "It's my Coronation so I think I should have some in put in what I wear!"

"Of course" Constance said brightly "But the red velvet and ermine robe is a must!"

"Fine" d'Artagnan agreed picking up the swatches of material to select what he would wear

"Brocaded satin is always very beautiful and regal" one of the tailors assistants said holding up a swatch for d'Artagnan's inspection

"Too red, it'd make me look like a Cardinal" d'Artagnan said shaking his head

"A darker red perhaps?" Constance suggested

"With gold thread embroidery?" d'Artagnan asked with a small smile

"It is your Coronation" Constance said "You should look every inch a King"

"We should have some wine coloured satin" the tailor stated "It's not brocaded though but I can add gold thread embroidery after"

"Here" the second assistant said handing d'Artagnan the dark red satin

"Perfect" Constance declared holding it against d'Artagnan's skin "A doublet and breeches in this"

"But no gold threading on the breeches" d'Artagnan put in "And maybe a gold shirt underneath?"

"An excelent choice Majesty" the Tailor said already totting up the price in his head "And may I suggest a gold sash to be worn over the doublet?"

"I'm pregnant Monsieur, a sash is hardly going to be flattering" d'Artagnan said "And I do hope you can style these clothes to make me look.....elegant rather than enormous!"

"You're not enormous" Athos automatically said

"And what about you?" Constance mused looking Athos up and down "What should we dress him in d'you think d'Artagnan?, silk perhaps, a nice shade of pink?"

"With lots of frills and lace!" d'Artagnan agreed grinning at Athos's expense

Athos narrowed his eyes at the pair "If the two of you want me wearing anything but my uniform you'll make sure I don't look like a lace doily!"

d'Artagnan and Constance snickered but started to go through the fabrics again to find something that might be both suitable for the Coronation and pleasing to Athos.

 

"Will his Serene Highness be wearing a robe also?" the tailor asked while Lex hopped up onto stool to be measured

"Can I wear leather?" he asked hopefully

"Leather breeches yes" d'Artagnan agreed

"Athos what about this?" Constance asked holding up a swatch of burgundy velvet "Team this up with some gold threading?"

"Bronze would look better" d'Artagnan said "And maybe matching burgundy leather breeches?"

Now Athos smiled, leather breeches were far more appealing to him than any other style
"A short cape rich embroidered and trimmed in ermine would finish this outfit beautifully" the tailor suggested making Athos raise an eyebrow but both d'Artagnan and Constance were nodding their heads in agreement and he had learned long ago that when it came to clothing it was better to just let d'Artagnan and Constance make the choices, it saved on arguments!.

Sitting down he tipped his head back and let the conversation go on about him while Lex's clothing was selected, his Alphon joining him on the chaise
"What is it with Omega's and clothes?" he asked

"If I ever figure that out I'll let you know!" Athos sighed "But if you want my advice when you mate with an Omega and it comes to deciding on clothing, furnishings, and practically anything just agree it saves you an awful lot of headaches!"

"A brocaded gold doublet and burgundy leather breeches?" Constance suggested

"Gold doublet with dark red embroidery" d'Artagnan corrected "And a sash of gold satin with a dark red silk running through the middle"

"Perfect" Constance agreed brightly

Lex looked at his Aphan and rolled his eyes "I see what you mean!".

Lorraine

 

Grimaud had ridden hard across France to reach Lorraine and make his way to the Ducal palace where Gaston duc d'Orleans was residing with his Father-in-law who was also his cousin, and his daughter.

He was not a man with a silver tongue who could talk his way into places and peoples hearts, his way to get what he wanted was either with his fists or with his sword and he put both to use to get into the palace, eliminating guards quickly and quietly as he made his way to the Duc d'Orleans chambers and there he waited for him in the shadows until Gaston returned to change for dinner.

Gaston's reaction was naturally one of shock and suspicion when Grimaud stepped out of the shadows revealing himself
"Who the hell are you?" he demanded his hand going to his rapier hilt

"Lucien Grimaud a former....associate of your bastard Brother, late bastard brother"

"Feron is dead?" Gaston asked not relaxing at all "How?"

"I killed him!" Grimaud said "Stabbed him in the stomach in fact and left him to bleed out after he backed out of the plans we had made"

"And what plans would they be?" Gaston inquired

"To Kill the King of France".

Chapter Text

Lorraine

 

Gaston was not a man known for careful thinking or procrastinating, this had often been his downfall in the past as he blundered ahead without giving consideration in advance to things that may go wrong, unlike others who were methodical in preparing ahead and planning out mulipul stratergies and contingency plans if and when events did not go according to plans Gaston only thought up a single course of action and expected everything to fall into place as easily as moving figurines on a map, he simply didn't realise that so many things could change a plan, especially people who may not react as he thought they would.

This was no different, as Grimaud told him that he would kill d'Artagnan and Lex and make Gaston King of France he immediately believed it and jumped straight in with Grimauds plan, even going so far as to introduce him to his Brother in Law the Duke of Lorraine Charles IV.

 

Charles was not a rash man, he was also not a man who was prone to making war with another nation without strong provocation.

He had already struggled through a coup during his reign as duke, had to abdicate to his Brother Nicholas for a time before reclaiming his throne, and knew all to well the unheaval and horrors a civil conflict could cause. It had taken him nearly ten years to bring peace back to his land and he was not overly keen to see it disrupted once more.

While he had supported the marriage between his Sister Marguerite and Gaston d'Orleans (partly because it had pissed of Louis XIII) he did not overly like his Brother in law, finding him childish and spiteful especially towards his family whom he had betrayed more than once.

Charles believed that once a traitor always a traitor and so always kept Gaston at arms length never involving him in any of the politics of Lorraine knowing all to well with one look into those cold dark eyes of Gastons that he would stick a knife into his back without a second thought if he believed he could get something out of it.

Those same eyes now glinted with greedy hunger as Gaston smiled his cold twisted lipped smile and explained Grimaud's propersition.

"You propose to murder the King and Dauphin of France and put my Brother in law in their place" Charles said slowly while running his index finger round the rim of his gold wine goblet

"And once I am King I was guarantee Lorraine's independance" Gaston said smiling wider and showing teeth as attempted to curry favor "Just think of it Brother, Lorraine and France untied, powerful allies against any and all threats!"

"And just what threats would they be?" Charles drawled sipping his wine and snorting through his nose while Gaston floundered and glanced to the dark imposing figure of Grimaud "You have already tried to kill King Charles twice and failed I believe?" he asked "Hardly an auspicious start to your schemes is it?"

Grimaud glowered "I failed due to poor plans thought up by the dead bastard Feron"

"Ah!" Charles said a sarcastic smile spreading over his face "How convenient that you killed him, he makes a perfect scape goat for you to lay blame upon"

"Be that as it may" Gaston said cutting in and reaching for more wine which poured messily having little practice in serving himself and spilled a puddle on the table "Grimaud's scheme has merit"

"What would you know of merit in schemes?" Charles sneered "You tried to stage two coups against your brother and failed twice!, even when you had your harpy of a Mother championing your cause!"

Gaston's eyes narrowed and an ugly scowl spread over his face "Do not speak ill of my sainted Mother!"

"Sainted!" Charles threw back his head and laughed out loud "Septic is more how I would describe Marie de Medici, spiteful, vindictive, and utterly unscrupulous!"

"Sounds like a most charming woman!" Grimaud dead panned disinterestedly "However we are moving away from the point and if I do not get an answer soon I shall leave and never make this offer again", right now he had nothing to loose and everything to gain and was willing put pressure on Gaston to get what he wanted

Desperately Gaston grabbed hold of Charles's arm pleading with him now "France's treasury is twice the size of yours, and there are lands that are disputed between France and Lorraine, lands I will grant you when I am on the throne!"

Charles snorted shaking his head a little "So long as I offer you my army to help wage war on your cousin?"

"The army would only be back up" Grimaud stated "You have an invite to the Coronation of the Omega do you not?"

Charles glared at him "Yes I do and at such events attacking the sovreign being coronated or engaging in any kind of warfare is practically blasphemy!" he snarled "The dishonor of such an act is beyond words!"

"Oh who cares about honor!" Gaston laughed

Charles regarded him with disgust and rose from the table walking over to the fire place "A King without honor is unworthy to wear his crown" he stated "What you do not understand Gaston is that a crown is not a gift, not a prize, it is a burden, one that will crush a man who is not truly prepared for it's weight and all the responsibility to go with it" he turned and looked Gaston up and down "How long do you think you will last as a usurper King?, a murderer of the current King and his heir?, how long d'you think it will be before your Sisters have their husbands attack in response and remove you from the throne to claim it for themselves?, do you think that the Privy council and the Lords of France will support you?, that the French Army will follow you?" Charles snorted a laugh "The King is wed to the Captain of the Musketeers, the elite of the French military, both are beloved of the army which I believe will rebel against you if you murder them and their Alphon and I doubt very much that your murderous friend here will be able to keep your head attached to your neck when that happens"

Like petulant child he was Gaston effected a sulky posture and slumped in his chair scowling while Grimaud spoke up
"I can bring forces to protect Gaston when he is King"

"Really?" Charles said "Thieves?, pick pockets?, highway men?, hardly much use against trained soldiers"

"I could persuade the lords to support me" Gaston mumbled

"How?, with what?" Charles demanded "What could you offer them that d'Artagnan doesn't?, unlike you he has an Alpha Son and heir, all you have is a Beta girl, and if the rumours I hear are true he is likely to produce another heir very soon"

"Do you have a suggestion?" Grimaud asked "Surely it would be in your interest to place your Brother in law on the throne"

'Would it really?' Charles wondered, then again what Gaston had said about the disputed land was true and full independance was tempting but as a monarch himself the murder of another monarch was not a president he wanted to set, regicide was after all the one crime for which monarchs could be charged with and prosecuted.

"There might be another way" he said "A way to get you on the throne without blood shed"

"How?" Gaston asked perking up

"We convince Charles to abdicate to you, and you name your successor as Prince Lex whom will be wed to your daughter Anne" Charles stated "A simple transition of power without any blood needing to be spilled"

Gaston glanced to Grimaud who looked unconvinced "Why would d'Artagnan abdicate?" he asked

"We give him a reason to do so" Charles stated with a smile "Surely he would be happy to do whatever it takes to save his Alphons life?".

Paris

Louvre

Lemay let out a laugh as he was embraced in an awkward hug with d'Artagnan their growing bumps squashed between them
"Welcome home" d'Artagnan said stepping back and looking Lemay up and down "I'd ask how you are but....."

"Yeah I know!" Lemay sighed rolling his eyes and running a hand over his belly "I'm huge!"

"You're not that big love" Aramis said from where he was shaking hands and clasping shoulders with Athos

"Very diplomatic" Athos whispered into his ear, clearly his advise on how to handle pregnant Omega's was paying off!

"From what we've heard you've not been having an easy time of it here" Lemay said to d'Artagnan "Poisoning, and Feron murdered?"

d'Artagnan shook his head and linked arms with Lemay walking (Waddling) by his side heading for the royal apartments where they could talk in private
"You don't know the half of it Mon ami" he sighed "Between Feron and the Council it's been a bloody nightmare!".

 

"Nightmare doesn't seem to cover it" Aramis said quietly to Athos the two of the walking a little way behind their respective Omegas, "How have you been doing?"

"Honestly?" Athos replied "I feel like I did when we were at Bourbon Les Eaux waiting for Marie's men to attack", he shook his head and sighed deeply "I know I should be relieved that Feron and his co-conspiritors have been dealt with, that Sylvie, God rest her tragic soul is, I hope at peace!"

"But?" Aramis asked

"But I get the feeling it isn't over yet" Athos said "You know how when you're in a camp resting between skirmishes and something just doesn't seem right?, it's too quiet, the airs too still, like someones taken a huge breath and is holding it and you're waiting for it to be released?"

"All to well" Aramis said easily able to acknowledge the sentiment "Feron's man, this Grimaud?, he's not yet been found?"

"No worst luck" Athos sighed "He seems to have just disappeared"

"And it's too much to hope that he's going to remain in the wind for very long"

"Thats my fear" Athos said glancing up as d'Artagnan and Lemay laughed about something before them "And what his plans are towards d'Artagnan"

Aramis wrapped his arm about Athos's shoulders and squeezed them gently "You're not alone on this you know?, You've got me and you've got Porthos" he paused and snickered "When he returns from his manouvers through Madame Larroques skirts!".

 

Constance had planned to great Porthos as a great Lady and Comtesse would, she had taken pains over her make up darkening her eyebrows with smudges of walnut oil and used a faint trace kohl over the lids which she drew out into a delicate flick that served to make her lashes look longer.

Her cheeks already had a natural blush to them but she added to it slightly with the powder of rose petals and used a dusting of powdered eggs shells over the rest of her face finishing it up with a coating of cardamon seed oil on her lips.

She must have gone through a dozen hair styles before she settled upon one she was satisfied with, a high bouffant style bun which she secured with flower shaped pins and had two long locks of hair curled into ringlets brought round from the back of her head and draped over her shoulders which with her fringe made the hair style less severe than it might have otherwise been.

Her gown was also carefully selected, as a Comtesse she could have worn her gold broacded satin, her fine purple silk, her rich blue elongated stomacher with the high collar and the gold threaded panelling and seed pearls.
But instead she found herself choosing to wear a less rich gown, one that was more simple and less ornate, a very plain gown of duck egg blue damask with a little white lace work on the stomacher and no high collar.

The gown made her feel like a simple maid going to her first courtship not a grown woman and widow with two Pups, a strange feeling to be sure but not an unpleasent one, in fact she found herself enjoying the sensation of bubbles in her stomach as she waited for Porthos.

As he rode into the courtyard and dismounted from Filip all thoughts of greeting him like a cultured and sophisticated Lady went right out the window and she found herself running up and being swept into his strong arms kissing him without any care for decorum at all!.

 

Had she not been quite so lost in her feeling she might have blushed at Porthos carrying her to her chambers through the Louvre past servants, courtiers, and guards but as it was she couldn't care less as he lay her down on the bed and climbed on himself.

"I guess this means you missed me" he chuckled his voice husky and low, swiftly he divested himself of his doublet and shirt revealing his very impressive torso and abdomen which Constance didn't resist running her hands over

"Oh I've missed you!" she said with a growl in her voice "Let me show you just how much!", in a sheer act of wantoness she pushed Porthos back onto the bed and straddeled him undoing his breeches and reaching inside them for his hard cock and swelling knot making Porthos groan and fist the bed sheets

"Constance!" he whispered closing his eyes and gasping as she lowered herself onto his cock "Dear God you are like a dream!"

"A dream?" Constance asked running her nails down Porthos's torso lightly and pinching his nipples as she slowly began to move her hips "I think I'm a bit better than a dream" she purred bending forward to kiss Porthos's lips nipping them lightly and let out a breathy cry as she was suddenly flipped over onto her back with Porthos between her legs thrusting into her with such skill she was moaning as wantonly as a street side whore!

"You are better than any dream, you are a siren!, a Goddess!" Porthos breathed gasping as Constance's manicured nails sunk into his shoulders

"A wanton Goddess!"

"My favorite kind!" Porthos chuckled thrusting harder and faster, dimly he knew he was crushing and ruining Constance's pretty gown but it didn't seem like she cared very much and to be fair nore did he!
"My Aphrodite!, my Venus!"

"Hmm my Ares!" Constance cried clenching her inner muscles and wrapping her legs about Porthos's hips and clinging to him tight as he came within her continuing to rut until she was too was groaning and moaning out her climax.

 

Sated for the time being and more relaxed than he had felt in weeks Porthos rolled off Constance and flopped onto his back letting his body become limp and chuckled
"If I'm Ares and you're Aphrodite don't we have t'worry about that ugly God putting us in a fish net or somethin'?"

"Haephestus and it was a golden net not a fish net you uncultured oaf!" Constance scolded

"Ah what I lack in culture I make up for in other ways!" Porthos laughed rolling onto his side and nuzzling Constance's neck making her laugh and squirm as he tickled her with his beard

"Please show me all those ways!" she said breaking into more laughter happy to spend the rest of the day in bed with Porthos making love and having fun, after all they'd been through recently they could use some fun.

Chapter Text

Leaving their respective Alphas to talk d'Artagnan went out into the gardens arm in arm with Lemay.

While he had Constance as his eldest friend and confident he was happy to have Lemay back in his life, having another expectant Omega to talk to and share in pregnancy with made things easier in some way, perhaps because they were both experiancing much the same things and could comiserate over it together.

"So how has it been really?" Lemay asked placing his free hand on the small of his back and rubbed it with a grimance "The secret being out, being back at court, back with Athos?"

"Over whelming" d'Artagnan admitted without hesitation, he let out a deep sigh and smiled some what tiredly at Lemay, "Honestly at times I feel like everythings happened so fast, me and Athos getting together again, my pregnancy being discovered and then the assassination attempts.....It's all happening at once and at times I feel as if I'm standing in a storm struggling to keep my feet against the wind and keeping from being blown away".

Pausing in their walk the two stopped to admire the flowers and d'Artagnan turned to Lemay rather sharply
"It's not that I'm not happy!" he stated wanting to make that very clear

"No, it's just that so much has happened in such a short space of time that it's leaving you feeling breathless and disoriented" Lemay said struggling to bend forward to pick a flower "God I'll love to be able to move with ease again!" he grunted rubbing his belly "And to see my feet!"

"Go for more than half an hour without a piss?" d'Artagnan asked with a wry grin

"To eat without getting heartburn and indigestion!"

"To sleep on your belly instead of feeling like a beached whale on your back!"

The two Omegas grinned at each other and then broke into laughter and made their way over to one of the stone benches to sit and rest their swollen feet
"I swear the tailor is using so much material to make my coronation robes he could be making a marquet tent!" d'Artagnan stated "I didn't dare ask what the measurements were I don't think I could face knowing!"

"Oh I know the feeling!" Lemay chuckled "I'm sure that everytime I look I've gained another inch!"

"And I'll bet Aramis is loving it and can't keep his hands off you!" d'Artagnan snickered shaking his head "Alphas!, they can't help themselves!, their like strutting peacocks when it comes to signs of their virility!, I'm sure if society allowed it they'd be strutting about stark naked with their knots on show for all to see!"

"And admire!" Lemay drawled "But I'm sure if they suffered through even half of the discomfort we go through in life they wouldn't be quite so cocky!"

"Or think with their cocks so much!" d'Artagnan added sending them both into fits of laughter again until Lemay doubled over clutching his belly and moaning in discomfort "Practise contraction?" d'Artagnan asked not panicking since he had suffered much the same through out his own pregnancies

"Damn things keep happening" Lemay replied sounding winded "I'm starting to think he or she may come early considering how frequent these contractions are coming"

d'Artagnan frowned "That isn't good, if you're this worried you should see a Doctor!"

"I am a Doctor!"

"You know what I mean!" d'Artagnan sighed "At least go and see a midwife, don't leave things............" he broke off biting his bottom lip "In one of my previous pregnancies I had pains I ignored, put them down to muscles being stretched, the Pup shifting awkwardly, and then I ended up miscarrying"

Lemay winced at bringing up the painful memory and placed a comforting hand on d'Artagnan's shoulder "That won't happen this time" he said lowering his hand to d'Artagnan's middle "This Pup is strong, he or she will be born whole and healthy I'm sure of it"

d'Artagnan smiled and placed his own hand over Lemay's "Thank you", he said taking a breath "But you must also make sure that your own Pup is whole and healthy too"

Lemay made a dramatic show of flopping back on the bench and let out a deep sigh "Which one of us is the Doctor?" he demanded

"Which one of us is the worse patient?" d'Artagnan replied with a grin

Lemay rolled his eyes and nodded "Very well I'll see a Midwife tomorrow"

"Good!" d'Artagnan declared with a grin "Very good!".

 

With the Coronation rapidly approaching d'Artagnan needed to show the whole court and all his subjects, and most especially the foreign ambassedors who would report back to their Masters, that he and his house were united and secure. With his pregnancy now common knowledge he was under even more pressure to show the world that he was healthy and strong enough to carry to Pup to term and this time deliver a live infant, and not be killed by the act of Pup bearing.

One of the ways he was putting on this show of strength was to dine before the whole court every night instead of having private meals with his family in the royal apartments.

While he was very used to this now, sitting at the top table with Athos on one side and Lex on the other then Queen Anne, Treville, and other Nobles in order of peerage he did not find the spectical overly comfortable, being stared at, spoken about, and discussed by those about him while he was trying to eat was not really very easy on the appetite which d'Artagnan found slipping away from him as he sat there trying not to hear the conversations going on about him from the Nobles about whether or not he would live through the birth and if he didn't what would happen then?.

"Not feeling sick are you?"

d'Artagnan jumped a little at the question and looked to Athos with a surprised expression, "You've barely touched your Salmon" Athos explained nodding to d'Artagnan's rather full plate

"I've lost my appetite" d'Artagnan said reaching for his wine "But no I don't feel sick"

"You've got to eat though whether you want to or not!" Lex said making his parents look to him with risen eyebrows
"Well you're eating for two!" he said "The Pup needs feeding so eat up!"

His words startled a laugh out of d'Artagnan while Athos shook his head grinning in amusment
"Out of the mouths of babes!"

"I suppose this is pay back!" d'Artagnan sighed picking up his golden fork and picking at his salmon

"Pay back for what?" Athos asked

"Oh I cajoled Lemay into seeing a Midwife" d'Artagnan replied "He's been having some pains, false labour he says and he's probably right but I said he should get it checked out to be sure"

"Good idea" Athos agreed "Better safe than sorry"

"Exactly".

Close to the top table Porthos and Constance sat with Aramis and Lemay enjoying each others company along with the food.

Despite how sore he may still be Aramis was in high spirits as he ate daintily, making a show of how to properly cut up food and eat delicately and politely to Porthos who as always ate like a man who was on the verge of starving to death!.

"Still I suppose you need to keep your strength UP" Aramis leered his voice dripping with inuendo, he grinned wickedly at Constance his eyes dancing with mischievious mirth "You my dear Madame are looking positively radiant this evening!, why I believe Shakespear himself would have compared your prettily pink cheeks to that of a fragrant roses blossom!, and no doubt your skin is as smooth as freshly plucked petals!"

Lemay snorted and rolled his eyes while Constance narrowed hers at the notorious flirt,
"Are you implying that I have been plucked Monsieur Aramis?" she asked

"I would suggest nothing of the sort Madame!" Aramis said placing a hand over his heart as if he were striken at the notion "But were you a flower garden I can think of many a man who would be keen to take stroll in you uhh!" he broke off with a grunt as Porthos's boot heel connected with his shin!

"Well just you remember Aramis that Roses have thorns!" Constance said tartly "Large sharp thorns!"

"Indeed" Aramis grimanced "I think I just met with one!"

Porthos grunted but said no more as Constance rose and held a hand to him eager to join the dancers as a galliard was struck up.

A little enviously Lemay watched them go wishing he could join the dance himself, but at this stage in his pregnancy there was no way he could do it.
Try as he might he couldn't help but spot all the pretty Beta and Omega women, and the comely Omega Men who were present and found himself comparing himself unfavourably to them.

He was older than them, shorter, his skin pasty instead of creamy, hair plain instead of eye catching, his mannorism not half as flirtatious or beguiling.
Then there was his figure, or at present lack there of, he was heavy with the Pup, his belly swollen out to the point that he had to sit further back from the table, he waddeled now instead of walked, his posture was changed as he now leaned back to acomodate the weight of the Pup, his feet and ankles were so swollen and aching that he couldn't possibly manage to dance, not that he and Aramis could have gotten close enough to each other to make a dance possible anyway!.

He sighed rather self pitingly and looked down at his let out clothes that didn't seem half as becoming as what the other Omegas were wearing.
He didn't want to think it, but he couldn't help but wonder how Aramis felt about this, if he didn't long for a younger more lithesome Omega to dance with and............, Lemay couldn't bare to finish that trail of thought, instead he reached for his wine and looked to his mate who was watching Porthos and Constance.

"You can go and find a partner if you want" he heard himself say in a small voice that he was surprised Aramis heard, but hear it he did since he turned to look at his Omega with a frown on his face

"Why would I want to do that?" he asked looking genuinely puzzled which made Lemay feel a stab of guilt for thinking like this

"It's just a suggestion" he offered trying to act nonchalant but Aramis wasn't so easily fooled and placed a hand on his cheek turning Lemay's face towards him

"Whats troubling you poppet?" he asked "Is it my flirting with Constance?, because I promise it meant nothing I was only teasing her and Porthos"

"I know that" Lemay assured him "It's not you it's me, I just..........." he broke off and looked down at himself with a sigh

"You just?" Aramis asked

Lemay bit his bottom lip feeling his cheeks flush "I just feel fat and frumpy" he sighed "Being surrounded by all these glamourous sophisticated courtiers I feel like I'm plain and drab in comparrision"

"You mean that you display a natural beauty while their's is made up from costly attire and make up!" Aramis said shifting closer to his mate and stroking his swollen belly "I know I can't understand what you're going through or really imagine how uncomfortable you must be but I can tell you this. You are the most outstanding Omega in this palace, you shine with a light of natural beauty that puts the gaudy and frivolas illuminations of others in the shade!, you are the fairest, kindest, most wonderful man I ever had the fortune to meet and I would rather be here with you now and forsake dancing for the rest of my days"

Lemay's eyes shone with tears as he beamed at Aramis "You should have been a poet my love" he said kissing him tenderly

"Hmm maybe I'll become one" Aramis said with a shrug "But as of right now how about we retire for the evening and enjoy some time together in private?"

"Nothing would please me more" Lemay all but purred.

 

d'Artagnan dismissed them with a grin and a wink allowing them to make their way to their apartments where they settled down onto the chaise to sip hot chocolate and share slow lingering kisses.

Sex was not really on the cards right now, Lemay was too far gone with the Pup and Aramis was still healing but that didn't mean they couldn't enjoy themselves and both were keen to do so as the relaxed against plush cushions running their hands over each other

"I swear I will never get enough of you!" Aramis sighed running his hand over Lemay's cheek "You are more intoxicating than the strongest of wines, and more addictive than opium!"

Lemay grinned and moved to instigate another kiss only pause and gasp as a pain ran through his abdomen
"Querida?" Aramis asked worriedly

"Just another practise contraction" Lemay said rubbing his belly only to wince as another cramp began

"Maybe we should get some help" Aramis said all flirtation and fun gone from his voice as he rose from the chaise

"No it's not............" Lemay broke off with a gasp feeling something warm and wet spreading under him, shifting he let out a cry see blood staining the chaise.

Chapter Text

Louvre

 

Aramis was white as a sheet and pacing back and forth in the corridor his whole body shaking with fear.
Ever since Lemay became pregnant this had been his worst nightmare, that something would go wrong, that they would loose the Pup, or worse he would loose both Pup and Lemay.

As the weeks had passed and they had got closer to the due date he had started to lessen his worries had thought that perhaps everything would be alright, that Lemay would have the Pup and they would raise him or her together without any trouble.

Now it seemed like his worst nightmare was coming true!.

Lemay was bleeding, in pain, could be loosing the Pup, could loose his life! and there was nothing Aramis could do about it!, nothing he could do to help him!.

Oh he had some medical experiance, he knew how to extract a bullet, how to stitch a sword or knife wound, but he knew nothing about midwifery, nothing that could be of any use here, and that was why he had been kicked out of the bedroom as the Doctors and midwives had descended ordering him out so they could treat Lemay alone without him panicking or getting in the way.

 

"Aramis!"

Aramis jerked round to see his friends hurrying to him, Athos and d'Artagnan, Constance and Porthos, Anne and Treville, all of them worried and ready to help in anyway they could.

"God Mis!" Porthos said pulling Aramis into a bear hug as soon as he reached him and held him tight "I ain't gonna ask if you're alright 'cause I know y'ain't but I'm 'ere for yer, we all are"

"I know" Aramis breathed shakily and before he could stop it he was bursting into tears and clinging to Porthos like a child to it's parent
"Lemay.............Lemay's bleeding!, he........he had stomach pains and then there was blood and........I don't know what to do, I don't know how to help him!"

"Oh Mis" Porthos sighed pulling him back into his arms and resting Aramis's head against his chest letting him get his tears out, over Aramis's head which he craddeled gently in his hands stroking his soft black hair Porthos exchanged worried glances with the others, especially with d'Artagnan who's hands were clasping his own swollen belly and looked pale

"Are you alright?" Athos whispered to him knowing this was bringing back difficult memories for him, hell it was bringing back difficult memories for them both!, one look at Aramis had Athos remembering being in the same position, pacing the corridors listening to screams, waiting in terror for news to come about d'Artagnan and their Pup knowing that he was likely to face the grief of loosing the Pup that had come too soon.

"I'm okay" d'Artagnan said smoothing his hands over his abdomen and gave Athos a weak smile as he walked up to Aramis who'd managed to calm himself a little and was shakily drying his eyes on a handkerchief from Treville while Anne rubbed his back

"If the Pup comes now it won't make it" he whispered "And Lemay will need me to be strong and I don't think I can be strong for him!"

"It may not come to that" Constance said with a gentle smile "Sometimes Women and Omegas bleed during pregnancy and it doesn't mean anything"

"But the pain he was in....." Aramis shook his head gulping in breaths, his teary eyes met d'Artagnan's and he sagged into the Omega's arms bending himself forward over the round bulge of his belly and rested his chin against d'Artagnan's shoulder
"How d'you do it?" he asked

"Do what?" d'Artagnan asked back tilting his head to the side so Aramis could get his nose into the crook of his neck and breath in the soothing scent of a breeding Omega that would be a comfort to him right now

"Go through so many pregnancies, so much loss, so much pain?"

d'Artagnan sighed and gave Aramis a gentle squeeze "Because of how wonderful it is to have a Pup in your arms, it makes all the pain, all the risk, all the worries pale in comparison"

"I don't think I can do this!" Aramis whispered "Lemay needs me but........"

"What Lemay needs is you, just you nothing else" d'Artagnan said rubbing Aramis's back "He doesn't need you to be strong or perfect or anything but yourself"

Aramis nodded and clung tighter to d'Artagnan continuing to breath in his scent until the door to his and Lemay's chambers were opened and Dr Desaille came out

"You can come in now" he said to Aramis who broke away from d'Artagnan bracing himself for the worst.

 

Lemay had collapsed to his knees when he'd seen the blood, tears blurred his vision as he wrapped one arm about his belly protectively and reached into his breeches finding blood running out of his body.

Aramis had moved as fast as lightning to get help for them, shouting to the nearest servant to get the Doctor and Midwives before he'd raced back to Lemay looking whiter than a sheet as he'd dropped to his knees and placed his hands on his mates shoulders trying to offer support and promises that everything would be alright but he saw the blood on Lemay's hand, saw the clots in the blood he knew as well as Lemay that such promises would be worthless.

"I'm sorry" Lemay whispered a sob escaping his throat as his face crumpled and tears ran down his ashen cheeks "I'm so sorry!"

"No no you've nothing to be sorry for" Aramis said cupping and kissing Lemay's face "This isn't your fault, it's......it's just......" he broke off looking at the blood clots in Lemay's hands and let out a choked cry himself as Lemay groaned and wrapped his arms about himself again as more pain shot through his abdomen.
Unable to do anything to else Aramis began to pray as held tight to Lemay who shook and sobbed as blood spread from between his legs forming a pool under him

"Hail Mary full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou amongst Bearers
Blessed is the fruit of thy womb
Jesus Christ.

Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for us Sinners
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen"

Over and over Aramis repeated the prayer for the intercession of the blessed virgin rocking Lemay gently back and forth as they waited for what seemed like an eternity for the Doctor to arrive.

When he did along with three flustered looking midwives Aramis was pushed from the room while Lemay was lifted to his feet and taken to the bed with Desaille taking sheers to his clothes to bear his lower body.

"Alright Lemay how long have you been having pain?" he asked as the midwives set out his tools for him without his needing to ask, hot water and towels were also brought in by maids who kept their eyes averted from the bed not wanting to see the blood or a dead infant if they could help it.

"Pains been off and on for days" Lemay said taking a large shaky breath and swallowing down another sob "There was......there was no real cramping till about an hour ago, and no spotting or clots"

"And how many clots have you passed?"

"Two on the floor"

"We have them Monsieur" one of the Midwives said scooping the clots from the floor and placing them in a bowl for the Doctor to examin them

"Both are small, unlikely to be related to the placenta" Desaille said handing the dish back to the midwife and gave Lemay a smile "Alright I need to do an internal and as a Doctor you know the drill"

Some what shakily Lemay pulled his legs up and parted them to give Desaille the access he needed and winced as he was penetrated
"No sign of dilation nore amniotic fluid" Desaille said "Sibilla can you palpatate the abdomen for me?"

"Yes Monsieur"

Lemay bit his bottom lip as his abdomen was palpatated and let out a low moan as a cramp when through him

"Abdomen is tender and there are minor contractions to the uterus" Sibilla reported as Desaille washed his hands and moved to take over and feel for himself

"Very minor contractions, no signs of distention so I doubt theres an internal bleed" he said more to himself than anyone else "Ear trumpet" he ordered holding out his hand and the instrument was placed there in a moment, moving it over the highest point of Lemay's bump he rested his ear to the trumpet and listened for a full minute in which Lemay prayed until Desaille looked up with a smile

"Theres a strong heartbeat and no sign of distress to the foetus"

Lemay let out a choked sigh of relief only to wince as another cramp ran through his abdomen which Desaille who's hands were on the bump got to feel

"Alright minor contractions, the uterus is obviously irritable so lets give it some support" he said looking to the midwives "Support girdle, heating stone for Lemay's feet, and a plank to raise the foot of the bed"

"You're putting me on bed rest" Lemay said

"With immediate effect" Desaille stated "Lets brew a tea of Cammomile with plenty of honey" he said to the midwives taking the girdle from one of them and carefully slid it under Lemay and then fastened it about his lower belly tightening it until his abdomen was fully supported

"Stone is being heated Doctor" Sibilla reported

"Excelent, and can you please see to cleaning Lemay up and making him comfortable?"

"Of course Monsieur"

"If it's alright with you I will allow your mate to join us?" Desaille asked Lemay who nodded eagerly and submitted himself to being further stripped and washed clean before a night shirt was slipped onto his person and he was tucked into bed with the heated stone at his feet and the bed tipped up at the foot to encourage the Pup to remain in the womb.

 

The girdle about his belly was uncomfortably tight and digging into his hips as it pushed his abdomen up and gave support to his womb.
Uncomfortably warm with heating stone and the fire that was being stoked he sighed heavily and rested his hands over his belly intent on suffering any kind discomfort so long as it meant his Pup remained safe in the womb.

"Lemay!" Aramis gushed rushing to the bed and taking his hands and kissing them

"I believe we can stop the labor from progressing, there is no sign of dilation and the Pup is not in distress so I believe that while the uterus is irritable we can, if we are careful keep the Pup in the womb" Desaille said glancing to midwives briefly as the tea was taken from the harth and poured into a pot with honey being added
"Bed rest from now until the birth is imperitive, you may not even rise to releave yourself you must use a bed pan from now on"

Lemay groaned and nodded his head and smiled as Aramis squeezed his hands
"At least our little one is alright"

"Thank God" Aramis breathed bending forward and kissed Lemay's belly amd frowned at the altered shape

"A support girdle has been placed upon your mate to help keep the womb secure" Desaille explained

"Will Lemay be alright?, weeks of bedrest won't be good for him will they?" Aramis asked

"I'll be fine" Lemay insisted uncaring for his health so long as his Pup lived, bring on bed sores, weight gain, atrophied muscles and all he didn't care so long as his Pup was well

"We'll adminiter daily massages to keep the muscles supple and prevent them from weakening too much" Desaille said "And we'll keep the diet light but wholesome"

"Whatever it takes" Lemay said stoutly and cupped his belly "No matter what I am bringing this Pup to term and I don't care what it means for me or my health so long as he or she lives".

