It is quiet in the study where D’artagnan sits, painting.
His hair is pulled back loosely to the base of his neck, and smudges of teal and forest green decorate the skin of his face and arms where he has forgotten to be careful with the mess. Several half-empty coffee cups clutter his desk, set amongst small jars of citrus-smelling paint thinner and tissues laden with muddy oil paint remains. A lingering scent of amber incense clings pleasantly to the air and the paper on the walls, though the burner is long since extinguished.
D’artagnan sits somewhat oddly in his chair, one knee bent and pressed against the edge of his desk despite how he has to hunch further to reach the canvas, yet nonetheless looks comfortable in his soft clothes. He squints at a cloud he’s coaxing into a lighter blush glow with a round brush while he grasps three others, paint-loaded, between the knuckles of his left hand as if he’s brandishing adamantium claws.
Athos stands unnoticed in the doorway watching him, a steaming mug of tea in hand. It's a bedtime brew, fragrant and without caffeine, that Aramis buys specifically because he knows their boy can get stuck deep in his work like this. He pursues his vision relentlessly and with a passion that burns bright and brilliant in their eyes, but they all know he forgets to take care of himself in the meantime.
He watches for a while, entranced by the sure strokes of his brushwork and in love with the way his features are illuminated by the glow of both the lamps at his desk, almost angelic.
Porthos joins after a moment, lingering beside Athos as he watches their youngest engrossed in his work.
“How long has it been now?” He asks quietly.
“35 hours” Athos murmurs, not missing a beat to calculate; he's been keeping an eye on him. “started yesterday morning.”
D’artagnan wasn’t there when they went to bed, insisting through their worries that he would be there soon, he was just finishing up with this particular shade of green while he remembered. He also wasn’t there when they woke up, though they could tell he’d slept at least a little by the wrinkled edge of his bed and the changed clothes.
Porthos hums in thought, eyes still on d’Artagnan quietly mixing up peach shades onto an already crammed palette.
“I made him tea, but there’s only so many times I can stand to reheat it for him.”
“Well, guess there’s nothing else to do really,” he sighs with faux remorse, and makes his way into the room.
D’artagnan, still intensely focussed, lets out a yelp of surprise as he is bodily lifted from his comfy chair by a pair of thick, strong arms. He almost drops his brushes straight onto the canvas and flails his arms to reach, but Athos is there to catch them easily before they blemish his painting.
“Porthos, put me down,” he demands, indignant and a little frustrated at both the manhandling and the interruption. “I’m almost done I swear-”
“Yeah, that’s what you said five hours ago an’ all” Porthos counters, cheerfully shifting the writhing body in his arms to fling him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and he walks them out of the study despite his protestations.
Athos takes a moment to switch off the lamps, picking up the dirty paintbrushes as he goes, and follows behind Porthos into the corridor.
“You had your chance to look after yourself on your own terms, but it appears we have also been remiss in our attentions.” He calmly looks into D’artagnan’s strained eyes as his upper body hangs down porthos’ back. “Aramis is worried about you not getting enough rest.”
It does the trick, and D’artagnan sags against Porthos’ hold in slight remorse for making his lovers worry about him.
“I’m sorry,” he says, pausing to stifle a yawn, “I know I get lost in it sometimes.”
Athos smiles, takes D’artagnan’s hand and presses a kiss against his blue-stained knuckles.
“We know, now let us take care of you.”
The walk between the study and the bedroom is short enough, but the steady movement of Porthos’ gait seems to lull d’Artagnan into a light doze, the lack of sleep finally catching up to him.
Aramis sits up in the middle of their large bed at their entrance, and his eyes crinkle with both mirth and relief when he sees their precious cargo carried in.
D’artagnan is boneless when Porthos lays him on the mattress, and blinks sleepily up at Aramis who leans forward for a chaste kiss.
“’m sorry mis, didn’t mean to worry you,” he mumbles softly against his lips, feeling the tiredness seep into him now that he’s more comfortable.
The bed shifts a little as Porthos climbs in behind Aramis, pulling the quilt up and over the snuggling pair as he goes.
“I know,” Aramis replies, gently running his hands through D’artagnan’s silky hair, absent-mindedly thumbing away the tension in his brow as dark eyes begin to flutter closed.
There’s a pause where everyone thinks he’s dropped off, before D’artagnan mumbles out “my paintbrushes...”
“Will be taken care of,” Athos reassures him, waggling the still colourful brushes in his hand. “Everything else can wait ‘til morning.”
D’artagnan smiles sleepily, eyes still shut, and turns to face Aramis again, reaching around to grab him close and tangling their legs together. Aramis allows him to get comfortable before slinging a protective arm over his waist and nuzzling the top of his head, both of them curled into each other. D’artagnan is asleep within moments, gentle smile still painted on his young face.
Athos leaves to wash the brushes, knowing that they were already a little stale and in need of care from how long they’d been in use.
He heats up his tea on the way back and quietly settles in beside d’Artagnan, trying not to disturb them when he arranges his pillow so he can sit against the headboard and read.
D’artagnan shifts slightly, half-asleep eyes blinking up at his blearily. He lets out a tender I love you with his next sleepy exhale, halfway still in a dream and yet still full of earnest feeling.
Athos’s heart almost aches with how much he loves him, and he lets him know, murmuring quietly as he pets his hair until he falls back into slumber.
As he opens up the well-read hardback and thumbs through to his bookmark, he lets this precious, mundane moment embed itself in his memory, and gets lost in the pages of the book and the feeling of his lovers hair, soft beneath his fingertips.