rainjoyswriting: (kurt!)
[personal profile] rainjoyswriting
Five Times Aramis Escaped From Richelieu, and One Time That He Couldn't part two, Musketeers fic, affinityverse (best catalogued in my memories) <3

Disclaimer: Yeah, not mine. Here's to being a highly paid BBC writer and not a penny-scrabbling student. *raises glass of wine*

Rating: I'll go with R because.

Warnings and spoilers: The main list's on part one, read sensibly.

Summary: 2. Aramis isn't afraid of attics.

Note: Aramis is a really weird character to write in response to trauma, because he just isn't traumatised. He just shrugs and moves on. If you insistently shove stuff in his face he'll ask you not to, but for the most part he just skips on in his massively irresponsible, ridiculous way. Why are you my favourite you're an idiot. Also I get fuzzies writing his childhood in this verse because he genuinely does view it as the most golden and perfect childhood anyone could ask for, he honestly was *happy* back then, bless. Anyway. Fic!

It's dark, just little fingernail-curves of light following the squared edges of the roof; he didn't think to bring a torch. He didn't think to bring anything, no book, nothing to occupy himself. He just reached a peak of panic he knew couldn't come back from and told Marsac to cover for him - to say he'd gone anywhere, the gardens, anywhere - and fled. He had no other options.

He wraps his arms around his knees, huddled small in the dark, and he knows that that man is in the building. He feels him like bad air.

He understands that Treville can't fight for him, not for this. Richelieu is too powerful and Treville has his orders, and what Aramis wants means little in all of this. If he had a circle he would have some leverage, he would have back-up, he wouldn't be alone. As it is he's a fifteen year old episode-prone mess and the closest to a circle he has is one air affinity still not quite bonding with him, and nobody cares that he knows that Richelieu is evil.

He shifts on the wooden floor, he should at least have brought a cushion; he can't even risk moving in case someone underneath hears him. The attic is creaky and unused, and all Aramis can rely on is Treville not looking for him here. It's not Treville's fault if his water affinity hides himself so that Richelieu is unable to 'test his progress'. They'll blame Aramis. It'll be fine. It will have to be fine; Aramis knows that if he looks into Richelieu's eyes right now, the episode shifting like thin tentacles around his brain will squeeze, and there's no point in being ashamed about his episodes - there is no point in shame about the way the world simply is, the Lord does not make mistakes - but it's the fact that he'll be helpless, in front of him. And he can't. He tries to tell them, he tries to make Treville understand, he knows it, he just knows it, he can't be helpless in front of Richelieu, they can't ever let the man near him when Aramis has no-one to help him, they can't let him near him when Aramis can't fight.

So he sits in the attic, very still, hiding.

After a time just listening to his breath and the odd noises that make their way through the wood underneath his feet from the villa below, his mind does wander. It wanders, as can probably be expected, to the other side of the world, to all the family he's ever known and will never see again. He recites names to himself in his head but already he's losing track of faces. They probably remember him very little, now, René who was taken by the devil, and then disappeared.

He sighs, and listens to a bird scuffling underneath a roof tile, and stretches his feet, resettles his socked toes to the wood. He didn't even have time to put shoes on.

The warning of the episode malingers over his skull, the press of lead, sickly and low. He left his alarm in his bedroom. Forgive me captain for I have sinned: he needs to not be found. He needs the captain to understand. If he sees Richelieu then he will have an episode, and he cannot be helpless in front of that man. This was the only option. He doesn't know if the episode will come if he doesn't have to face that man, it might fade off, it might let him be, but he can't risk it. That man -

If you're so psychic, he thinks, pressing his forehead into his bent knees, breathing there slow and angry, how come you don't know where I am?

