Update - completed 2014.

Authors note below main fic.

Athos watched the young man sleep through a slight crack in the door. D'Artagnan, a man he had not seen in years, lay wounded and sleeping fretfully in his bed.

An event which Athos never truly believed would ever happen. D'Artagnan, hurt? Why the idea he would once have scoffed at now scorched his soul.

He moved slightly into the bedroom and knelt by the young man's side. D'Artagnan had been expertly bandaged by Grimaud, his dressing revealing a slight pinkish patch as if the wound had leaked through. The blood had stopped now, Athos quickly checked, and the dressing was light and secure.

D'Artagnan murmured as Athos' slender hand withdrew from correcting the position of the bandage. His eyes half opened, his gaze fell immediately upon the elder musketeer.

"Athos? But how ...?"

Athos noted the weakness of d'Artagnan's voice and hushed himself almost automatically to match D'artagnan's lesser volume. "You fell outside my estate, d'Artagnan. You have been badly hurt. Do you remember anything of what happened?"

D'Artagnan struggled to get up, only to have Athos gently push him down. "Ah, a lover's argument, I fear. My partner and I were travelling from Paris to Gascony and we had a slight tiff regarding some small issue. One thing led to another and then we were crossing swords. I beat him to the ground and he looked up at me in horror. I could not bring myself to force my sword down upon him. In an instant, he had struck me full in the shoulder and that was the last instant I remember, until now".

Athos sighed and nodded. "You have taken a man to your bed, d'Artagnan?"

D'Artagnan looked ashamed as he replied, a reddish hint infecting his cheeks "After my experiences with women, I think I will stick with what I know best. I thought I had found my ideal partner. Obviously not".

Athos busied himself with d'Artagnan's bandage. "Nothing to be ashamed of, d'Artagnan. I understand completely".

D'Artagnan looked at Athos coldly.

"It's true," Athos said softly "I myself have found greater comfort and love with a man in my bed, instead of a woman. I understand completely"

D'Artagnan looked faintly surprised, then smiled warmly. "We have something in common, dear Athos."

Athos smiled and blushed a little. His experiences with desire tended toward the mightier sex. He found other men compelling, adventurous and highly interesting.

"What a lucky incident it was for me to find you once more," d'Artagnan sighed. He coughed a little and Athos helped him to sit up and drink some cold water.

"Rest easy" Athos said softly. "I will stay by your side".

D'Artnagnan smiled affectionately at Athos.

Athos blushed and turned away.

D'Artagnan awoke with a start. He frantically searched the dark room for shadows, his gaze falling on the stalwart figure by his side. Grimaud smiled and placed a finger to his lips. Of course, the man had never spoken a word in years.

"Your Master," D'Artagnan breathed "Where is he?"

Grimaud lay a reassuring hand on d'Artagnan's good shoulder, patting gently. Then he rose and left the room.

"Egads!" D'Artagnan swore as he sought to sit up "That man's silence infuriates me!" Leaving the comfort of his bed, d'Artagnan walked shakily to the window. His eyes widened in surprise as he saw his former lover and Athos engaged in a heated argument.

Dressing clumsily, d'Artagnan stumbled to the door and immediately sought to intervene.

"D'Artagnan! What are you doing out of bed?" Athos said, catching the younger man quickly in his strong arms.

"D'Artagnan, please listen to me!" Louis cried, "I am sorry for injuring you yesterday. I am in love with you. Please forgive me"

"You showed little honour in our duel," d'Artagnan rasped. "You took advantage of my honour".

"I am sorry! What more can I do to redeem myself?" Louis asked.

"D'Artagnan is in no state for you to be questioning him thus," Athos observed, watching as d'Artagnan began to pale.

"Who are you to intervene between us? We are partners in more than battle. We are partners in life!"

"No, you betrayed him with the thrust of your rapier in his shoulder, with your honourless tactics in combat." Athos said angrily, moving between d'Artagnan and Louis, "If your partner were female, this would be considered attempted murder. You have no love for this man".

"D'Artagnan, please ...?" Louis begged.

D'Artagnan's resolve was weakening. He felt light-headed and nodded gratefully toward Grimaud as he leapt to steady d'Artagnan. "Please go. Athos is right. I feel no more love towards you. You have betrayed my trust and honour".

"I will not leave!" Louis said firmly. "I am the only lover you will ever have, who will ever love you with a whole and pure heart".

D'Artagnan paled ever more. Was Louis right? Would Louis be the only man d'Artagnan would ever be able to give his heart to fully, and the feeling be returned?

Athos turned to Louis, his expression steely "You have betrayed d'Artagnan's trust and honour, and I challenge you to a duel."