Chapter Text

D'Artagnan had been unsettled all night.

Unable to find a comfortable position no matter how he lay in bed or what he did he couldn't seem to shift the dull ache in his lower back.

He couldn't seem to find a comfortable temperature either, with the bed covers on he was too hot, with them off he was too cold.

His soft nightshirt felt clingy and course but his skin prickled with a chill without it.

Groaning he threw back the bed covers and slid his legs over the side of the bed and struggled to his feet rubbing the centre of his back and resting a hand over his very round belly.

Honestly now he was this pregnant he should be use to feeling uncomfortable, especially after all the pregnancies he'd had but for some reason he couldn't help but feel even more unfortable right now than normal.

Waddling heavily he made his way towards the window seat to get some fresh air but as he reached the seat he was doubled over by a searing pain slicing up from his groin to his navel.

The pain was so intense that it stole his breath from him and silenced him from screaming as he braced himself against the seat and clutched his belly trying to catch his breath when another band of pain wrapped about him this time making him cry out.

The noise awoke Athos who had been snoring peacefully and he shot up calling out d'Artagnan's name.

"Theres something wrong!" d'Artagnan said crying out again and felt a rush of warm wettness flow down his inner thighs, hurriedly he lifted his night shirt and felt between his legs getting the fluid on his hand, when he raised it before his face he screamed to see that his hand was covered in blood..........

 

Covered in sweat and panting as if he had just run a mile d'Artagnan shot up in bed startling Athos into waking in the process
"Whats wrong?, whats happening?" the Musketeer Captain asked

"Nothing" d'Artagnan said shaking his head and rubbing his belly which was not at all painful and the pup was happily squirming about flexing his or her limbs in their warm watery home

"You're shaking like a leaf" Athos said wrapping an arm about d'Artagnan's shoulders "What happened?, a bad dream?"

"Something like that" d'Artagnan said looking to Athos with tears shining in his eyes "I dreamed of the night I started miscarrying the twins"

Athos sighed empathetic lines creasing his face, he gently tugged d'Artagnan back down on the pillows and held him close
"After what happened with Lemay it's not a surprise that it's haunting you, God knows I've had a few dreams like that myself since finding out you were pregnant again"

d'Artagnan shifted to look at him in surprise "You have?"

"Not often but yes" Athos said running a hand down to rest over d'Artagnan's belly "I remember that hellish labor, I see it in my dreams, only in my dreams Lemay doesn't save you, I loose you and the Pups"

d'Artagnan let out a deep breath and pressed his forhead against Athos's "Why can't things just be simple?" he asked "Why do our lives have to be so difficult?"

"Because we're nobility and royalty darling" Athos said shrugging his shoulders and gave d'Artagnan a lob sided smile "We are blessed in having all the priviledges in the world so perhaps it's karma that balances it out with difficulties"

"Difficulties" d'Artagnan repeated "Well we sure as hell have them in abundance!"

"But we have each other to make up for them" Athos said "And we have Lex, and we have" he patted d'Artagnan's belly "This little one"

"You don't have to be there you know?" d'Artagnan said

"I'm sorry?" Athos asked not understanding what his husband was talking about

"The birth" d'Artagnan explained "I know it's got to be public, I'll bear the humilliation of the idiot court hanging about the privy chamber while I push our Pup into existance!, but you don't have to be there if you don't want to, if you.........it you can't handle it......"

"Whoa no no!" Athos said sitting up and taking d'Artagnan's hands into his own "I am not missing the birth of our Pup, I am not letting you go through all that alone, and fuck tradition! you don't want those pricks watch the birth then we won't have them there!, and no matter what anyone says about propriety I am going to be by your side holding your hand through out the whole of the labor"
d'Artagnan smiled "You'd do that?" he asked, normally Alphas and male Betas were not present during birthing, even for the wittnessed royal births they were in the privy chamber away from the sights of blood and sweat, they did not stay at the side of their straining wives or mate as they labored and brought their offspring into the world, that was a job for midwives, and Doctors alone with the female beta and Omega relatives of the laboring Mother or Oman lending hand, yet Athos was offering to do what most Alphas would find distasteful and stay right by his side, to view all the unpleasent sights birthing to offer him comfort.

Athos pulled him closer and kissed him gently "I want to be the first person to see our little one, I want to hold your hand and wipe your face, I want to be with you through it all and be the first to hold our Pup while Lemay cuts the cord and be the one to lay him or her in your arms"

With his hormones running rampant d'Artagnan couldn't keep from sniffling a little
at the beautiful declaration
"I wouldn't have it any other way" he said snuggling close to Athos "You holding our Pup and placing him or her in my arms, it'll be perfect".

 

Lemay and Aramis's chambers

 

Laying in bed all day was really, really boring.

While Lemay was determined to do whatever it took to make sure his and Aramis's Pup stayed safe in his womb as long as possible he couldn't help but find the monotony of laying in bed wearing thin after a few hours.

Once the midwives and Doctor had left he and Aramis had laid together talking and holding each other for hours before they had finally fallen asleep.

In the morning when they had woken Aramis had been even more attentive than normal, he'd personally bathed Lemay, insisted upon it in fact, washing him with a soft flannel and a bowl of warm water, had massaged sweet oil into his skin and plumped his pillows making sure he was completely comfortable before ordering a breakfast that could have fed four let alone the two of them!, and to Lemay's dismay he wouldn't let him push his plate away until the lot had been devoured leaving the Doctor feeling like he'd burst he was so full!.

Being in bed all day meant he wasn't going to be burning any of it off so he hoped that the rest of his meals were light!.

With nothing else to do Lemay first tried reading, and got through several chapters of his book before he lost interest in the novel and turned to writting in his diary.
Normally he didn't keep a diary but since the start of the pregnancy he had kept one to record each and every moment of his Pups development and intended to continue to do so when he or she was born.

After writting several pages and jotting down a few more name ideas for the pup he set aside the ink, quill, and journal and decided to try and nap for an hour or two.

Saddly the Pup had other ideas about this and refused to stay still for more than two or three minutes before turning or kicking and disturbing Lemay and making his left leg cramp and his lower back spasem as his sciatic nerve was pressed on.

Groaning he looked longingly at the rather pleasent looking day outside the windows which he was cut off from longing to go outside and walk around the grounds, but at present he wasn't even allowed to walk about the bedroom let alone the garden!.

"Hey gone stark raving mad yet?"

Lemay looked up and saw d'Artagnan carrying a chess board and smiled brightly
"Not quite yet but I think I might end up so before the birth!"

d'Artagnan grinned "I figured as much!" he said sitting himself down in the chair that was set up beside the bed and opened placed the chess board on the bed beside Lemay and set about setting up the pieces

"Not that I mind but shouldn't you be doing Kingly stuff?" Lemay asked

"I've delegated the "Kingly" stuff to Anne and Treville for the day" d'Artagnan replied finishing setting up the board "White or black?" he asked

"White" Lemay replied and correctly guessed heads when d'Artagnan flipped a coin to see which of them would go first, eyeing the board he made his first move and settled back on the pillows looking at d'Artagnan or more specifically at the shadows under his eyes
"Trouble sleeping?"

"A little" d'Artagnan addmitted making his move "What is it about pregnancy causing nightmares?" he asked looking up at Lemay as he studied the board

"Hmm the hormones I expect" Lemay replied "I've had a few myself these past months, the Pup born with three legs, or without a head"

"Or the devil child be delivered instead of a Pup!" d'Artagnan chuckled

"Or loosing the Pup", Lemay looked up and met d'Artagnan's dark eyes "I know I've dreamed that more than once, and I expect that you have too"

"More times than I care to remember" d'Artagnan said "Athos has had them too, not as often I think, but after all the miscarriages and still births I suppose it's to be expected that we'd both have nightmares", he offered Lemay a smile "He wants to be with me during the birth, not just with the rest of the court but actually with me holding my hand all the way through, he wants to be the one to place the Pup in my arms"

Lemay smiled warmly "Thats wonderful" he said "I'll be happy to let him cut the cord if he wants"

d'Artagnan rose his eyebrows "You still want to deliver me?"

"Why?, you got someone else in mind?"

"Hell no!" d'Artagnan laughed "I just don't want you to feel pressured into taking care of me, you need to be looking after yourself"

"d'Artagnan!" Lemay said shifting a little to take the pressure off his hip "I'll be delivered myself over a month before you're due, I'll be fine to deliver your Pup, and return this favour"

"Favour?"

"Keeping you company while your enduring your own confinement!".

 

Royal Appartments

 

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and Treville had gathered in the royal parlour to talk in privacy without drawing suspicion which a closed meeting in the council chamber would have drawn.

"What new information do we have regarding Grimaud?" Athos asked without beating about the bush

"There is a slim report of a man fitting his description heading toward Lorraine" Treville said "It's not a solid lead but it's the only one we have"

"Lorraine" Aramis said "Where that two faced little shit Gaston is hiding with his brother in law"

Porthos nodded "Makes sense he'd head towards the enemies of d'Artagnan, he's looking to take on the crown and he'd need a good size force to do it, the Duke of Lorraine could provide that"

Treville wrinkled his nose and shook his head "Charles isn't known for starting conflicts, he may not be a friend to France but he's never caused trouble, I don't think he'd want to risk his much smaller and less wealthy Principality in a dangerous coup that could well fail and cost him everything"

"People have been known to take bigger risks" Aramis said "It is something we have to consider"

"Indeed we do" Athos said his face stoney and mouth set in a grim line "Especially since he is coming to the Coronation".

Chapter Text

Garrison

 

Athos finished taking morning muster and looked at his men, or boys in some cases considering the patchy beards and pimples!.

Sighing deeply he walked the length of the ranks checking their uniforms and posture for flaws before taking his place front and center once more to address them.

"As you all know the Coronation is two days away, we have guests arriving from all over Europe, so I expect the Kings own regiment to be at it's best at all times, boots polished so they shine, uniforms immaculate, face's shaved, beards trimmed, hair tidy, and bodies washed everyday!"

A groan went through the ranks at this, soldiers were not the cleanliest of people and washing every day was not something they did on a regular basis, however Athos did not want them all smelling of sweat, wine, and horse as the ambassedors and European nobles descended on the Louvre, d'Artagnan and he would be under a great deal of scrutiny and he didn't want to give their guests any free targets to make complaints over.

"On the morning of the Coronation General Porthos will take command of you, you shall lead the procession from the Louvre to Notre Dame" Athos went on "The city guard will work in conjuntion with us to safe guard the procession way, keeping the populas out of the way of the royal carriage and keep an eye out for rebels", he paused as several snorts and muttered derogatory comments were made about the City guard, while not at each others throats as the Musketeers and Red Guards had been before the Red Guard had been disbanded upon Richelieu's death, there was still some rivalry there as there was between all different regiments.

"Obviously the safety of The King and Dauphin is still your top priority and I expect you to all be on your guard at all times, have your pistols loaded ready to fire at the first sign of trouble, swords razor sharp, and no one, and I mean no one is to have a single drop of alcohol the night before so you are all clear headed and alert"

Another groan followed this order but Athos was adamant "We can not afford any slip ups at all" he stated firmly "The King will be on show before the public as will the Dauphin, they will be exposed and vulnerable to any and all deranged lunatics with weapons and grudge against the crown, it is your solumn duty to protect them and I expect you all to do so"

Despite the orders to wash and not drink alcohol before the coronation the men did not let Athos down, as one they all stood up even taller and prouder all determined to go above and beyond their duty for their King and Prince.

Athos now allowed them a smile and let them in on a secret "The King has also arranged for the garrison to be gifted with several kegs of brandy, barrels of wine, haunches of venison, racks of lamb, rounds of cheese, and loaves of bread to be delivered to the garrison following the coronation so you may celebrate"

Now the collective groans turned to murmurs of delight, if there was one thing that all soldiers loved it was a party

"I believe several sweets will also be sent here aswell" Athos added grinning as the men looked more and more cheerful, "So considering the generocity from the Louvre I think you can all afford to take more pride in your appearances for once"

"Yes Sir" Brujon said proudly "We will not let you down"

Athos nodded in satisfaction "I never expected anything less".

 

Louvre

 

"Oww!"

"Hold still!"

"Well stop stabbing me with pins!"

"I'm not it barely grazed you!"

"Barely?, theres blood!, look!".

 

Lemay snickered as he lay in bed watching the entertaining sight of d'Artagnan being fitted into his coronation robes with Constance pinning the fabric where it needed it's final stitching from the tailor.

Since his confinement his friends had all rallied round to keep him company and make the long weeks go faster.
He more than appreciated this, over the past month he had grown increasingly bored with being in bed all the time and more than a little uncomfortable and at time irritable. The inactivity was keeping him from being able to sleep properly which was leaving him feeling lethargic and out of sorts, his muscles and joints were aching with disuse and he felt like he was the size of a house!, all of this combined to make him rather grumpy and in need of the distraction his friends were providing, hence the tailoring in his chambers.

"If you make this any tighter you're going to cut off my blood supply!" d'Artagnan complained

"It's not that tight stop being such a baby!" Constance shot back

"I'm the one struggling to breath here!"

"You are not!"

"Well it isn't comfortable" d'Artagnan insisted with a dramatic sigh and wrinkled his nose at his reflection "Maybe I should have chosen a less bold colour, this isn't exactly flattering when you've got a belly that sticks out a mile!"

"You're not that big" Lemay said finally offering an input "I on the other hand......." he lay a hand over his belly "Am rapidly becoming the size of one of those giant sea mamals sailors speak about!"

"No you're not" d'Artagnan said hopping down from the stool and climbed up on the bed ignoring Constance'd exasperated sigh and the groan from the tailor at his moving and crawled up the bed to join Lemay and lay his hands over the other Omega's belly "You are growing a strong healthy Pup and are glowing with maternal radiance" he stated making Lemay snort

"Have you been taking lessons from Aramis in poetic bullshit!?"

"No, Athos says the same crap to me everytime I say I feel fat and heavy!"

"Must be an Alpha thing" Constance mused sitting on the edge of the bed "Ninon said much the same sort of thing to me when I was carrying the twins", she smiled a little whistfully at the bittersweet memory of her late Alpha

"I wonder if Porthos will say the same when you're carrying his pups?!" d'Artagnan murmured sharing a grin with Lemay while Constance choked on her tongue

"Who said anything about Pups?" she cried

"No one" d'Artagnan said smiling with such sweetness it was a wonder his teeth weren't rotting in his mouth! "I just think it's a possible outcome for the future"

"Haven't you considered it?" Lemay asked shifting restlessly, at least he hadn't developed bed sores something he was very thankful about

"Well I........", Constance was cut off as the tailor cleared his throat

"I hate to interupt"

"Then don't!" Lemay snapped, being bed bound and heavily pregnant really was making him short tempered!

"Alright" d'Artagnan said taking pity on the tailor and clambering off the bed to take his place back on the stool "Lets get this finished!".

 

********************************************************************************

 

After going through drills with the Musketeers Athos returned to the Louvre and met with Aramis, Porthos and Treville.

"Everything prepared?" Porthos asked without preamble

"Brujon will be in charge of the garrison until you arrive in the morning and take command" Athos confirmed "We've practised the procession and run through several potential crisis aversions, we're prepared as we can be"

"Good" Treville sighed "Because The Duke of Lorraine arrives tomorrow with his entourage, along with half of Europes nobility I shouldn't wonder"

"Thats not a total bad thing" Aramis offered leaning back against the window seat and folded his arms over his chest "At least it shows d'Artagnan is popular"

"No it means that Europes monarchs are curious about the new King and are seeking out potential weakness that they might be able to exploit" Treville corrected

Aramis sniffed "You're a pessimist"

"Pity we can't just arrest the Duke be done with it" Porthos grumbled, while this feeling was shared they all knew they could not arrest such a high born Noble without solid proof of attempted regicide against another prince or the whole of Europe would be up in arms over it.

"Do we know how many men the Duke has brought with him?" Athos asked

Treville shrugged "He has a retinue of twenty acompanying him, including his valet and private secretary"

"What about soldier?" Athos pressed since this was the main interest, no one gave a damn what servants the Duke brought with him it was how many trained killers he had to call on that mattered

"I regret to say I am not certain" Treville admitted "As you know our forces have been moving to take several Spanish held towns so our spies are all otherwise occupied at present, so whether or not the Duke has moved forces into France under cover we simply do not know and I do appologise for that"

Athos opened his mouth no doubt to say something scathing but was beaten to it by Aramis jumping to Treville's defense

"It's not your fault, we've all faced worse odds when we were Musketeers and beaten them, we can do it again"

"We're not exactly spring chickens now" Athos reminded him making Aramis sniff

"Speak for yourself!", he didn't like reminding that he'd past his thirtieth birthday let alone his fortieth!

Porthos chuckled and slapped Athos's shoulder "Feelin' your age old man?"

Athos's glare was so acidic it could have stripped paint!

"If we can get back on topic?" Treville asked pinching the bridge of his nose tiredly, Violette was going through a faze of not wanting to sleep in her own bed and had woken him every night for the past week with complaints of nightmares, and monsters under the bed!, while she did go back off to sleep fairly quickly once she was snuggled in bed with her Oman Treville himself wasn't going off to sleep quite so quickly and after a week of this he was exhausted!

"As Aramis said we have faced worst odds and succeeded before now so with vigilance I do not see why we can not do the same now"

"Sounds good to me" Porthos agreed with a shrug "I take it you have pistols installed in the carriage just in case?" he asked Athos who nodded

"Four of them all loaded with additional balls if needed" he confirmed "Obviously I'll be riding in the carriage with d'Artagnan and Lex, then behind us will be Queen Anne on her mare besides.........."

"Me" Treville stated "Then behind us will be Constance and her Twins, then Lemay and Yourself Aramis, if Lemay is....."

"Oh he's determined he's not missing the coronation" Aramis confirmed "He's had a special girdle made to wear beneath his clothes and insists on being there to see d'Artagnan crowned"

Lemay had argued with his Doctor several times over this but finally the Doctor had relented so long as he wore the girdle and only attended the ceramony not the celebrations and took things easy

"After us will be the Nobility in order of rank"

"I'll be riding before the carriage with the Musketeers" Porthos stated "And don't worry we'll all be on high alert for any potential trouble"

Athos smiled "I know you will"

"Well then I think we're about as ready as we'll ever be" Aramis said with a sigh "And with luck everything will turn out fine".

 

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After the split up Porthos sort out Constance who was playing a game of catch in the gardens with the twins and greeted him with a bright smile and threw the ball to Charles before turning her attention to Porthos

"All set for the big day?" she asked

"As we'll ever be" Porthos confirmed watching the two Pups play with a twinge of envy for the fact he had been robbed of his Pup along with his mate

Constance watched his gaze and read the expression on his face along with the longing in his eyes
"You really love Pups and children don't you?" she asked thinking about the conversation she'd had with d'Artagnan and Lemay earlier in regards to future Pups, the truth was she was getting older, she was in her mid thirties now if she was to have any more offspring she would have to do it soon or heat-cesession would prevent her from having another litter

"Oncle Porthos will you play?" Gabrielle asked

"Please play, Omans good but you're better" Charles

"Hey!" Constance protested with a laugh

"Aye I'll play" Porthos agreed with a chuckle much to the Pups delight, he gave Constance an apologetic expression but she gestured for him to go ahead, they could talk later anyway and she was happy to watch him playing with her twins, happy to take the time to consider him as a potential sire for further litters, he was impressive, strong and virial, but loving and generous to a fault, he was good with Pups and had a secure position to provide for her and any future litters.

Constance smiled and took a seat on the flower garden wall to watch Porthos play rough house with the Pups amid shrieks of laughter, yes he was perfect, bonding with him and having a litter or two was defenately something she wanted in her future.

 

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d'Artagnan grinned and threw back the bed covers for Athos to join him in bed and scooted over to snuggle with him
"Boys behaving themselves?" he asked meaning the Musketeers

"As much as they ever do" Athos replied kissing d'Artagnan's head and placing his hands possessively over his growing belly "Have you finished preparing everything?", his outfit and Lex's had been long since finished but d'Artagnan's had been left to the last minute so they could be sure it would fit over his belly

"Yeah I spent all day playing pin cushion and am now ready", d'Artagnan looked up at Athos "Are you feeling as nervous as me?"

"Absalutely" Athos said "My stomachs been in knots for days!"

"Only knots?, I swear bats have taken up residence in mine!"

Athos chuckled and kissed d'Artagnan's temple "You'll do fine, and I'll try to do fine, and Lex will do us both proud"

"Hm, he is the best of Alphons" d'Artagnan said with contentment, "While I might be nervous as hell at being coronated myself I'm not about his investiture as Dauphin, I know he'll make us both beyond proud and I can't wait to show him off before all of Europes society"

Athos smiled and gave d'Artagnan a gentle squeeze "You and me both" he said hoping against hope that nothing at all would go wrong.

Chapter Text

Meung

 

Safely concealed away in their camp outside of the small village that served as a way station for travellers on their way to Paris, the Duc of Lorraine, Duc of Orleans, and Grimaud rested before the Duc of Lorraine made his official and public arrival at court the following morning.

"I still do not see why I can not accompany you to court" Gaston drawled sulkily as he drank his wine a little too fast "I am a member of the royal family after all"

"An exiled member of the royal family who is hardly in favour with the monarchy" Charles of Lorraine replied

"But still.........."

"No Gaston you remain here out of sight" Charles stated firmly giving the spoiled prince a hard look "There is going to be suspicion enough without you showing yourself to the public, if we are to succeed in this plan without blood shed then things must be done discreetly"

Lifting his head up from his hunched over position Grimaud looked up his scarred emotionless face sending a chill through Charles once again
"I am not opposed to blood shed"

"Naturally" Charles said with a sneer "But I for one would like to avoid it, an all out war is not what I wish to cause here"

"I might be easier just to kill d'Artagnan" Gaston murmured and startled as Charles's fist banged on the table

"You are far too keen to bring about the death of a monarch Gaston, far too keen" he stated looking hard into Gaston's too large goggle like eyes "You need to remember that you will soon be a monarch yourself if this goes to plan and remember just how easily a crown can be pushed from ones head and an arse from ones throne!"

Gaston flushed and looked away feeling like a scolded child, "You have much to learn about being a ruler Gaston" Charles said wondering again if he were doing the right thing for his own country and for France in putting the spoiled brat on the throne, yes he would be easy to manipulate for Lorraine's good but he would also be vulnerable to manipulation from other countries too, he was far too flighty and feckless, he behaved like a spoiled child when he did not get his way, was far too quick to anger and dangerously blood thirsty, to be frank it would be a miracle if his reign lasted a year before a rebellion had begun and while Charles as Duc of Lorraine might see some amusment in France tearing itself apart he could not help but also consider the fact that rebellion could be contagious and said contagion could spread to his own lands.

Tightening his lips Charles turned away and gazed at the flaming brazier brooding over what was yet to happen and what he was yet to do, and whether or not he should in fact go through with this scheme.

 

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Paris

 

Louvre

 

With the amount of foreign dignitaries arriving at court along with the majority of France's nobility the palace guard had been greatly increased to provide security not only for Frances royal family but for the Dignitaries themselves who naturally had enemies amongst guests.

To try and keep the possible conflicts from arising on their soil Anne and Treville had taken pains going over the guest list and placing the guests not only according to rank but also to keep them away from any antagonists that would be present, and they not only had to do this in the chambers assigned in the Louvre but also in Notre Dame, and at the celebrations after, every single noble, ambassador, and courtier was kept in a politically secure and sociably acceptable position.

Between doing this and greeting everyone it was an exhausting task, and not only was it for Treville and Anne but for the servants of the Louvre who had attend every whim of these guests on top of their regular duties, and for d'Artagnan and Athos who had "Joyfull" task of welcoming every guest.

 

Seated upon their thrones Athos and d'Artagnan went through what felt like an endless parade of ambassadors, nobles, dignitaries, and officials from every province in Europe!.

Both of them felt their jaws aching from smiling and throats straining from making polite chit chat!, and both their backsides ached from being sat so long upon the less than comfortable seat of the thrones.

"I say we commission big cushions for these bloody things in the future!" Athos whispered into d'Artagnan's ear "I swear my backside is being ruined with this!"

"Ha you can complain!" d'Artagnan shot back "My bladder feels ready to burst and our Pup is dancing a volta all over it!"

"Little sod!" Athos chuckled patting the bump and making d'Artagnan grit his teeth and glare since it only increased the pressure on his bladder!

"The Duc du Lorraine" the usher announced making both d'Artagnan and Athos sit up straighter, Porthos and Aramis moved closer to the thrones their hands on their sword hilts ready to strike at the slightest provocation

"Easy now" Athos whispered reaching over the arm rests of the thrones and clasped d'Artagnan's hand "Lets keep our cool", d'Artagnan didn't reply but did squeeze Athos's hand as Charles Duc du Lorraine approached the throne and offered a shallow bow.

"You majesty" Charles greeted "May I offer my congratulations on your up and coming coronation and impending litter"

Cupping a hand about his belly d'Artagnan offered an enigmatic smile in return "You are most welcome my dear Duc, as we are cousins it is sad that we see so little of each other"

"Indeed perhaps we can seek to improve France and Lorraine's relations with one another" the Duc said his own smile oily and voice grating

"Nothing would please me more" d'Artagnan said dipping his head slightly in dismissal of the duc who bowed again and took his leave to be taken to his chambers for the visit, shrouded in the Duc or Lorraine's personal guards and wearing his livery Grimaud kept his head down and hood up to conceal his face as he moved with the Duc entourage, he would not of course be remaining with the Duc overly long, just until the time came for himself to slip away and steal the Dauphin, then the real games would begin.

 

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"This feels like we're waiting for a battle to commence" Porthos commented as the royal family and friends sat in the private dining room for dinner, with the vast feast of the coronation the following day all the guests were being served small dinners in their own rooms that night as the Louvre dining hall, and ballrooms were being prepared along with the grounds were fireworks would be let off in evening.

The only two not present at dinner were Aramis and Lemay who were in their own chambers, while Lemay was being allowed up for the coronation he wasn't for anything else.

"You mean it isn't a battle?" Constance asked with a trace of humour quirking her lips as she spooned her soup and let it drip back from her spoon into the bowl, non of them had appetites tonight, their nerves making them too tense to eat

"You know I'm not sure what I'm more nervous about?" d'Artagnan said "Being assassinated or something going wrong during the coronation!" he grinned "I swear my dreams have been nothing but disasters like dropping the orb and scepter, or tripping over my robes, or getting tongue tied when I say my vows!"

"I know the feeling!" Anne laughed "The night before my Coronation I was so nervous I didn't sleep a wink!"

"Did the late King recall his own Coronation at all?" Constance asked "He was so young when he was invested as King"

Anne nodded her head and sipped a little wine "He said it was a surreal experience that felt like he was sleep walking, as if he were completely disconnected with reality as he was anointed and the crown placed on his head"

"He was far too young for such a burden" Treville stated "And his Mother was hardly a support"

"To say the least" d'Artagnan agreed recalling the old crone all too well, sighed he stopped even bothering to try and eat his soup and pushed it away "Alright enough of this moping and fretting lets try and do something to pass the time and distract ourselves"

"Cards?" Porthos suggested

"Only if you don't cheat!" Treville grunted pouring himself another glass of wine

Porthos sniffed "I never cheat I simply play to my advantage!"

"And have several aces up your sleeves!" Athos drawled making the others laugh

"How about a guessing game?" Constance suggested a favorite game of hers that was more often played at Christmas time, when the name of someone or an object, animal or vegetable was written on a strip of paper and placed on peoples foreheads and they had to guess who or what they were

"I'll get some pens, ink and paper" Anne said rising from the table

"Well I state here and now that if I end as a vegetable someone is going to get hurt!" Athos warned getting chuckles again

"Or the late Queen Mother!" Treville laughed "Personally I'd sooner be a carrot than Marie de Medici!".

 

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The game went on till nearly midnight with a great deal of laughter and amusment especially when Athos found himself to not only be an onion at one point but Bloody Mary at another and then to top it all off a Donkey!.

"That was Porthos's doing I swear!" Athos grumbled and he and d'Artagnan got into bed "And he ends up as Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, and Henry VIII!"

"What are you complaining about I ended up a Catherine De Medici!" d'Artagnan reminded him "Madame La bloody Serpent herself!"

"True" Athos chuckled pulling d'Artagnan to him and spooning round him "Though I think Treville would have made an amusing Pope Alexander VI!"

"Very amusing!", at that moment there came a knock on the outer door which was then opened and soft bare feet padded in to the chambers making their way to the bed chamber

"Lex?, what are you doing up at this hour?" d'Artagnan asked as Lex appeared in his night shirt carrying a candle

"I couldn't sleep" he said "I'm worried about tomorrow"

Glancing to one another d'Artagnan and Athos shifted making room for Lex to get between them which the young Prince did and snuggled down in the large bed between his parents

"It'll be alright sweetheart" d'Artagnan said brushing Lex's hair back from his face "We'll get through tomorrow and everything will be fine I promise"

Lex looked up at his Oman feeling embarrassingly comforted by the embrace of his parents around him "Are you nervous Oman?" he asked

"Yes of course" d'Artagnan admitted

"So am I" Athos said "Fear of the unknown is natural, only a fool does not feel fear when there is something to fear, it simply depends whether or not you allow said fear to control you and influence you or if you confront it and grow stronger because of it"

Lex nodded and yawned tiredly "So tomorrow will us all stronger?" he asked

d'Artagnan smiled and kissed his cheek "I'm sure it will darling" he said "Now go to sleep, we'll all need our energy for the big day to come".

 

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Elsewhere in Paris and just outside in Meung The Duc du Lorraine, Gaston, and Grimaud were all thinking similar thoughts and feeling similarly as they tried to calm their over active minds and settle into sleep before the next day dawned.

Chapter Text

As soon as the first streaks of sunlight made their way across the sky the whole of Paris was awake and making ready for the big day.

From the lowliest poorest beggar on the streets to the highest peer in the realm the whole of the city was in a state of excitment.

The Louvre cooks had of course been working for days in advance to provide the vast feast for the coronation but they also had less exotic and rich fare which was taken out into the streets for the populas to enjoy so that every person in Paris would get to enjoy the day with a meal in their stomachs.

Cheap wine and brandy was also handed out along with flags for them to wave as the royal carriage went by.

The flags were of course the royal standard bearing the fleur di lis, but they also had the emblem of the house of D'Artagnan and the house of La Fare in honor of the royal couple.

The City Guard in des Essart took up their positions in the streets to keep order and make sure that the roads were clear for the procession to make their way through.

"Merriment is expected and encouraged but don't let things get too out of hand" Des Essart had ordered them all before sending his men out making sure they were all in their dress uniform and were imaculate in appearance. He himself was headed for the Louvre to join the entourage going to Notre Dame.

 

As the Duke of Lorraine made himself ready for the coronation, bathing and being dressed in his finest clothes, Grimaud slipped away into the shadows disappearing from sight like smoke on the wind.

"Here goes nothing" Charles whispered to himself and took a deep breath lifting his chin so his valet could fasten the tight collar about his throat.

 

In Meung Gaston raising a toast to the sky and smiled as he drank staring in the distance at the view of Paris on the horizen

"God save the King!" he murmured mockingly "Save him so I can put his head on the block!".

 

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In spite of how nervous he had been the night before d'Artagnan was surprisingly serene in the morning.

He felt as if an unexpected calm had come over him, a state of detatchment from the physical world that left him feeling as if he were on a higher plain of existance, as if he had ascended beyond the mundane and been transformed into a higher state of being.

As the maids and Constance moved about him, washing his body and his hair, rubbing his skin with sweet smelling oils and drying his hair with towels warmed in front of the fire he stood stock still a calm and relaxed expression on his face.

"You're not nervous at all are you?" Constance asked as she supervised d'Artagnan's dressing by the maids

"No" d'Artagnan said in a breathy whisper and closed his eyes and raised his arms as his shirt was pulled over his head

"It's strange" Constance said a half amused half amazed smile on her face "I would swear you seem.............different some how, almost glowing"

"I think it's his pregnancy doing that" Athos said sauntering into the bed chamber dressed himself in his formal clothes, d'Artagnan smiled at him

"You look very handsome"

"Hm not to bad I guess" Athos said looking down at himself "I scrub up pretty well"

"And that outfit shows off your trim waist and broad shoulders" Constance complimented

"Which at least one of us has!" d'Artagnan chuckled as the maids fastened his breeches about his middle, "You look beautiful as always" he added looking to Constance who indeed looked radient in her gown of sapphire blue and sunset amber satin. It was a far more boldly coloured gown than Constance would normally choose, she mainly stuck to pastels and neutral colours that complimented her milky complexion, but this was a special occaision and Constance wanted to acknowledge that in her attire and so had chosen a very different gown.

"I did worry that it would look too bold and I'd look washed out" Constance admitted "But I think I've gotten away with it"

"I think the colours suite you" d'Artagnan said admiringly, Constance had wisely chosen a darker shade of orange so it did not clash with her hair which was pinned up on top of her head in a bouffant and decorated with a delicate gold tiara studded with tiny sapphires that matched her necklace and earrings. The jewels had been a gift from Ninon upon their marriage and suited Constance perfectly.

Once his clothing was complete save for the red velvet robe which would be put on last, d'Artagnan sat down before his mirror so Constance could style his hair and add some make up to his face.

"Nothing too elaborate please" he said sitting back with a sigh and closed his eyes "Remember I've got to have a crown placed on my head"

"I know I'm just going to do a loose braid and tie it with some ribbon, no curls or wigs or hair pieces" Constance assured him as she ran the comb through his hair and separated it into three equal sections to plait.

The make up too was kept light, little a little powder to take the shine off d'Artagnan's face, a small amount of rouge for his cheeks to give them a hint of colour, the most elaborate was the kohl about his eyes which Constance made very dramatic to emphasize d'Artagnan's doe like eyes, when she was done she stood back to admire her work in the mirror

"What do you think?" she asked d'Artagnan who looked at his reflection

"I think" d'Artagnan said meeting her eyes in the mirror "That I am ready to become a King".

 

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With their velvet robes upon their shoulders d'Artagnan and Athos descended the stairs to the hall where Anne and Treville were waiting with Lex who was in his own Coronation garb, behind them were Aramis, Porthos, and Lemay.

"Your Majesties" Treville greeted bowing while Anne dropping into a curtsey as did everyone else

"Oman, Aphan" Lex said a tremulous smile on his young face as he stepped forward

"Lex" d'Artagnan said extending an arm for Lex to slide under and be hugged close

"Ready for the big day?" Athos asked smoothing his hand over the back of Lex's hair

"As I'll ever be" Lex said but puffed his chest and stood up tall and proud a stoic expression on his face "I will do you proud"

"We know you will" d'Artagnan said kissed his temple, with a deep breath he looked to Treville "Are we all prepared?"

"We are" Treville confirmed, he and Anne stepped aside as did the others to allow the royals passage through then fell in line behind them as they went out to the carriage that was waiting.

"See you two at the Cathedral" Porthos said to Aramis and Lemay

"We'll save you a seat!" Aramis quipped getting a grin from Porthos as he left to take his position at the head of the Musketeers and lead the procession through the streets, "feeling alright?" he asked Lemay who nodded

"Aside from being cut in half by this damn girdle I am well enough!", smiling Aramis kissed his cheek and put an arm about his broad waist to give him additional support as they made their way to their own carriage, there was no way Lemay could ride in his condition so he and Lemay were riding in a less ornate carriage behind the royal carriage.
"Tell me I don't look like a walking marquet tent!?" the heavily pregnant Omega whined as Aramis helped him into the carriage

"I cross my heart" Aramis swore doing just that making Lemay chuckle as he sat down and tried to find a comfortable position which considering his current condition was near enough impossible!

"You are sure you are alright?" Aramis asked worriedly

Lemay smiled and nodded "I'm positive and I want to see d'Artagnan crowned then I promise I will stay in bed without complaint until our Pup comes"

Aramis's eyebrows reached his hair line "Without complaint?"