He never thought to use the attic in the orphanage. There was a linen cupboard he snuck into with a few of the others - luckily the time he was caught in there by a sister it was with Emilia and not Matias - but for the most part there was never anywhere to be alone, and why would René even have wanted to be alone? He loved being around the other children. He loved joking with the older boys, flirting with the older girls - or vice versa, neither René nor Aramis have ever seen much difference between enjoying someone's wit and flirting with them, it's all just navigating admiration. And while the other boys increasingly rolled their eyes at the little ones as they got older, René just loved them, and loved that they loved him - there wasn't a girl under the age of ten in that building who wasn't in love with him, which wasn't a bad way to live. In the mornings he would sit with Sofia on his knee plaiting her hair back while helping Teresa finish the homework she never did do the night before on the bed beside him; in the nights bare feet on the dormitory floor would wake him, to be led through by the hand to the little girls' or boys' dormitory, because when someone had a nightmare they would always rather have René than a sister. The boys called him a fleto but mostly out of jealousy; the more René cared for the little ones, the more the older girls cared for René, which seemed to him exactly how the world ought to be.

Now he sits alone in an attic in France, and he's beginning to forget their faces.

His entire life he's been surrounded by other children, René thought alone meant that a sister was making him stand with his face to the corner because he never has had any self-control. After a year, Aramis can now sleep almost normally in a room with only the sound of his own breath for company. And after a year, there is Marsac, and Aramis would in all seriousness beg on his knees for Marsac to share his bed - just to sleep if that was all he could have - just to hear someone else breathing in the night. But Marsac is still working all of it out. Aramis can't push. He had a year on his own to adjust to his new life, a year to long for other company, and Marsac is only just here, only just getting used to what the rest of his life will be. Aramis will just have to be patient. If they're to be a circle, they have the rest of their lives to work these things out, he can't get greedy in the first few weeks.

He breathes, long and slow, like the sea.

He used to teach the little ones to swim by taking them out on his back and then taking a breath and submerging himself underwater, so they would learn that floating is just what people do, and he was there if they needed him anyway.

He knows that Richelieu is in the villa, he feels him underneath him, senses him the way that arachnophobes must sense the legs behind their back along the skirting board. The episode's prelude flickers his vision briefly wrong - like static takes his sight - but only for a fraction of a second, enough to startle but not concern. He shuffles his knees closer. He can wait it out. If he has the episode up here then someone is likely to hear him thumping about, but at least he can't imagine Richelieu climbing that ladder to come get to him.

And then he can and he feels sick.

What he was he supposed to do? The last time - doesn't the captain understand, after the last time? Trapped in his bedroom and knowing there was no way out, alone and panicking as he heard footsteps down the corridor outside, Aramis did the only thing he could do to escape a meeting with Richelieu: he opened the window, checked the distance, decided it wasn't too bad (only the first floor, though the villa's ceilings are high) and climbed out.

It would have been fine. It honestly should have been fine. It was just that hanging down the drop - he meant to let himself down gently - everything went wrong, like his eyes crossed, suddenly he could see a woman (very beautiful, strawberry blonde, milky skin, very beautiful) like he'd blinked wrong and his body went rigid and his hands -

- let go.

He doesn't remember landing in a bush. He woke up stunned on the grass having been dragged out of it, ribs like a block of concrete, to the captain panicking and an agent calling Ferrand, but nothing was broken. He was badly bruised and very shouted at by the captain, that was the worst of it. He promised, because he wasn't in a position not to, not to jump out of any more windows to escape Richelieu. But he did escape Richelieu, and he couldn't regret it, heart singing in the medical bay while Ferrand muttered about his dubious intelligence in French and cleaned the scrapes on his back, and Aramis was bruised all over and blissful for not having to speak to Richelieu.

Freedom is not being near that man.

His head is heavy with the episode that can't decide if it's coming or not, and it's increasingly difficult to keep it up. He really should have brought a pillow. He lifts his leaden head to yawn, hard, and his body lists with the sheer weight of his skull; he needs to lie down.

Should at least have brought a blanket.

He lays with his head on his folded arms, eyes closed, and recites names to himself; but he can't remember all of their faces . . .