D'Artagnan looked helplessly towards Athos, "He is right, Athos. He is all I shall ever know in love. Please do not do this".

Athos knelt beside d'Artagnan and took his hand into his own. "I ask for this duel, not as a friend, but as your companion. I am in love with you d'Artagnan. I have always loved you, and I wish to settle this matter by the sword to redeem your honour."

D'Artagnan sighed and nodded as Athos kissed his friend's hand and stood up to face Louis "Do you agree, sir?"

Louis nodded, his eyes wide with rage. "Yes, tomorrow. Ten in the morn and outside your estate. In the field opposite your home."

Athos nodded, gravely, as Louis turned to leave.

"Dear Lord, Athos. Be careful." D'Artagnan said as Athos helped him back into the house.

"I am not blinded by love" Athos said softly "I will kill him in your name".

It was still dark outside.

D'Artagnan lay uncomfortably, unable to sleep. It was early morning, and he was very tired from the wound that still hurt him and from worry over the duel that would happen that morning.

"Are you asleep?" Athos asked softly, his profile moving closer to d'Artagnan from the half open door.

"No," d'Artagnan sighed. "I am worried about today".

"Fear not," Athos advised "Nothing bad will come of this".

D'Artagnan sighed "It already has. I do not want you to risk your life over my private affairs".

"Ah, but your private affairs do now concern me" Athos said simply.

"How do you mean?" D'Artagnan asked.

Athos smiled "I meant what I relayed to you earlier today. I love you, d'Artagnan. More than a friend and unlike a brother or son. I have always nurtured deep feelings for you."

D'Artagnan's eyes widened in surprise. His heart leapt with the realisation of Athos' heartfelt words and gentle manner. Louis was forgotten as he gazed intently into the eyes of the man who had never hurt or betrayed him. He felt deeply for Athos, feelings bourn from combat and the history between them.

"I love you as deeply as a man can love another. Past all conscious decision and rational thought. I feel as a lover would feel for their beloved." Athos breathed deeply and moved closer. His lips ghosted those of his friend's, and d'Artagnan's heart beat wildly with the brief contact.

"I do not cross swords for you, my friend," Athos explained, remaining close as his face brushed d'Artagnan's in a reassuring gesture. "I cross swords for us both".

D'Artagnan nodded.

He finally understood.

He loved this man, more than Louis or any man he had ever loved in his life. He loved Athos completely, with a respect born of admiration and unconditional love. The signs of their shared devotion had always been there – he had just failed to see them, or been afraid to act upon feelings, once shared, could never be taken back.

"You cannot sleep" Athos said softly, his hand brushing gently through the younger man's hair.

"No," d'Artagnan confessed. "I fear I will not sleep at all tonight".

A mischievous smile played on Athos' beautiful face and the younger man's heart ached painfully at the promise in his friend's eyes. "May I help you to rest?"

D'Artagnan smiled "Of course, dearest friend. Need you ask?"

"Yes" Athos said "I do need to ask. What I have in mind is of an intimate nature".

D'Artagnan felt his breath catch. As brave as the Musketeer was, he felt nervous. This was the point of no return between them. Nothing would ever be the same again after tonight. He looked into Athos' face with a sure expression. "Anything you wish, dearest Athos".

Athos smiled tenderly and leaned close to d'Artagnan. He observed the younger man breathing sharply and a shadow passed over d'Artagnan's face. A shadow of desire and expectation.

"Close your eyes" Athos instructed, his words merely a lusty breath.

Athos watched his friend close his eyes and kissed both eyelids tenderly. He lifted the sheet covering his precious friend and felt the hard erection beneath d'Artagnan's lower clothing. He carefully undid d'Artagnan's trousers with skilled fingers and released the younger man's organ with a gentle movement. As d'Artagnan's breath hitched, he carefully closed his fingers around the hard, throbbing member and began a gentle rhythm. He started to pump the organ slowly, whilst his mouth sought d'Artagnan's lips. D'Artagnan moaned as Athos moved more quickly and yelped a little as his organ spurted warm semen onto Athos' skilled hand. For a moment, he felt utterly defeated and humiliated by the raw display of carnal desire he had displayed for Athos. However, when he looked up into Athos' face, he saw nothing but love, devotion and pride.

Athos smiled gently and moved on top of d'Artagnan. "I wish to give you all of my love, as my commitment to you is forever."

"Athos. Please. I want you inside me. Now." D'Artagnan's wound was almost forgotten as he was mesmerised by the man he loved so deeply. The conclusion of this tryst was now inevitable. Athos desired d'Artagnan more than life itself. D'Artagnan, in return, desired Athos with a painful ache that made his life complete.