"Well............." Lemay drawled a "Maybe a few complaints but I promise to keep them to a minimum!"

Laughing Aramis wrapped an arm about Lemay's shoulders and relaxed against the back rest "Complain as much as you want, considering the gift you are giving us listening to your complaints is the least I can do".

 

Nodding to Brujon and the other Musketeers and cadets Porthos took his place at the head of the regiment and stood proudly to attention his shoulders back and head up and held high
"By the left!" he barked "Quick March!".

With drummers beating a rythem for the regiment to follow Porthos lead the Musketeers with the procession following behind them out from the Louvre and into the streets of Paris heading to the Louvre.

 

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The screams and cheers from the crowds were almost deafening as the the royal procession made it's way through the streets.

Grinning tremulously d'Artagnan took Athos's hand and squeezed it while waving to the crowd with his free hand
"I never expected this many people" he said over the din

"You are well loved by all of France" Athos said squeezing his hand "And it's no surprise to me"

"Nore me" Lex agreed turning to look at his parents from the seat in front and grinned at them brightly, it wasn't just d'Artagnan's name that was being called it was his too, the people of France loved both their King and their Dauphin deeply and it showed in their exuberant expressions and cheers

"You are a popular King my love" Athos said kissing d'Artagnan's cheek "And your reign will be long and successful"

"You sure about that?" d'Artagnan asked

"Very sure" Athos stated firmly "And I'll be there with you all the way".

 

At Notre Dame the royal carriage circled twice giving the Nobles in the procession a chance to get inside and take their seats before d'Artagnan entered with the Arch Bishop leading the way to the throne that was errected upon the dais for his coronation along side a slightly less ornate throne for Athos.

Stood in the front Pew besides his Aunt Anne and Treville Lex watched with a grin as d'Artagnan and Athos slowly made their way down the isle to the dais past the sea of Nobility who bowed to them as they past by.

At the Dais they both paused to bow to God and cross themselves before taking their seats upon the thrones and faced the congregation.

Side by side d'Artagnan and Athos took their vows, were anointed with holy oil and had the crowns placed upon their heads, to d'Artagnan the Orb and Scepter were handed and the Arch Bishop stepped back turning to the congregation and cried out

"God save the King!"

"God save the King!" everyone in the Cathedral repeated thrice

The choir burst into song and the bells rang out signalling the rest of the city which brought about an eruption of cheers from the whole of Paris as they celebrated the investiture of their new Monarchs.

"We did it" Athos said risking a glance to d'Artagnan, he was still rather worried about moving his head since it might make the crown fall from his head!

"We did!" d'Artagnan agreed glancing at him out of the corner of his eye as worried as Athos was that the crown might fall!, he took a deep breath and settled himself for a long time of sitting here while all of Frances nobles came to declare loyalty and pay homage to him, the first being Lex who had his cheek stroked by his Oman and a wink from his Aphan as he said his vow and kissed the ring of sovreignty upon d'Artagnan's hand before taking his place of honor besides the thrones.

One by one the peers of France made their way to the throne and declared their alliegance to the crown and King.

The whole ceramony took more than an hour and by the time d'Artagnan and Athos could finally rise from their thrones and make their way back out into the streets they were both stiff and uncomfortable, d'Artagnan especially since he really needed to use the privy!.

Saddly for them both with crowns on their heads there was no chance of walking fast they had to make a slow sedate walk back down the isle and out into the streets where fresh cheers erupted once more from the crowds and white petals descended upon them from above the cathedral.

"I didn't know about this!" Anne laughed to Treville as they were covered in a snow storm of sweet smelling white petals from lilies, roses, and magnolias

"Nore did I" Treville said with a frown, he glanced back to look at Aramis whom he suspected of being the cause of this owing to the mans romantic nature, however Aramis looked as surprised as he with the petals which were falling so thick that they were almost blinding................

Wait a moment..............if they could barely see what was going on then the soldiers providing their protection couldn't see either!

"Get to the carriage now!" he said to Anne

"What?" she asked confused

"It's a trap, we can't see, the Musketeers and City G uards can't either!"

Anne's eyes widdened and she gasped in fright, her feet stumbled as she made her way to the carriage her skirt tearing slightly and her whole body lurched making her gasp in fear that she would fall, not fear of injury but of humiliation, however a dark shape passed in front of her knocking her back enough to regain her footing.

Frowning Anne stepped back and tried to make out who it was who'd helped her find her balance but they had moved away too swiftly into the throbbing mass of soldiers and Parisians.

As a hand took her arm Anne startled but she immediately recognized the voice as Aramis's as he spoke

"Treville says to get the hell out of here right now so lets get moving" he said to her

"Yes" Anne agreed with a sigh of relief "Yes lets", with her arm linked with Aramis who was also supporting Lemay they made their way to the royal carriage where Athos and d'Artagnan were trying to break free from about two dozen well wishers who'd broken through the lines of guards and surounded them and were showering them with affection

"We really need to go!" Aramis said urgently

"Try telling them that!" Athos replied with a roll of his eyes
Aramis pursed his lips and looked about desperately to summon some aid, by now the petals were dispersing so they could see better and he took a brief moments relief that nothing bad had happened, a very brief moment since he saw laying on the ground several soldiers both Musketeer and City Guard!

"Jesus Christ!" he whispered looking about frantically "Porthos!" he yelled "Treville!"

"Just go!" Porthos yelled back

Nodding his head Aramis began to move the people back from d'Artagnan and Athos to help them get into the carriage but at that moment things got a whole lot worse as d'Artagnan suddenly cried out

"LEX!".

Chapter Text

Paris

 

Grimaud had known that he couldn't very well fight the whole Musketeer regiment and God knows how many city guards single handed.

He didn't put much stock in Lorraines soldiers being much use to him either, they might be usefull in a full on conflict as canon fodder but when it came to stealth he doubted they could manage to tip toe past a blind and deaf man without being caught!.

With this in mind he chose to work alone and form a distraction of his own to snatch the Dauphin.

Grabbing a couple of whelps from the caught of miracles he paid them to climb onto one of the arches of Notre Dame each carrying a satchel containing dozens of white flower petals which he instructed them to drop down onto the newly coronated monarchs when they stepped back out of the Cathedral.

The vast amount of petals falling would blind everyone to what he was doing and what he was intending to do without causing a mass panic which would work against him, he wanted to put a good amount of distance between himself and the monarchy before his ploy was discovered.

 

Keeping his face cowled with his hood he walked amongst the many Parisians gathered to celebrate the Coronation, silently he moved about them attracting no more attention than a shadow from a cloud passing over the sun.

As the Bells rang out and the Cathedral door opened the brats on the roof began dropping the petals showering the new monarchs in a sweet smelling snow.

Smirking with sadistic pleasure Grimaud unsheethed his maine gauche which he had soaked in a potant combination of opium and valarian which would render anyone it came into contact with unconscious.

With a completely relaxed posture Grimaud walked through the crowd and behind the row of City Guards whom he slashed with the poisoned blade rendering them unconscious a the drug got into their blood stream.

Limp as a sack grain they flopped onto the ground leaving d'Artagnan, Athos, and Lex completely unprotected.

Marching across the courtyard right behind Athos and d'Artagnan who were accosted by the Parisians who were no longer held back by the cCity Guards due them being unconscious he grabbed Lex about the waist and jabbed him in the shoulder with the tip of the poisoned maine gauche knocking the boy out in moments.

As soon as Lex went limp Grimaud slung him over his shoulder and made his way through the courtyard bumping into Queen Anne briefly as she headed towards Athos and d'Artagnan.

"God save the King!" Grimaud chuckled darkly to himself and he pushed his way past Parisians and City Guards heading into an alley where his horse was waiting, slinging Lex over the horses back he bound the boys hands and feet with a course rope and mounted the horse turning him round and heading towards Meung.

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"Lex?, Lex where are you!?" d'Artagnan cried looking about frantically for a sign of his Alphon "Lex!, Lex!", ripping his crown from his head and tossing it carelessly to the ground as if it were worthless he shoved his way past City Guards, Musketeers, and Parisians desperately searching for the Dauphin

"LEX!" he screamed his voice horse with emotion as tears began to pour down his cheeks "No!" he whimpered shaking his head in denial of the situation "No this can't be happening!, this can't be happening!"

"d'Artagnan!", Athos's arms wrapped about the Omega pulling him close just before d'Artagnan's knees gave out

"I can't do this, I can't!, I can't loose him!" d'Artagnan babbled clinging to Athos and panting as panic began to take hold of him causing him to hyperventilate

"We're going to get him back alright?" Athos said fiercely, he cupped d'Artagnan's tear wet face and made him look up into his eyes "We're getting him back and he will be fine I promise!"

Unable to speak d'Artagnan nodded his head and allowed Athos to pull him into his chest and hold him tight.

 

Treville, Aramis, and Porthos were trying to coordinate the chaos the Coronation had turned into, Porthos had already charged to Musketeers aside from a skeleton unit to keep d'Artagnan protected to start combing the city along with the City Guard for Lex.

"You don't leave a single slum unchecked, and if anyone gets in your way kill them!" the General growled his eyes darker than normal in his fury

Aramis and Treville where sending the guests back to the Louvre and trying to keep a panic to taking over and causing a riot which was the last thing they needed right now.

Unable to really help here Anne and Constance had taken Lemay back to the Louvre both the get themselves out of the way so they wouldn't distract the others, and to organize to guests that were heading there as well.

"We need to get d'Artagnan out of here" Aramis said to Treville "Theres no telling if he's in danger or not"

"Right" Treville agreed nodding his head and looking to Porthos "Form up about the royal carriage" he said to the General "We're going back to the Louvre, we'll organize a strategy from there"

"What stratergy?" Porthos asked "What the fuck are we gonna do?"

"I don't know!" Treville snapped racking a hand through his thinned hair "Just get the men together and get ready to leave!"

Rolling his lips Porthos clenched his fists and turned back to the Musketeers barking orders at them to form up about the carriage, from the ground where d'Artagnan had tossed it Treville picked up the crown shaking his head and clenched his jaw as he tried to do what Porthos had demanded and think what the fuck they were going to do

Drawing a deep breath Aramis went to Athos and d'Artagnan who were standing seemingly oblivious to what was going on about them as they held each other both comforting and being comforted.

What they were going through right now was beyond Aramis, to have a Pup or Child taken from you was a horror that every parent feared and to have it actually happen Aramis could not even manage to find the words to describe what it must empathetically feel like!.

Swallowing hard he cleared his throat to draw the monarchs attention to himself
"It's time to go" he said as Athos and d'Artagnan turned towards him

"Go where?" d'Artagnan whispered sounding child like in his despair and making Aramis's heart ache as he did

"Um back to the Louvre" he said "We....we're going to get organized there"

"Alright" Athos rasped trying to offer Aramis a weak smile but was unable to manage more than a tremble of his lips.

Supporting each other Athos and d'Artagnan made their way to the royal carriage and climbed inside clinging to each other tightly as they stared numbly ahead without seeing what was before their eyes as they were clearly lost in their own desperate thoughts.

****************************************************************************

 

Meung

Lex awoke with a head that felt like it was twice it's normal size and weight and a stomach that was churning like an ocean in a storm.

Groaning he rolled over from his back onto his side curling up in a fetal position and screwed his face up as he squinted his eyes open to take a look at way lay behind the lids.

Through his lashes he made out the sides of a tent, glowing lights from with candles or torches, and the shadows of figures moving beyond the curtain behind which he was laying.

Unable to explain this to himself since there was no logical reason he should be laying on the ground in a tent Lex opened his eyes properlly and forced himself to sit up having to swallow hard to avoid loosing his stomach down himself and noticed to his horror as he moved that his hands and feet were bound!.

A soft whimper escaped the Dauphin's lips that would have embaressed him deeply on another occaision, right now however he couldn't have cared less as he lifted his hands to his face and began to pull uselessly at the rope binding them.

Tears of fear burned in his eyes as he dug his nails and even his teeth into his own flesh as he tried desperately to undo or break the ropes!.
He began rubbing his ankles together and then tugging them violently apart to try and break the ropes binding them, squirming and kicking as hard as he could in his frantic attempts to escape his bindings and save himself!.

But save himself from what exactly?.

The fact he didn't know scared him even more, what was it his tutor had said in one of their lessons?, that people are always more afraid of the unknown than an enemy they can see and fight.

Well right now Lex agreed with that statement as he was almost becoming hysterical trying to get himself free and could not be blamed at all for letting out a scream as a tall and shadowy man suddenly flung back the curtain and advanced upon him!.

Cringing Lex flinched back as the man reached for him fearing a blow or worse for his gloved hands, however he was simply grabbed hold of and hauled up like a sack of grain and dragged along the ground to the center of the tent where he was flung down on a carpet before a dais upon which was a make shift throne that monarchs and rulers used when on campain.

Shaky and very frightened Lex forced himself to sit up and gaped as he saw two familiar faced looking down on him.

Seated on the throne was his Cousin Charles the Duke of Lorraine, and besides him was his cousin Gaston Duc D'Orleans, the exiled brother of the late King Louis!.

 

"He's not much to look at really" Gaston commented snidely as he looked Lex up and down "The way people raved about him I was expecting an adolescent on the verge of manhood, grown and strong!, yet here we have a child on the verge of adolescence who looks as meek and frail as an Omega Girl!"

Lorrained snorted with little humour as he cast Gaston a brief glance before looking back to Lex who's cheeks had redened and his brows crossed in anger

"Come over here and I'll show you how meek and frail I am!" he snarled at Gaston making the great effort to keep his voice as low as he could since it was going through the unfortunate stage of highs and lows

Gaston actually had the cheek then to laugh at him and saunter over, bending at the waist to look down at Lex as if he were examining an object of interest more closely before decided whether or not to buy it.

"You've got some spunk I'll give you that" he said to Lex "But you're just like your Oman, all mouth and nothing else, though..." Gaston smirked wickedly "I hear he's rather useful and talented with said mouth!"

Now Charles barked with bawdy laughter and slapped the arm rest of his chair, Grimaud as always made no sign of amusment while Gaston practically roared with laughter at his own jest, laughter that was abruptly cut off when Lex balled his bound fists and smashed both into his nose!.

Gaston fell back with a roar of pain!, he clutched his nose in his hands with blood oozing between his fingers and screamed long and loud while kicking the ground with his feet!.

"Don't you ever insult my Oman!" Lex yelled glaring at him furiously

Now Grimaud smirked apparently amused by Lex's display of anger at Gaston and the at the sight of Gaston rolling on the floor screaming and sobbing like a toddeler having a tantrum!

"Oh you are your Oman's Pup alright!" Charles of Lorraine chuckled "All that fire and spirit?, thats Charles d'Artagnan!"

Lex lifted his chin defiantly "I am also Olivier de la Fere's Pup Sir and don't you forget it!"
"Oh believe me I don't" Charles said smiling down at Lex "In fact you being the Alphon of the Musketeers Captain plays even more into our favour than you being Dauphin"

As determined as he was to not show his true fear Lex couldn't help but swallow convulsively at this and look about nervously.

"You see dear little Louis Alexandre I believe that the Musketeers will be far less inclined to storm this camp with you here than they would if you were anyone elses Pup, and with you also being Dauphin that makes you the perfect bargaining chip"

Lex frowned not understanding what the Duke meant, Gaston however informed him as he sat up with a handkerchief now soaked in blood held against his broken nose!

"You're being used as hostage whelp!" he spat at Lex glaring at him through rapidly swelling and blackening eyes "To save your misrable existance your Oman will have to put his own head on the chopping block and then I will take my rightful place on the throne of France!".

 

As brave a boy as he was Lex couldn't help his fear at this, the thought of his Oman's death to save him, something he knew his Oman would do without a seconds hesitation!.

Images of his Oman being decapitated filled his mind and turned his stomach making Lex whimper and close his eyes tight as tears rolled down his ashen cheeks.

"Not so brave now are you brat?" Gaston sneered however the Duke of Lorraine reprimanded him with a slap across the back of the head making him yelp!

"There is no need to frighten the Pup, nore will there be any need for d'Artagnan to die" he stated firmly "All he has to do is abdicate the throne then he may go wherever he wishes"

"But it......."

"No!" Charles thundered shutting Gaston up "I will not sanction the murder of a God anointed King, and certainly not the murder or unborn offspring!"

He rose from his throne and drew his cloak about himself regally "This will be done bloodlessly Gaston or not at all, do you understand me?"
As sulky as a child denied a treat Gaston mumbled an agreement and scowled as the Duke departed the tent leaving him alone with Lex and Grimaud, the latter of him extended a hand to Gaston and helped him to his feet and drew him close to whisper in his ear

"Fear not, I have no such qualms about murdering Kings and unborn Offspring, when the King comes here he will die by my hand along with his Husband, Whelp, and anyone else who stands between us and the Throne"
Gaston grinned, a ghastly sight with his face bloody and bruised, "Thats why I like you Grimaud" he said "You just as cold bloodied and heartless as me!".

Chapter Text

Louvre

The guests were all kept busy with the celebrations so d'Artagnan and Athos's closest friends and family could be left in peace to form a plan to save Lex.

"Is there any ransome yet?, any persons making their intent known?" Treville asked

Porthos shook his head, his whole body was slumped in a depressed defeat, of all he had been through, all the battles he had fought, all the enemies he had dealt with he had never felt so wretched as he did right now.
Of all the failures other commanders had suffered during their military careers could one have ever been as catastrophic as this?.

Turning his lips inwards in a sorrowful smile Treville placed a comforting hand on Porthos' shoulder "This is not your fault" he said easily guessing what was wrong with Porthos

"How is it not?" Porthos asked looking up at Treville a desolate look in his eyes "The safety of the royal family was my responsability and I failed!, I utterly and completely failed!"

"Porthos!" Treville protested as the large man pulled away from him and paced

"I should have been more alert, I should have made sure the area was secure, I should have had every person in the vicinity searched!"

"Porthos that would have been impossible" Treville stated "You couldn't search every person in that crowd!, we had the whole of Paris gathered for the Coronation"

"Well I should have done something" Porthos snapped turning back round to Treville "I should have known that something was off, I should have.................I should have been able to protect them", his voice grew fainter towards the end and he looked away from Treville in shame.

Scowling now Treville marched over to Porthos and took him firmly by the shoulders shaking him hard
"Now you listen to me Porthos du Vallon this is not the time for self recrimonations or regrets or maybes, The Dauphin is missing probably kidnapped by person or persons unknown with God knows what intentions, we do not have time for you to fall apart right now we need you to be strong to be a Musketeer!"

Drawing a deep breath Porthos nodded his head and set his shoulders back as he straightened up "Yes Sir" he said

Patting his broad shoulders Treville smiled "Good man, we need you"

"Aye" Porthos grunted "An whoever's behind this is gonna be needin' a shit load o' stitches when I'm through with 'em!"

"Through with who?".

 

Both Treville and Porthos turned round at the question to see an ashen faced puffy eyed d'Artagnan standing besides an equally distressed Athos who's arm was protectively wrapped about his mates shoulders but his hand was shaking despite his show of strength.

The two of them had gone and changed out of their regal clothing, just dumping the costly clothes on the floor without a second thought to change into something more casual and easy to move in.

"Is there any news yet?" Athos asked guiding d'Artagnan to one of the petti pointe chairs and sitting him down where he sat as rigid and stiff as a china doll set in a minature chair and reached round his bump to grip his knees tight with white knuckles

"We've heard nothing so far" Treville reported shifting uncomfortably as he looked at d'Artagnan who's gaze seemed detatched, as if he were not connected with the present, "Is he.........?"

"He hasn't said a word since we got back" Athos said placing a hand on d'Artagnan's shoulder "He responds to commands, he is aware of whats going on about him I think, he just isn't responding to it"

Treville went and knelt before d'Artagnan squinting his eyes as he looked into the young kings despairing gaze "It must be some side of shock" he mused "I've seen similar things happen to soldiers on battle fields" he said getting back to his feet and winced as his knees cracked loudly in the too quiet room. From the ballroom and dining hall the sounds of music, laughter, and chatter could be heard from the guests who were carrying on without a care in the world having no idea of what was going on.

To keep a panic from happening, Anne and Constance had devised a rumour that d'Artagnan was fatigued from the coronation and had retired to bed to rest before the nights festivities.

Owing to his pregnancy the guests believed that without hesitation since it was very easy to believe that he was tired and needed so time to recover his strength in peace and quiet, and since they had an abundance of alcohol, food, and entertainment the guests were more than happy to celebrate without the royal family and kept themselves out of the way without bothering those who were now frantically trying to make sense of what was happening and most importantly find Lex!.

 

Presently Aramis came into the room having seen Lemay back to bed. The Doctor had become resistant to going back onto bed rest since the abduction of Lex and wanted to help.

While Aramis understood that, hell he more than understood, he knew that if anything happened to his and Lemay's Pup then d'Artagnan would blame himself and never forgive himself, and for that matter neither would Lemay, so with that in mind Aramis had forced Lemay to get back to bed under the threat of summoning a physician and having him sedated and them bound to the bed!.

To say that Lemay was furious with him was an understatement and once all this was over he would have some serious groveling to do to get back into his mates good books!.

"Whats the word?" he asked attempted for a little humour to lighten the depressed mood

"Shit is the word and you're full of it!" Porthos grunted kicking a footstool simply because it was in front of his foot!

Aramis nodded and went over to d'Artagnan and Athos offering them a sympathetic smile "We're gonna get him back you know?" he said "Nothings going to stand in our way, nothing!"

"With any luck we'll start to get some news coming in.............", Treville trailed off as Brujon came running in his face flushed and hair disordered

"Speak of the devil" Porthos muttered

Panting a little Brujon stopped before d'Artagnan and Athos and bowed "Your Majesty, your Serene Highness a street urchin delivered this letter to the gates", he held out a rolled and sealed letter which Athos snatched from him and tore it open.

While Athos read the letter Porthos moved closer to Brujon to speak to him quietly
"The urchin who delivered this did they say anything about who gave them this?"

Brujon shook his head "The lad was all of three or four years old, hardly knew enough to know how to get to the gates to give the letter to the guards let alone anything else", he snorted without any humour "Poor little sod was so young he didn't even know enough to demand extra payment before handing the letter over!"

Most of the street children and Pups who were used to deliver such letters always charged both the deliverer and the recipient of said letter, the fact the lad hadn't known to do so showed how young he was and it was likely that was why he had been chosen to hand over the letter, because he would be useless to try and get information from.

"Son of a bitch!" Athos cursed throwing the letter down on the ground

"What?" Aramis asked bending to pick the letter up and read through it swiftly

"Well?" Porthos asked

Lifting his gaze over the paper Aramis wet his dry lips with his tongue and read outloud.

"To Charles d'Artagnan and Olivier de la Fere."

"Your Alphon is in our possession and will remain so until you do as we demand.

Come to Meung, one mile past the Inn, unarmed and without any soldiers or else Louis Alexandre will die slowly and in extreme pain"

Aramis paused shifting uncomfortably before going on

"If you wish for him to return to your care without any harm being done to him then you will abdicate your rule, you will sign a bull confirming your abdication and your voluntary exile from the country!, you will also sign a bull confirming your heir to the throne of France and Navarre is Gaston de Bourbon duc D'Orleans!"

"Bastard!" Porthos spat "Little rat bastard!"

"Come to the arranged meeting place at dawn and we shall conclude business, if you agree to the terms then you will be given supplies to get you across any border you wish, if you do not, if you fail to come or come with weapons and Musketeers then you will watch your Alphon die".

"It's unsigned" Aramis said sighing deeply "But we can guess who sent it"

"Gaston" Athos dead panned

"But is he acting alone?" Treville asked shifting his weight "He's not known for his thinking, this was very neatly enacted, no blood shed, no explosions, just distraction, sleight of hand and Lex was snatched, that is not Gaston's style"

"So he's working with Grimaud" Athos said "We knew we hadn't seen the last of that bastard and such devious acts of cruelty are certainly his style"

Porthos pulled a face and shook his head "I'd have expected a few more bodies, he isn't exactly shy about getting his hands soaked in blood, I mean look at what he did to Ferron".

 

Recalling the butchered corpse of Ferron did not please any of those present however Aramis let out an exclamation
"Lorraine!" he said "He must be working with them, he's probably the one who demanded that there be no blood shed"

"Why would he?" Porthos asked looking confused

"It is his style" Treville agreed "Charles tends to avoid bloodshed if he can, he prefers subterfuge to direct conflict, this is exactly how he would proceed if he were doing this"

 

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A search of the Duc's chambers of course proved futile but Treville had ordered it be done anyway along with a search of the grounds for him or any of his servants.

With the Guards and Musketeers all out searching for the Dauphin they were stretched thin so it was not a surprise that he had managed to make a discreet exit without anyone spotting him.

Feeling dejected and frustrated Treville went to the ballroom and helped himself to a glass of champagne from the tray of a liveried waitor as it went past and sought out Anne who was showing what an incredible courtier she was by managing to keep a dazzeling smile on her face and carry on meaningless conversations with Nobility despite all that was happening.

The celebrations were going perfectly as far as the Nobles knew, couples danced elegantly to the orchestra beneath the sparkling candle light from the chandeliers that was made all the more golden from the sunlight streaming through the windows.

In the dining hall the tables were groaning under the weight of the sumptuous spread that the servants and cooks kept well stocked.
Platters of fresh bread with slabs of butter, cream cheese, and meat pastes were being constantly brought out.
Rounds of cheese on wooden boards with acompanying grapes and sliced apples were placed upon the tables.
Spiced, roasted, and stewed meat dishes were piled high with smaller side dishes containing an assortment of vegetable and salad dishes to go with them.
Pastries of pies and tarts were rapidly cut up and dug into as the greedy court devoured the rich butter pastry and thickly sauced meats.
Also the very popular fish dishes were being eagerly consumed, lobster and crab dishes were soon demolished along with the prawns, salmon, and the deep sea fishes that had been baked into pastry and bread coatings.

There was also a vest aray of sweets, sugared and candied fruit and nuts, cakes, gateau, tartin, and torte. All of which were being gobbled up by all those with a sweet tooth.

There also a large cake for later that the cheff had been working on for weeks.

A huge creation of marzipan, chocolate, and spun sugar that would be brought out for d'Artagnan and Athos to cut after the fire works.

 

Normally the smell of such rich cuisine would make Treville's stomach rumble but today it just left him feeling slightly nauseus.

"Is there any news?" Queen Anne asked Treville as she finally got away from the Comte de Tours to speak with the Minister, with an expert skill developed over years of being at court she maintained her smile and poise as she spoke to him

"We've received a ransome" Treville replied sipping his champagne "d'Artagnan and Athos are to go to Meung tomorrow at dawn alone, abdicate the throne and name Gaston as King of France!"

"Gaston!" Anne spat as if she were cursing "Louis should have had that whelp executed when he had the chance!"

Treville rose an eyebrow at Anne unused to her vindictiveness, "It is likely that Gaston is working with Lorraine and Grimaud" he said looking round at the care free court with envy, wishing he too could be that care free

"That is hardly a surprise" Anne said bitterly. With gritted teeth she forced herself to continue to smile and play her part
"How's d'Artagnan?" she asked

Treville shook his head "Practically catatonic"

Anne closed her eyes letting out a breath in empathy "Poor boy, he has suffered too much"

"To say the least" Treville agreed, looking around he frowned "Wheres Constance?"

"Gone to see if she can help d'Artagnan at all" Anne replied and groaned as her name was called "Well duty calls!" she said forcing a broad smile as she turned to the rather insipid Duchess d'Amiens and made her way over to her

"Indeed duty calls" Treville agreed and finished his champagne and deposited his empty glass on a servants tray as he left the ballroom to go and see how d'Artagnan was doing now.

 

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Having risen from the seat Athos had placed him in d'Artagnan had walked to the french windows and was staring out into the gardens while self hugging with his shoulders hunched inwardly as if he were fighting a chill.

"We need to make a plan" Porthos said in a hushed voice to Athos and Aramis "We can't possibly agree to the terms in the ransom, it'd be suicide to do as they wanted"

"Obviously" Athos said looking to d'Artagnan who stood like a statute seemingly unaware of Constance's presence by his side. Pulling his lips into a flat line Athos sighed "They'd never let me and d'Artagnan just walk away, nor Lex for that matter, even in exile we'd be too much of a risk to them"

"Agreed" Aramis said "So what do we do?. We can't storm their camp without risking Lex's life"

"And we have no idea how many men they have or what weaponry they are carrying" Athos said running a hand through his hair and massaging his thumb by his aching temple, it had only been a few hours since the coronation but he felt like it had been years he was so tired!

As the door opened and Treville came in the Musketeers looked up and nodded a greeting to him
"The nobles are taken care of" the Minister reported "Have any plans been decided?"

"No"

"Yes!".

 

d'Artagnan shocked everyone by turning around and speaking quite clearly for the first time in hours.

"I have a plan" he said walking away from the window and towards the gathered Alphas
"I will do as demanded, I will ride to Meung and I will abdicate the throne and then I will leave this country with my family for good!".

Chapter Text

The very worst part of pregnancy was the feeling of uselessness.

To feel like you were nothing more than a brood mare waiting to drop a prized stalions foal.

Intellectually you may know that you are nothing of the sort, you are as useful and needed as you ever have been it's simply a matter of your body not being as flexible and movement not as easy as it was before you became pregnant.

However with all the raging hormones flowing through your blood stream, the physical uncomfortability and fatigue thinking straight was not always so easy and iritability mixed with being very emotional you end up acting and reacting unreasonably.

That was how Lemay felt as he sat in bed unable to find a comfortable position for his aching pelvis and throbbing hips. His forehead was aching due to the fact he had a scowl upon his face that wasn't going anywhere as his dark thoughts continued to run round in his head.

From downstairs he could the sounds of music from the orchestra that were playing both for amusment and so couples could dance.
Occaisionally laughter would trickle up to his windows along with snatches of conversation as the guests took the air in the gardens to get out from what was probably becoming a quite warm and stuffy ballroom and dining hall.

It was rather like being a Pup hiding on the stair way listening to the party of your elders, or a servant watching through the cracks in a door as your betters celebrated.
This was what Lemay decided it felt like anyway, he felt like a sulky child with his scowl and pout as he brooded over his situation, banished as he was to dwell upstairs while others carried out the important stuff downstairs.

No not like a sulky child like a cosseted mate being hidden away from the big bad world by his Alpha who felt he was too fragile and delicate to handle it!.

 

He knew why Aramis had sent him back to bed, it was for his own good, if he remained up and about there was a risk he would go into premature labor, if that happened and he lost the Pup he would never forgive himself and Aramis knew that there for sending him to bed whether he liked it or not was for the best.

That didn't mean he had to like it though!.

Stroking his hands over his heavy belly Lemay sighed, he didn't resent his Pup he could never resent the pup he had waited so long for, what he did resent was his own body failing to be strong enough to stand up to this.

He wanted to be with d'Artagnan offering his support but here he was stuck up here in bed while everyone else did the work and took care of everything leaving him feeling like a spare part for the fact he couldn't help right now.

 

"Are you still mad at me?"

The question drew Lemay's attention from his brooding and he saw Aramis standing by the bed holding a tray of food which smelled devine.

"I got you all your favorites from the feast" Aramis said with a sheepish smile his sparkling brown eyes pleading with Lemay to accept the olive branch he was offering so they might make amends

Still feeling out of sorts Lemay scowled at his mate "I'm not a Pup to be placated by treats" he grumbled

"No I know you're not" Aramis agreed setting the tray on the bed and climbed on to join Lemay who continued to glare at him, however he ignore the ire and lay his hands over Lemay's belly grinning when he felt the Pup move
"Getting strong in there aren't you?" he whispered to his unborn Pup "Aphan and Oman love you very much little one and we can't wait to miss you"

"Seriously can't wait" Lemay muttered since he was counting the days till he was due!

Aramis chuckled and beamed up at him "All good things come to those who wait eh?"

"Hm"

Reaching up Aramis took Lemay's hands and squeezed them "I know you're made at me and I understand why but I hope you understand why I made you come back to bed"

Lemay took a deep breath and let go of his sulk and allowed himself to relax back against the pillows he had been rather rigid against
"I do understand" he said "I just feel so................useless like this and I don't like it!"

"You're not useless!"

Lemay shrugged "Right now I am, I can't do anything but sit around waiting to give birth, I can't help d'Artagnan when he needs me probably more than he ever has before in his life!"

"He knows that you are here for him and that you aren't abandoning him" Aramis assured the Omega "And he has Athos and everyone else to help him too, he's not alone"

Lemay nodded and sighed "How is he?".

Now it was Aramis's turn to sigh and Lemay frowned feeling a niggling pinch of guilt as he saw the tension lines of stress on his mates forehead and about his eyes, clearly Aramis was tired and stressed and here he was moaning and sulking like the Pup he'd stated he wasn't!.

Keen to make up for this Lemay tugged on Aramis's hands and patting the side of the bed next to him urging the Alpha to come and cuddle up to him.
Willingly Aramis did so and wrapped himself about Lemay's side nuzzeling his nose into the crook between Lemay's neck and shoulder so he could breath in the soothing scent of his mate

"We've received a ransom demand" he said closing his eyes as Lemay's fingers began to stroke through his hair and rub his temple easing the tension headache that had been niggling

"They've demanded d'Artagnan and Athos go to meung alone and unarmed, abdicate the throne, willingly go into exile, and name Gaston as King of France"

"Gaston" Lemay breathed through gritted teeth "A pity he didn't die with his harpy of a Mother!"

Aramis snorted "Too true"

"Has any plan been made yet?" Lemay asked continuing to stroke Aramis's hair like a cats fur

"No, well yes d'Artagnan has a plan but it's not one that he'll be allowed to go through with even if that means that Athos has to have him locked in the Bastille!"

"What?"

"He'd decided to give them everything they want and aceed to their plans!".

 

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"Stop following me!"

d'Artagnan stormed into his and Athos's bedroom yelling at the Alpha who was hot on his heels

"I'll stop following when you stop walking away from me!" Athos shouted after him reaching out for d'Artagnan's shoulder which he managed to grab and spin the Omega round.

Bad idea

d'Artagnan turned with a snarl his arms raised and caught Athos across the face with slap and struggled free from his arms snarling out

"Let me go!"

"NO!" Athos shouted refusing to allow d'Artagnan his freedom even as his face was turned to the side with another slap!
"I won't let you get yourself and our Pups killed!", another blow rocked his head to the side but this time he didn't take it without fighting back and a second later d'Artagnan was letting out a cry as Athos's backhand slapped his face.

With a pure Alpha growl Athos seized hold of d'Artagnan's shoulders and shook him hard "Now listen to me!" he bellowed into the Omega's reddened face "I know you're frightened, I know you're willing to do anything to save Lex and I feel the same but we can not do this!"

d'Artagnan was breathing rapidly on the verge of tears as he stared at Athos stubbornly refusing to give into crying or allow himself to be comforted by his mate.

 

Moving his hands up Athos rested them on d'Artagnan's shoulders and looked deeply into tear filled over large eyes that swam with too much emotion

"You know as well as I know that Gaston and those he is working with have no intentions of letting us leave Meung alive. You and Lex will be far to much threat to Gaston's rule for him to ever allow you to live, people would still declare you King and Lex heir they would not cleave to Gaston if you and our Alphon are still alive"

d'Artagnan swallowed and sniffed hard as a couple of tears escaped his eyes to roll down his cheeks

"I know you want to save Lex, I do to, but this is not the way, we have to think clearly and make a real plan", reaching up Athos stroked d'Artagnan's face with his thumbs to wipe away the tears

"I promise I won't let anything happen to Lex, nor to you" he swore feircely

d'Artagnan sniffed and wet his lips whispering "Make sure nothing happens to you too because I can't loose you anymore than I can loose Lex"

Athos enveloped him in his arms and held him tight kissing his face "I swear".

