Author's Note: So here is another chapter finally! Sorry for the slow updates, but writing has been harder then I had expected it to be. Anyway, we are nearing the end of the story… I think 1 or 2 chapters and then it's finished.
Hope you like this chapter, it's a bit of a filler chapter but necessary for the story.
Really want to know what you think of this chapter (or story) so leave a review!
Thanks to those who have reviewed on the previous chapter.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything!
Chapter 8 – Rollin'
Fortunately, the weather had cleared up the next day. Thunderclouds had been replaced by a cloudless sky. The musketeers, the Duke and the servants that accompanied him had left early in the day and they were making good progress. Athos had arranged that Aramis could ride with the coachman on top of the carriage. He could even relieve the coachman if need be, because he was also able to manage a horse-drawn carriage. The Duke had objected at first but Athos had made a compelling argument and the Duke had given in.
The rest of the journey to Paris was uneventful unless you counted the Duke's complaining about the heat, the cold, the bumps in the road and so on…
Porthos, especially, was glad to see that their journey was almost over when the first contours of Paris arose on the horizon, because of it. Athos had sent Laurent ahead to let Captain Treville know they would be arriving in Paris, at the Palace, shortly; so, the necessary preparations could be made for Gaston's visit.
Aramis had been fairly quiet throughout the journey back. He had donned his usual leathers and had trimmed his beard; looking the part of a musketeer again except for the walking stick he still used.
He was actually a bit anxious to return to Paris. He had missed his brothers and of course Anne. He had missed the way of life as a musketeer. He had missed Paris; its excitement and danger. But he also feared for his commission. He didn't know if his leg would heal completely and he was cursing the cane he still had to use for when he had to walk more than a few steps. His leg had already improved considerably, but he was impatient. What was a soldier worth if he couldn't even walk without help…?
Arriving at the Louvre only Treville, Laurent and a few servants stood waiting for them. Treville was nodding slowly when he saw Aramis; his face unreadable. As duty came first, he (and Laurent and the servants) greeted the Duke of Orleans. Gaston barely acknowledged him and walked straight into the palace; several servants following him.
Walking over to the carriage Captain Treville looked up to where Aramis was still sitting; a rare smile on his face. Helping Aramis down from the carriage before Athos, Porthos or 'd Artagnan could do so and hugging him saying, 'Glad to see you're still with us.'
Aramis inclined his head when Treville let him go, 'Glad to still be here…' When Treville saw the coachman give Aramis his cane he gave him a questioning look, so Aramis added, 'Even though I'm not entirely in shape… my leg was badly broken… it's still healing.'
Treville nodded that he understood the implication of this but before he could say something about it a servant interrupted him to tell him that he and the musketeers were expected by the King as the King didn't want to delay his special announcement now that his brother had finally arrived.
The four musketeers sighed. They had really been looking forward to a hot meal and some time off duty. But it seemed that they would have to wait a while longer for that.
When walking into the palace 'd Artagnan admitted, 'I wish I could have told Constance about Aramis being here. I'm sure she doesn't like to faint again in front of everybody…'
Surprised Aramis asked, 'Constance fainted?' the wheels in his head turning. He knew Constance well enough and she was a level-headed person and for her to faint was well… hard to believe.
'd Artagnan nodded, 'Yes, when she heard… well… that you had died.'
Aramis looked over to Athos who nodded his affirmation, suddenly looking horrified. But before Aramis could question him about it, Athos suggested to 'd Artagnan, 'Why don't you go tell her quickly now…'
Very surprised 'd Artagnan looked at Athos to make sure he had heard right. But when he made sure Athos meant what he said he hesitated and said, 'I'm not sure… last time I saw Constance we had a fight…'
Athos almost rolled his eyes, but didn't. 'As you have got good news for her, I am sure she will not mind.'
'd Artagnan pursed his lips in determination, nodded shortly and then left to find Constance.
The others continued on to the throne room where the Kind was waiting for them. But when they finally got there the royals were not there yet. There were other people already waiting; amongst them Count Mellendorf and his daughter Charlotte.
'Brother!' Louis exclaimed, a bright smile on his face. 'I am so glad you could come! I have terrific news!'
Gaston bowed to his brother, the King, and smiled back half-heartedly. 'Well, I have to say I am curious to what news you have because I do not appreciate of being summoned like this.'
'You will find out soon enough,' Louis said excitedly. He almost clapped his hands in excitement but, to his credit, didn't.
'Well, as I find you in a very good mood,' Gaston started, 'I was wondering if I could speak with you for a moment.'
'Of course,' Louis nodded, 'but later. I am expected in the throne room and I do not want to postpone my special announcement any further. Please join me.'
Gaston supressed a sigh but inclined his head, walking with the King towards the throne room.
'Constance!' 'd Artagnan called. He had just seen her walking down a corridor along with the Queen and her other ladies towards the room where everyone was gathering. 'Constance!' he called again when he rounded the corner.
The servants were about to open the doors of the throne room for the Queen and her following when the Queen halted in her steps. 'd Artagnan couldn't hear what was being said between the two women but it resulted in Constance leaving the Queen's side and walking towards him. He came over to her.
'What is it?' Constance whispered impatiently.
'I'm sorry… it's just I had to… I had to give you some very good news before you got into that room…' 'd Artagnan stuttered, not finding the right words.
When he didn't continue Constance asked still impatient, 'Well…?' Hands on her hips.
'It's Aramis… he's alive!'
A moment of stunned silence.
Constance looked at him. Big eyes full of emotion. Her hands had slowly gone up to cover mouth.
When Constance still said nothing, 'd Artagnan explained, 'I didn't want you to be blindsided again. He's waiting right in there,' nodding towards the throne room.
Constance slowly nodded, looking briefly over her shoulder and then back at 'd Artagnan. 'This is wonderful news!' A big smile lighting up her face. 'Thank you for telling me this,' she said thinking at the same time; how on earth was she going to tell the Queen this?
'd Artagnan nodded, 'I have to go back…'
'Of course,' Constance nodded watching 'd Artagnan until he rounded a corner. She stayed where she was a moment longer before joining Queen Anne by her side.
The Queen looked at her inquiringly when Constance returned by her side.
Constance looked back at Anne and for once she was without words. But she needed to prevent Anne walking through that door right now. She needed a heads up. 'We need a moment,' she whispered just loud enough for the Queen to hear.
A look of concern crossed Anne's face but instead of asking what she really wanted to know she ordered to the other ladies, 'Leave us.'
When her orders had been followed Anne asked with concern, 'What is it, Constance? What has you so shaken?'
Constance looked at her good friend and wished they could have been alone but it could not be helped. ''d Artagnan just told me some unbelievably good news, Majesty.'
Anne frowned not understanding. 'This could not wait until after the announcement?'
Shaking her head, 'No, no, I just don't know how to tell you this… but… it is Aramis,' Constance whispered, afraid of being overheard.
Anne's face hardened. But before she could berate Constance for bringing him up at this moment Constance continued in an (if possible) even softer whisper, 'He is alive… and he is here…'