D'Artagnan watched Athos trustingly as Athos lifted both of the younger man's legs onto his shoulder. His prowess with d'Artagnan was heady and compelling as he manoeuvred his stiff organ to d'Artagnan's tight anal hole. He pushed himself into d'Artagnan's ass, feeling the young man squirm beneath him in pleasure and pain.

D'Artagnan gasped at the intrusion. He pulled Athos down to him, to seek out the warm, moist mouth of his friend and lover. He felt Athos move deeper and moaned with pleasure, bucking against Athos in an attempt to make the connection deeper. Athos groaned and shuddered as he started a gentle rhythm, staying clear of d'Artagnan's wound on his shoulder. His control superb, he ensured d'Artagnan felt the pleasure of his organ deeply, his whole body shuddering, his breath catching as his organ began to throb and spill its seed into d'Artagnan.

Athos collapsed upon d'Artagnan. His body was covered with a sheen of sweat. He was shedding tears as he held his friend tightly, "You are now my own, my heart and my soul."

D'Artagnan sighed and moaned with satisfaction. He felt Athos roll off him and turn him gently onto his good shoulder. A set of warm, reassuring arms wound around the younger man's frame as they spooned against each other, resulting in a satisfied slumber for them both.

Light had spilled into the newly couple's bedroom for three hours when Athos stirred. Draped across d'Artagnan's sleeping form, he immediately checked the bandage. The wound was already healing and didn't seem to show any infection.

Dressing rapidly, Athos left the room and called to Grimaud. Grimaud came immediately, his arms laden with the old Musketeer outfit that Athos had once worn many years ago.

"You know me well, my old friend." Athos smiled, taking the treasured tunic from Grimaud's arms and lifting it over his head. He was an imposing figure, filled with solemn determination.

Grimaud passed Athos his prized rapier, and Athos examined the blade carefully. It was still razor sharp, perfect for the morning's duel. Grimaud had been up the entire evening, polishing the blade for his master.

"A good fight is hard to find these days" Athos smiled. "I fight now for the hand of the man I love. Would that every duel relinquish such a magnificent prize."

Grimaud nodded loyally, and followed Athos out of the house. They mounted the horses and left the estate, dismounting once they arrived at the field Louis had chosen.

"We are early, my good man." Athos announced. "There is still an hour's half to pass."

Grimaud smiled grimly, and prepared himself to act as Athos' second.

D'Artagnan awoke from a deep sleep. His eyes were heavy and his wound ached badly. He looked about the room, and Athos was not there. He tried to rise, but his limbs were unresponsive.

Sighing, he lay back on the bed and relaxed. There was nothing more he could do but wait until Athos and Grimaud returned from the duel.

Louis arrived in a brisk and formal manner, unsheathing his rapier and handing his cloak to his second.

"You are late, sir." Athos said softly. "It is unbecoming for a man to be late for his destiny."

"The outcome will be swift," Louis said, equally in a soft voice. "Then I will take my prize."

"D'Artagnan will never be yours," Athos vowed. "His heart belongs to me."

"Then," Louis said in a broken voice. "Let fate decide for us what is to be."

Athos and Louis faced each other, swords drawn.

Louis lunged at Athos, his sword clashing with Athos' blade. Athos countered, moving backwards and spun to one side, his sword catching Louis' shoulder. The same wound Louis had inflicted upon d'Artagnan now bled upon Louis' shoulder.

Louis gasped and moved back. He held his shoulder as Athos advanced. Swinging with the sword again, the blade sliced through the air where Athos had once stood. Athos moved quickly, his sword catching his opponent in the leg.

Louis fell heavily to the ground.

Athos stood over his defeated opponent. "Give me your word to leave d'Artagnan alone, and I will allow you to live."

Louis was crazed with passion and rage. "Never!"

Athos raised his sword reluctantly to deliver the final blow.

D'Artagnan couldn't sleep.

He knew the rest would allow his wound to heal, but he was too concerned about his lover.

Athos was a skilled warrior, but d'Artagnan knew that Louis could be deceptive. He feared he might never know the gentle touch of Athos or feel that intense, hungry gaze of his beloved again.

The door to his bedroom opened and d'Artagnan turned away, fearing the worst. Grimaud might be bearing bad news and d'Artagnan could not revive from such a deadly blow. If Athos was dead, he would pierce his own heart with his rapier. He would not live without the love of his soul mate.

"It is finished."

D'Artagnan's heart leapt in sheer pleasure. "Athos!"

The older man moved towards the bed and helped his partner to sit up. "I have avenged you."

"What happens now?" D'Artagnan breathed, watching Athos intently.