*****************************************************************************

As afternoon became evening and evening gave way to night a plan to rescue Lex and defeat Grimaud, Gaston, and Lorraine was formed by the monarchs and Musketeers.

Obviously a direct assult would not be possible as there would be far to much risk of Lex being hurt, so a more subtle approach was agreed upon and would be implimented.

However dawn was a long way off and duty closer to home called before they might rescue the Dauphin, duty that fell to Athos and d'Artagnan.

 

As King and Consort they had to make an appearance at the celebrations and partake in the festivites, this was not a choice but a requirment, they had to do this and while neither Athos or d'Artagnan felt remotely like celebrating anything at all right now they had appearances to keep if they were to avoid a panic spreading through France.

So they both changed their clothes again, dressing once more in their finery.

d'Artagnan sat and allowed Constance to reapply his make up whick helped hide the fact he had been crying and how pale he was.

Then with gentle smiles to each other they joined hands as their crowns were placed upon their heads.

"Your Majesties" Queen Anne said falling into a deep curtsey before them, she was incredibly moved by the sight of the young royal couple, not just for the fact they made such a handsome couple but for how very strong they were.

Here they were going through what was probably the worst moments in their lives and instead of falling apart they were rallying together and concealing their inner termoil to put on a show for their guests despite how wretched they must feel.

"Is everything ready?" d'Artagnan asked bidding Anne to rise

"It is" she affirmed "You are to enter the dining hall together, make a speach, cut your cake, and watch the fireworks", she smiled sympathetically at them and took their hands into her own cupping them gently and giving them a squeeze to offer support "An hour is all you need give then you can retire once more"

"Not we'll sleep but yes we can retire" Athos said with a rueful smile

"Come on then" d'Artagnan sighed setting his shoulders "Lets get this over with".

 

*****************************************************************************

 

As night had fallen all the candles in the many chandeliers and holders about the ballroom and dining hall had been lit and the light reflected off the decorations creating a fairy land kind of sparkle along with the golden glow.

Fresh food had been laid out on the tables and more bottles of wine and champagne had been opened to keep the plates and glasses of the greedy aristocracy filled.

The usher thumped his staff into the marble floor thrice creating a silence through out the dining hall as all the guests turned to the double doors

"My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen" The Usher declared in a loud crisp voice "His Majesty Charles D'Artagnan King of France and his Serene Royal Highness Olivier d'Athos Comte de la Fere and Prince Consort of France", the Usher bowed from the waist and then stepped aside dropping into another deeper bow as d'Artagnan and Athos entered the hall together arm in arm.

Their faces may have been carven stone sculptures for how emotionless they were, a united calm front they presented as they walked to the top table past their bowing guests and took their places.

Behind them Anne, Treville, Aramis, Constance, and Porthos filed into the hall and took their own positions and the Usher gave the signal for all to rise and charge their cups as d'Artagnan made his speach.

Stealing himself and taking a deep breath d'Artagnan faced the gathered Nobility and spoke as steadily as he was able.

"My Lords, Ladies, Nobles, and Gentlemen, My Consort and I humbly thank you all for your attending this our Coronation day. Your loyalty to our reign and gracious declarations of frienship touch us deeply. We do both assure you that neither shall ever be forgotten and if it should ever become necessary you may always rely upon Frances love and support".

Raising his cup high in a salute he concluded his speach and his ears rang with the cry of
"God save the King" before the health was drank

"Well said" Athos said giving d'Artagnan a large smile "Nice and short without any false flattery or mocking inuendos"

"It was all I had the stomach for" d'Artagnan said and almost groaned as the servants carried the vast cake to their table "Normally I adore confection" he sighed "But today the sight of sugar makes me sick"

Clasping his hand Athos squeezed it gently "Just a little longer love then we don't have to act anymore"

Taking a breath d'Artagnan forced himself to smile and nodded his head while mentally counting the minutes till the could get out of here.

 

From across the room Constance and Porthos watched as Athos and d'Artagnan cut the cake with false smiles and forced themselves to eat slices as if they didn't have a care in the world when in reality they were being crushed under the weight of their cares and troubles.

"I don't know how they can do it" Porthos admitted "I know I couldn't manage that farce without cracking"

"Nore I" Constance said "At least everyones bought the story of Lex having a migraine without suspicion" she sighed

"Aye and soon we'll have the lad back home where he belongs" Porthos stated giving Constance a feral smirk "And I promise yer pet I'm gonna wring that toe rag Gaston's neck with be bare hands and string 'im up by his balls!".

 

******************************************************************************

 

Meung

 

From the encampment the fireworks over the Louvre could seen bursting in the night sky in a shower of bright shining colour.

Gaston dragged Lex from the tent by his restraints and flung him down on the edge of the hill they were camped on so he may see the fireworks below.

"Look at that whelp!" he goaded giving Lex's cheek a pinch and a twist "Your Whore Oman and drunkard Aphan are celebrating the shortest reign in history, soon there will be more fireworks over Paris but this time they will be celebrating a true Kings coronation"

Jerking back from his cousin Lex glared at Gaston "A true King?" he spat "Well you sure as hell can't be talking about yourself can you?", he expected the slap about the head he received from Gaston and kicked out with his feet hitting the Duc's ankles making him roar in pain and stumble back

"You little bast......!"

"Gaston!", Charles's swift reprimand silenced the sulky duc and he settled for glaring at a contemptuous Lex.

Walking over Charles summoned two guards to take Lex back to the tent and to make sure he was secure while he gazed at his brother in law with something close to disgust

"I was only having a laugh!" Gaston said with an unrepentant shrug

Charles shook his head, and Gaston thought he was fit to be a King?, the very thought was a mockery!, the boy wasn't fit to run a brothel let along a country!.

"Just leave the boy alone" he ordered his Brother in law "And stop drinking so much" he said eyeing the bottle in Gastons hand "You need to be clear headed for dawn"

"I'm drinking to our victory!" Gaston declared raising the bottle to his lips but was left unsatisfied as it was wrenched from his grasp by Charles who snarled at him

"It is more than a little premature for that, now go and get yourself rested, we have an early call in the morning and I want you alert not half dead from wine and lack of sleep"

Screwing his face up like a sulky child Gaston stomped off to the royal tent barking out demands for hot water to brought so he might wash before bed. Watching him go Charles sighed all the more sure that his own plans in regards to d'Artagnan were for the best even if it did mean betraying his sisters husband.

Chapter Text

Never mind how well practised she was at hiding her emotions by a perfectly blank courtiers mask and appearing completely serene at all times Dowager Queen Anne could not hold back a sharp in take of breath that wrenched a tiny cry from her throat as she took in her hand a letter written by d'Artagnan and bearing his royal seal.

"This is my last will and testamont" the King said in a steady voice "When I die my crown, my throne, and all my property is to go to Lex as my heir"

Anne swallowed past a lump in her throat and nodded her head

"If..," d'Artagnan went on "Lex is to die without offspring then I have decreed that you are to take the throne as Regent and secure the country until Queen Henrietta Maria can be coronated as Sovreign Queen and rightful ruler of France. She and the legitimate children of her body will be the heirs to this country after her".

 

Drawing a deep breath to steady herself Anne nodded once and forced her lips to curl a slight smile to try and fight the urge to let tears come into her eyes

"Pray God that this will is not read for many years yet" she said her voice horse and thick with the emotion she fought down

d'Artagnan gave her a weak smile and nodded his head feeling too emotionally strained himself right now to do anything else.
He turned and straightened as much as he could given his pregnancy as Athos came into the private royal sitting room fastening his cloak over his shoulder, his Musketeer cloak of light blue, in fact Athos was in full uniform, was wearing it perhaps as a good luck charm of a sort or using it as a source of comfort which considering the situation he was facing was understandable.

"Are you about ready?" he asked
Under other circumstances d'Artagnan would have smiled at Athos speaking him to him like that. Since he had taken the throne, and most of the time before people had not asked if he was ready or told him it was time to go somewhere they had instead bowed or curtsied to him and would tell him that whatever was about to happen was all prepared for him.

It was saying the same thing really but was a different way of putting things that sounded more respectful towards his position.

To be treated as a normal person was something d'Artagnan appreciated since it happened so rarely to him.

Today however he could not muster a smile at all and merely nodded his head,

"Take care both of you" Anne said wishing she could go with them and not have to remain at court, the waiting was going to be agonising for her, no matter how she might occupy herself or try to distract herself she would be unable to keep from imagining what was happening in Meung, what may be coming for her as she waited in the Louvre putting on a show for the guests and trying to appear calm while inside she would have a tempest raging.

"Take care of yourself" Athos said to Anne as he placed an arm about d'Artagnan's shoulders and exchanged a tense smile that more a stretching of lips with her

Watching her King and Prince Consort leave Anne straightened herself up and skillfully let her courtier mask come over her face.

Inside she might be taut enough to snap in half but she not show it, she would keep her face as expressionless as the face of a china doll and her resolve to do as d'Artagnan had both asked as her cousin and ordered as her King to do as firm as a steel rod.
Even if the worst came about she would hold this country, she would make the throne secure for Queen Henrietta Maria and her children, she would defend the Kingdom from any and all enemies, she would secure d'Artagnan's legacy to her dying breath.

 

****************************************************************************

 

Meung

 

Without any escort, fanfair, or anything to declare who they were d'Artagnan and Athos rode from the Louvre and through Paris, passing through the gates of the city and headed into the open country to Meung.

They rode in silence, neither having the stomach for conversation as they headed to what may well be their deaths.

Neither carried a weapon not daring to risk angering their Alphons captores if they had done so.

 

Their ride to Meung took longer than either would have liked but d'Artagnan's pregnancy made it impossible for him to ride any faster, he forced himself to ride astride and not side saddle despite the discomfort it brought him and pushed himself as hard as his body would allow him to.

 

As they reached Meung they were halted by Lorraine's guards who aimed muskets at them and ordered them down from their horses.

Athos dismounted first and helped d'Artagnan down from his horse since he couldn't dismount so easily anymore.

Finding d'Artagnan's hands were shaking Athos took them into his own and squeezed them offering support without speaking

"Take off your cloaks and put them on the ground and let us see that you carry no weapons"

"Lower your weapons first" Athos called out to them stepping forward and putting himself between d'Artagnan and the guards in a show of protectiveness against his beloved Omega mate being harmed, it was a futile gesture considering the guards were well armed but it was a natural reaction any Alpha would have had in that situation, especially if their mate were pupped as d'Artagnan was.
"You do not give the orders here Monsieur, you take them" the second guard stated

Athos lifted his chin and sniffed his top lip curling as if he had a foul smell under his nose!
"We do not take orders from servants" he said in mocking tone of voice "Now why don't you be good little bootlickers and go and tell your Master that we're here?"

The guards made abortive moves forward clearly uncertain on what they should do, however they were saved by making an decisions of their own by Gaston exiting the largest tent slow clapping.

"Long live the King!" he laughed and gave d'Artagnan a mocking bow worthy of a court jester who had consumed too much wine, laughing again he straightened up and gave d'Artagnan the once over

"You are looking..........well cousin" he said slowly "I suppose the term is "Glowing?", he sneered "I've never really understood why people rave over how Omega's look when breeding, all that....."They look so ripe and fertile!", "So radiant and delectable!", he shook his head "To me you just look huge".

 

To his credit d'Artagnan did not react to Gaston's mockery, instead he looked his cousin up and down looking less than impressed at what he saw
"Been a long time Gaston" he said with a deep sigh "Though it looks far longer for you than for me!"

The dig about Gaston's aging served to even the slights against each other and made the Duc D'Orleans flush with anger

"I swear you little............"

"Gaston!", Lorraine's voice snapped out of the tent summoning Gaston like an annoying dog being called to heel!

"Bring them in" Gaston snapped at the guards heading back into the tent himself.

 

D'Artagnan held tight to Athos's hand and shared a tense look with him as they slowly walked up the slight slope to the tent and went inside.

In the tent Lorraine was sat in a chair with Gaston on his right and Grimaud just slightly behind the the Duc d'Orleans. Two Lorraine Guards flanked the the Dukes sides and the two guards who'd lead d'Artagnan and Athos into the tent took up posts at the enterence.

"Wheres Lex!" d'Artagnan said without preamble

Gaston snorted and sneered repeating d'Artagnan's question in a high pitch tone just like a sulky teenager would do

"So much for any pleasantries!" Lorraine said with an accomodating smile

"This is hardly the time for pleasentries" Athos growled "Where is our Alphon?"

Lorraine held up his hands and nodded his head "One moment", he snapped his fingers summoning one of the flanking guards "Fetch the boy" he said

"Yes your grace", with a swirl of his cloak the guard went to fetch Lex leaving Lorraine to grace d'Artagnan and Athos with another smile

"Maybe we can speak like civilized adults now?" he asked

"I think you'd better get rid of Gaston if we're to speak like adults!" d'Artagnan said "He hardly fits the criteria!"

Gaston snarled and stepped forward tp get right into d'Artagnan's face "I swear I will have your tongue cut from your head you little bitch!"

"Not got the balls to do it yourself?" d'Artagnan goaded

Gaston raised a hand to strike d'Artagnan but was once again called to heel by Lorraine

"House training him?" d'Artagnan asked getting a snort from Lorraine "Hardly monarchial material is he?"

"Not especially" Lorraine conceeded getting a sharp look from Gaston who looked betrayed and outraged at this, "But...." Lorraine continued "Such things can be learned"

d'Artagnan shook his head "No, Kings, real Kings are not made, they are not molded and shaped by the skill of others they are born into this world with some kind of power inside them that makes them capable to rule", he glanced at a glowering Gaston and then back to the Duke of Lorraine
"You and I both know it takes something very special, something unique to make someone truly fit for a throne, and a person either has it or they don't, and when they don't and they take a throne the Kingdom suffers as the result, unrest follows and soon their after comes revolutions that rip monarchys apart".

 

Gaston snorted and sneered at d'Artagnan's speach while Lorraine looked thoughtful.

Grimaud meanwhile remained silent, his eyes never left d'Artagnan and Athos, and Athos's eyes never left him, the two of them were sizing each other up, they were over due for a show down and when it came it would be a fight to the death.

Presently the guard came back into the tent with Lex who immediately cried out for his parents.

"Lex!", completely ignoring everyone else d'Artagnan threw himself across the tent and wrapped his arms about his Alphon holding him close and stroking back his hair while kissing his head and face "Are you alright?, did they hurt you?"

"I'm okay, I'm alright" Lex said into d'Artagnan's neck where he had buried his face, partly to breath in the soothing comforting scent of his Oman, and also to hide the tears which were rolling down his cheeks. Right now he didn't much care about being Puppish but he sure as hell wasn't going to show any weakness in front of his parents enemies.

Athos stood a little way back from his family acting as a protective barrier that their enemies would have to go through to get to d'Artagnan and Lex.
He had to blink hard to hold back the tears which filled his eyes at the sight of d'Artagnan and Lex reunited, he longed to go and wrap himself about them both, to hold them in his arms and leave his scent over them both to reassure himself and them. But right now he couldn't do so, he had to remain on guard against those threatening his family.

 

"Well now we've had our family reunion can we get down to business?" Gaston asked with a deep sigh, "Save the tears and hugs for later and lets get down to this"

Slowly and reluctantly d'Artagnan looked up from Lex and got to his feet while keeping an arm about Lex's shoulders "Alright" he said looking at Lorraine "Lets do this".

 

********************************************************************************

 

A full frontal assult would never have worked, the risk to Athos, d'Artagnan, and Lex was far to great.

A stratergem was needed, a sneak attack.

Treville had been the one to come up with the plan, he had drawn from history, of a time when French forces had moved undetected through lands by covering themselves in foliage to blend in with their surounds.

Porthos had gathered the Musketeers and they had ridden out under the cover of darkness, had tethered their horses away from the hill and then progressed on foot, keeping hidden and silent as they had surounded the hill.

Once d'Artagnan and Athos had ridden up to the camp the Musketeers had begun to move in.

They moved in three units under the command of Aramis, Porthos, and Treville.

Aramis led the first wave with the best shots among them.

Guns would be too loud, would alert the whole camp to what was happening so they chose instead to use more traditional long distance weapons.
The crossbow, and the Long Bow.

The guards on sentry duty where quickly and silently taken out with arrows and bolts to the throat cutting off their vocal chords to prevent them from crying out as they fell to the ground choking on their own blood which rolled out their mouths and poured down their fronts.

"Camp is now unguarded" Aramis said with a dark and feral smile "Second wave will now move in".

Chapter Text

Louvre

Anne wrung her hands nervously. It was the only gesture she made that gave away just how nervous she felt.
Her face betrayed nothing as she greeted guests and courtiers at breakfast.

She took a bowl of fresh strawberrys and cream, and a portion of fresh brioche which she drizzled with honey and nibbled upon without showing any sign of her discomfort save for her shaking hands.

Breaking with convention Constance sat beside the Queen offering her support as they dined and maintained appearances for the sake of the court.

"I hate this waiting" Constance said sipping her coffee "Your mind races with ideas and fears of what might be coming and it leaves your stomach tied in knots and your head pounding with the stress"

Anne smiled and dipped her silver spoon into her bowl of strawberrys "I know the feeling" she said taking the mouthful and chewing slowly, looking around the court she saw all of the guests and nobles talking, laughing, and eating without a care in the world.

The sound of their conversations, their laughter, the chewing of their food all seemed too loud to her ears, too grating, some how the noise all seemed magnified and made Anne feel as if she were being deafened by the roar of the sounds.

Breathing shakily Anne watched fascinated and disgusted by the sight of teeth tearing meats, mouths gulping down coffee and hot chocolate, throats convulsing as they swallowed.

Greedy greasy hands reached for more, more bread, more meat, more cheese, more everything!, ravenous mouths salivated with an unquenchable thirst and gluttenous hunger for everything!.
Never would they be satisfied, never would they simply have enough of what they desired, never would they stop wanting and reaching for more, never would they be content with what they had in life, and never would they care as to who they destroyed in their quest for power.

 

Closing her eyes Anne let out a soft gasp as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Suddenly feeling like she was going to scream or vomit Anne pushed her chair back and swiftly rose from the table walking fast to the door and out into the gardens with her high heels clacking as she walked.

She was aware that her abrupt departure would raise attention but she could not help it, she had to go or she knew she would have ended up screaming the place down!.

Moving as fast as her heavy skirts and high heels would allow Anne made her way down to the ornamental gardens where she finally stopped and braced her palms flat on the brick wall staring down into a bed of tulips and pansys and breathed in the sweet fragrance letting it fill her lungs and calm her a little.

 

"I can leave if you would prefer to be alone?"

Anne half turned her head, a smile on her face "No Constance I like your company" she said relaxing her shoulders and feeling several twinges in her neck from the tension she had been holding
"I have been Queen of the land" she said as Constance drew closer and sat down on the stone wall smoothing her skirt beneath her

"I ruled beside Louis, God rest his soul, for years, since I was but a child myself. We were married so young that we did not even consumate our marriage for years, and then when we did I fell pregnant almost immediately", a bittersweet smile curved her lips "I miscarried at six months, had deliver my dead baby, my little boy. He was so tiny he looked like a doll, a perfectly sculpted doll, a fragile little thing but so very pretty", she sighed and stood up straight crossing her arms over her chest

"I thought it was the worst moment of my life loosing my baby" she said to Constance "Thought nothing could be worse than that, because how could anything possibly compare?", she looked away again, looked towards the palace "I was wrong though, that was a terrible moment in my life but not the worst, and not the only terrible moment. Since then there have been many dreadful times in my life, finding out I couldn't give Louis an heir, seeing d'Artagnan suffer miscarriage after miscarriage, still birth after still birth and wither before my eyes, learned that my husband was dying too young, and finally my cousin the Dauphin has been kidnapped by those who want to destroy my whole family"

She looked by to Constance who was listening intently and without judgement, just letting Anne speak as she needed to.

"If this all goes to hell then it will fall to me to hold the throne until Queen Henriette Marie of England can come and claim it and place one of her Sons upon it. I will have to face Lorraine and his army, and likely Victor of Savoy's army as he tries to claim the throne through Christine. All combined that will four armies marching on France including England and Spain, this country will be ripped apart by civil war and foreign war for heavens knows how long and there is nothing I can do to stop it"

"Thats not your fault" Constance said softly "None of this is your fault, you are just trying to do your best in a bad situation"

"My best" Anne repeated nodding her head "And I swear that I will do my best to my dying breath. But will it be enough?".

 

*******************************************************************************

Meung

 

The second wave was of course lead by Porthos.
He lead the hand to hand fighters, those who were skilled and moving silently and killing quickly with nothing but their hands or a single blade.

Silent as the wind the crept up the hill and stole into the camp making their way to the tents.

Quietly tent flaps were lifted then the Musketeers slipped inside the tents and with swift precise moves slew the occupants.

A blade through the heart, across the throat, a snapped neck. All served the purpose, a swift and silent death so they could not cry out for help and alert the rest of the camp.

"There doesn't seem any honor in this Sir" Brujon whispered to Porthos who nodded

"Aye there ain't lad" he whispered back "But not all war is honorable, sometimes you have to do horrible terrible things for the greater good and leave the judgement of such things up to high powers hoping that the acts of valour you make will balance the cosmic scales for your soul"

This was very philosophical for Porthos and Brujon was old and intelligent enough to appreciate the words and the advice within them.

If he were to succeed as a soldier, as a Musketeer he would have to give up his romantic notions of Chivalry and see it for what it was, hard choices, blood and loss, death and destruction. While he may well save many lives from bandits, foreign forces, and rebels he would also have to face the fact that they were still men, still human and that he was taking their lives just as he was doing right now.
While this was not a challenge on a battle feild with equal odds the outcome was the same, only one man could walk away while the other bled out from their wounds awaiting burial in a mass grave that would be forgotten within a matter of years.

"Mon Dieu!"

The horrified cry rang about the camp like reveille making Porthos sigh and roll his eyes
"Well so much for surprises now" he grunted drawing his sword, "Now we'll have to do it the hard way!".

 

*******************************************************************************

 

The sound of one of the soldiers crying out roused the rest of the camp and destroyed any hopes of this going quietly anymore as the remaining soldiers leaped out of tents with their swords and pistols drawn.

Treville, who was leading the third wave having surounded the hill lead a charge up to the camp to join Porthos and his contingent in the fray leaving Lorraine's guards surounded and being attacked on all sides!.

 

In the Royal tent Lorraine jumped to his feet with his hand on his sword, the guards drew their weapons and hesitated unsure if they should stay and protect their Lord or if they should go and join the battle.

"What the hell is going on!?" Gaston demanded looking equal parts afraid and annoyed!

"It's quite simple dear cousin" d'Artagnan drawled rising to his feet and wrapping protective arms about Lex's shoulders while giving his cousin a smirk that would have done Satan himself proud!.

"Your little coup has failed utterly and completely" he said in a sickeningly sweet and calm voice that infuriated Gaston even more for how mocking it was!

"Once again Gaston you made the mistake of not thinking ahead, not planning for every stratergy and contingency. That was how Richelieu succeeded so often you know?" d'Artagnan informed the seething Duc "He never acted on just one scheme with one plan of action, he had a dozen schemes at once with three dozen plans to make certain that no matter what he would succeed, and despite the odds of whatever he intended, he always won"

Gaston glared "Really?" he sneered stepping forward and snorting as Athos shifted his weight and gave a warning growl beneath his breath "Well I think you have forgotten something Cousin" he said allowing a smugness back into his voice "We have you and your pathetic family at our mercy!"

"Who's we?" d'Artagnan asked looking amazingly unconcerned "You can't mean the dickless wonders on guard or the rabid mutt behind you!, and you certainly can't mean our mutual cousin the good Duc of Lorraine who I believe is far more concerned with his own security and that of his country to what happens to you"

Gaston laughed out loud at this as if d'Artagnan had just told a hiliarious joke, he looked over his shoulder at Lorraine expecting to see him laughing too, but the expression on Lorraine's face made the laughter die in his throat and his face freeze as he finally realized that his position was far more precarious than he had believed.

"Charles?" he stammered sounding like a toddler about to burst into noisy tears "We have a deal!" he cried

"Deals change" Lorraine said not even bothering to look at Gaston, his attention was on d'Artagnan alone "I believe we have a stalemate Majesty" he said with approving smile "Whatever are we to do about that?"

d'Artagnan glanced with his eyes to Athos who gave him a single nod of agreement, his attention was on Grimaud who as of yet had not moved, he was like a scavenger waiting and watching as the wolf pack fought it out, then he would move him and claim his prize ensuring his victory.

As he was unarmed Athos would have to rely on skill and speed to beat the other Alpha who had a sword, maine gauche, and pistols at his disposal. Athos was under no illusion that whatever happened Grimaud would go for blood, and it would be up to him to take the man down.

 

Lorraine waved a hand before himself "If you have an offer for me, I am all ears" he said to d'Artagnan who gave him a tiny smile in return

"The offer is this my dear Duc. That you vacate France immediately and never again set foot into my country. That you renounce any and all claims to my Kingdom and ensure that my idiot of a cousin does the same!"

"What!" Gaston sputtered going ignored

"In return I shall declare Lorraine independant of France, recognize you as official Sovreign and sign a treaty with you ensuring that under no circumstances shall France ever stage an invasion of your country"

Lorraine nodded his head and glanced to the guards at the tent flaps "Have the Musketeers succeeded in defeating our soldiers?" he inquired

"Yes my Lord" one of them shakily replied

"Ah, well then, it appears I have no choice but to acceed to your gracious offer" Lorraine said to d'Artagnan "Shall we draw up a treaty now?" he asked
"No!" Gaston screamed "You can't do this!, you promised you'd make me King!"

Lorraine sighed wearily "You are a spoiled and spiteful child Gaston and utterly unfit to wear a crown!, I will not risk my country, nore the people of France to the horror of your inept attempt to be a King, something which I am sure you would fail at completely!"
"You accept the terms?" d'Artagnan said as Gaston gave an impotent cry of rage

"Completely" Lorraine agreed "Shall drink to it or shake on it?" he asked, before he could act however and pour wine or extend a hand Gaston pulled his maine gauche from his belt and plunged it into the Duc's chest!.

 

With a winded cry Charles fell back clutching at his chest as all hell broke loose about him.

Grimaud pulled out his pistols and shot and killed both the guards at the tent flaps then threw the spent pistols aside to take up his sword and with an athletic grace he leaped over the prone form of the Duc to attack swing at Athos!.

Athos leaped back with his doublet tearing as the sword slashed over the leather, he kept moving trying to keep as much distance between himself and Grimaud as he could until he had a weapon in his hands.

"I'll kill you all!" Gaston shrieked turning on d'Artagnan and Lex and lunging at them with the bloody blade held high in his hands.

Pushing Lex aside d'Artagnan met Gaston's assult wrapping his hand about Gaston's wrist to prevent him from being able to plunge the dagger into d'Artagnan's flesh, he blocked the punch that Gaston aimed at his face and putting his right foot about Gaston's left ankle was able to kick his leg out from under him bringing the duc to the ground with an angered cry!.

A twist of Gaston's wrist and the careful pressure of his thumb beneath the bones had the dagger falling from his hand as Gaston yelped in pain.

d'Artagnan may have then taken a moment to celebrate victory but Gaston it seemed was not yet down and with surprising speed launched himself at d'Artagnan sending them both falling to the ground with him straddling d'Artagnan and his hands locking about the Omega's throat!

"I may not get to be King!" he raged down at d'Artagnan "But I'll end your reign if its the last thing I do!"

d'Artagnan choked his eyes going wide and his mouth hanging open as he tried to gasp for air, desperately he clawed at Gastons hands and wrists, pushed at his shoulders and scratched at his face to try and break his hold but Gaston held on tight, pressing his thumbs down onto d'Artagnan's larynx and watched in vindictive glee as the veins burst in the Omega's eyes

"See you in hell cousin!" he breathed as Lex let out a terrified scream

"Oman!".........

Chapter Text

Treville led the third charge into battle. Thanks to Aramis's contingent and Porthos's Lorraine's men had been depleted some what evening up the odds.

Lorraines men were also caught off guard, they were brought out of sleep by shock and were having to stumble from their sleeping rolls and tents while wiping the sleep from their eyes and gathering their weapons ready to fight without any chance of sorting themselves out or waking themselves up properly.

The younger men were the first to fall. They were the heavy sleepers, the ones who struggled to pull themselves together more than the others.

The older men, the seasoned soldiers slept lightly, always on the alert for danger and able to snap to in an instant, there were the real enemies that the Musketeers had to fight and they put their all into it to protect their King and Dauphin.

 

Pride surged through Treville's chest as he fought along side the younger Alphas and Betas and the handful of Omegas.

He may not lead these men anymore but he would always think of them as His Regiment, His family, His boys, as much as Violette was his daughter, the Musketeers were his Sons.

Ignoring the aged aches in his joints Treville wielded his sword as well as he ever had his eyes bright and minds eyes filled with the image of Richelieu looking down upon him, a smile wrought of pride and exasperation upon his face at his mates actions.

"I will be with you in heaven one day Armand" Treville said spinning round and sinking his sword into the gut of a Lorraine soldier and deflecting the sword of another with his maine gauche while he extracted his sword then disposed of the second soldier and wirled round looking for the next,
"But not this day!" he declared.

 

******************************************************************************

In the royal tent d'Artagnan gagged and choked as Gastons hands tightened about his throat.

The spiteful deranged face of his cousin leered at him as he tried to struggle free, becoming blurred and dim as a red haze began to settle over his vision.

Dimly he thought he heard Lex call out to him and Athos give a furious cry but he couldn't be sure, the powerful surging noise of blood pulsing past his ears was deafening him and a spreading darkness was opening up like a great void or an abyss between to lands, wider and wider it spread, getting closer and closer, ready to swallow him whole.

 

Tears leaked down d'Artagnan's cheeks from his blood shot eyes, his face turned red and purple from lack of oxygen.

His hands which had been gripped so tight about Gastons wrists began to fall limp, his fingers loosing their purchase upon Gaston and becoming lax as d'Artagnan's conscious mind faded further into the beckoning darkness that awaited him.

 

He wanted to fight, he needed to fight, to stay alive for his unborn pup, for Lex, for Athos, but d'Artagnan couldn't fight the hypoxia spreading through him, turning his limbs to jelly and his mind to oblivion.

 

Athos roared in fury and struggled against Grimaud who was proving to be a worthy adversary and was forced to continue to defend himself from the mans continued attack upon him leaving him unable to go to d'Artagnan's aid.

The horror of the sight of his pregnant mate pinned to the ground with Gaston straddling him and strangling him was like both a knife to gut for Athos and a huge jolt of adrenaline.

With renued vigor he he fought back against Grimaud sinking down to his knees with his sword arm up blocking Grimaud's blade and sliced the other Alpha across the shins with a stolen maine gauche from one of the Lorraine Soldiers.

As Grimaud let out a cry and stumbled Athos threw his weight forward in a shoulder roll. As soon as he was back on his feet to made a lunge toward d'Artagnan only to let out a cry as Grimaud's maine gauche hit his left shoulder sink down towards the blade and stopping there pinned.

 

Hitting the floor face first Athos gnashed his chin and jarred his head. His own maine gauche fell from his hand and rolled across the tent out of reach and he struggled to keep hold of the sword.

"You don't think this is over yet do you?" Grimaud jeered advancing on Athos "This is only just beginning!" he snarled, his sword met Athos's as the Musketeer Captain forced himself up to fight once more, but Athos found himself on the defensive and received a kick from Grimaud's boot to the face that very nearly broke his jaw!.

Rolling over Athos howled as the maine gauche in his shoulder tore down the flesh and muscle.

His head spun and blood rolled down from his nose coating his mouth and spilling onto his tongue.

Spitting the foul taste from his lips Athos forced himself up and swung at Grimaud who dodged easily managing to stab Athos through the right upper arm causing him to drop his sword with the shock of pain. Before he could regain it Grimaud swung for his throat and he was forced to throw himself back lest his throat be cut open!.

Scuffling back on his backside, hands, and feet Athos backed away to the edge of the tent as Grimaud advanced on him smirking as he aimed the tip of his sword at Athos's face.

"So it all comes down to this" he drawled "A single fight man to man in which you fail to save those you love", he smirked at Athos who glared at him refusing to show a single hint of fear

"Once I am done with you I will gut your Alphon and flay his skin, tan it and make myself a new pair of boots!, your Omega I will gut and display his severed head along side the corpse of his unborn whelp, and you?", Grimaud paused and laughed tapping the tip of the sword against Athos's cheek "You I will crucify and castrate once I have cut out your heart!"

He drew back to sink the sword through Athos's chest but Athos reacted with the speed of lightning pulling the maine gauche from his back and thrust it forward into Grimaud's heart!.

 

Grimaud's eyes bugged and his mouth dropped open in surprise at Athos's actions.

His sword fell from his hands which he brought round to clutch at his chest and pull the maine gauche from the wound with an arch of blood that continued to pour down his front.

A hollow laugh escaped his lips as he fell to his knees before Athos "You know?" he rasped "My favorite part of war is the end!", he toppled to the side and let out a long breath with blood bubbling and dripping from his mouth

"Mine too!" Athos whispered getting to his feet ready to save d'Artagnan only to find that he need not worry for Lex had beaten him to it!.

 

Seeing his Aphan in mortal danger and his Oman similarly caughter Lex reacted on instinct alone.

Running forward he grabbed Gastons dropped dagger from the ground, taking it in his right fist he ran towards his cousin and Oman, grabbed hold of Gaston's long red hair and ran the blade across his bared throat!.

Blood sprayed across d'Artagnan and over the tent and the veins and arteries were ripped open!.

Gaston chocked and let go of d'Artagnan's throat to grab at his own in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding.

Coughing and spewing blood from his mouth and gushing even more from his throat Gaston slumped from d'Artagnan his eyes wild and looking about desperately to get help from somewhere to save him!.

With large frightened tears dripping down his cheeks he fell down completely and shuddered as he fought to stay alive as long as he could, but in the end there was nothing he could do and within seconds he was unconscious and then dead.

 

*****************************************************************************

 

For a few moments Lex didn't move, he just stared at Gaston's dead body with wide eyes as if he couldn't quite believe what he had just done.

His hands clutched the bloody dagger and shook violently as the shock of his actions set in.

"Lex!" Athos said struggling to get to his feet "Lex it's alright sweetheart" he said approaching his shocked Alphon who continued to stare at Gastons corpse
"Lex, sweetheart look at me", Athos cupped Lex's face and turned his head so they were looking at each other "It's alright" he said "You did what you had to"

"I...........I killed him" Lex whispered inhaling sharpely "I....killed.......", he looked up at Athos his wide eyes filling with tears "I wanted him to stop!, couldn't let him hurt Oman"

"I know" Athos said stroking Lex's hair "You've not done anything wrong"

Lex wet his lips and rolled them glancing over at d'Artagnan who was still laying on the ground
"Oman!" he breathed breaking away from Athos to go to his Omans side and gasped when he saw his Oman's unresponsive face "Aphan!?"

"It's alright" Athos said refusing to allow himself to believe otherwise as he knelt besides d'Artagnan and with a shaking hand took his pulse letting out a deep sigh of relief as he felt d'Artagnan's pulse beneath his fingers

"He's just unconscious" he said to Lex who slumped down onto his backside finally letting go of the dagger he'd used to cut Gaston's throat

"Athos?"

Athos looked over his shoulder as Aramis's head appeared from the tent flap, the Spaniard paled at the sight of d'Artagnan clearly imagining the worst but Athos quickly set him straight

"He's alright, he's just passed out"

"Oh thank God!" Aramis breathed stepping inside the tent "We're done outside, all the soldiers have been taken care of"

"Good, we're doing alright in here too" Athos said shifting d'Artagnan to lay on his lap and used a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe Gastons blood from his face

"Speak for yourself!"