The trapdoor opening wakes him. He pushes himself up on his arms, blinks, and his head is a lot clearer, and someone is looking around the attic from the trapdoor's square of light. He already knows that it's Treville.

He sits up again, legs folded and arms loose around his ankles, because he can already tell that it's much later - hours later, it's the night now - and Richelieu is gone, and he is in trouble. Treville must have spotted him in the dark because he pushes the trapdoor properly up, and climbs the last steps in. He creaks his way over across the old beams, hunkers down in front of him, and accusingly drops his panic alarm there on the floor right in front of his feet.

He says, looking him right in the eye, "Don't ever do that."

Aramis just looks back up at him, because he won't make promises he knows he can't keep. Not to the captain.

Treville rubs his eyes, and it's hard to tell in the strange-angled light from that trapdoor how tired he really looks. He lifts his head again and looks around the attic, says, "You thought I wouldn't look for you here."

Aramis tips a shoulder, wraps his hands around his cold feet. "It's the last place you looked," he says, still optimistic, and Treville sighs, and puts a hand behind himself to help himself sit. Dear old man; Aramis smiles.

Treville says wearily, "Why do you hate him?"

"I just know to." He rubs his feet through the socks, puts one set of toes over the other, he doesn't know how long he was lying there but now he does feel the cold. "I just know. I know to trust you, I know not to trust him." He shrugs a shoulder, mumbles, "Sorry, captain." because he doesn't like making trouble for him, he doesn't, but . . .

"He's trying to help."

"He's gone now." He can't help sounding pleased about it.

"He's a very busy man," Treville says, coldly, "who can't waste all day playing hide and seek with you."

Aramis contemplates his feet, which are not warm, and says again because of what it did to Treville rather than Richelieu, "Sorry, captain."

Treville is silent for a moment, raking over his own temper to see what might be worth letting loose. Then he stabs a finger at the alarm again and says, "Don't leave that. You know why."

"I was fi-"

"Don't leave me that to find and not you, for God's sake -"

Aramis is silenced, then, because he honestly hadn't considered the captain finding the alarm on his bed and not finding Aramis and feeling, instead of anger, fear.

René was used to all those other children, to being the one who worried when they wandered off, the one who casually separated their fights and sat them down with toys again, the one who could carry a toddler under each arm off for bath time (they saw a certain honour in being caught and carried to the bath by René and not by a sister). René was used, in his own irresponsible way, to being the responsible one. It's Aramis who now has to get used to the captain.

He's being unfair, in thinking he has no family here. The captain is a very good thing to get used to.

He touches his arm, says and he means it, "Lo siento mucho, capitán. De verdad." He picks the alarm up, holds it close in his palm. "Sorry."

The captain works his jaw a little, and looks around the low dark space they're in. "You missed dinner."

His stomach is aware of that. He gives Treville his best pleading eyes, and Treville gives him a look, and says, "Downstairs. Supper and bed."

Aramis doesn't tell him that he punishes like a nun, he doesn't know what it might inspire Treville to do. He just follows him out - keeps a hand on his arm in the dark, as much because he's worried about Treville tripping as because he wants to have a hand on him - and pockets his alarm again while he waits for Treville to take the ladder first.

He won't promise Treville that he'll never drop his alarm because he needs to not be found again. What he can promise, what he could meet his eyes and mean, is that he'll never do it for reasons that don't matter. He'll never do anything to hurt the captain for reasons that don't matter. One day Aramis might have a circle, one day he might not need the captain anymore, but he'll love him all the same. He had Treville when he had no-one, and Treville is the only person he knows who could have taken him from his family and he's okay with that. Treville does these things for him. Marsac is difficult and Aramis will never trust Richelieu, but he trusts his captain with his life, he can wake from an episode calm if the captain is there.

He knows he'll never forget his face. Somehow, since the very first time he saw him, he's always remembered his face . . .

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