Athos smiled and turned to the bedroom door. Grimaud stood there silently, his face beaming with a happy expression. "Now, my beloved, we get to know one another again … and agree to a shared future of companionship."

"Yes," D'Artagnan breathed in sheer bliss. "Athos. My friend. My companion. My lover …. My future."

"Always." Athos kissed his lover passionately on the lips, his tongue drawing deeply into the mouth of his friend. "I promise you, d'Artagnan. Always."


Authors note:

I originally started writing The Gay Musketeers in 2002, followed by a second chapter in 2005. I didn't have any idea of what direction I wanted this piece to go, so I left it for many years and updated and rewrote parts of the story to have a complete story today. I'm sorry for the immense delay to my readers, but thank you for your support over the years.

Response to reviews:

Stormyskies89 (2012) - Thank you for your review. I'm only sorry it took so many years to complete this story, but I hope that the end was satisfying. I've had many health issues along the way, and this was one of the stories pushed back until I could concentrate and finish it in a satisfying way. I always considered Athos' feelings for d'Artagnan different from the feelings he had for Raoul. He said repeatedly that he considered d'Artagnan as a son, but the protective paternal feelings for Raoul were not displayed in d'Artagnan's case. I think it was more accurate, at least in my opinion, that Athos regarded d'Artagnan as a younger brother.

Guest (2011) – Thank you for your review! A serious wound sometimes brings people together. In this case, if d'Artagnan hadn't been seriously wounded, he would never have ended up at Athos' estate. Remember that all the Musketeers and their servants have experienced serious injury over the years – they are probably very hot when it comes to cleaning and treating wounds. If it helps, the idea was to bring Athos and d'Artagnan together to live a lifetime as companions. He was never going to die from that shoulder wound.

Fire-Metal-Horse17 (2008) – I am so, so sorry for leaving you hanging for so many years. I hope you enjoyed the slight rewrite and conclusion to this story. Thank you for reviewing the story and for the interest you have in Athos/d'Artagnan.

Stella Magdala Umbrae (2007) – Thank you for your review, and I apologise for the delay in concluding this story. I hope you enjoy the result, and thank you again for your interest in this fic. BTW, your English is good!

Virgil's girl (2006) – Thank you so much for your review and I apologise for the delay in completing this fic. I'm happy that you love it so much, and I hope it ended in a way you liked.

Lady Macbeth (2005/2006) – Thank you for both of your reviews, and I apologise for the delay in completing this fic. I hope you enjoyed it!

Yaoi Princess serena (2005) - Thank you for your review, and I'm sorry about the length of time for an update. You support has been appreciated so much, thank you.

Scruffy-Duck & Friends (2005) – Thank you for your kind words of support and reviews. I apologise for the delay in completing this fic but I hope you enjoy the result!

AliveNdangerous (2005) – Thanks for your review. I hope you enjoyed the finale!

If I'm not me then who am I (2004) – I'm glad you liked the pairing. Writing slash back in 2002 was a challenge because not everyone wanted to read it and review with a positive comment. (Which does beg the question, why on earth did they read it then? It's obviously a slash story, and if you don't like them, why read them in the first place? Secretly, I think they loved it really!) Thank you for your review and I hope you liked the conclusion of this story.

Niobie (2003) – Thank you for reviewing this story, and I apologise again for the amount of time it has taken for me to finish this piece. I'll check your story out too, thanks for the recommend.

Kimura (2003) – It's finally finished! Sorry for the immense delay. Thank you for your review.

Desperate reviewer (2003) – Thank you for your support reviews, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'm only sorry it took so long to finish!

Sailor asuka (2003) – Thank you for reviewing this fic! I love the Musketeers, have done so since I was young, and I really enjoyed pairing Athos with d'Artagnan.

A girl who likes the musketeers (2002) – I'm glad you enjoyed reading this story! Sorry for the huge delay, and thanks for the support!

Merle (2002) – Thank you for your review and support J

Miriam (2002) – Nice to meet you Miriam from Rome! Thank you for your review and I hope you enjoy the ending. Sorry for the delay in completion.

Athos (2002) – Wow, I can't believe you crossed time and dimensions to tell me you don't have fantasies about d'Artagnan. Wait, why would you need to do all that anyway? Secret crush, much? Don't worry my dear Musketeer; your secret is safe with me.

The person that is me (2002) – Thank you for your review! I hope you enjoy the ending.

Furious – I upped the rating as you advised and thank you for the support and review. I've remembered your review throughout the years and being described as eerily similar to Dumas is a huge compliment. Thank you.

Midnight Draconis – Thanks for the review! I'm sorry for the twelve year delay, but thank you for your support.