With a groan Lorraine sat up clutching at his stab wound and scowling "Leave me for dead why don't you?"

"With pleasure!" Athos sneered at him his attention waning the second d'Artagnan gave a moan and shifted on his lap "Love?" he asked cupping d'Artagnan blood strained face

"Oman?" Lex cried taking d'Artagnan's hand and holding it tight

"Ahhthoss?" d'Artagnan slurred coughing harshly and squinting as he opened his eyes to gaze at his husband "Wha...?"

"Shhh don't dry to talk" Athos said helping d'Artagnan to sit up and supported his back

"I'll get some water and something to clean his face" Aramis said heading back towards the tent flaps

"What about me?" Lorraine cried

Aramis took a handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it at the Duc "Stuff that in your hole!"

"Fine treatment I must say!" the Duc grumbled pressing the handkerchief to his wound non the less and eyed the family across from him.

Athos was supporting d'Artagnan's weight holding him to his chest while Lex was pressed into d'Artagnan's side with his face buried in d'Artagnan's chest
"Alls well that ends well I suppose" Lorraine sighed glancing at Gastons corpse "Except maybe for you!" he said "But at least it puts you out of my misery!"

"Is everyone alright?" d'Artagnan asked his voice horse with the rapidly spreading bruising about his throat

"As far as I know" Athos replied "And Lex here saved your life"

"Hm I'm proud of you" d'Artagnan whispered ruffling Lex's hair "You've been so brave, so strong"

Lex sniffed and looked up at d'Artagnan with watery eyes "I couldn't let him hurt you!"

"And you didn't, you did what had to be done" Athos said "You don't have to feel guilty for saving your Omans life. Yes you killed Gaston but you had to do it, it doesn't make you a bad person at all no matter how you might feel at the present"

"He's right sweetheart" d'Artagnan said kissing Lex's cheek "And we are both very proud of you"

Lex nodded his head and sniffed shakily "I wanna go home now" he said in a small voice, it was going to take a while for him to come to terms with all this, taking a life was never easy and Lex wouldn't be able to just move on from this right away, but he had his parents and his family to help and support him through this

"We're going home" Athos said "And I promise nothing like this will ever happen again".

 

******************************************************************************

Aramis wrapped Athos's back and his arm in a make shift bandage and did the same for Lorraine's wound.

d'Artagnan's face was washed clean of his cousins blood and he was given water to drink before they made the ride back to the Louvre.

"Gaston needs to be buried in state" he said quietly to Treville, he was finding it harder and harder to speak as the bruising came out on his throat, "He may have been a traitor but he's still and member of the royal family and needs to be treated as such"

Treville nodded his head and summoned Brujon and Clairmont to him "Wrap the Duc of Orleans body and make ready to transport it back to the Louvre with us"

"Sir?" Clairmont asked

"He's to be buried in state, It's the Kings orders"

The two younger Musketeers exchanged glances at this but did not question the order

"What about Lorraine?" Porthos grunted glaring at where the Duc stood besides his own horse drinking brandy from a skin "Do we arrest him?", his eyes glinted at the thought of doing so and Treville could well appreciate the urge to have him bound, gagged, and slung over a horses back like a common criminal

"Don't tempt me!" he muttered glowering at the Duc who had the cheek to raise the flask to him in toast!, "Arrogant bastard!"

"I think we're ready to go" Aramis said indicating d'Artagnan being helped onto his horse by Athos and Lex climbing on behind him, Athos gave them both a pat and a lingering touch before going to mount Roger

"Alright" Treville said looking about and raised his voice "Lets saddle up and get to the Palace. We can deal with the bodies later", walking to his horse he mounted with ease "Lets go home".

Chapter Text

Louvre

Since they wanted to keep the events of the past days quiet the party entered the Louvre without official welcome from Anne and the court and simply went straight to the royal apartments.

Doctor Desalle was called to attend the royal family and had the unenviable task of trying to keep Athos and d’Artagnan still long enough to tend them when their main concern was for their Alphon who was still fragile after what he had been through and having taken a life.

“Drink this” d’Artagnan instructed pushing a cup of brandy into Lex’s shaking hands “Then a warm bath, a good meal, and off to bed with you”

“Bed!?” Lex protested “It’s only morning”

“And you’ve been through too much stress and need to rest” d’Artagnan said wrapping a warm blanket about his Alphon’s shoulders and kissed his head, despite his protests Lex yawned and snuggled closer to d’Artagnan seeking out maternal comfort and found his eyelids drooping even as he tried to make out that he wasn’t tired

“Can…”, he broke off and bit his bottom lip looking down at his knees

“What?” d’Artagnan asked cupping his chin and lifting his head so he was facing him

Lex avoided eye contact and spoke in a mumbling whisper that d’Artagnan had to strain to hear “Can I stay with you and Aphan?”
d’Artagnan smiled and pulled Lex into a hug “Of course you can sweetheart you never need to ask”, knowing Lex wouldn’t appreciate it, d’Artagnan said and did nothing as he felt Lex break into tears against him and simply held him tighter and gently rubbed his back letting his Alphon take the comfort he needed without saying a word.

 

An hour later, stitched, bandaged, bathed, and fed the royal family curled up together in bed, Lex in the middle with d’Artagnan and Athos around him, their arms laying over him in a protective comforting embrace that with the warmth of their bodies quickly had him falling into sleep.

“D’you think he’ll be alright?” d’Artagnan asked Athos in a whisper looking at their Alphon worriedly “He’s been through so much”

“He’ll get there” Athos said with complete certainty “He’s strong and he has us to help him deal with everything”

d’Artagnan shook his head “I should have reacted faster, taken out Gaston before he could get his hands about my throat”

“No, no don’t do that to yourself” Athos said his voice rising just a little “You can’t berate yourself for things done or not done during a battle situation, in the heat of the moment we are all running on gut instinct alone not training and while we’re on the subject you have never had battle training!”

“I trained with the Musketeers!”

“Not for battle you haven’t and you are very pregnant, I would say that cuts you some slack in regards to how fast you move”

d’Artagnan hummed and cupped his belly with his free hand “Lets hope he or she doesn’t get anymore shocks over the next few months”

“Lets hope all of us don’t get anymore shocks over the next few months!” Athos corrected making d’Artagnan chuckle and nod his head, between them Lex shifted and murmured in his sleep burying himself deeper in the covers and making his parents smile

“At least he’s peaceful” d’Artagnan said “Hopefully he won’t get any nightmares”

“Well if he does we’ll be here to chase them away” Athos said “And that goes for your nightmares too!” he added with a wry grin

“My nightmares?, you’ll fight them away for me will you!?”

“Most certainly” Athos stated “Dragons, demons, and the hordes of hell!”

d’Artagnan giggled and moved his hand from Lex to stroke Athos’s cheek for a moment “Likewise, I’ll happily slay any dragons for you”

“Then we can all sleep safe in the knowledge that our nightmares will be battled away for us!”.

 

**********************************************************************************

 

Aramis of course went straight to Lemay who’s relief upon seeing him was clear in his face as soon as Aramis opened the door.

“It’s over” Aramis breathed, as he made his way over to the bed he kicked off his boots, dumped his cloak on the floor, undid and tossed aside his doublet and slipped his braces off his shoulders before he crawled up the bed to join Lemay and sank into a deep lingering kiss born of affection rather than passion at this moment.

“What happened, is everyone alright?” Lemay asked, though he doubted Aramis would be so relaxed or calm if anyone had been seriously hurt, though his own definition of serious injury and the Musketeer definition was vastly different!

“More or less” Aramis replied letting Lemay know that there had been injuries but they weren’t life threatening, (Not the Musketeer definition of life threatening at least!)
“Gaston’s dead, Grimaud too”

Aramis did not say this with any grief in his tone which was no surprise considering what the pair had done and Lemay could not say that he felt anything but relief at their demises

“Athos killed Grimaud and Lex killed Gaston”

“Lex!”, Lemay closed his eyes his brow creasing in empathized pain for Lex “Poor little bugger” he whispered

“He did it saving d’Artagnan’s life” Aramis explained though he didn’t need to, Lemay knew Lex well enough to know that he wouldn’t take a life unless he had no other choice in the matter, “He’s pretty shaken up about it”

“Of course he is, poor kids been though far too much” Lemay sighed and then winced cupping his belly as the Pup shifted rather uncomfortably inside him “God I’ll be glad to give birth!” he groaned

Aramis lay a hand over Lemay’s belly and stroked the mound “You lay still in there and stop making your Oman uncomfortable” he gently scolded “You’ll have plenty of time for kicking when you’re born”

“Kicking and running, getting into trouble, turning our hair white!” Lemay listed with a wry smile as his hand joined Aramis’s “We should probably make the most of the quiet life while we can because it won’t last much longer!”

“Yeah it’ll be sleepless nights, nappies, sick, and heaven knows what else!” Aramis agreed “And the first word, first steps, first time he or she sits on a horse, so many firsts to look forward to”

“I can’t wait for them to begin” Lemay whispered and leaned his head forward to kiss his mate who breathed against him

“Nor me”.

 

*********************************************************************************

 

As they wanted to keep the events of Lex’s abduction and the threat to d’Artagnan’s reign secret there could be no formal celebration for their defeat of Grimaud and Gaston, however that did not mean the royal family and their personal friends could not celebrate alone in the royal apartments after they had all rested.

 

They gathered in the royal apartments just after sunset to share a meal, wine, and simply rejoice in their victory.

Now well rested and looked less pale Lex too was allowed to join the party along with Charles, Gabrielle, and Violette.

The Pups took to a corner of the room to play a simple card game while the adults talked, picked at the remaining food on the table and drank wine.

“We’ll explain Gaston’s death as illness” Treville said having discussed the matter with Anne during the day, “Duke Charles has agreed to back up the claim and make out that his men brought Gaston’s body here for burial among his family”

“The Duke has no choice but to back up the claim” Anne stated “He’s at our mercy and he knows it no matter what treaty you signed with him” she said to d’Artagnan who smiled at her, he was sat or rather cradled in Athos’s lap who’s arms were wrapped about his belly protectively

Aramis was in a similar position with Lemay on the chaise, the Doctor had been allowed out of bed so long as he remained laying down which he was on the chaise with his head on Aramis’s chest, the two of them had a plate of dates, sugared almonds, marchpane, and macarons from which they were feeding each other and playfully teasing one another with licks and kisses on their fingers.
“Would you look at them?” Porthos said to Constance gesturing to Athos and d’Artagnan, and Lemay and Aramis “Buns in the oven and still can’t keep their hands off each other!”

“Jealous?” Constance asked with a smirk, she shrugged “That could be us given time!”, this was more forward than she tended to be but if she had learned anything over the last few days it was that she couldn’t afford to wait for things, life was uncertain and when the chance for happiness came it must be seized or you would risk losing it completely.

Porthos’s eyebrows shot up in surprise at this, and he glanced over to the happily mated and breeding couples before looking back at her “Really?” he whispered “You want…, marriage and to try for a litter?”

Constance smiled and shifted closer to Porthos, beneath the table she rested a hand on his knee, they might be amongst friends but there was no reason to be blatant about their affair
“I know it’s not really the Omega’s place to make these propositions but…”

Porthos placed a finger over her lips and smiled “We can easily fix that pet” he said a cheeky grin spreading over his lips as he rose to his feet and took up a silver spoon which he used to tap on the table and call everyone’s attention to himself
“I have an announcement” Porthos said and took Constance’s hand “Well actually I have a question to ask”, he got down on one knee before Constance pulling several gasps from those present and snicker of amusement from Aramis of course!
“Constance dowager Comtesse de Larroque, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife, putting up with all my bad habits, my lack of refinement, my snoring!, and spend the rest of our days together till death us do part?”

“Did you know about this?” Lemay was heard to whisper to Aramis who shook his head watching transfixed to scene unfolding before them

Constance glanced over to d’Artagnan “With your permission Majesty?” she asked (Technically she did have to ask permission to wed as all nobles did since it was a matter of political concern as to whom was allied with whom?)

“Of course” d’Artagnan said with a wave of his hand “So long as I can give you away that is!” he cheekily added

“Who else would I ask!?” Constance chuckled and placed her free hand over Porthos’s “Yes I will marry you, I will put up with all your bad habits, snoring, smelly boots, and be with you till the end of my days!”

Porthos let out a deep belly laugh as he rose to his feet and wrapped Constance in his arms and tipping her backwards sank into a deep kiss with her

“So now we have a wedding to plan!” Anne said reaching for her wine “To the happy couple!” she said and raised her glass aloft her toast being repeated by all the room.

Chapter Text

As he had ordered a full state funeral for Gaston du Orleans, d’Artagnan and the whole royal family and court had to attend the funeral and take part in the procession from the Louvre to Notre Dame, and then Saint Dennis for the internment.

As he needed to be by d’Artagnan’s side Athos gave the leading of the Musketeers to Porthos.

In honour of the death all wore black sashes over their doublets and their cloaks were of grey not pale blue.
D’Artagnan had not ordered full court mourning, he had no intentions of wearing black for six months in Gaston’s memory but he did insist upon it for the funeral and so the whole court was garbed in black for the slow march through the streets to Notre Dame where a single mournful bell was being rung.

 

“Why are we doing this Oman?” Lex asked walking besides d’Artagnan and Athos “He was a traitor, why give him a state burial and honour him like this?”

“Keeping up appearances mon petit” d’Artagnan replied placing a gentle hand on Lex’s shoulder, the boy had grown again he noticed, he was likely to become taller than both his parents, and while he had taken d’Artagnan’s hair colour he had Athos’s blue eyes and his colouring rather than d’Artagnan’s dusky skin tone.

“It is best that Gaston’s treachery remains a private matter between us all rather than becomes public” he explained to Lex “So if we are to maintain the appearance that he was still a beloved member of the royal family he must be given the honours befitting one”

“Hence the funeral” Athos said from Lex’s other side

“Doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be grieving for him!” Lex noted looking about them.

The whole court was dry eyed and looked more bored and irritated to have to be taking part in the procession rather than mournful.

The commons they passed through the streets were equally as unmoved by the death of Gaston du Orleans. Oh they removed their hats and bowed, some of the more pious crossed themselves, but not a single tear was shed nor a single word of regret was spoken as the procession went past.

“Gaston was not a man who gained himself many friends” d’Artagnan said with a sigh “He was too self involved and spiteful to ingratiate himself upon anyone for very long”

“A sour heart tends to leave a sour taste in ones mouth!”, this came from Aramis who made no effort to hide the fact he’d been eves dropping!
“It’s rude to but into private conversations!” Athos scolded with a wry smile

“It’s rude to speak ill of the dead but we’re doing that too!” Aramis shot back with an unrepentant grin

“It’s nothing compared to some of the talk I’ve heard through out the court” Anne offered her face covered with a delicate black veil as was Constance’s

“Oh?, listening to the gossips now cousin?” d’Artagnan teased “Shame on you!”, he had to stifle a laugh as Anne’s sharp nails dug into his back!

“What are they saying?” Aramis asked eager as always for gossip!

“That Gaston died of the Pox after fornicating with gutter trash whores!”

d’Artagnan snorted and quickly covered the sound with a cough “A Syphilitic demise!, what an honourable death!”

“Another theory is that after Louis made you his heir Gaston took to comforting himself with food and drink and thus choked himself to death as he gorged!”

“What a charming thought!” Athos muttered

“And finally that he was flung from his horse during a hunt and was trampled under the hooves before drowning in the horses shit which it deposited on his head!”

Aramis choked on a laugh at that one, he had a good idea where that rumour had started and it’s perpetrator was currently leading the Musketeers!

“Ah well as thoroughly despised as he was maybe Gaston’s soul might yet be saved from hell with enough prayers today” d’Artagnan said as they drew close to Notre Dame, “Assuming God actually chooses to listen to them that is”

“If I were God I think I would have placed cloth in my ears and taken a holiday!” Athos said in his usual dry way “Surely listening to the pleas of us mortals grows tiresome from time to time!”

“Especially when said mortal was so undeserving forgiveness” Aramis agreed and made a the sign of the cross towards Gaston’s casket “May God damn him for all eternity and condemn him to everlasting torment in the pits of hell!”

“Amen!” d’Artagnan chuckled while Lex giggled and had to cover his mouth with his gloved hand to hide his grin as they went up the steps and into Notre Dame.

 

Following the funeral d’Artagnan held a wake in Gaston’s honour at the Louvre where wine and food was served by sombre servants without any music playing.

He was not remotely surprised when the courtiers swiftly began to make excuses to take their leave for their own chambers where they might play card games, play music if they had an instrument with them, dance, and fornicate rather than pretend to show grief for the Duc.

 

“Pray God I am never so hated that people would rather enjoy an early night and mourn my death!” he commented to Treville as yet another Noble departed for the night

“You won’t be” Treville assured him “You have too much love in your heart for such a thing, your kindness and generosity promises that you will always be adored”

d’Artagnan smiled and looked wryly to where several members of the privy council were gathered “Adored but not altogether respected” he mused running a hand over his prominent belly “What was the question in The Prince?, whether or not it is better to be feared or loved?”

“And have you an answer to that question?” Treville asked keeping a watch on the privy council members out of the corner of his eye

d’Artagnan turned and gave him a smile “Why both of course!” he said “A Prince must be loved by his people but feared by his enemies”

“Hmm” Treville nodded his head “Very wise” he said “And speaking of enemies, The Duc of Lorraine will be taking his leave tomorrow”

d’Artagnan grinned fully now “He is an enemy still in your mind?”

“Is he not in yours?”

d’Artagnan sighed and nodded his head “Of course, but for now he is defeated and so we can afford to be gracious towards him, and so I will grant his departure my blessing”
Treville bowed his head “I shall pass on the news your Majesty”

“Thank you” d’Artagnan said “And I shall now take myself and my family to our private suites and put off this false mourning, I have more than had my fill of it for one day!”.

 

Following Morning

 

Duc Charles de Lorraine bowed from the waist before the thrones upon which Athos and d’Artagnan sat with Lex at d’Artagnan’s side, his hand resting supportive and protectively upon his Oman’s forearm that was stretched out over the arm rest, his free hand loosely cupped his belly that sat proud in his lap.

Just behind Athos’s throne stood Anne who’s proud and dignified stance created a stalwart and stoic figure who ruled from behind the throne.

She may not now be Queen of France but as First Minister she was the most powerful woman in the land and having held the throne while it was under such threat had proven herself to be a formidable woman who would not crumble under pressure.
Athos for once was not in his preferred Musketeer uniform but court finery. However his sword was still upon his hip and his hand rested upon the hilt letting everyone present know that he was ready to fight at a seconds warning should anyone pose a threat to his family.

Just to be perverse d’Artagnan made Lorraine wait for a full minute before he allowed him to rise from his bow and kept a small smug smirk on his face which was otherwise regally impassive.

 

“I have come to take my leave” Lorraine said rising up from his bow and smoothing down his doublet “And I thank you for your gracious hospitality and wish you’re Majesty a brief confinement with a swift and easy delivery of your Pup”

d’Artagnan smiled but the smile did not reach his eyes, for all of Lorraine’s sweet words and his choosing to side with d’Artagnan instead of Gaston, the young king knew better than to trust him. Lorraine may have come to his aid this once but it had mostly been an act of self-preservation not an act of genuine loyalty and should a better offer ever come along he would take it and turn on d’Artagnan as swiftly as the changing of the wind.

However for the moment Lorraine was beaten and was retreating back to his own lands to lick his wounds and thank his lucky fortune that he had escaped with his life and his estates intact so d’Artagnan could afford to be gracious to him, if a little smug too.

 

“I thank you for your good wishes dear cousin and wish you a speedy uneventful journey home” he said “I do hope that should we meet again our time together will not be soured by death”

Lorraine was shrewd enough to hear the unspoken warning there and gave d’Artagnan a tight smile and dip of his head
“Indeed Majesty, I shall convey your words of comfort to my sister and niece”

“Please do so” d’Artagnan said “But tell them not to grieve over long for soon Orleans will have a new Duc to care for her”, he stroked his belly provocatively reminding Lorraine that with the death of Gaston he had lost the claim on Orleans which would not go to d’Artagnan’s second born

Lorraine’s smile tightened even more “Let us pray that what slumbers in your belly is male your Majesty”, this was rather crassly spoken but considering the jibe d’Artagnan had sent his way it was better than nothing and so d’Artagnan merely smiled brightly and kept the serene look on his face until Lorraine had retreated from the throne room.

Then he tipped his head back and let out a sigh of relief “Thank God that’s over with!”

“To say the least!” Athos agreed rising from the less than comfortable throne, they really must have some sort of cushion made for them or his arse was going to be damaged for life!

“Now young Dauphin” he said to Lex mock sternly “I believe you are due for a fencing lesson, and unless I am very much mistaken you have a new sword to learn to use!”

He and d’Artagnan had commissioned a new full length blade for Lex to start learning to use with an intricate curved handle of platinum and a pommel studded with a costly emerald.

They had wanted to give him a gift to help further lift his spirits since his kidnap and subsequent killing of Gaston, and Lex had been speaking of needing a larger sword than the three quarter length he had been using up until now so it had seemed to be the best gift for him to have as it would lift his spirits and regular fencing lessons would soon occupy his thoughts and take them off the past.

 

Lex’s eyes widened in surprise and joy, and he flung his arms about d’Artagnan kissing his cheeks before flinging his arms about Athos’s waist thanking them profusely

“Come on then” Athos said ruffling his hair “Lets go and teach you to use the sword then!”

“And I think I will go and pay Lemay a visit” d’Artagnan said getting to his feet and waving Anne’s offered hand of aid away “We can commiserate over not being able to see our feet and dealing with cravings!”

Anne chuckled lightly and dipped a shallow curtsey as d’Artagnan went past her and watched him go feeling herself relax completely now since all this bad business had started.

It was all over now and they could sit back and look forward to the births of new pups and the good days yet to come.

“Please God” she whispered “Let this be an end to all our worries and troubles”.

Chapter Text

While Constance and Porthos intended to wait to wed until after d’Artagnan and Lemay were delivered of their Pups there were still preparations to be made in the interim which Constance eagerly threw herself into.

 

The finest cloth merchants came to the Louvre with their wares and laid them before her so she might select the fabrics for her gown.

d’Artagnan joined in with the selection as did Lemay as they had the merchants bring the wares to his chambers so he might have some company and not feel quite so isolated from the rest of the world.

It also gave them both a chance to select material for their own outfits for the wedding though neither would have the clothing properly fitted until after they were delivered since getting it done now would be a waste of time since their body shapes would change dramatically between now and then.

 

Soon yards of silk, satin, damask, lace, and velvet were laid out before the Omega’s for their selection and the merchants laid the cloths over each other suggesting colour schemes and designs.

“What do you think to a white gown with green embroidery?” Constance asked holding the dazzling white silk against herself for d’Artagnan and Lemay to view

“Hmm white is so plain” d’Artagnan said wrinkling his nose “And it stains so easily”

“Well it’s not like you’ll be wearing it!” Constance said letting the silk drop down to her waist

“I think you’ll look beautiful in a white gown” Lemay said “But d’Artagnan in right white is very plain so you’ll need a good deal of embroidery to make up for the starkness”

“Why not white with this for an underskirt?” d’Artagnan asked holding up a length of mint green damask, you can have the rest in white and break it up with this?”

“Hmm…”, Constance tilted her head studying the cloth but shook her head “No I want all white, chemise, stomacher, kirtle, and skirts, and all but the chemise in silk”

The merchant unsurprisingly looked very pleased at this since Silk was a very expensive material

“Maybe have the stomacher over laid with pale green lace?” d’Artagnan suggested “And have the Skirt embroidered with pale green silk?”

“And have green silk ribbons on the sleeves of the Chemise to decorate them” Lemay added agreeing with d’Artagnan

“Oh and have the stomacher studded with seed pearls, and wear only pearls for your jewellery with maybe an emerald at your throat” d’Artagnan said picturing the gown in his mind as he spoke “One a plain white back ground the rich dark green colour will look so much more dramatic”

“Yes!” Constance agreed “Yes it’ll be perfect!”, she turned to the Merchant and placed the order for the white silk, lace, and began to look through the light green ribbons to find the one she wanted for her chemise. The thread for the embroidery would have to be selected from the tailor of course and once the fabrics were purchased they would be summoned to begin making the gown.

Meanwhile d’Artagnan began to peruse the fabrics to find himself something to wear.

Of course as King he could wear any colour and as rich a fabric as he wished, but it was to be Constance’s day and he had no wish to outshine her so he took care in the selection to make sure he would not.

“I wouldn’t mind that rich chestnut for myself” Lemay said pointing to the chestnut velvet “It’d make a handsome doublet I believe”

“Indeed Monsieur” the merchant agreed “Perhaps if I may suggest with breeches in gold or bronze”, he handed Lemay swatches of gold and of bronze to look over

“The bronze I think” Lemay said preferring the darker shade

“Have the doublet embroidered in gold thread at my expense” d’Artagnan said as he picked up a length of black cherry satin “This is for me I think”

“It’s very dark” Constance said eyeing the material with a frown “It is beautiful though” she admitted admiring the way the shades seemed to shift between purple and red

“I think it’ll work though” d’Artagnan said “A doublet and breeches in this perhaps with silver embroidery, and a silver sash”

“Perhaps a shirt in lilac or pink your Majesty?” the merchant offered only to get a disgusted look from d’Artagnan

“Do I look like I’m the sort of person to wear pink?”

“Go for lilac then” Constance said tossing him the fabric “It’ll make a nice shirt”

“Very well” d’Artagnan agreed “I concede to a Ladies advice!”

Constance chuckled and moved to stand before the mirror “I still need to decide on my hair” she said “I’m too old to wear it down, but I don’t want to look too formal, perhaps up with tendrils curling over my shoulders?”

“That sounds fine to me” d’Artagnan agreed “And maybe have a circlet of white roses crowning your head?”
“Oh that’d be beautiful” Lemay readily agreed shifting in bed and trying with difficulty to get comfortable, a task that was becoming rapidly impossible with his advancing pregnancy “And it’ll look very dramatic against your red hair”

Constance beamed and laughed looking years younger, much like a teenage girl in the whirlwind of her first romance.

It was a beautiful sight to see and both d’Artagnan and Lemay were happy to bear witness to it.

 

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Garrison

 

“I don’t get it!” Porthos grumbled as he took a drink from his wine cup, he was sat with Athos and Aramis in the office commiserating over the fact they were being hen pecked by their Omega’s into getting wedding clothes and making sure they were well primped and preened for the day.

“What is it about weddings that make Beta Women and Omega’s go so nuts?, I swear the mere mention of them send them into a frenzy!”

Athos and Aramis chuckled and shook their heads, unlike his friends Athos was not drinking alcohol he was drinking freshly squeezed juice of oranges not daring to indulge his weakness and drink any wine lest he begin to succumb to his addiction once again.

“It must be part of their make up getting so excited about such things” Aramis said “Though I can’t say I complain to see them all prettied up and on show before me!”, a lazy smile spread over his face accompanied by a dreamy look in his eyes to which Porthos kicked his shin

“You can fantasize on your own time not ours!”

“I don’t need fantasy mon ami” Aramis said with a lecherous smirk “I have the most beautiful Omega in the world to keep me satisfied!”

“Ugh d’you ‘ave to!?” Porthos grunted swigging his wine with a wrinkling of his nose

“I would argue with your declaration that Lemay is the most beautiful Omega” Athos said a small smile curving his lips

“Ah you’re biased” Aramis dismissed “You both are”

“Aye and proud of it” Porthos declared holding his cup aloft “And I propose a toast to the beauty of our Omega’s”

“I’ll drink to that” Aramis said chinking his cup against Porthos’s

“As will I” Athos said “And add to our eternal happiness with our Omega’s and their continued good health”, Aramis and Porthos chinked their cups against his in agreement and readily drank the toast for both happiness and health of their mates.

 

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Louvre Chapel

 

Treville was not an overly religious man which was surprising since he had been mated to a Cardinal.

He believed in God of course, in the teachings of Christ, but he had never been overly pious, rarely going to confession, and only attending Mass on Sunday rather than daily.

Being a soldier and in the field he had not had ample opportunity to attend on a regular basis and even in the years he had been more city bound he had never developed a good attendance.

Richelieu God Rest him had never pushed otherwise and had simply said extra prayers for Treville’s soul to ensure his entry to the Kingdom of heaven, the place that Treville was certain his mate now dwelled in peace watching over him and their daughter.

 

Today however having finished his paper work and being rather at a loose end he found himself going to the chapel and kneeling before the Holy Mother with his rosary to pray.

It was not however himself he said his prayers for, but for Violette, for d’Artagnan, for Lemay, and for Lex one whos shoulders the future of France rested.

As he finished his Our Father he remained bent with his hands clasped and spoke quietly, but not to God, to Richelieu whom if he tried very hard he could still imagine standing before him in crimson robes delivering the sermon and administering communion.

 

“Your loss is still felt by us all my love, by myself and our daughter especially” he breathed “I try my hardest to protect this land that you gave your life in service to, I do my best to see to it that d’Artagnan, that Lex will be secure, but I fear at times as a politician I am found wanting. I do not have your skill, the sharpness of your mind, your subtlety and seduction, I am as you once named me the Bluff Honest man of action, not a skilled courtier or minister”

He sighed almost envisioning Richelieu standing above him with blessing hands over his head ready to absolve his sins and guide him
“I fear for the loss of our young King” he said “d’Artagnan maybe strong in mind, in spirit too, but his body…, we nearly lost him in his last child bed and there is no guarantee that we shall not in this one that draws ever closer”
He paused and took a breath and wiped a dampness from his cheeks
“I am growing old Armand” he said quietly “As more time passes the more I feel my years and I know that soon I shall join you beyond this world and I admit that part of me longs for that day as I miss you so, but I also fear it desperately as I know that I will be abandoning our daughter who is still so very young, and will be leaving d’Artagnan short of protection which he still needs so much, and should God forbid we loose him in the child bed then poor Lex must take the burden of state upon to his young shoulders and I fear more than ever that I will leave him before he is grown into a man”

A shuddering breath escaped Treville’s lips and he gripped the rosary harder “Please give me a sign my love, a sign that you are still near me, that you will give me your strength when I need it, that you will watch over our Daughter, and over Lemay and d’Artagnan when their time comes, show me in some way I beg of you, a small sign, any sign…”, a feeling like cool fingers on the back of his neck startled Treville and he jerked his head up looking around to see where the sensation had come from.

A ripple of wine like fingers through his hair sent tingles across his scalp and a shiver down his spine, closing his eyes Treville breath out
“Armand”, a smile curved his lips and relaxed look settled over his previous tense features “I love you and I miss you, and I hope you are at peace”.

While he could not prove it, could not say how it was possible, Treville could swear that for a second he felt the warm touch of lips against his own before another ripple of wind sent a shiver down his spine and was gone as if it had never been there.

Letting out a contented breath Treville looked up at the statue of Mary and crossed himself before rising to his feet feeling more at peace than he had in days.

Chapter Text

Louvre

As much as they tried to keep Lemay from delivering early and had kept him bed bound for weeks on end eventually nature won over and just at the start of his ninth month of gestation his waters broke.

 

"It's nearly a month too soon for this!" Aramis just about shrieked thought later he would be denying that he did anything so unmanly as shriek
"The Pup's not ready it'll be too small and unformed to survive!"

"Mis it'll be fine" Porthos said for about the fifth time in as many minutes and had just as much effect as he had the first time as Aramis continued to pace back and forth in the royal parlour where he had been banished to with Porthos and Athos since he had been doing nothing but getting in the Doctor and midwives way and just about driven Lemay mad with his insistance of petting him like a small child and fretting over him!.

Lemay did apreciate the care that Aramis was showing but he was too busy getting ready to give birth to really care right now and the last thing he wanted was his head stroked like a dog or his face peppered with kisses and upper body half crushed in a hug!.

Naturally Lemay was frightened himself, not just of the fact the Pup was coming early but because he was in fact giving birth and as a physician he knew everything that could go wrong during that time.

It was one of those situations where it was possible to have too much information.

Anyone else the Midwives and Doctor's could have reassured without difficulty but Lemay already knew everything they did if not more which meant there were no words of comfort that they could give him that would mean anything.

He knew how dangerous the delivery could be, how many things could go wrong for both him and the Pup, he also knew of the risk following the birth, of blood loss, of the Fever which claimed so many lives. He knew that no matter how good the midwives and Doctor were if he was to contract that illness there would be nothing they could do and he would die.

On top of that he was worried about his Pup, as he was very nearly full term he knew that he or she had a good chance of surviving and while would likely be small he or she would not be malformed. However the smaller the Pup the weaker he or she would be and the more suseptable to illness which could easily rob their life.

With all these worries and the every increasing pain of labour Lemay just didn't have enough patience or strength to spare on anyone other than himself right now and so after getting in the midwives way for the tenth time Lemay had thrown him out so he could give birth in peace!.

 

Of course this meant Athos and Porthos had to deal with Aramis as he fretted and paced and panicked
"What if something goes wrong!" he cried raking a hand through his hair and tugged on it desperately "What if he..., what if the Pup..."

"He'll be fine Mis, the Pup will be fine and in a few hours you'll be holding your little one in your arms with Lemay" Porthos said taking Aramis by the shoulders and forcably moving him to go and sit down on the chaise where Athos pushed a cup of wine into his hands

"Drink it" he ordered sternly with an expression that told Aramis that if he did not then he would force it on him!

Mulishly Aramis gulped down the wine and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand "I hate this" he said "This uncertainty, this...waiting and not knowing!"

"It's an Alpha's curse" Porthos said patting his knee "We fret and worry and wait outside the birthing chamber while our Omega's and beta women labour in pain and sweat"

"And curse our names, knots, and threaten to castrate us the first chance they get!" Athos dryly stated making Porthos chuckle

"I'll bet Lemay's cursing you're name right now!"

Aramis didn't smile, he was too worried to smile and no amount of humour would help right now. He hated feeling so helpless, he wanted to be able to do at least something to help Lemay even though he knew he couldn't really do anything for him, he couldn't give birth for him or bear his pain and seeing him in such pain would make him want to clutch at Lemay and pet him and get in the way of those trained to deliver babies and Pups hence why he had been sent out in the first place.

"I wish I could do something to help him" he whispered "I just want to do something!"

"Why don't you go to the chapel and pray?" Porthos suggested, Aramis was always a religious man and found comfort in God and if there was ever going to be a time that he needed to seek out Gods comfort it was right now

Aramis was tempted, very tempted but paused not wanting to be far from Lemay

"We'll find you as soon as there is news" Athos assured him with a smile "Now go and seek out comfort in God and say a prayer to the blessed Virgin for your mate"

Aramis smiled a truly grateful smile and rose to his feet, he had no words for either Athos or Porthos and in any case non were needed as his expression said everything that needed to be said.

As fast as he could he made his way to the Louvre chapel and fell to his knees before the Virgin Mary to pray for her to intercede and save both Lemay and the Pup.

"He is kindness it'self Holy Mother, he is best of all humanity, a shining light and a comforting warmth that chases away the shadows and painful cold of this world" he whispered to the statue of Mary
"He is an innocent, he saves lives and heals the sick with the tenderness of your Sainted Son Jesus Christ. He of all humans on this earth deserves to live, he has to live!", Aramis paused sniffing and wiped tears from his cheeks "I beg of you Holy Mother as an unworthy sinner who is weak to all worldly temptation I beg that you aid my mate at this time, that you keep him safe and bring our Pup safely into this world".

