Characters: Athos, Porthos, Aramis, D'Artagnan, Treville
Word Count: ~1500
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing. They belong to Dumas and this iteration to the BBC.
Sniffle, Sneeze, Cough, Growl
By: Vanessa Sgroi
It started with a sneeze.
Treville's horrible, no good, very bad week started with a sneeze. Not his, mind you. Oh, no. It was d'Artagnan who started it all.
Upon reflection, Captain Treville realized he should've been wary when he first heard d'Artagnan sneeze at the beginning of the day's first training session. By mid-morning , the young man was sneezing, coughing and stumbling awkwardly. Treville called a halt to the proceedings.
The younger man weaved his way toward his superior. "Yes, Captain?"
"Are you feeling all right?"
"Yes, of course." D'Artagnan's confident answer was spoiled when he broke out into a fit of coughing.
"Yes, yes I can see just how fine you are feeling. Take the rest of the day. There is an empty room up the stairs near my office. Make good use of it. I will send the physician around."
"This is not a discussion."
D'Artagnan tucked his chin to his chest. "Yes, sir." In truth, he was feeling sick and though he hated to admit it, the idea of stretching out on a bed sounded rather heavenly. Easily finding the room, he removed his layer of leather along with his boots. Wiping at the constant drips from his nose with a shirtsleeve, d'Artagnan coughed and sniffled as he climbed atop the rough blankets on the bed. With a heavy sigh, he dropped an arm over his closed eyes and listened to the now-muted sound of clanging swords accompanied by a good deal of grunting and growling as practice continued outside.
At midday, Treville noticed that Athos was exhibiting the same afflictions as d'Artagnan had a couple of hours ago. After a less-than-graceful clash of swords with a new recruit, Treville regretfully banished Athos to the same room as d'Artagnan.
D'Artagnan roused from a light doze when the door opened. He watched as Athos trudged into the room, clearly out-of-sorts and all manner of grumpy.
"So, you are sick as well?"
"I am not sick. Treville…the captain is just being overly forethoughtful. It is merely some lingering effects of the wine last night." After so saying, Athos bent over and coughed.
"I really don't think that's from a mal aux cheveux. You are sick…" D'Artagnan suddenly sneezed. "…as am I." Athos' glare was enough to silence the younger man.
Athos stalked to the window, glared out at the courtyard for a moment for beginning to pace. All the while mumbling under his breath.
After watching him for a few moments, d'Artagnan huffed and dropped his head back, once again covering his eyes with his arm. "Well, you may continue to pace and growl. I, however, intend to go back to sleep."
A few moments of relative silence passed wherein there was only the sound of Athos' booted feet upon the floor.
Then came a raspy "Move over".
D'Artagnan's eyes popped open to see Athos looming over him, a dark scowl settled on his face. Without a word, he moved over then promptly sneezed several times in a row.
Athos settled down on the bed and adopted much the same pose as d'Artagnan, closing his eyes against their burning and struggling unsuccessfully to stifle his coughs. Soon he too began to fall into a light doze.
And so it went that Porthos was felled next. The broad-shouldered man barreled through the door, fire in his eye. He clomped across the floor and unceremoniously divested himself of his weapons.
D'Artagnan rubbed at his aching eyes and pushed to a seated position. "Porthos, you too?"
Porthos looked up and growled.
D'Artagnan sighed. "I only asked— no need to be so grumpy."
Porthos' eyebrows beetled over his nose and he growled again. Pointing to his mouth, he shook his head no.
"You cannot speak?"
Now Athos sat up. "You've lost your voice?"
Porthos nodded, his face suddenly melting into a rather forlorn expression.
"We'll have some peace then in our time of misery," Athos teased, smiling slightly when Porthos frowned at him.
Porthos made flapping motions with his hands, clearly suggesting the two move over.
"What? No!" protested d'Artagnan, "There's no room!"
Porthos' scowl became a little more fierce, he leaned forward as if to shove his comrades out of the way.
"I think we better make room," muttered Athos diplomatically.
"But there IS no room!" d'Artagnan entreated.
"Then one of us shall have the floor, I suppose," Athos observed.
Sickness-fueled grumpiness ruled d'Artagnan's tongue. "I was here first."
"And I second. However, for peace's sake, I shall take the floor and let Porthos have my half of the bed." Athos stood and retrieved his cloak, laying it with care on the floor before lying on top of it and closing his eyes. A second later he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Porthos shaking his head and gesturing madly for him to return to his place.
In the meantime, d'Artagnan slipped off the bed and made his own place on the floor. Two heads swiveled in his direction.
"And just what are you doing?" Athos rasped.
"I felt guilty," mumbled d'Artagnan.
The three were still arguing when Aramis stumbled into the room less than 15 minutes later.
D'Artagnan looked away from his two friends and rolled his eyes. "Not you as well!"
Aramis sniffed and snuffled, wiping at his streaming eyes. "I am afraid so."
"Now what do we do?" queried d'Artagnan. "There are four of us and one bed that, in truth, is really meant for one person."
"We have our orders from the captain," advised Athos, ever the soldier. "We are to stay here until he comes."
"I believe I have a solution." Aramis walked to the bed and pushed it up against the wall. "If we all sit sideways, there is room." He sat down on one end and slouched against the wall. "Not bad at all if I do say so myself."
Following Aramis' lead, d'Artagan sat next to him on the bed and leaned back. Porthos and Athos soon followed.
After sending Aramis upstairs, Treville instructed his remaining men to break for lunch and then continue on with their training. He then trudged up the stairs, heading to the room near his office. He took a deep breath before flinging open the door and stepping across the threshold.
"Well, would you look at what we have here? Four of my best men, weak and trembly as newborn kittens." The red-rimmed glares he received in return would have made a lesser man cut and run. He bit back a grin.
"Captain, you could have just sent us to our quarters," Athos commented.
Treville nodded. "I could have."
"So why didn't you?"
"Because I know all of you, and I know that not one of you would be inclined to take care of yourselves as you should to regain your health." He pointed at Athos. "You would seek out wine. You…" he then pointed at Porthos, "…you would find the nearest game of cards." Treville paused and took off his hat, tossing it on a small table near the door. He looked at Aramis. "You would find a dalliance faster than Porthos would find his game of cards. None of that would be conducive to a speedy recovery."
Since none of the trio could truly deny their captain's words, the three shrugged in acknowledgment.
"And then there's young d'Artagnan." Treville's gaze travelled to the youngest member of the regiment. "It's not that I'm afraid you would seek out trouble, it's more that trouble just seems to find you."
A look of consternation crossed d'Artagnan's face.
"Therefore, I have decided to keep you here—where I can keep an eye on you." Little did Treville realize when he uttered those words that it would lead to a most miserable week. Because being a virtual nursemaid to four sick and unreasonably grumpy and grouchy men was not easy!
A week of "stop that", "eat this", and "don't do that" left Treville almost as exhausted as a long and dirty campaign. When finally, a little over a week later, he bid the last of the four goodbye and sighed in relief. Ahhh, peace. Peace...and quiet! He turned and surveyed the messy room. Deciding too leave it for later, Treville instead made his way to his office, determined to get some regiment business done. He had just seated himself at his desk when...he began to cough. And it was quickly followed by an explosive sneeze.
A/N: According to a little research, mal aux cheveux, which translates to "hair-ache", is a term that has long fallen out of favor.