Characters: Athos, Aramis
Spoilers/Warnings: Spoilers for Episode 1.6 "The Exiles". This is a missing scene from that episode.
Word Count: 700
A/N: A friend of mine and I were re-watching The Exiles yesterday, and she said to me "So Athos must have the baby." I was like "What?" She said, "D'Artagnan and Porthos are creating the distraction and Aramis has the fake baby but I don't see Athos so he must have Henri." I immediately replied, "You know, I think you're right! That would make a great missing scene." And hence, this little fic was born.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to The Musketeers. They belong to Alexandre Dumas and in this latest iteration to the BBC.
Babe in Arms
(A Missing Scene from The Exiles)
By: Vanessa Sgroi
"Here." Athos went rigid when Aramis pushed the baby into his arms. "Take Henri and go as soon as d'Artagnan and Porthos succeed in their distraction. We'll see you at Bonacieux's." With d'Artagnan and Porthos busy initiating the distraction and Aramis charged with transporting the "baby" over the bridge, Athos was left with the responsibility of actually spiriting baby Henri away to safety.
Holding Henri stiffly out in front of him, Athos protested. "Aramis, I can't…"
"It is a baby, Athos. Not a rundlet of the Armangnac. You'd do much better to hold him closer. Tucked up under your chin like this." Aramis demonstrated with blanket-wrapped sack of grain he planned on using in their ruse.
Reluctantly Athos copied Aramis' stance and did as instructed, feeling big-handed and clumsy as he tucked Henri close to his chest and under his chin. "He's squirmy."
"Of course he is. He is a baby."
Athos glanced down at Henri's round face, which was currently scrunched and unhappy. "He looks as if he's set to cry!" His alarmed gaze locked on Aramis.
Amused at the slight sheen of panic in his friend's eyes and tremble of terror in his voice, Aramis couldn't help but grin. "Well now, we can't have that. Try giving him a bounce or two."
"Like this?" Athos rather aggressively jiggled the little tyke to and fro.
"Easy, eeeeeasy. Not too enthusiastically or I promise you, you'll be wearing his last meal. Now sway a little bit at the same time. That's it…that's it. Not too fast."
Clutching desperately at the wriggling bundle in his arms, Athos muttered, "I feel utterly ridiculous." Athos heard d'Artagnan and Porthos snickering behind him. He spun on a heel and threw out his best glare effectively silencing the two, though Porthos bravely mumbled "Betteh you than me, eh" under his breath.
Spinning back around, Athos growled, "Aramis, this isn't working! I don't think he likes me."
"I am sure he likes you just fine, Athos. He is probably experiencing inflamed gums where his teeth insist on shoving through. Here, I have an idea. I've seen this done once or twice." Aramis approached a rundlet of Armagnac and removed the stopper. He cupped his hand beneath the flow of brandy and captured a tiny amount in the palm of his hand. After re-stoppering the small barrel, he returned to Athos and the child.
"Here, take your finger and wet it with a small drop—just a drop, mind you—and rub it on his gums."
Athos proceeded as instructed, nervously coaxing Henri's mouth open and inserting his finger. He rubbed along the bottom gum, feeling several protruding bumps along the way." Athos looked up at Aramis. "I believe you may be right about those teeth." He dipped his finger again in the Armagnac, wetting it only slightly and repeated the gesture on the top gum. To his surprise, this did indeed seem to soothe the restless infant, and Henri settled more easily in his arms.
"Where did you learn so much about babies?"
Aramis grinned, wiping his damp hand on his breeches. "My travels have brought me a multiplicity of experiences. That should hold him but if it doesn't, try sticking your finger in his mouth. He'll likely suckle it as he does his mother's breast."
Aramis was delighted to see the faintest of pink dust Athos' cheeks at his suggestion. It amused him greatly. "Let me take him while you mount."
Once Athos was comfortably settled in his saddle, Aramis handed Henri, whose eyes were beginning to droop, back to him. "Just like Porthos after a little Armagnac, he's already drowsing." Together they arranged the babe so he was hidden, safe and comfortable, within the folds of Athos' cloak. "There—that should do it." Aramis patted the top of Henri's head and then Roger's flank. He looked up at Athos and gave a nod. Walking to his own horse, he mounted and arranged the sack of grain in his arms and making sure it was completely wrapped and tied in Henri's blankets.
Side by side but facing opposite directions, the Musketeers awaited the coming explosions as the barrelets of Armagnac were tossed on the fires.