 

*******************************************************************************

After Aramis had left Porthos threw himself down onto one of the chairs and tipped his head back to gaze at the ceiling
"If Lemay doesn't make it Aramis will not survive the grief" he murmured

"We will help him" Athos said "As the two of you helped me come to my senses about d'Artagnan, as we helped you after Alice passed away"

Porthos shook his head "It's not the same 'Thos" he sighed and lowered his head to look at Athos steadily
"Aramis isn't like you and me, he isn't as earthy as us, we are earth and wood and metal where he is air and water and fire, he is a true romantic, he feels everything much deeper than we do. On us a wound will heal and in time we will forget the pain, Aramis will bear the pain even when the wound has become a faded white scar", shaking his head Porthos looked back to the ceiling
"Aramis will wither like a plucked flower from it's bed without Lemay at his side, not even the joy of their Pup will be enough to keep him from following Lemay to the grave".

 

Athos wanted to argue this, he dearly wished he could but he knew what Porthos was saying was true, Aramis was the most empathetic man he knew, he loved with all his heart, a fierce and passionate all consuming love that filled his whole being, while this was romantic and was what the poets spoke of it also meant that when in grief he would be equally as consumed and like Porthos said it would destroy him.

"Let us hope then that the Blessed Virgin hears Aramis words and grants them" he said slumping down into the window seat "For all our sakes".

 

*****************************************************************************

 

Hours went by, the sun rose to it's peak and slowly began to set being replaced by the moon which soon cast it's pale ghostly light down on Paris with bright twinkling stars.

Lemay's labour progressed steadily through out the hours, the contractions slowly growing stronger and closer together as he fought to remain calm and keep his muscles relaxed.

D'Artagnan and Constance had joined him in the birthing chamber much to the shock of the physican and Midwives. While they were Omega's and welcome in the birthing chambers d'Artagnan was King and it was hardly fitting for him to attend but d'Artagnan could not care a fig for convention, his friend was in need of his support and he was going to give it no matter what!.

 

The two of them remained at the top of the bed out of the way of the midwives, they held Lemay's hands, fed him water and ale, wiped his face with cool damp cloths, and rubbed the base of his back and his pelvis to help relieve the pain.

For hours they remained at Lemay's side refusing to leave for meals or anything other than the need for the privy when they couldn't hold on anymore!.

Words of encouragement and comfort they spoke to Lemay, reminding him to breath deeply and to conserve his strength until he had to start pushing.

Finally in the early hours of the morning that time came.

 

"This is it" Lemay said moving with some difficulty to get onto his knees, with the aid of Constance and D'Artagnan he managed it and was supported by them with his hands in theirs

"Squeeze hard as you want" d'Artagnan said "We don't mind"

"And we both know how painful this is" Constance agreed sharing a nostalgic smile with d'Artagnan over their own labours

"I thought I knew what to expect" Lemay groaned "I thought I had enough knowledge to prepare myself, but it turns out I wasn't prepared for shit!", he cried out long and hard as an unbelievable pain spread through him, pain beyond anything he could have ever imagined

"Alright Lemay push down now, push until the contraction passes" the Physician instructed

"I am pushing!" Lemay snarled through gritted teeth "You push!", as the contraction ended he panted heavily and leaned into the touch of the cloth Constace pressed into his forehead then began to moan again as the next contraction came even harder than before and the desire to push overwhelming

"Thats it push you're nearly there" d'Artagnan said craning his neck to see to very top of the Pups head crowning

Lemay was deaf to him though, to everyone and everything in the room, he couldn't think of anything but his Pup slowly emerging from his body.
He didn't hear the Phycian telling him to push again he just did it, bearing down as hard as he could and not stopping until the most amazing sound reached his ear.

The sound of the Pup crying.

"A healthy Alpha boy" the Physician declared cutting the cord as the midwife wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to Lemay who'd slumped down onto his hip and turned round to take him

"My boy!, my little Alphon!" he whispered his voice having gone horse, tears were rolling down his cheeks but he didn't notice them, he was blind and deaf to everything but his perfect Pup with bright blue eyes the colour of corn flowers and thick black hair just like his Aphan.

 

******************************************************************************

 

Aramis had slumped on the floor of the chapel rolling his rosary beads through his fingers and was mouthing the words of Hail Mary without speaking.

His eyes were glassy and shadowed, his hair in disaray and his body caved in on itself in exhausted desparation.

Panting Porthos burst into the chapel and yelled out his name making it echo in the shadowed chamber and startling Aramis into jerking up right

"You have an Alphon my friend, a perfect healthy Alphon!" he declared clasping Aramis by the shoulders and laughing with joy

Aramis's eyes widdened impossibly and for a second he said nothing, then sprang into action crossing himself and bolting for the chapel as fast as if the hounds of hell were on his heels!.

 

He didn't stop until he was his Lemay's chambers where the midwives and physician were clearing away the bloody and stained sheets, and of course the after birth.

Lemay was laid in bed, exhausted and damp from being washed clean, but looked happier and years younger as he stared down at a bundle in his arms.

"Querida?" Aramis whispered almost afraid to aproach the bed

"Aramis" Lemay whispered his voice still horse "We have an Alphon"

Stumbling a little Aramis aproached the bed and sat on the edge looking down at his new born Pup slumbering in his Oman's arms. For the first time in his life Aramis was speachless, gently he reached out and stroked the Pups reddened cheek that was still wrinkled from the birth and yet looked more beautiful than anything Aramis had ever seen before in his life

"I want to call him Nicholas" Lemay said "He looks like a Nicholas"

Aramis nodded his head "Nicholas he shall be then" he breathed turning to look at Lemay with tears shining in his eyes "Nicholas Edouard for his beautiful Oman", he leaned forward kissing Lemay's cheek "I don't think I have ever been so happy in my life"

"Nor I" Lemay agreed reluctantly letting Aramis take little Nicholas into his own arms, it wasn't that he didn't want Aramis to hold him but that he didn't want to let go of him!

"Welcome little Nicky" Aramis whispered to the Pup kissing his forehead "We are going to love you so very much and you will make us the happiest proudest parents to ever live", he met Lemay's eyes the two of them sharing a smile of pure rapture and happiness beyond anything they had ever thought existed.

Chapter Text

Louvre

 

D’Artagnan had one last duty to attend before he went into confinement.

He was to commission several new Musketeers from the cadets.

Brujon

Clairmont

Leonne

Montague

Rousseau

 

All five cadets had performed exceptionally during the battle against Lorraine’s forces and the rescue of Lex and had continued to perform their duties with honour, discretion, and loyalty which had earned them this commission.

 

Before the whole court the five cadets knelt before the throne and a very heavily pregnant d’Artagnan who was assisted to rise by Athos and presented the ceremonial sword by an usher from a velvet pillow.

Walking as elegantly as his condition would allow d’Artagnan approached the cadets going to Brujon first tapping his shoulders lightly with the sword.

“I here by commission you Brujon into my regiment of Musketeers, may you serve always with the same devotion, honour, and valour that you have already displayed”

“Thank you Majesty” Brujon said looking up with a beaming smile which grew even wider as another Musketeer placed the Pauldron upon his right shoulder and laid the light blue cloak over the left and then helped him to rise.

d’Artagnan came next to Clairmont who had tears shining in his eyes as he too was commissioned and thanked d’Artagnan in a horse tear choked voice.

As he rose Brujon clasped his shoulder and slapped his back in congratulations.

Leonne puffed with pride as he was commissioned and ran his fingers reverently over the polished leather of his pauldron

Montague and Rousseau who were cousins embraced each other upon their commissions and hardly managed to hold back cheers in their joy over now officially being part of the regiment.

Replacing the ceremonial sword on it’s velvet pillow d’Artagnan wearily returned to the throne and gratefully sat down flexing his aching feet inside his boots and looking forward to taking them off and being bare foot once again as was much more comfortable right now!.

Athos called the Musketeers to attention and proudly saluted them taking their first commissioned salute from them before dismissing them to the garrison where he knew one hell of a party was waiting for them.

A newly commissioned Musketeer always received a wild party from their brothers and with five new commissions it bound to be wilder than normal.

“The City Guard will be taking over their duties for tomorrow!” he said to d’Artagnan with a wry grin “I’ll wager not a single Musketeer will be fit for duty by morning!”

d’Artagnan chuckled and laid a hand over his belly where the Pup moved restlessly and panted as his breath was stolen by a particularly hard kick. As Athos’s hand lay over his belly he looked up with a smile to his Alpha

“He grows strong” Athos said impressed at the strength of the kicks

“And restless” d’Artagnan said shifting uncomfortably “I do not think I will be long in confinement before he joins us”

Athos nodded his head, after witnessing so many pregnancies of his mate he knew what signs to look for and recognize when labour was growing imminent.
The increasing restlessness of the Pup or Baby, the dropping of the Pup or baby so the head was engaged ready for delivery, the increasing pain in d’Artagnan’s lower back and pelvis.

While Athos was looking forward to becoming an Aphan again he was also increasingly worried about the birth and the dangers d’Artagnan faced.

d’Artagnan had never yet had an easy birthing, ever since Lex he had struggled and strained in agony as his body fought to deliver the Pup.

He had come so close to death so many times in the child bed that Athos would rather have never seen him go there again, while he did not regret the Pup in d’Artagnan’s womb he did wish that d’Artagnan not be risking his life once again.

 

Seeing the worry in Athos’s eyes d’Artagnan cupped his cheek and stroked it with his thumb
“It’s alright sweetheart” he whispered so that no one else would hear them “All will be well I promise and soon we’ll have a new Pup in the cradle”

Fighting down his unease Athos smiled and nodded his head hoping that this was true.

 

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Lemay grinned as a pair of arms wrapped about his waist and a bearded mouth pressed a searing kiss to his neck as he stood over little Nicky’s cradle having just settled him back in after a feed.

“Should you be up and around yet my love?” Aramis asked in concern

Lemay had escaped child bed fever thank God but had suffered a crippling attack of White Leg which had left him bed bound for weeks following the birth in agony until it had finally passed.

While he had given birth nearly two months ago and had been churched so he was free from confinement Aramis was still worried about Lemay’s health and insisted he take things easy, especially while he nursed their Pup.

“I’m fine my love” Lemay said “The White leg is gone and shows no sign of returning, I am not bleeding, and I feel stronger everyday”

“Hmm well good” Aramis said continuing to kiss Lemay’s neck “But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a lay down in the afternoon does it?”

Lemay let out a shriek and a laugh as he was swept up into Aramis’s arms and carried to their bed where Aramis lay him down and climbed onto the bed delivering a long and deep kiss as he settled himself between Lemay’s parted thighs.

“Somehow I don’t think this lay down will be leading to much resting will it?” Lemay mused in amusement as Aramis busied himself undoing the laces of his loose shirt and slipping it up over Lemay’s head

“Maybe not rest as such but we shall get far more pleasure than mere sleep could provide Querida” Aramis replied treating his hands to the wonders of his mates milk ripe breasts and leaned forward to place heated kisses of his tender flesh delighting in the bucking and squirming of Lemay beneath as his lips and tongue.

It may have been against Church teaching but Aramis had not waited until Lemay had been churched to lay with him, as soon as Lemay had felt ready to be receptive to his attentions he had gladly made love to him, after all it had been long weeks since they had last been able to lay together in more than sleep and Aramis had sorely missed his mate and had been very keen to show him this and how much he loved him.

“We..uh..can not be long!” Lemay panted out as Aramis removed the last of his clothes and made short work of his own “d’Artagnan’s farewell party…”

d’Artagnan was to have a farewell party where all the court would bid him good health and a swift and easy labour the night before he went into confinement for twelve long weeks.

Lemay and Aramis were of course guests of honour and must be in attendance and so they needed to bath and make themselves ready, something Aramis seemed intent on forgetting as he kissed every inch of Lemay’s torso before laying siege to his thighs all the way up to his groin by which time any protests were disregarded and Lemay was writhing and begging for his knot!.

 

Shifting his weight Aramis lifted Lemay’s hips and slipped inside him with practised ease and let out a lewd moan as he was enveloped in moist heat.

“Querida!” he breathed as Lemay’s arms wrapped about his neck and he settled himself upon Aramis’s lap

“Fuck me Aramis!” Lemay whispered into his ear and bit the lobe “Show me how much you love me!”

Aramis growled and lay Lemay back down on the bed thrusting in and out of him while kissing Lemay until the need for air drove him to break apart their hungry lips.

Lemay wrapped his legs about his Aramis’s back and dug his nails into Aramis’s shoulders clinging to him tightly as he was rutted into the bed by his mate who knew every place to touch with his hands to bring him exquisite pleasure.

In perfect rhythm they moved up the bed, their bodies seeming to move as one in the act of passion, trading kisses and caresses as they writhed and clung together as the reached climax, sinking down into the soft warmth of the bed to catch their breath enjoy their peaceful bliss.

 

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Constance was a vision in her gown of raspberry damask, light pink lace, and white silk.

She greeted Porthos who was to escort her to d’Artagnan’s farewell feast with a bright smile as he came into her chambers.

“As always I feel under dressed when I am with you pet” Porthos greeted kissing her lightly rouged cheeks

“Flatterer” Constance chuckled with a smile “Actually I wanted to talk to you about something” she said

“Oh?, nothing bad I hope”

“No, no” Constance assured him “It’s about my heat”, years ago she would have blushed to be speaking of such things with an Alpha but she was no little maid now she was a widow with two Pups, she knew all there was of bedding and could speak of these things without embarrassment

“I am going into heat in ten days and I was hoping you would spend it with me”

Porthos growled low in his throat as his blood travelled south!, shifting his weight and reminding himself that they didn’t have time right now he forced down the urge to take Constance into his arms and lay with her right now!

“I would be honoured” he said in a low voice that was thick with passion “But your reputation…”

“Ah!” Constance scoffed waving a hand in dismissal “Who cares for that!, many Omega’s are pupped when they formally wed, it is a bonding that matters the most and I would be bonded to you as soon as may be”

She let out a small cry as Porthos pulled her into his arms and delivered a searing kiss that made her lips ache a little!

“I’ll make you mine Pet” he purred into her ear “I will devour you completely and ravage you until you are completely mine!”

Constance shivered in delight, her thighs growing damp with desire that maddeningly must wait to be satisfied as they had to get to the feast!.

 

Feeling rather like a young girl Constance giggled as she linked arms with Porthos and they made their way to the feast both of them thinking of the days ahead and the long nights of passion that awaited them when her heat came.

 

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D’Artagnan sat at the top table with Athos and Lex smiling brightly and talking animatedly as the court enjoyed the feast and drank to his health and the health of the Pup in his belly.

“Will I be able to come in and see you Oman, I don’t want us to be parted for so long” Lex asked sipping his wine

“Of course my love” d’Artagnan assured him “And it will not be so very long I promise, especially since your Aphan has arranged a surprise for you to keep you occupied”

“A surprise!”, Lex gazed at Athos with bright excited eyes

Athos smiled “I thought you may enjoy training with the Musketeers as your Oman did years ago”

“The Musketeers!”, Lex’s exclamation was loud enough to quiet the whole court for a moment and he blushed and ducked his head while his parents laughed and Athos proudly rose to his feet lifting his water glass in toast

“Our Alphon is to train with the finest soldiers in France, The Musketeers so that he will be as great a swordsman as myself and his Oman!”

Sycophantic clapping followed along with toasts to Lex’s health.

 

“Gregarious tonight my love” d’Artagnan commented as Athos retook his seat

“Why not when we drink and eat to your health and the safe birth of our Pup” Athos replied taking d’Artagnan’s hand and kissing it “I will miss you during your confinement beloved, our bed will be painfully empty without you at my side”

“So you will bed at the garrison where you shall instruct our Alphon in the art of being a Musketeer as you once instructed me so many years ago”

“Oh not that many years dear God we are not decrepit!”

“No” d’Artagnan chuckled and ran a hand over his great belly “However I think this will be our last Pup, I do not think I will bear again”, he had no proof of this just a feeling in his heart that this would be his last pregnancy

Athos smiled and placed a hand over the swollen dome, “You have given me as much as any Alpha could desire, I am content and rich beyond any hopes and dreams”

As much as he said he was not good with words Athos did manage to make poetry when the mood took him and d’Artagnan felt a tear prick in his eye at the declaration.

 

A little down the table Anne and Treville watched the royal couple in their moment of tenderness fondly.

“May all go as well for them as it did for Lemay” Treville said taking a drink of his wine

Lifting her own glass Anne tilted it towards him “Amen” she whispered.

Chapter Text

D’Artagnan went into labour just twelve days into his confinement.

It was the early hours of the morning when he woke with an incredible pain slicing through him and felt a wetness between his legs.

“Get the midwives, get Athos, get Lemay!” he yelled throwing back the bed covers to reveal a stain of blood on himself and the sheets. Ordinarily he would have called for Constance too but right now she was in the throes of her heat with Porthos and could not be reached for at least another day or two.

d’Artagnan grinned to himself imaging Constance’s displeasure over missing the birth due to her heat. She would most certainly not be impressed!.

 

 

The maids who were sleeping on pallets at the foot of the bed staggered into waking and let out cries of fright as they stumbled to light candles and go and get Athos, Lemay, and the midwives as ordered.

Moving himself over to the side of the bed d’Artagnan lowered himself down so the sheets could be stripped and the bed made ready for the birthing.

“It’ll be alright your Majesty” one of d’Artagnan’s favourite maids said helping him out of his soiled night shirt so he could change into a birthing smock.

He knew he should be nervous, he knew he should be panicking since the Pup was coming early but for some reason d’Artagnan felt oddly serene. He’d known he was not going to be long in confinement and the Pup was proving him right.

Quietly he stood and let himself be washed and dressed in the birthing smock easily breathing through the first of the contractions and rubbed his back with his hands to ease the pain.

“Do you want to get back onto the bed Majesty?” his maid asked

“Not yet Lucille” he replied “I rather stay up right and moving for as long as I can”

“As you wish Majesty”.

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Lemay and Aramis were of course fast asleep when their door was knocked and Aramis was not overly happy about having their rest disturbed, especially since Nicky chose to voice his own displeasure at having his sleep disturbed.
“Bloody well bugger off!” Aramis yelled at the door getting a reproving slap on the arm from Lemay who slid out of bed to go and tend Nicky
“Well disturbing respectable people at all hours it’s disgraceful” Aramis continued to complain as threw on a robe and made his way to the door and flung in open
“Have you any idea what time it is!?” he demanded

“I’m sorry Monsieur but Doctor Lemay is summoned to the Kings apartments immediately!” the maid said smartly

“d’Artagnan?”, this was different, this Aramis didn’t mind being woken for, well he did but only because he worried for his friend

“Has the labour started?” Lemay asked coming to the door with a still cranky Nicky in his arms
“He is Doctor” the maid confirmed

“But it’s…it’s…”

“Too early” Lemay finished for Aramis and handed Nicky to him so he could go and get dressed and get his tools

“He’ll follow right after you” Aramis said to the maid as he tried to soothe Nicky and followed after Lemay
“Hush now little one everything’s alright” he said to Nicky rocking him back and forth
“Will it be alright?” he asked Lemay who had hurried put on a pair of breeches and was in the process and tucking his shirt in

The Omega stopped and looked at Aramis his expression saying everything, an early birth was never a promising sign especially considering d’Artagnan’s history

Pressing a kiss to Nicky’s head Aramis let out a sigh as he rocked him back and forth “Dear God guide and watch over us tonight” he whispered.

**************************************************************************************

 

Athos all but fell out of bed the second the door to his chambers was knocked and he hardly glanced at the maid at the door before he was shoving his way past her having not even bothered to fully undress for bed!, having been on edge ever since d’Artagnan’s confinement began he had only laid on the top of his bed rather than getting inside it so all he had to throw on at a moments notice was his boots!.

“Alert the Dowager Queen, Minister of War, and the Dauphin” he instructed the maid as he ran down the hall “And if he hasn’t already been summoned get Lemay there!” he yelled not even bothering to wait for her reply!.

 

He burst into the birthing chambers minutes later to see d’Artagnan laying on the bed being examined by Lemay

“Ha five minutes I win!” d’Artagnan laughed as Lemay groaned

“My love?” Athos asked approaching the bed and took d’Artagnan’s hand into his own relieved to find it was not shaking despite what was going on

“Oh we had a bet on how long it would take for you to get here once summoned!” d’Artagnan explained “I said five minutes, Lemay said seven!”
Athos gaped at the pair of Omegas “You took bets!?” he asked incredulous

d’Artagnan’s shrugged “I needed to have some way to pass the time between contractions!”, he paused and drew in a sharp breath “Which are coming pretty fast”

“Indeed” Lemay said feeling d’Artagnan’s belly carefully “Looks like this little one is in a hurry”

“And it’s alright?” Athos asked unable to hide his worry and gave d’Artagnan a tremulous smile as his hand was squeezed by his astonishingly calm mate

Lemay appeared rather calm too (Which he hadn’t been when he first arrived), “The heartbeat is strong, d’Artagnan has dilated two fingers already without any difficulties, So I would say yes everything is alright”

d’Artagnan let out a breathy laugh and gripped Athos’s hand tighter “It’s going to be fine this time my love I am sure of it”

Smiling properly now Athos wrapped an arm about d’Artagnan’s shoulders holding him close and placed his free hand over d’Artagnan’s belly where their Pup still resided for now
“Soon little one” he said to the Pup “Soon you’ll be with us”

“Yes, our new Duc or Duchess d’Orleans” d’Artagnan said and shrugged at Athos’s questioning look “He or she will have that title, the privy council can shove it if they don’t like it!”

Athos chuckled not about to argue with his labouring mate, or at all on this, after all why shouldn’t their Beta daughter, Ometa, or Omeron be Duc or Duchess just as Alphta’s, Alphons, and Beta sons would be?.

***********************************************************************************

 

Lex was no where near as calm as his parents.

He was pacing back and forth while jumping every time a noise sounded outside the door of his chambers where he was being kept under the watchful eye of Aramis and Nicky (Though of one them had gone back to sleep and was drooling on the other’s shirt!)

“How long will this take d’you think?” he asked Aramis “Last time he was…, it took forever and then he was so ill…”, he broke off and looked to the door worrying at his bottom lip

Sighing Aramis set Nicky down on the bed and approached the Dauphin placing a hand on his shoulder and drawing him into a loose embrace

“You have to believe that everything will be alright” he said “You must have faith in your Oman’s strength”

“Easier said” Lex sighed pulling out of Aramis’s arms and stalked his way to the window, he rested his palms upon the frame and dropped his head forward “Why does it have to be so dangerous?” he asked “Animals give birth without such difficulties why can’t people?”

“It isn’t always so easy” Aramis said going to join Lex at that window, the sky was just starting to lighten, the sun wasn’t yet visible but the dark blue was fading to a paler shade as dawn drew closer.

“Horse need help when they drop their foals, cows need help when they drop their calf’s”

“But they don’t get child bed fever do they?” Lex asked turning round and scowling at Aramis “Only people do”

“Yes that is so” Aramis agreed “But why should your Oman get Child bed fever?”

“I…”, Lex broke off and let out a growl of frustration “I don’t know!” he cried “But what if he does, what then?”, his expression challenged Aramis to find a solution of some sort to the catastrophe there would be if d’Artagnan did in fact contract child bed fever.

But of course if that happened then there would be no solution and Aramis didn’t even bother to try and think of platitudes to tell Lex, instead he pulled the Dauphin into a tight embrace and rubbed his back gently

“If it happens, and sweetheart that is a big IF, then we will support each other and will survive with each others help”

For the longest time Lex was stiff in his grasp but then slowly relaxed against Aramis and rested his head against the Alpha’s chest
“I don’t want to loose him” he whispered
“I know” Aramis said holding Lex tighter “Non of us do Lex, your Aphan least of all”.

“How did you get through Lemay’s labour?” Lex asked and Aramis smiled over his shoulder

“I prayed” he said “I knelt before the blessed Virgin and I prayed to her to intercede and keep both Lemay and Nicky safe”

Lifting his head Lex looked up at Aramis “D’you think that will work for Oman and the Pup?” he asked sniffing and wiping at his tear damp eyes

“I am sure it will” Aramis said “We can go to the chapel together if you want and pray together”

Lex was not normally a religious man but in this instance he readily agreed, he might not be able to do anything physical to help his Oman right now, but at least this way he could help him spiritually.

 

**************************************************************************************

Since news travelled faster in the Louvre than a Hawk flew it was not very long before Anne and Treville was joined in the council chambers by the Privy council.

There was really nothing anyone could do right now but wait for news and go over mundane aspects of politicking while they passed the hours away, and of course gossiped like fish wives in the market place.

“Have you heard any news at all?” Treville asked Anne quietly as he looked over a report for the third time, the words making no more sense than they had ten minutes ago!.

“Nothing” Anne replied “Aramis has taken Lex to the chapel to pray as he did when Lemay was in labour”

Treville made humming noise in his throat half torn between joining them himself, the worst part of this was the uncertainty, having to wait to hear news and being unable to do anything at all. If Treville was honest then he had been dreading this moment for months now, ever since he had learned that d’Artagnan was pregnant again.

These long uncertain hours of labour when so much hung in the balance, both for d’Artagnan and for the Pup.

“Here’s to a Healthy Alpha boy!” one of the privy councillors declared holding aloft his cup of wine

Several other salutes followed making Anne snort softly

“Alpha boys, like a girl or an Omega wouldn’t be just as perfect”

“Indeed” Treville agreed “So here’s to a healthy Prince or Princess”, neither of them had any wine but both smiled and nodded to acknowledge the toast and slowly drew back towards the councillors to make small talk and pass the time while they waited.

 

**********************************************************************************

 

D’Artagnan’s labour was progressing very quickly which Lemay said was likely because he’d had multiple births before which had loosened his pelvis and cervix.

Within just three hours he was fully dilated and on the bed with Athos behind him holding his hands and encouraging him through the contractions which were now coming hard and fast.

“We’re very nearly there d’Artagnan, a few more and your little one will be with us”Lemay said examining d’Artagnan’s dilated hole

“I know” d’Artagnan whispered sounding dreamy, through out the whole labour he had been oddly serene and relaxed. He’d walked about the chambers supported by Athos and the midwives, had breathed through the contractions with hardly any cries of pain.
It was as if his body had been blessed by some sort of calming agent so that every muscle had relaxed and the pain just flowed off him like water from a squeezed sponge.

He was not worried, was not stressed, he felt perfectly at ease as he let his body do most of the work for him and took his breaths long and deep, pushing without straining and leaning back into the comforting warmth of Athos who’s scent helped calm him even further.

 

“You are doing so incredible love” Athos said amazed at how easy this had been so far, and how relaxed d’Artagnan was, no tears or screaming, hardly any cries of pain in fact. He didn’t know why it was like this for d’Artagnan this time but he certainly wasn’t complaining.

 

As the Pup moved further down the birth canal and began to crown d’Artagnan did begin to cry out as he forced himself to breath and not clench up, but the cries were easy, a simple act of nature rather than the anguished cries of a labouring Mother or Oman.

Even as the next contraction came and he bore down at Lemay’s instruction d’Artagnan did not howl or strain, he took measured breaths and pushed as hard as he could feeling the unmistakable sensation of the Pup starting to come into the world and hurriedly took in great lung full of air as he prepared for the final contraction and as it hit he pushed even before Lemay had a chance to say a word!.

 

Athos held his breath and stared down between d’Artagnan’s thighs almost swearing that his heart had paused as he waited in anxious excitement as slowly but surely the small bloody body of his and d’Artagnan’s Pup emerged and let loose a loud indignant cry as if upset from being born!.

“An Alpha boy” Lemay said wrapping the Pup in a sheet and quickly cut the cord to hand the Pup to d’Artagnan and Athos “Not a bad weight for a premature either”

“Philip!” d’Artagnan breathed taking the Pup and resting him against his chest “Philip Henri”

“Our Little Phillip” Athos said past the lump in his throat, his eyes were damp with tears of joy and his hands shook as they reached to caress the newborn Philip. So long had it been since they had held a live Pup of their own, not since Lex had they experienced this unfathomable bliss that had them crying and laughing at the same time

“He’s got your nose and your brow” d’Artagnan said glancing at Athos

“That’s your mouth though” Athos said gazing at the sweet full lipped mouth on the Pup who blinked at them with baby blue eyes which may change as he grew “And your hair” he added stroking the still damp locks on the Pups head

“And he’s got my flat feet!” d’Artagnan laughed looking at the Pups tiny feet which had hardly any instep at all just like his own, he turned to make a comment about Lex’s similar feet but was gripped by an agonising pain in his belly and could do nothing but moan as a horrible wave of dizziness spread over him.

“Oh no, no!” Lemay cried from where he was still between d’Artagnan’s legs waiting for the afterbirth and from between the Kings thighs a thick river of blood gushed out onto the bed…

Chapter Text

“What’s happening!?” Athos cried in horror as d’Artagnan slumped boneless on the bed the colour draining from his face as blood gushed out from between his thighs
“The after birth it must have ruptured” Lemay said pushing d’Artagnan’s legs wider to look inside him “I can’t see a thing for blood!” he cursed bundling up one of the blankets beneath d’Artagnan and pushing it between his legs in an attempt to staunch the flow

“Do something!” Athos bellowed causing little Philip to start crying

“Take the Pup and get out of the way!” Lemay ordered straightening up and turned to the Midwives who had frozen in fear “You!”, he pointed to the red haired midwife “Get me hot water to wash my hands, you,”, he pointed to the blonde next to her “Get him flat on his back and get ready to palpitate the belly on my orders”

“Yes Doctor” the blonde whispered hastening to do as instructed

Athos carefully lifted Philip from d’Artagnan’s chest and held him close backing away just enough to give the midwife space to work but not actually leaving d’Artagnan’s side

“What can I do Doctor?” the third and darker blonde midwife asked

“You” Lemay said pushing his shirt sleeves up higher and raked his hair back with a bloody hand uncaring at the mess this made of his hair or the bloody smear it left on his forehead
“Can hold d’Artagnan’s legs open for me” he instructed

“Your water Doctor” the red hair said coming over with a bowl of steaming water fresh from being heated over the fire

“Thank you” he said plunging his hands into the water and washing them thoroughly “Now if you can get stones heated and boil us more water because we’ll probably need it”

“Of course Doctor” She said taking back the bowl and going again to the fire

“What are you going to do?” Athos asked trying to soothe Philip in his arms and failing since he was far to tense to calm the Pup who continued to cry miserably

“I’m going to get the placenta out and hopefully stimulate his womb into contracting as it should be” Lemay replied carefully placing one hand on d’Artagnan’s pelvis and prepared to remove the blood soaked blanket and push his hand inside d’Artagnan’s body
“You don’t want to see this” he said “I suggest you take Philip and go and wait for news”

Athos shook his head “Not even the hounds of hell would be capable of chasing me from my mates side right now!”

Lemay paused, the Doctor in him wanted to argue that this was no place for Athos right now, that he needed quiet and an orderly environment to do this, but the humanity in him saw the depths of Athos’s love and devotion to d’Artagnan and his unexplainable but undeniable need to be with him at this time.

“Alright” he agreed “But quiet that Pup and stay out of the way”

Athos nodded, he desperately wanted to be by d’Artagnan’s side, to take his hand, to hold him close and provide comfort to him, but he knew that he would just be in the way of Lemay and the midwives who needed the space if they were to save d’Artagnan’s life and that was the most important goal here.

He backed away from the bed holding Philip close and kissed his wrinkled cheek breathing in the musky scent of the new born Pup that was still blended with d’Artagnan’s scent providing Athos with a modicum of comfort as he waited in this limbo like state for the fate of d’Artagnan’s life.

Glancing out the window he blinked in surprise, the sun had just been breaking over the horizon when Philip had come into the world, now perhaps a third of it was visible in the sky which was painted pink, orange, red, and blue. Only five or six minutes had passed since Philip was born and things had gone from paradisiacal to hellish, ten minutes at the very most, yet it felt like a lifetime had gone by.

Slowly but surely Philip’s cries became softer whimpers and he began to settle in his Aphan’s arms returning to sleep as his Oman fought for his life across the room.

 

Lemay carefully pushed his hand up inside d’Artagnan’s body, even fully dilated the passage was tight and a struggle for Lemay to get his hand and wrist up into the cervix and then the uterus.

On the bed d’Artagnan whimpered and moaned for the pain his body was enduring, had he been conscious he would likely have been screaming in agony.

“Alright I can feel the afterbirth” Lemay said shifting his position to gain a better grip inside d’Artagnan, “Alright find the uterus and push down upon it” he instructed the Blonde midwife who complied, with shaking hands she felt over d’Artagnan’s belly until she found his uterus and then she began to manipulate the organ, pushing down as Lemay instructed.

d’Artagnan tossed his head back on the bed and gave a guttural cry of pain, sweat was beading his brow and he was panting harshly at the treatment bringing tears to Athos’s eyes as he was incapable of doing anything to help him right now.

“Come on!” Lemay grunted trying to pull the placenta out “Damn it come on!”
“Doctor?” the Blonde asked pressing down as hard as she should on d’Artagnan’s uterus

“It’s not working!” Lemay growled “I can’t get enough grip”, he shifted his position and tried again but could not managed to get more than a finger hold on the bloody flesh and there simply was not enough space inside d’Artagnan for him to get any deeper

“Doctor the blood” the dark blonde said in alarm

“I know!” Lemay grunted, the blood d’Artagnan was loosing was turning darker and thicker as it seeped past his wrist and dripped down to join the puddle beneath d’Artagnan’s buttocks, he tried again to twist his wrist to gain leverage inside d’Artagnan but it was to no avail

“Doctor” the blonde midwife whispered “There’s nothing we can do”

“Yes there is” Lemay said looking over to his medical kit and the scalpel that lay within a protective sheath, “I can attempt to remove his womb!”.

 

***********************************************************************************

 

A hysterectomy was not a surgery that Lemay had ever thought he would be practising, especially not on his King!.

Yet in desperation to stop the bleeding which would certainly kill d’Artagnan if not stopped he was going to attempt to remove the Kings haemorrhaging uterus.

“This is against God, this is forbidden!” the Red Haired midwife declared “It is a blasphemy to cut open the body and desecrate it thus”

“This is not desecration it’s medicine” Lemay tonelessly replied without looking up as he swiftly washed his sharpest blade “Now you can either do as I tell you and prepare the sutures or you can go and fetch my husband and I’ll have him do it”, now he looked up and met the red haired midwife’s gaze “And you can explain to everyone how to abandoned your King in his hour of need”

She flushed and rolled her lips, dropping her gaze she went to the suture kit and began to prepare the needle and cat gut Lemay would need.

 

Meanwhile the other two midwives had laid d’Artagnan flat on his back and had bundled another sheet between his thighs to slow the blood flow from his body.

“One of you will need to hold him down as I cut” Lemay said approaching the bed with the scalpel held in his right hand that despite the terror twisting in his gut was completely steady, he looked over at Athos who was ashen faced and shaking as he stood by the window still holding Philip who he was rocking back and forth now probably unaware that he was doing so since his gaze was fixated upon d’Artagnan alone.

“With the state he’s in I can’t risk giving him an opiate” Lemay explained “With the amount of blood he’s lost it could put him in a coma”

Athos mutely nodded his head and pressed a kiss to Phillip’s cheek with bloodless lips.

 

Taking a deep breath Lemay climbed into the bed getting between d’Artagnan’s thighs and placed the blade just above his groin, wetting his lips with his tongue he took a deep breath
“If anyone wants to pray now would be a very good time” he said tightening his grip on the scalpel and made the incision into d’Artagnan’s abdominal cavity.

d’Artagnan let out a horse cry of pain and his upper body lurched up from the bed trying to fight the blade cutting into his flesh.

As the midwives hastened to hold him down he let out pained whimpers, tears leaking from his eyes and streaking down his temples as he lay unable to escape the pain or to fight against it.

 

Not having time to waste and certainly not being able to let d’Artagnan loose much more blood Lemay made the smallest possible incision he could and swiftly spread the incision open with forceps to get his hands inside and locate the uterus which of course since it had not fully contracted was much larger than normal and much more difficult to move

“One of you push down on the top of his abdomen now!” he barked blinking sweat out of his eyes

The darker blonde midwife did so with shaking hands while the blonde moped up the blood about the wound with a clout.

With the darker blonde’s help Lemay slowly extracted d’Artagnan’s uterus from his abdominal cavity which immediately sagged as the expansive organ was removed.
Swiftly Lemay separated the uterus from d’Artagnan’s ovaries and fallopian tubes and dumped it inside a dish to be disposed of.

“Swabs” he barked and was handed them by the red head without question.

Very carefully he mopped up any blood inside d’Artagnan’s abdominal cavity and checked to make sure it was clear before he began to close the incision lest an infection could build up and if that happened there was no chance for d’Artagnan.

“Sutures” he ordered holding out his hand, the red head placed the needle and cat gut into his hand and as quickly as possible Lemay began to stitch the incision which stretched for four and a half inches across his lower belly and looked red and angry with the black stitches holding the flesh together

“The bleedings stopped Doctor” the dark blonde said as she pulled back the sheet from between d’Artagnan’s thighs

“His lips are starting to pink up again too” the Blonde said looking at d’Artagnan’s face, she turned and shot Lemay an amazed smile “You’ve done it!” she declared her eyes shining with awe.

Behind them Athos let out a choked sigh of relief and sagged down to sit on the window seat letting the tears roll down his cheeks without a thought for them. As Lemay had cut into d’Artagnan he’d had to look away unable to bear the sight of his mate being subjected to the surgery without any pain relief. Hearing the Midwives positive declaration of d’Artagnan’s condition however he felt a surge of elation flow through him.

 

 

Lemay however wasn’t smiling yet “There’s still a way to go” he said rising from the bed and took the bowl containing d’Artagnan’s womb from the bed and set it on the table with his medical kit

“Now we need to get him clean, bind his abdomen, and keep him warm” he instructed the midwives, then turned and approached Athos “I can not guarantee anything” he said “I haven’t ever removed a uterus before I’ve no idea if he’ll survive it or not”
Athos looked up with tearful eyes shaking his head “How can the most beautiful and wonderful experience in an Alpha’s life be mingled with the most horrific?” he asked, shaking his head again he looked down at the slumbering bundle of life in his arms that was completely oblivious to the battle for life that was going on about him, “Our precious Pup who has survived so much already” he whispered “d’Artagnan was more scared of loosing him than loosing his own life”

“Most Omans and Mothers feel the same” Lemay murmured knowing he’d felt the exact same way about Nicky

“I can’t loose him Lemay” Athos whispered looking at d’Artagnan who was being put to bed by the midwives with heat stones at his feet and his sides to keep him warm
“He has to live because I know I can’t survive this world without him”.

Chapter Text

Louvre

Four days after her heat started Constance awoke with a clear head and a delicious soreness between her legs.

Sighing deeply and breathing in the scent of sex and sweat which clung heavily to the bed she was laying on she stretched lazily and rolled over to face Porthos who smiled down at her.

“Been awake long?” she asked utterly unashamed of her nude state and well ravaged appearance, in fact she was revelling in it, she felt powerful and sensual with her hair free about her face and shoulders, her naked skin covered in Porthos’s hand marks and scent.

“Been about an hour watchin’ you sleep” Porthos replied “You looked so peaceful I couldn’t bear to wake you”

Constance smiled and tossed her hair back from her face, as she did so she felt a pull on the back of her neck where the new bond bite lay fresh and slightly sore.

“Feel alright?” Porthos asked

“I feel wonderful” Constance replied and leaned forward to capture Porthos’s wonderfully generous lips in a kiss

Porthos quickly reciprocated, his calloused hands coming up to cup Constance’s cheeks and slide back into her tussled red curls

Constance shifted her hips forward and moved closer to Porthos pressing herself against his side, she slid her left leg up and over his hip ready to climb on top of him only to pause as a loud growl from Porthos’s stomach sounded between them!.

Giggling Constance pulled back and looked down at Porthos’s abdomen “Sounds like you need feeding!”

“So it seems” Porthos said patting his stomach with a rueful smile “Though to be fair it has been hungry work these past few days!”

Constance grinned at him and stretched before sliding out of bed “Come on then” she said “Lets get washed and dressed so we can go and find some food”

“Ugh do we have to wash!?” Porthos complained only to get a pillow flung at his head by Constance!, chuckling under his breath Porthos got up and followed her into the washroom to clean up before going to get some sustenance.

 

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It was to a very subdued court that Constance and Porthos returned to from their four days of heat locked away in Constance’s chambers.

It did not take either of them very long to find out what was going on, and it was in fact Treville who told them what had occurred in their absence as they ran into him as he made his way from the privy council chambers to his office looking dishevelled and stressed.

Sighing and raking a hand through his increasingly thin hair Treville beckoned them to follow him to one of the windows where they could speak quietly.

 

“The King went into labour yesterday and was delivered of a healthy Alphon” he said in a quiet tone

Constance gasped a look of excited joy blossoming on her face, Porthos however frowned knowing something was not right.
The birth should have led to celebrations, the court should be in high spirits, courtiers should be drinking, laughing, and feasting, the servants should be smiling and happily enjoying the left over foods and drink from the tables. Instead the halls were strangely silent and everyone was scurrying around with bowed heads and shadowed expressions.

“What’s gone wrong?” he asked not bothering to be subtle

Treville met his gaze with difficulty, the fatigue and worry plain to see on his face

“Something went wrong delivering the after birth” he said quietly “d’Artagnan started bleeding heavily, Lemay tried to get the after birth out but he couldn’t so he…performed a surgery on d’Artagnan to stop the bleeding completely”

“A surgery?” Constance asked with a frown and shook her head “What did he do?”

Treville wet his lips and spoke in an eve quieter tone taking great care to keep from anyone else overhearing

“He performed a hysterectomy on d’Artagnan”

“Oh my God!”, Constance paled and wrapped a hand about her own throat in frightened shock

“A hyster…what?” Porthos asked looking to Constance and then back to Treville in confusion

“He removed d’Artagnan’s uterus” Treville said

Porthos’s eyes widened and he swallowed hard, he may not know much about medical matters or anatomy but he knew enough to know this was very serious indeed

“Is d’Artagnan…alright?” Constance asked in a tight voice sounding very close to tears

“He’s alive” Treville said “But has not regained consciousness, and there is signs of fever”

Constance let out a low moan and staggered back, had it not been for Porthos taking hold of her she would probably have fallen to the ground but he kept an arm about her waist supporting her

“Who knows about this?” he asked Treville

“That d’Artagnan is ill and lost too much blood in delivery the whole court and probably most of Paris by now” Treville replied “That Lemay performed a hysterectomy only ourselves, Athos, The Dowager Queen, Aramis, The Dauphin, and the midwives who were present for the procedure”

“And I take it we’re keeping it that way?” Porthos asked

“Yes” Treville stated “The midwives have been well paid for their silence on this, and are under pain of death if they dare speak out”

Treville did not like threatening the women but he had no choice if he was to protect Lemay.
Surgery was still often seen as a blasphemy, a practise only fit for heathens, many would condemn Lemay for his actions and demand him burned as a heretic for defiling the sacred body of the sovereign of France.

If Lemay was to remain safe then no one could ever know what he had done, especially if d’Artagnan did not survive.

“I need to see him” Constance said shakily “I have to go to him”

“Of course” Treville said “Athos and Lemay will be glad to see you”

Constance gave Treville a weak smile that was little more than a press of lips, she paused looking to Porthos reluctant to leave his side with their bond so fresh

“I’ll be up soon” he said squeezing her hand “Give d’Art my love for me”

Nodding her head Constance took a deep and shaky breath and made her way down the hall her skirts swishing out behind her and heels clicking loudly on the floor as she went.

 

Turning back to Treville now Constance was gone Porthos’s expression turned hard
“What’s the word on the council, how safe is the Dauphin?” he asked practically

“The council is for once united in loyalty” Treville said surprising Porthos!, “They are all for The Dauphin if d’Artagnan does not survive. I have doubled the palace guard and two Musketeers are besides the Dauphin at all times”

Porthos nodded satisfied with the steps Treville had taken,

“In the event of d’Artagnan’s death The Dauphin will be coronated as King of France and while in his minority Athos will rule as Regent in his name until the Dauphin reaches the age of eighteen”

“Lets hope it doesn’t come to that” Porthos said

“Aye” Treville agreed “Amen to that”.

 

********************************************************************************

 

Constance quietly entered d’Artagnan’s chambers and swallowed back a sob as she made her way to the bed and saw d’Artagnan laid upon it his skin as white as a sheet and forehead damp with sweat.

Besides the bed lay the crib in which the new born Duc d’Orleans lay slumbering peacefully, and in chairs besides the bed sat Athos and Lex.

Athos looked up as Constance approached and made to rise but she shook her head and placed a finger to her lips urging him to be quiet since Lex had fallen asleep in the chair besides him.

Athos smiled gently and rose from his chair to take one of the spare blankets from the end of the bed and carefully wrapped it about Lex to keep him warm

“He’s been here all night and all day yesterday” he said smoothing a hand through Lex’s dark hair, the Pup shifted and gave a murmur but remained asleep

“Poor love” Constance whispered, she made her way round to the crib and looked down at the sleeping Pup within “He’s beautiful” she said gently tracing a cheek with her finger tip “What did you name him?”
“Philip Henri” Athos replied taking a cloth from the bedside table and dipping it into a bowl of water and then carefully washed d’Artagnan’s face
“I saw the surgery” he said quietly “Saw Lemay cut him open and pull his womb out”

Constance shuddered at the thought of such a sight her lips pressing into a thin line and her forehead creasing in concern

“There was so much blood” Athos whispered “I could smell it in the air, thick and sickening. Lemay couldn’t give him an opiate, he worried that with the blood loss it would cause d’Artagnan to go into a coma so they had to hold him down for the surgery. He was unconscious but he still cried out in pain as the blade cut into him”

“God!” Constance breathed “Athos I’m so sorry!”

Athos jerked his head round and looked at her giving her a small smile of gratitude

“What does Lemay say about his condition?” She asked quietly as she looked at the paler of d’Artagnan’s skin and the darkness under his eyes

Athos shook his head “He isn’t sure if he’ll make it” he said his voice breaking as he fought back tears, “He’s been here all the time” he said looking to Constance again and sat down on the side of the bed to take one of d’Artagnan’s hands
“Aramis had to drag him away to go and eat and get some rest, he is still nursing their Nicky after all, and he gave his own breast to nurse Perri”

“Perri?” Constance asked

“A nic-name d’Art and I thought of for Philip-Henri” Athos said, his eyes filled with tears and he bowed his head covering his mouth with his hand to stifle his sobs

“Oh Athos” Constance whispered going round the bed and drawing him into her arms to comfort him “You can’t give up hope, he is strong, he’s a fighter, he will come through this I know he will!”

“I want to believe it” Athos sobbed into her shoulder clinging to her tightly “I want to believe that he will be well, but all I can think of is that this could be the end and there is nothing I can do!”

Constance bit her bottom lip and turned her gaze to the ceiling as tears of her own fell to join the ones that Athos shed into her gown, knowing that what Athos said was true, this was one battle that no one could help d’Artagnan with, if he was to live then he had to come through this on his own.

Chapter Text

Lemay gagged as he swallowed the last drop of a pint of milk that had been blended with egg yolks, honey, and cinnamon.

“I wish you wouldn’t force yourself to consume things you don’t like” Aramis said
“I have to keep my milk levels up” Lemay said despondently, since he was nursing both Nicky and Perri he was struggling to provide enough milk and was being rapidly depleted of energy as the result, all more so since he refused to take any extra rest insisting on carrying on as normal and thus working himself to the point of collapse.

“I have to go” Lemay said picking up his case of tools and preparing to leave but Aramis moved in front of him standing in the way “Mis…”

“You can’t do this to yourself love” Aramis said taking the bag from Lemay and putting it down on the floor “You need to rest, you’re still recovering from the birth”

He slipped his hand under Lemay’s chin and lifting it trying to get Lemay to meet his eyes but the Doctor refused to do so.
“None of this is your fault” Aramis said “Please stop torturing yourself like this”

“Why?” Lemay asked looking up at Aramis his eyes filled with desolation “D’Artagnan maybe dying, Lex is but a Pup, Athos will be devastated and Perri…,” he was cut off as Aramis’s suddenly pulled him into a tight embrace

“None of that is your doing, d’Artagnan…, live or die it is not because of you or anything you have or haven’t done”, slowly he pulled back a little from Lemay and cradled the back of his head in his hand “You have done nothing wrong”

“Haven’t I?” Lemay asked “I performed an illegal act on the King of France, I violated his body!”

“You were trying to save his life!”

“And I may have ended it!”

“Lemay!” Aramis cried shaking him slightly “You said yourself that d’Artagnan was bleeding to death, that he was going to die, what you did was in an attempt to save his life,” he stroked Lemay’s too pale cheek “If worst comes to worst at least you gave him a fighting chance, and I do not believe that d’Artagnan will die, he’s too damn stubborn to just give up like that”

Lemay bit his bottom lip “What if he doesn’t make it though?” he asked “Athos will never manage without him and Lex is so young and so vulnerable”

“It won’t come to that” Aramis said kissing Lemay gently on the lips “d’Artagnan will come through this”

“You can’t know that”

“Maybe not but I can and I do believe it” Aramis said “And I know that if the worst does happen that we will all support Athos and Lex and we will get them through the grief, we will help them raise Perri and honour everything d’Artagnan stood for, we will not abandon them or let them destroy themselves”

Pressing his forehead against Lemay’s he pressed another kiss on his lips “Now please stop blaming yourself for everything”

Closing his eyes Lemay slowly nodded his head “I am still going to go and see d’Artagnan though” he said “I need to check his abdomen and change the dressing”

Sighing deeply Aramis let him go “Alright” he said “But then you are coming back here and taking a nap, no arguments love you need to rest”

Giving him a small smile Lemay nodded his head and picked up his bag heading to the door, he paused surprised when Aramis followed after him
“I don’t need an escort”

“No but you do need someone to drag you back here for a rest and that someone will be me” Aramis replied moving past Lemay and opening the door for them “Now lets go and see how d’Artagnan is doing!”.

 

*************************************************************************************

Athos was of course at d’Artagnan’s side when Lemay and Aramis came in.

Lex had been taken to bed by Constance and was made to stay there and rest for at least a few hours before returning to his Oman’s side.

“Any change?” Lemay asked Athos as he set his tools down on the table near the window

“His fever is rising” Athos replied in a monotone, “He’s been restless too, I think he’s dreaming, bad dreams”, he started a little as Aramis lay a hand on his shoulder and looked up into warm dark eyes

“Fever’s often give us bad dreams” Aramis said “And the fact he’s dreaming is a good sign isn’t it?, it means he’s asleep rather than comatose”

Athos sucked his top lip into his mouth and turned back to d’Artagnan “I just wish he’d wake”

“We all do mon ami” Aramis murmured gazing down at d’Artagnan’s weak and fevered figure on the bed.

 

Carefully Lemay drew back the bed covers and pushed up d’Artagnan’s night shirt revealing the bandages about his abdomen.

“No bleeding” he whispered to himself noting that there was no red on the white material which he carefully removed to examine the surgical wound

The wound was still red raw and fresh but to Lemay’s continued relief there was no sign of infection, the swelling and bruising had gone down and the flesh about the stitches was less puffy though it still looked very sore and tender.

Carefully he cleaned about the stitches with a combination of echinacea, lemon balm, and witch hazel which he had brewed together in boiled water.

Once he was satisfied the wound was clean he examined d’Artagnan’s belly checking for any lumps that shouldn’t be there or anything that might hinder his healing.

“He looks to be healing fine” he said more to himself than anyone else “His abdomen is not distended so there’s no internal bleeds or infection, and the external wound is healing”

“So why is he fevered?” Athos asked “If not infection then…,” he paused and paled “Child bed fever?” he whispered

Lemay lay his hand over d’Artagnan’s forehead, he was running a temperature, his brow was damp with sweat and hot to the touch but not hot enough to suggest such a severe illness

“I don’t think this is child bed fever” he said straightening up “I could be a reaction to the stress his body has been under, shock induced fever”

“Is there anything we can do for him?” Athos asked “Some drug or something we can give him?”

Lemay bit his bottom lip and frowned, bleeding was the normal solution for fevers and head shaving but d’Artagnan had lost far too much blood already he could not afford to loose anymore and he did not think head shaving would solve anything either.

“Cold fluids” he said “And maybe an infusion of lemon balm, chamomile, mint, and cloves to help flush his system”, he picked up the fresh bandages “I’ll bind his abdomen and make the infusion, we’ll give a dose every two hours until the fever breaks along with plenty of water”

In the crib Perri stirred and made whimpering noises that sent sharp tingles to Lemay’s nipples, “I’ll feed him too” he said

“And then you’ll rest” Aramis stated firmly

“What about d’Artagnan’s milk?” Athos asked looking at d’Artagnan’s breasts “Couldn’t we get Perri to latch onto him?”

Lemay shook his head “In this condition I don’t think he could afford to spare the strength, and if he does have some infection I can’t see then Perri would be at risk of also be at risk of contracting it”

Athos looked miserable, or rather more miserable than ever, “He always breast fed, he refused to use a wet nurse, he hated the thought of anyone else feeding our Pups”

Aramis pressed a hand round his arm “I think he’ll understand given the circumstances”

Athos nodded his head and moved to help Lemay tuck d’Artagnan back into bed, pausing to push a few strands of hair behind his ear

“Come back to me soon beloved” he whispered “I can’t do this without you”.

 

***********************************************************************************

 

D’Artagnan was dreaming.

In his mind he was back in Gascony, in his family home in Artagnan, the beautiful chateau he had not been back to in so many years.

Dressed in a simple white shirt and a pair of cambric breeches in beige he walked bare foot through the halls that seemed to be filled with a brilliant white sunlight that was shining in from the open windows.

Curtains blew in from the warm summer wind caressing d’Artagnan’s skin as he walked down the hall.

He could hear the sounds of laughter, the sounds of running footsteps, the sounds of doors opening and closing, and brief snatches of words from different voices echoing but he could not make out what the words were.

 

As he continued on down the hall he caught brief flashes of people, of a Pup so young he was still in a smock dress toddling unsteadily down the hall while a large man watched on bursting with pride.

The glimpse lasted only a moment and then it was gone.

Laughter again rang out and d’Artagnan flinched as another Pup an older Pup ran past him with a wooden toy sword in his hands and a bright smile on his cherubic face.

The Pup ran down the hall and disappeared into one of the rooms with his laughter echoing behind him.

Curious d’Artagnan followed the Pup but when he went into the room he found it was not a room at all, it was a garden in the full flourish of spring.

Stepping through the doors he felt the grass spring under his bare feet and tickle the soles.

The scent of blossom and flowers filled his nose as he walked deeper into the garden and the sounds of voices reached his ears drawing him deeper still until he came to a clearing, the very clearing that Lex had been conceived in!.

Before his eyes d’Artagnan saw himself thirteen years younger laying beneath Athos, his long legs wrapped about Athos’s back as the Alpha rutted into his eager and receptive body

“Hardly a few weeks married and you were already unfaithful to me”

d’Artagnan froze, that voice!, it had haunted his nightmares for years, lingered at the back of his mind taunting him and reminding him of how close he had come to death.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up on end, his skin prickled and his heart stuttered in his chest.

A single whimper escaped his lips as a hard hand clamped down on his shoulder and squeezed.

Slowly he looked up and saw the face of Rochefort, his dead husband besides him, eyes cold and fogged in death, skin a blue/grey, and dried blood coating his mouth and chin where it had dripped out as he had died.

Squeezing his hand tighter into d’Artagnan’s shoulder Rochefort glared at him with such malevolence it made d’Artagnan’s blood chill in his veins!

“But then you always were a whore weren’t you Charles?” Rochefort drawled and with inhuman strength lifted d’Artagnan up by his shoulder and flung him across the garden!.

 

d’Artagnan landed hard on his right hip and rolled over twice his head spinning and painfully winded.

Bracing his hands on the floor he pushed himself up to look around and let out a low moan as he saw that he was no longer in the garden but back in the Chateau des Rochefort.

In panic he tried to get to his feet to run but to his horror he found his wrists and ankles had been bound by chains restraining him to a wall.
Tears of frustration and fear began to run down his cheeks as he desperately tried to pull himself free until the sound of a Pup crying made him freeze.

Turning his head he saw Athos and Lex standing besides a crib in which a new born cried out in hunger.

His mate and his Alphon looked exhausted and grieved as they stared down at the infant but made no move to comfort or quiet it’s crying.

“What good is a Pup without it’s Mother or Oman to feed it?”

d’Artagnan yelped as Rochefort appeared by his side and found himself seized in the monster’s cruel grasp.

Crying out in horror d’Artagnan tried to break free but Rochefort held him to firmly and pressed his hateful mouth against d’Artagnan’s neck whispering into his ear

“You are mine now Charles, mine to torment, mine to possess, mine to break into a thousand pieces while your adulterous lover and your precious bastards grieve over your loss”

“Athos!, Lex help me!” d’Artagnan cried out trying to make his mate and Alphon hear him but to no avail, neither moved or gave any sign that they heard him at all

“They can’t help you, they can do nothing but watch that new born whelp sicken and die and join you here in hell!” Rochefort purred in his ear

“No” d’Artagnan whispered tears running freely down his cheeks now “This is not hell I am not dead!”
Besides him Rochefort laughed an unnatural malevolent cackle, “Is it not?” he asked

d’Artagnan glanced at him and screamed at the sight of the boils, sores, and burns now covering Rochefort’s flesh and howled in anguish as his vulnerable naked skin was torn into by Rochefort’s cruel claws that dragged him back and away from his family.

Chapter Text

D’Artagnan lay on a stone slab chained by the wrists and ankles with metal shackles that kept his arms and legs stretched out and prevented him from moving.

All about him fires burned, flames breaking through the cracked stone floor that was scorching hot to the touch, lava bubbled and spat in deep crevasses eating away at the stones and swallowing up more and more of the ground.

Hot thick smoke filled the air and made d’Artagnan’s eyes sting and his lungs hurt as he tried to breathe, the toxic fumes stinking and sickening choked him and tore at his throat.

All about him d’Artagnan could hear screaming, the cries of the damned being subjected to punishments for their sins, their bodies mutilated and mortified over and over again.

They begged for forgiveness, begged for salvation, pleaded for their torment to end.

Their cries were bad enough, but the constant wailing of a Pup in distress was what tormented d’Artagnan the most.

The piercing mournful wail of the Pup echoed in his ears refused to cease for even a moment and tore and it tore at his heart. Everything in him longed to go to the Pup, to nurse him, to hold him, to comfort him!.

His chest ached with the need to care for the Pup, his nipples stung and leaked, but to his horror it was not milk they were leaking but blood!.

Twin streams of blood flowed from his breasts and dripped down his sides in a grim mockery of breast milk.

His belly twisted and griped as if he were seized with the pain of child birth but there was no Pup inside him, in fact there was nothing inside him!.
His belly had been torn open and his womb ripped out along with his organs which had been flung into the lava pits and burned to nothing!.

He should have bled to death, should be dead, but of course he could not die here, he couldn’t die because he was already dead.

 

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Louvre

 

D’Artagnan moaned and tossed his head, shifting restlessly and gripped at the sheets with fisted hands.

“His fever is worse” Constance cried as she tried to mop his forehead “He’s burning up!”

“He’s coming to the brink of it now” Lemay said as he prepared another infusion for d’Artagnan to take.

“It may climb higher still but then it was break and he will come back to us”

Two days had gone by since Lemay had been given d’Artagnan the infusions and his fever had grown worse along with his restlessness as his mind was tormented by nightmares.

As horrible as it was to see him like this his pulse was still strong and his breathing while rapid was not laboured so Lemay still doubted that it was child bed fever.

Making his way up to the head of the bed Lemay lifted d’Artagnan’s head up and tipped the infusion down his throat.

d’Artagnan coughed a little and squirmed in their hold crying out incoherently against unseen foes that tormented his sleep.

“Shouldn’t we try to cool him down?” Constance asked dipping the cloth into the bowl again and wiping his face

“No” Lemay replied “We keep him warm until the fever breaks, let it burn itself out”

“Athos…” d’Artagnan murmured turning his head to the side “Athos!”.

 

Athos who had been standing by the window was at the bed like a shot and took d’Artagnan’s hand into his own squeezing it tightly
“I’m here my love I’m here!” he said

d’Artagnan whimpered and shifted, his legs tangling in the sheets as he kicked at them
“Hurts!” he mumbled “Athos!”

“Try and talk to him” Lemay said to Athos “It may help to quiet him”

Wetting his lips Athos stroked d’Artagnan’s forehead pushing back the hair from his face and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek.

“I’m here sweetheart, I’m right here and I’m not going anywhere, I love you and I need you to come back to me, out Alphon’s need you to come back, our Lex and our Perri need their Oman, and I need my mate”

d’Artagnan moaned and shifted his body bucking slightly off the bed as if he were struggling to get away from an enemy.

“I don’t know if you can hear me” Athos said his voice cracking slightly with emotion and a couple of tears rolled down his cheeks as he spoke
“I don’t know what monster’s torment your sleep and I can not fight them for you as much as I wish I could, but I am here for you, I am right by your side waiting for you to wake up and come back to me”, Athos bent his head and clasped d’Artagnan’s limp hand between his own looking as if he were praying.

“You can not give up now d’Artagnan, you can not let us be parted, after all we have been through, all we have suffered and endured it can not end here. We have so much left before us as yet undone, we have hardly begun to live our lives together, hardly begun to see our Alphon’s grown from Pups to adults, there is too much for us yet to do, to have, and to be to each other that it can not be over for us before it has even really begun!”

Constance gave a horse sob and pressed a hand over her lips turning away as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Lemay swallowed hard and sucked in his bottom lip biting down upon it as he too was moved by Athos’s words to d’Artagnan.

“You have brought me such joy d’Artagnan, such hope and beauty that I had never imagined could exist for me in this world” Athos whispered “You have given me a life beyond the Musketeers, a family, a promise of a happy future with you at me side, and I need you there d’Artagnan, I need you with me if I am to get through this life”.

 

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“You earned this you know?” Rochefort drawled his claws scraping over d’Artagnan’s flesh making the Omega shudder and try to shift away from him

“You lying, your whoring, you damned yourself to this torment”

d’Artagnan did not give him the satisfaction of replying, instead he shut his eyes and grit his teeth trying to keep from going mad at the Pup’s desperate screams.

“It will die of course” Rochefort purred into his ear making him flinch away in disgust at having that vile mouth anywhere near him
“Your squalling brat will sicken and die, your bastard Alphon will be the death of himself as he fails as a King, and your degenerate lover will drink himself into the grave and do you know why d’Artagnan?”

d’Artagnan let out a tiny whimper as he felt Rochefort’s leathery lips touching his skin

“All because of you” Rochefort whispered “Because of you your family will destroy itself, because of you France will burn, because of you everyone you ever loved, ever knew will be destroyed!”

A shuddering sob shook d’Artagnan’s body and behind his eyelids he saw the horrors that Rochefort spoke of.

He saw his new born Pup laying still and cold in his crib, his tiny rose bud lips turned blue and fragile little body grown limp and grey.

He saw Athos’s body bloated and yellow laying on a filthy floor amidst a sea of empty bottles, vomit spilled from his lips and pooled down his chin and onto his throat.

He saw Lex tired and aged before his years, stress and burdens having worn heavily on his shoulders taxing his strength making him frail and sickly and vulnerable.

The poison in his cup had him spitting blood and falling to the floor writhing in death throes in seconds as his enemies, his own council stood by and watched in triumph.

He saw the French army defeated by the Spanish, saw the King of Spain ride triumphant into Paris at the head of his own army and be presented with Treville, Aramis, and Porthos in chains.

One by one they were publicly beheaded and their bodies left to rot in the streets amid the dirt and waste.

He saw Constance and Lemay ravaged by Spanish soldiers who violated and battered them to death and then flung their broken bodies into the Seine to wash up on the shore with the tide.

He saw Queen Anne on her knees humiliated, degraded, and scorned. She was stripped of her finery, her gowns and her jewels, was forced into the plain garb of a servant and made to serve Philip’s own Queen as a servant while being constantly mocked, bullied, and beaten.

Alone in a tiny cold bed in a dark damp room she died of an untreated cough that had ravaged her lungs and lay there undiscovered for hours as her body grew cold and grey.

Violetta and Gabrielle were the ones to find her, they too servants now, starved, humbled, skin covered in bruises and sores, hair thin and bodies gaunt.

Together they took Anne to the chapel and mourned her death, said the prayers no one else would say for her Soul as they clung together for the strength to survive their cruel and lonely world.

Charles had been forced to become a soldier in Philip’s infantry, untrained, friendless, and utterly alone in the field he fell to gun fire on his first campaign, his body being trampled over by those who were meant to be serving at his side, the mud coating him and swallowing him down into a shallow grave where he would be forgotten for the rest of time.

Lastly was Nicky, tiny new born Nicky was farmed out to a convent till he was breeched, then he was given to be a servant to priests. To spend his days in cold unforgiving houses of God working his fingers to the bone never knowing his parents or the life that should have been his.
“No!” d’Artagnan moaned sobbing in desolate dismay “It can’t be like this!”

“But it is” Rochefort saw stroking his claws down his face and leering at d’Artagnan “You brought them to this!”

d’Artagnan sobbed and pulled hard on the chains restraining him as Rochefort laughed at his efforts

“You can not get free!”

‘Come back to us d’Artagnan, we need you’

That voice!, Athos!, d’Artagnan would know that voice anywhere, but how could he be hearing Athos’s voice if he were dead?

‘I love you d’Artagnan and I need you to come back to me!’

“Athos!” d’Artagnan cried struggling even harder now

“He can’t hear you, he can’t save you” Rochefort said, but d’Artagnan ignored him tugging harder on the chains, with a hard yank his got his right arm free and then his left!, sitting up he reached for his feet and pulled on the shackles until they gave out freeing him from the slab.

“And where will you go now?” Rochefort demanded and gestured to the floor that had become a sea of lava “You have no where to go” he growled at d’Artagnan “You can do nothing but burn!”

d’Artagnan was breathing heavily and his skin was hurting with the intense heat from the lava that spat and hissed sending bright orange sparks flying high into the air as it seemed to writhe and move as if alive!.

‘I’m right here d’Artagnan, I right here waiting for you!’

Athos’s voice was coming through the lava, he was on the other side of the lava!

d’Artagnan slid down from the slab and stood on tip toe on the tiny patch of ground that was left and looked down at the molten fire before him

“All you can do is burn” Rochefort repeated from beside him

“Maybe” d’Artagnan whispered lifting his chin defiantly “But if it truly is my fate to burn then you can burn with me!”

Quick as a flash he grabbed hold of Rochefort and leaped forward throwing them both into the lava!.

 

*********************************************************************************

 

With a deep gasp and a cry d’Artagnan sat bolt up right in bed his entire body drenched in sweat!.
“Oh Thank God!”

“d’Artagnan!”

“It’s alright just relax it’s fine!”

“Get water. Get towels!”

“You’re back with me, Oh God I thought I might loose you!”

For a second d’Artagnan didn’t understand what was happening or where he was, disoriented and horribly weak he found himself falling back down onto the pillows as people rushed about around him babbling words that made no sense.

Then as a hand gripped his and a familiar scent reached his nose d’Artagnan knew where he was and turned to see Athos gazing at him through tears of happiness

“Welcome back my love”.

Chapter Text

It was over and hour before d’Artagnan and Athos were finally left alone.

Firstly d’Artagnan had to washed clean of sweat from his fever, his night shirt and the bed linen changed. Then Lemay insisted on giving him a full examination before he was satisfied that d’Artagnan was out of danger and allowed him to get comfortable in bed once more.
“So you removed my uterus” d’Artagnan said still trying to process the information that Lemay had performed such a surgery upon him and he’d lived!

“I had no choice” Lemay said avoiding d’Artagnan’s eyes, “You were bleeding too heavily for me to stop it any other way, I tried to removed the placenta but it was too firmly wedged in your womb, removal of the organ itself was the only option I had to stop the bleeding”

d’Artagnan rubbed his belly and winced as his hand passed over the incision wound

“I don’t know what the consequences of this will be” Lemay admitted “No one to my knowledge has ever undergone such a procedure”

“And this for your sake must forever go unrecorded” d’Artagnan said “Which is a shame because you deserve praise and notoriety for this”

Lemay gave a small faint smile and shrugged his shoulders “That you survived is enough of a triumph for me”, his smile faded and became serious once more “I doubt very much that you will have heats anymore and even if you do they will be fruitless, there is no way you can conceive again”

d’Artagnan nodded his head “I figured as much”, he shrugged “I have two Alphons that’s more than some people get, I am content with that”, he frowned “Will this mean I’ll go into Heat-Secession?”

Lemay shook his head helplessly “I simply do not know, it is possible, however I have left your ovaries and fallopian tubes intact so perhaps they will be enough to regulate your hormones without your uterus”

“One can but hope” d’Artagnan murmured not really wanting to go through hot sweats in his very early thirties “Will it effect me in any other ways at all?”

“Maybe” Lemay said “It may have effect on muscle mass, you could lose or gain weight, you may well have suffered permanent muscle damage to your abdomen, cutting into you like I did will likely have long term consequences beyond a scar”

d’Artagnan’s eyes naturally looked down at himself but with the bandages about his abdomen and the ben linen covering him he couldn’t see against but the outline of his body beneath.

 

Lemay sighed having further bad news for d’Artagnan, or if not bad then difficult news to accept,
“I’m afraid your milk has dried up” he said as gently as he could “With your condition as unstable as it was I couldn’t risk you losing further strength trying to nurse, and then there was the risk that if you had an infection it could be passed onto Perri through the milk”

d’Artagnan’s shoulders slumped but he nodded his head “Who’s been nursing him in my absence?” he asked
If possible Lemay looked even more uncomfortable and seemed to shrink in on himself
“I have” he mumbled looking everywhere but at d’Artagnan

“You?” d’Artagnan exclaimed “But you’re nursing your own pup, it must be exhausting you!”

“It’s not so bad, not unlike nursing twins I should imagine” Lemay said “Aramis is making sure I eat more to provide enough nutrients for both Pups and myself, and I’m drinking protein and calcium rich blend to help keep myself strong”, he rolled his lips and slowly met d’Artagnan’s gaze “If you’d allow it I’d be happy to keep nursing Perri until he’s weaned”, as d’Artagnan’s eyebrows rose he went on “I know you don’t like the thought of a stranger feeding your Pup and I understand that, but I’m not a stranger and he’s been taking my milk since he was born so…,”

“Are you sure you can manage?” d’Artagnan asked “It’ll mean at least another three months of nursing”

Lemay shrugged “I don’t mind I’m use to nursing now and if you’d be happy for me to continue?”

d’Artagnan reached out and took his hand smiling warmly “I’d much prefer for you to nurse my Pup than a stranger, so long as it does you no harm”

“Hey I’m a Doctor would I put myself in harms way?”

“If it meant you could aid someone else in a heartbeat!” d’Artagnan replied with a grin and settled back against the pillows “Now speaking of my Pup…?”

“Of course” Lemay said with a knowing smile.

 

He went to the crib at the end of the bed and carefully lifted Perri up into his arms and carried him to d’Artagnan who eagerly took his Pup.

Perri squirmed a little and gave a few whimpers at being disturbed but quickly settled as he was held against d’Artagnan’s heart.

“I don’t remember meeting you before now” d’Artagnan said to his Pup, “Dr Lemay says I held you when you were first born but I don’t recall that, so to me this is our first meeting since you were inside me and I have to tell you Perri, you are a very beautiful boy and I love you very much”, he stroked he finger carefully down Perri’s face “I can see your Aphan in you, and your older Alphter Lex”

“I think there’s a fair amount of his Oman in him too”

d’Artagnan looked to the left and saw Athos standing just inside the room

“Is it alright if I come in now?” he asked Lemay having been unceremoniously booted from the room while the Doctor examined d’Artagnan since he was getting in the way with his insistence on holding d’Artagnan’s hand and kissing him!

“It is” Lemay said “But only an hour, he needs to rest”

“I’m fine!” d’Artagnan automatically said and received two pairs of rolled eyes in his direction

“He needs to be on bed rest too, for at least another two weeks” Lemay stated
“Two weeks!?” d’Artagnan exclaimed “I can’t stay in bed for two weeks!”

Lemay gave him a withering look “I was bed bound for much longer than that and I survived!”

“Don’t worry I’ll tie him to the bed if I have to!” Athos said with a chuckle and patted Lemay’s shoulder as he went past him to the bed

“ Traitor!” d’Artagnan grumbled

Athos however only snuffed a laugh as he sat down on the side of the bed and took d’Artagnan’s hand, quietly Lemay took his leave to give them some privacy and braced himself for the barrage of questions that would be waiting for him outside the door.

 

**************************************************************************************

 

Athos let out a deep sigh squeezing d’Artagnan’s hand “That was too close sweetheart” he said “Far too close”

“Believe me I know” d’Artagnan said shifting Perri slightly in his arms “D’you believe in near death visions?” he asked curiously

Athos blinked, “I’ve heard them spoken of but I’ve never really given them much thought”, he frowned “Why d’you ask?”

“Because I think I had one” d’Artagnan said

“You did?, what did you see?”

“Hell” d’Artagnan replied “My version of hell, what it would be for me”

“D’Artagnan…” Athos began

“No there’s more than that” d’Artagnan said “I saw images of the future, a future if I died today, what it would mean for you, for Lex and Perri, for our friends”

Athos pursed his lips and frowned at the expression on his face “I assume it was not a happy future?”

d’Artagnan shook his head “Not in the least” he murmured then looked up sharply to meet Athos’s eyes “It was what gave me the strength to fight my way back to life though, not wanting the future to turn out that way, it gave me the courage to do what I had to, to get back here”

“And what was that?” Athos asked shifting and putting his left leg over his right knee

d’Artagnan grinned wolfishly “I had to follow the sound of your voice and jump into a sea of lava pulling Rochefort with me!”.

 

Athos’s eyes bugged “You…, Rochefort…, what?”

d’Artagnan shrugged “I did say I was in hell!”

Athos stared at him incredulous for several minutes before he shook his head “I can’t say whether or not what you saw or think you saw was a nightmare brought on by blood loss and fever or if it was a genuine near death vision. I think the best person to ask on that would likely be Aramis unless you want to speak with a priest?”

“God no not a priest!” d’Artagnan exclaimed “I avoid confession at the best of times and only go to Mass under duress!”

Athos snickered and nodded “Aramis then”

“Hmm” d’Artagnan nodded in agreement and turned his attention back to Perri “Lemay says he’s going to keep feeding him”

“Is he?”

“Yeah, I like that better than the idea of a stranger doing it, and I admit I don’t like the idea of anyone feeding Perri but me but at least Lemay is a friend and I trust him, something I wouldn’t feel with a stranger”

Athos squeezed d’Artagnan’s hand in a quiet comfort “What about you though?” he asked “Your…, hysterectomy?”

d’Artagnan shook his head “Lemay don’t know what it’ll mean beyond infertility, there’s no way I’ll ever have another Pup”

Athos was very swift in commenting on that “We have Pups, you have given me a beautiful family, more than I could ever have hoped for”

“I know” d’Artagnan said a broad smile on his face rocking Perri gently who gurgled and blew a spit bubble “And I’m very happy with the Pups we have, I’m just telling you what Lemay told me”

Athos nodded “Your heats?”

“He can’t be sure, we’ll have to wait and see, it might mean I’ll go into heat-secession or that I’ll still have heats but they won’t lead to anything, we just don’t know”

“Your physical health?” Athos asked

“Again he doesn’t know for certain” d’Artagnan said “There is a likelihood of muscle damage to my stomach but I figured as much considering the surgery, and I may have other issues with maintaining a healthy body weight and muscle mass but it’s just a matter of wait and see”

“Well so long as you are here and you are not in pain then that’s good enough for me” Athos stated, he paused and glanced towards the bedroom door “Lex is waiting outside, he’s very anxious to see you”

“Let him in” d’Artagnan said “God knows this must have been hell for him”.

Athos leaned forward and pressed a kiss on d’Artagnan’s lips and then one on Perri’s cheek before going to the door to let Lex inside.

 

The young Dauphin didn’t waste time in getting inside the room, he just about tore across the bedroom and leaped onto the bed to wrap his arms about his Oman so tightly that d’Artagnan couldn’t help but let out a yelp of pain!.

“Oh I’m sorry Oman!” Lex apologised

“Careful!” Athos cautioned “Your Oman is still very delicate right now”

“He’s fine” d’Artagnan said moving so he could face Lex a little better “Are you alright?” he asked his elder Alphon “I’m sorry I scared you like this”

“It’s okay” Lex said “I know you didn’t intend to do so, and you’re going to be alright now aren’t you?”, his insistence that he was fine was belied by the anxiety in his eyes making d’Artagnan smile and stretch out his right arm so Lex could come and snuggle against him which he happily did and reached out his hand to Perri placing his index finger inside one tiny hand
“He’s so cute” he said

“He is indeed” Athos agreed retaking his seat “And Oman will be alright but he’ll need a lot of rest to recover and he must stay in bed for the next two weeks”, there was a slight twinkle of amusement in his eyes as he went on “You will help me make sure he stays here won’t you?”

“What!?” d’Artagnan protested indignantly

“Of course Aphan!” Lex promptly replied “I’ll be happy to”

“Traitors!” d’Artagnan grumbled and looked down at Perri “I suppose you’ll grow up and take their side too!”

Athos snorted and looked to Lex who grinned back at him intending to do whatever he had to, to ensure his Oman stayed in bed and rested as ordered.

Chapter Text

Aramis was in a pleasant state of half asleep and half awake when his semi hard cock was engulfed in warm moist heaven!.

A smile curved his lips lazily and a happy moan escaped them as a wonderfully skilled tongue stroked over his length and teased the head.

Moaning blissfully Aramis pushed his hands downwards to cup a soft haired head that bobbed up and down in a maddeningly wonderful way that had him bucking his hips and gasping as he was suckled and teased until he was swallowed hole and was spilling down Lemay’s throat with a loud cry!.

 

Licking his lips like a cat that’s just helped itself to cream Lemay squirmed his way up from under the covers and beamed down at Aramis who blinked rather dazed at him!.

“Good morning” Lemay said to his mate settling down besides him and running his fingers over the scant hair on Aramis’s chest

“Best morning!” Aramis said stretching languidly and rolling over to wrap Lemay in his arms and kissed his swollen lips gently but deeply
“What brought this about?” he asked, since d’Artagnan’s dramatic delivery of Perri Lemay had had no time and little inclination to do anything but eat, and sleep when he wasn’t running round after the Pups and checking on d’Artagnan, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

 

Lemay shrugged and smiled “You’ve been so good to me, so patient and understanding that I wanted to show my appreciation”

Aramis smiled warmly and tightened his hold on Lemay “Well you did not need to but I am very happy that you have!”, moving his right hand down Lemay’s flank to his hip he began to trail his fingers over Lemay’s buttocks which he knew were ticklish
“And now is there anything I can do for you my love?”
Lemay squirmed and wriggled letting out a breathy laugh as Aramis’s wicked fingers slipped between his buttocks to tease him all the more but before they got any further Nicky gave a spluttering cry that was quickly followed by a wail of demand for attention.
“Fuck!” Aramis groaned dropping his head and resting it on Lemay’s forehead, the Omega laughed and kissed him

“No rest for the wicked!” he sighed pulling himself up and out of Aramis’s embrace and crossed the room to the crib

Aramis remained laying in bed and watched the beautiful sight of his mate taking their Pup to his breast
“Planning to stay there all day?” Lemay asked with a risen eyebrow

“Maybe” Aramis replied “So long as I can watch you like this all day!”

Lemay grinned his cheeks growing wonderfully red with a flattered blush “You’re Aphan does talk the most terrible rubbish Nicky” he said to the suckling Pup “You must learn not to pay attention to his frivolity because he will fill your head with utter nonsense!”

“Hey don’t go turning him against me before he’s even talking!” Aramis protested climbing out of bed and went over to his mate and pup wrapping his arms about Lemay and looked over his shoulder down at Nicky who was hungrily focused on Lemay’s breast

“Your Oman is too modest my little love” he said to the Pup “He doesn’t realize he is the most beautiful Omega on the earth so we must constantly tell him so mustn’t we?”

Nicky gurgled and sucked harder far more intent on the milk he was getting than either of his parents words!

“He is so perfect” Aramis said gently stroking the back Nicky’s head

“Our perfect Pup” Lemay said “He is going to be wonderfully clever and talented and brave I just know it!”

“Hmm me too” Aramis agreed imaging the many possibilities their Pup had in his future.

 

************************************************************************************

 

Two weeks for d’Artagnan passed far quicker than he had imagined they would.

Being weak still he found himself sleeping a lot while on bed rest and the most of the days passed by without him realizing it as he regained his strength.
However as soon as those two weeks were gone he was up and out of bed with the speed of light!.

While he could not feed Perri himself he made up for this by taking care of every other need his Pup had.

Having four weeks of confinement left he was able to enjoy having his Pup to himself before he had to return to court life and he made sure he enjoyed every minute.

Flouting convention he did not stay confined completely insisting on taking daily walks through the gardens with Perri and Lex who was very keen to spend as much time as possible with his Oman having come so close to losing him.

He was also quite fascinated by his newborn little Alphrer who seemed to grow more active and inquisitive by the day.

His bright blue eyes seemed to recognize who he was looking at, his hands and his own feet were a source of fascination for him as if he had only just realized he had them in his possession!, and when Lex put his finger into that tiny fist he was astonished by the force with which the Pup could squeeze!.

 

Athos, while not really permitted to be in the confinement chambers aside from brief visits ignored convention as well and spent much time with his family, even staying in d’Artagnan’s bed much to the shock of the court!.

Of course they were only sleeping, d’Artagnan was in state for anything more but the fact was it was shocking to the courtiers that Athos would share d’Artagnan’s bed at all before he was churched.

 

Having these four weeks of freedom from courtly life the small family enjoyed being nothing more than a happy family, sharing simple meals together without the pomp and frivolity of dining in the main hall.

Frequently they went on picnic lunches in the gardens, sitting under the shade of trees on blankets with plain but nutritious food spread before them and indulged in long lazy afternoons in the warmth of the sun.

Often times d’Artagnan would sit with Perri in his arms and watch as Athos gave Lex some sword play, the two of them stripped down to their breeches and shirts with their doublets discarded upon the grass as they fenced.

Lex’s talent was growing in leaps and bounds, he had both his parents skill with a blade and under the tuition of the Musketeers he was rapidly growing into a very skilled swordsman who would no doubt surpass both his parents when he came of age.
“You see Perri your Alphrer is already a Musketeer in the making” d’Artagnan said to Perri “And when you are older he will be teaching you how to use a sword like that”

Perri gurgled happily and wriggled his fingers oblivious to what d’Artagnan was saying but was adorable non the less

“Try not to drop your shoulder when you turn it gives away your intended news” Athos instructed

“I’m not sure what you mean Aphan” Lex said frowning unhappily

“I can demonstrate if you’d like” d’Artagnan offered getting to his feet and leaving the blanket to join his mate and elder Pup

“Are you sure you’re well enough?” Athos asked with a frown

While d’Artagnan was improving he was still not yet completely recovered from the surgery. His abdomen was still tender and as the stitches were not yet out he still wore a bandage about his stomach and loose clothing so as not to chafe the healing wound.

“I think I can manage some gentle sword play” d’Artagnan said to Athos and then looked down to Perri “Can’t I sweetheart?” he asked tickling the Pups belly

“Can I hold him while you do?” Lex asked handing his sword to Athos to hold

“Of course” d’Artagnan replied carefully handing Perri to Lex, “That’s it support the head and keep his weight on your arm”

Very carefully Perri held Lex and gazed down at him in awe as he always did when the Pup was placed in his arms, he had only held him twice before now and both those times had been in the supervision of his Oman, to be taking care of the Pup alone even for a few minutes was daunting as well as exciting.

“Lets go and sit down to watch them shall we?” he asked Perri who blew a spit bubble from rose bud lips and blinked at him “Okay I’ll take that as a yes!”

Bouncing Perri gently he made his way back to the blanket and sat down to watch as d’Artagnan and Athos squared off and began to fence.

“Look Perri isn’t our Oman great?” he said to the Pup “He’s not a strong as Aphan but he’s faster and more agile so he can match him in a fight”

Perri whimpered and made a grumbling sound in his throat

“What?, are you hungry?, no you can’t be hungry you were fed just before we came out and you don’t smell so you can’t be in need of changing!”

Perri whimpered again and gave a series of small choked sobs that were likely to lead into full on wailing if he was not attended to soon

“What is it?” Lex asked growing more panicked, with wide eyes he looked back to where his parents were sparring, he could easily call out to them for help if he wanted and they would come to his aid and take care of Perri but he didn’t want to do that, he wanted to take care of the Pup himself.

“Okay” he whispered “I can do this”

Perri whined and whimpered apparently disagreeing!

“You don’t need feeding and you don’t need changing and you were content when Oman held you and with me when I was…, standing with you!”, Lex rose to his feet excitedly and stared at Perri waiting for him to stop moaning only to find the smile falling from his face as a snuffling sob erupted from Perri

“Not standing…, what was I doing different?” Lex asked beginning to shift about nervously and jiggled Perri in his arms, the Pup broke off mid cry and began to settle again as he was bounced gently

“That’s it?” Lex asked in surprise “You want to be bounced?” he asked Perri who just blinked owlishly and yawned seemingly growing content with being bounced just enough to keep from being totally still

“Huh!” Lex laughed “Who knew looking after Pups was so easy!”.

 

“I don’t think he’s paying us much attention” Athos said as he evaded d’Artagnan’s swing

“He’s in love with Perri right now” d’Artagnan said pausing their match and looking at his Pups happily “I’m glad, there was a part of me that worried he might resent not being an only Pup anymore”

“But instead he’s besotted” Athos said wrapping an arm about d’Artagnan’s waist being careful to keep his hand above the incision wound

“Did you ever imagine a year ago that we would be this happy again?” d’Artagnan asked leaning into the embrace “After all the loss and hardships we went through?”

“We’ve overcome a lot together” Athos agreed “And I think we’re the stronger for it, in fact I think we’ve come to appreciate what we have all the more, I know I certainly have and I won’t ever be risking losing it again”

d'Artagnan smiled and leaned into Athos more “Nor will I” he agreed happily and lifted a hand to wave at Lex as he looked up and held up one of Perri’s hands to wave to their parents

“Shall we go and see what they’re doing Perri?” he asked the Pup who gurgled contentedly and snuggled closer to his Alphrer as he took him over to his parents.

 

 

From the royal balcony Treville and Anne watched the royal family enjoying another domestic afternoon together.

“They look good like this” Anne said “They should have as much time as they want to enjoy just being together without the court muscling in all the time”

“True” Treville agreed and grinned as Athos took Perri so d’Artagnan could fence with Lex
“I can hardly believe how well he’s recovering”

“Thank God for it” Anne breathed “I don’t think Lemay would ever have forgiven himself should he have died”, she sighed a little wistfully “It’s a shame he can’t take the credit he deserves for doing something so amazing”

“But the safer for him if he does not” Treville said practically “And perhaps also for d’Artagnan, there are those who’d say he’d been defiled and maimed if it ever came out about his hysterectomy”, he did not add that those small minded fools would also say it made him unfit to be King and having already suffered so much opposition to his reign he did not need more trouble especially when things were just starting to turn in his favour at long last.

“Well another week and he’ll be churched and back at court” Anne said stretching slightly “And then we’ll have Constance and Porthos’s wedding to enjoy followed by half of Europe’s nobility descending on us to celebrate Perri’s Christening”

Treville rolled his eyes “Lets enjoy the wedding first before we get back to welcoming Nobles from all over Europe”

Anne smirked “I have heard that Prince Kadim may attend the Christening!”

Treville groaned “God help us all!”.

Chapter Text

Louvre

Standing naked before the mirror for the first time since the dramatic birth and surgery d’Artagnan surveyed the “Damage”.

With the bandages now removed along with the stitches d’Artagnan was able to see the incision wound for the first time.

It was about an inch to an inch and a half thick and stretch over his lower belly just above his groin for four inches.

While still red and raised with being so fresh d’Artagnan could already see that Lemay had been skilful in making the incision, he had kept it as small as he possibly could and made it a neat straight incision rather than a jagged cut that would have left a far more unsightly scar.

As for the scar d’Artagnan was not bothered by it, he knew that given time it would fade white like his stretch marks and after so many pregnancies he had a fair collection of them on his hips and a couple on his abdomen.

As Lemay had said he had suffered some muscle damage, his abdomen “felt” different.

The muscles below the scar were tight where the muscles above were soft and rounded, not excessively but enough to not be flat and would likely remain thus.

Thanks to the rest he had been getting and the high protein and iron rich diet Lemay had put him on he had regained his healthy olive complexion and lost the dark circles beneath his eyes.

 

“Majesty?” a tentative voice asked

d’Artagnan turned and smiled at his maid and nodded his head raising his arms so his shirt could be put upon his body followed by his brais and then his breeches of Dark grey satin and his brocaded satin doublet of cranberry.
He was sat with his feet on a footstool having dark red silk stockings put onto his legs and secured under his breeches just above his knee when Athos came in dressed in full Musketeer uniform.

“The black velvet shoes I think” d’Artagnan said to the maids dressing him and looked up at Athos with a smile

“Ready to re-join the court?” Athos asked walking over and placing his hands on d’Artagnan’s shoulders rubbing them gently

“As I’ll ever be” d’Artagnan said flexing his toes in the shoes as they were placed onto his feet.

Gracefully he rose and walked to his dressing table mirror and combed his hair leaving it loose about his shoulders instead of tying it back with a ribbon.

Over his shoulders a heavy gold chain was placed with large rubies and diamonds studded upon it, and onto his head the Crown was carefully placed making him wince slightly at the weight upon his head and neck.

“Ready?” Athos asked offering d’Artagnan his arm

“Ready” d’Artagnan said linking his arm with Athos.

 

In the anti chamber of his bed chambers Lex waited for his parents with a peaceful but awake Perri in his arms.

“You’re a natural with him” d’Artagnan observed

“He’s so cute I never want put him down!” Lex stated then wrinkled his nose “Except when he gets stinky!”

“Ah yes that is an unfortunate difficulty with Pups and babies” Athos drawled amused

“But he’s lots of fun the rest of the time” Lex enthused “Aren’t you Perri?”

Perri gurgled at him happily and wiggled his fingers as d’Artagnan beamed at him

“Lets go and present him to the court them” he said taking a deep breath and putting his shoulders back in preparation of going into the proverbial lions den!.

 

Anne, Treville, and Constance were all waiting on the dais before the thrones with the rest of the court including Porthos, Aramis, and Lemay before them.

Silence fell over the throne room as the Usher thumped the floor with his staff

“His Majesty Charles X of France and Navarre, His Serene royal highness Olivier d’Athos de la Fere, His Royal Highness Louis Alexandre Dauphin of France, His Royal highness the Duc d’Orleans”

The courtiers parted, bowing and curtseying as the royal family walked past them up onto the dais where Athos and d’Artagnan took their thrones with Lex on d’Artagnan’s left still holding Perri in his arms.

The Usher thumped the floor again and the courtiers rose from their deference turning their attention to the royal family.

d’Artagnan shifted his gaze to Athos and shared a smile with him before taking a breath and gesturing to Lex and Perri

“My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen may I present His Royal Highness Philip Henri Duc d’Orleans, our most beloved Alphon”

Both sycophantic and genuine applause followed and Lex proudly displayed his sibling who grumbled a little at the noise and gave several whimpers until Lex bounced him and cooed at him the way he liked it.

“They certainly took that well” d’Artagnan said to Athos

“As well they should” Athos replied placing a hand on d’Artagnan’s knee gently squeezing it, not in a sexual gesture but one of support and affection
“You have not only given me the perfect family you have provided France with the next generation of royalty and secured the succession in the face of incredible adversity”

d’Artagnan smiled appreciatively.

 

“They look good don’t they?” Aramis said admiring his friends and their Pups

“Happier than I’ve ever seen them” Constance said “And after all they’ve been through they deserve it”

“Indeed they do, as do you” Aramis agreed “And speaking of happiness we’ll soon be celebrating your wedding”

Constance smiled her cheeks turning pink and her eyes shining with excitement both for the wedding and the prospect of the litter she may be carrying but had not yet confirmed

“Aye!” Porthos said wrapping a slightly possessive arm about Constance’s waist “It’ll be a very grand day and I for one can hardly wait”.

 

***********************************************************************************

 

Notre Dame

 

A month later

 

Feeling as if she were walking on air Constance glided down the isle in her gown of white, her Twins Charles and Gabrielle walked before her throwing petals onto the ground which caught in her skirts and were swept along creating a sweet fragrance as she walked.

By her side with his arm through hers d’Artagnan walked in his dramatic dark outfit that created a startling contrast with Constance’s white gown.

At the Alter Porthos waited with a beaming smile dressed in a new pair of forest green breeches of leather and a matching doublet with a pale mint green robe over the top.

Both nervous and excited a greeted Constance with a kiss on her hands and nodded a thank you to d’Artagnan who stepped back and went to join Athos in the top pew to watch as Constance and Porthos took their vows before the whole of the French court.

The reception of course was being held at the Louvre at d’Artagnan’s expense which was his wedding gift to them, and then the following day the two would go on Honeymoon to the south of France for a month before returning for Perri’s Christening by which time Constance’s pregnancy would have become apparent and she would reveal it to more than just her family and friends.
“You know I think Constance looks ten years younger today” d’Artagnan whispered to Athos who snorted

“Unlike Porthos who just looks ten times as pleased with himself than normal!”

“Oh hush!” d’Artagnan scolded slapping the back of his hand against Athos’s doublet,
Athos caught his hand and kissed it a grin on his face

“Soon we’ll be celebrating Perri’s Christening here” he said

“Hmm and welcoming Kadim back to court”, d’Artagnan snickered at Athos’s growl, “Behave, you know you’re the only Alpha for me!”

“Well so long as He knows it too there won’t be any problems!” Athos grunted, d’Artagnan shook his head and quietly laughed before rising to his feet and clapping as Constance and Porthos kissed and turned to face the congregation as Husband and Wife.

 

*************************************************************************************

 

Louvre

“To the happy couple!” d’Artagnan cheered raising his champagne high in a toast to Constance and Porthos who stood in the centre of the ball room

“May they enjoy every happiness and blessing in a long and fruitful marriage!”
“To Constance and Porthos!” the court echoed and drank to their health

“And now the first dance” d’Artagnan said moving away to the top table and setting down his cup.

The courtiers made space for Constance and Porthos in the centre of the ballroom where Porthos bowed to her and she dipped a shallow curtsey as the orchestra struck up a Galliard

Porthos was not the most elegant dancer in the world. His humble/criminal upbringing had not led to dancing lessons and schooling in etiquette as born Nobility and Gentry were given, but he had spent many years at court as a Musketeer and had seen dancing often enough to mimic the moves of others and so was able to dance with Constance without treading all over her feet!.

He had also practised the steps to The Galliard in private so he would not make a fool of himself while dancing with her.

“And I thought you said you were a bad dancer” Constance said as they turned

“I may have had a bit practise with Aramis” Porthos admitted “Although the Galliard is the only one I’ve mastered I’m afraid!”

“That’s okay!” Constance laughed “It is my favourite after all”

“So long as we don’t have to attempt the volta!” Porthos said twirling Constance under his arm and ending the dance with a bow to her and polite clapping

“If I may have a dance with the bride now?” Aramis asked sauntering over to them “I promise I’ll be a much more graceful dancer than Porthos”, dodging the swipe Porthos took at his head Aramis leaned forward to whisper into Constance’s ear “He’s not bad with a sword and he’s a dab hand at unarmed combat but when it comes to real gentlemanly pursuits I’m afraid our dear Porthos is some what lacking!”

Aramis staggered slightly as Porthos elbowed his side and he grinned unrepentantly and performed a dramatic bow to Constance offering her his hand “Madame”

Porthos snorted and shook his head very use to Aramis’s dramatics by now and more than happy for him to dance with Constance

“You incorrigible flirt!” Constance scolded taking his hand “I don’t know how Lemay puts up with you!”

“Ah he loves and adores me as I love and adore him Madame, and while I may be an incorrigible and unrepentant flirt I only have eyes for him alone”

Constance chuckled and allowed Aramis to lead her out to dance nodding her head to d’Artagnan who was taking a turn with Lemay, d’Artagnan leading while Lemay followed.

 

Porthos made his way over to the champagne fountain and took a glass for himself then went over to Athos who was bouncing Perri and talking nonsense to him
“Where’s Lex got to?, I thought him and little Perri were inseparable these days?” he asked Athos taking a mouthful of champagne

“Enjoying a dance himself” Athos replied inclining his head towards the dance floor where Lex was indeed dancing with Gabrielle!

“Young love on the horizon?” Porthos asked raising an eyebrow

“God I hope not!” Athos shuddered “He’s far too young for that!, please God let him be too young for that!”

Porthos let out a loud laugh and slapped Athos’s shoulder hard enough that the man staggered and shot him a reproachful look that went unheeded as always

“I’ll bet that it won’t be to much longer before you’re holdin’ your first grandpup like that!”

Athos glowered at him “If that happens I’ll know who to blame!”

Porthos snorted merrily ignoring the glare completely

“Besides” Athos said shifting Perri in his arms so his head was raised a little more “We’ll be holding your little ones sooner than that”

“Aye”, Porthos’s smile became softer, his expression half excited and half nervous which was to be expected since he had lost Alice and their child in the childbed

“All will be well this time my friend” Athos said more than understanding the conflicting feelings Porthos would be experiencing right now, “You and Constance will have a long and happy life together, I’m sure of it”

Porthos beamed at Athos grateful for his understanding and politely clapped as the dance came to an end.

 

Constance did indeed succeed in getting Porthos back onto the dance floor twice more before he insisted he’d reached his dancing limit and took refuge with Athos who also tried to avoid dancing whenever possible, though he had taken a few turns with d’Artagnan who danced also with Constance, Aramis of course, Lemay, and several Nobles.

Lemay absented himself from the celebrations briefly to go and nurse Perri, returning to Aramis’s side and giving the sleepy contented Pup to d’Artagnan in time to see Constance and Porthos cut the three foot high wedding cake that was smothered in marzipan and spun sugar and studded with candied almonds and cherries.

“You’ve had too much excitement haven’t you?” d’Artagnan cooed to Perri going to sit by Athos and nodded his thanks to the liveried servant who brought them both slices of cake
“You’re all worn out”

Perri huffed and murmured wordlessly as his eyelids grew heavier with the need to sleep

“You had fun too little one?” Athos asked beaming at his Pup who murmured once more as he lost the fight with his eyes and slipped into sleep
“Sweet dreams Perri” Athos said sharing a grin with d’Artagnan “Porthos says it won’t be long till Lex has made us Grandparents” he added

d’Artagnan’s eyebrows reached his hair line and he looked across the ballroom to where Lex was sat with Charles, the two of them playing a game of throwing rolled up balls of bread into champagne glasses from a distance

“I sincerely doubt that” he said and chuckled at the relief on Athos’s face “Ah don’t worry love we’ve many years before we need to worry about vetting suitable brides for Lex”

“Thank God!” Athos murmured

“Besides” d’Artagnan said settling Perri into his left arm and lifting his cake fork with his right hand and cut into the cake “First we’ve got our Perri to Christen”.

 

************************************************************************************

 

One Month Later

 

“His most gracious Royal Highness Prince Kadim of the Ottoman Empire”

Athos didn’t even bother to hide the growl that erupted from his chest as the Usher announced the arrival of the very handsome exotic Alpha Prince.

“Behave!” d’Artagnan scolded tapping the back of his wrist

“I am!” Athos grunted “I’m being as civil as I am capable of in his insufferable presence!”

“Ugh Alphas!” d’Artagnan groaned rolling his eyes. Taking a breath he smiled warmly as Kadim sauntered towards him garbed richly in low cut very loose purple breeches of silk, a knee length tunic of maroon that was embroidered at the neck line and the cuffs, and long doublet of gold brocaded purple satin.

“Your Majesty” he greeted warmly and bowed low before d’Artagnan who bid him rise immediately and the flirtatious Alpha Prince continued “I rejoice in my great fortune at being so blessed as to look upon your radiant beauty once more!”

Athos shifted and growled low in his throat glaring at Kadim who continued non the less

“It is as if the Sun has returned to my life after a long and cold absence, the shadows have now been banished and your light now shines upon me!”

“Kadim” d’Artagnan chuckled smiling down at him “I do believe my court has been deeply lacking in your gallant romantic poetry and I am pleased to have it restored for a time”

“Ah but your beauty inspires the most passionate of poetry Your Majesty” Kadim said “Why just one look upon your golden skin and I am possessed with the urge to compose verses comparing you fairest Dawn!”

“You certainly something Prince Kadim!” Athos stated a tight smile on his lips and a glint of warning in his eyes that just made Kadim smirk

“Your Serene Highness” he said offering the shallowest of Bows he could before turning back to d’Artagnan, “I offer my most sincere congratulations on the birth of your Alphon, Philip Henri, and I bring gifts for the happy occasion of his…Christening”

He snapped his fingers and several attendants stepped forward

“Firstly a blanket of the finest Indian silk embroidered in cloth of gold for the young Prince’s crib”, a metre of gold embroidered blue silk and presented to d’Artagnan and Athos by a servant

“Secondly a dinner service with twelve goblets of gold”

The courtiers gasped the extravagant gift that Kadim was giving to the Duc d’Orleans and Anne silently groaned sharing a look with Treville knowing they would be dealing with the rumours of d’Artagnan and Kadim having had an affair once again!

“And last is a gift for you my most beloved King” Kadim said taking the chest from his servant and walking to the dais himself to present it to d’Artagnan

“I think these will compliment your radiant beauty well”

d’Artagnan gasped as the chest was opened and he was presented with a necklace of gold upon which hung a medallion of The Sun with a diamond in it’s centre, twin wrist cuffs of gold with small diamond suns, and a pair of gold drop earrings with tiny diamond suns.

“Good God!” Athos exclaimed at the gift

“Kadim” d’Artagnan said shaking his head “This is magnificent but I…”

“Ah no you can not refuse” Kadim said “I insist you accept and wear them” he shot Athos a smirk “To see you so elegantly bejewelled will please me greatly!”

Athos snarled heatedly while the courtiers murmured utterly scandalized and Anne prepared herself for the onset of gossip and rumours!.

 

*************************************************************************************

“I hate that arrogant insufferable stuck up his own arse flirtatious bastard!” Athos seethed “I want to gauge his eyes out, cut his hands off at the elbow, and boil him in oil!”

“Something you’ve made very clear Mon Ami!” Aramis said nonchalantly and put his boots up on the coffee table while Athos glared out the window of the royal apartments his gaze upon d’Artagnan who was walking in the gardens with Kadim, they were being escorted by Kadim’s body guard and two of d’Artagnan’s maids but that didn’t make Athos any happier!

“Look at him fawning over my d’Artagnan, practically undressing him with his eyes!”
Aramis snickered at Athos’s jealousy in regards to Kadim’s attraction to d’Artagnan, it was probably a good thing he mused that Kadim was only staying in Paris for a short time before returning to Turkey as he seriously doubted that Athos would be able to keep his temper in check if it went on for much longer!.

*************************************************************************************

 

“You seem happier and more content than I have ever seen you before”

d’Artagnan looked up at Kadim with a smile “I am happy” he said “And I am content with my life and my family”

“You and Athos have made amends then” Kadim said, he knew he was encroaching on dangerous territory but he felt he and d’Artagnan knew each other well enough for him to be so familiar with the King.

“We have” d’Artagnan confirmed “And I would say that we are happier and stronger than ever we have been in the past”

Kadim smiled and sighed wistfully “As much as it grieves me to know that I may never know you as I would wish to I am happy for you and I wish you well”

d’Artagnan blushed and glanced behind them to where the body guard and maids were walking, they were too far away to hear what was being said thank God or the rumour mill would be running rampant by the following day!.

“Surely with you Hareem you are not lacking for beauty or entertainment” he said to Kadim who chuckled and nodded his head

“I am blessed it is true, but swear my King you are by far the most beautiful Omega I have ever seen and to be denied your love is a blow that I will forever bear!”, Kadim clasped a hand over his heart as he said the last making d’Artagnan laugh and shake his head at the dramatics

“I’m sure you will survive” he said cheerfully “After all is not one of your Mates pupped again?”
“Indeed my fair Mehr is expecting a litter” Kadim said a fond smile crossing his handsome features “I may name a male Pup after you, Charles is a very pleasant name after all!”
“A Turkish Prince naming one of his Pups after me” d’Artagnan said “That’ll certainly get some tongues wagging!”

“Ah what is life without some scandalous gossip?” Kadim asked dismissively

“Peaceful!” d’Artagnan replied

“Oh Peaceful is overrated, let us live our lives to the full create as much scandal as we possibly can!”, Kadim’s enthusiastic declaration made d’Artagnan laugh and shake his head unable to resist Kadim’s bright smile and sunny nature

“Just try to keep the scandals to a minimum before the my Alphon’s Christening?” he asked “I don’t want anything to upset that”

“I swear my dearest Charles I will be on my best behaviour and be the perfect Gentleman!”

d’Artagnan rose an eyebrow and hummed as the cheeky glint in Kadim’s eyes belied his sincerity, however there was not anything he could do about it, all he could hope for was that Athos and Kadim did not come to blows before the Turk left for his homeland once more!.

 

*************************************************************************************

 

Ten days later the bells of Notre Dame rang out through out Paris as Philip Henri was Christened.

Lex proudly held his Alphrer before the font and comforted him as he cried when the holy water was splashed onto his head by the Bishop.

Freshly returned from her honeymoon with just the barest hint of a bump Constance happily declared herself as GodOman to Perri along with Lemay, and both Treville and Aramis were made GodAphan’s.

“In the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit I Baptize thee Philip Henri duc d’Orleans” the Bishop declared crossing Perri’s forehead

“May our Lord bless you with good health and long life, and may he protect and watch over you through out all your years”

“Amen” the congregation echoed and clapped as the ceremony was completed.

 

Proudly Lex walked at the head of the procession carrying Perri who was wrapped in the blue and gold blanket gifted to him by Kadim.

“You’ll be here yourself soon christening your new little ones” d’Artagnan said to Constance glancing over his shoulder to her, she smiled brightly and clasped her small belly with her hand, behind her Porthos was beaming and all but preening in happiness as he walked besides Lemay and Aramis.

“What’s this I hear about Kadim naming his Pup after you?” Athos asked d’Artagnan trying and failing not to glare at the jewellery that d’Artagnan was wearing which was the set Kadim had gifted him

“He likes the name Charles” d’Artagnan said with a shrug and slipped his arm through Athos’s as his mate growled “Ah hush now today is to celebrate our family and our new Pup and you wouldn’t want to do anything to upset that now would you?” he asked Athos who grunted and shot a glare at the neck chain d’Artagnan was wearing

“I suppose I can suffer his presence for a little longer” he agreed “But I’ll expect compensation for my sufferance!”

“Will you indeed?” d’Artagnan asked raising eyebrow at Athos before he smiled brightly as they stepped out onto the steps of Notre Dame and were greeted by the cheering crowd that had gathered to celebrate the Christening of the Duc d’Orleans

“We’ll just have to see about that won’t we?” he said waving to the crowd and smiled secretively to himself looking forward to “Compensating” Athos that night.

 

The End!.