So the lovely mausii was sending me some nice messages to cheer me up recently, and to take my mind off stupid real-life boys, and our back and forth quickly devolved (evolved?) from Musketeers being super handy and building stuff and being all manly, to handymen Musketeers, and then into 1920s gardeners, where it quickly got quite sad but also bloody lovely:
So it’s the early 1920s and Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d’Artagnan are gardeners in a big house on the clifftop somewhere near the coast, with miles and miles of gardens to look after, and they take extra special care of the little bit that they know is your favourite place, putting in the hard work over winter so that it’s ready for spring because they know you like to sit and read there when the days start to get warmer. And they quietly make sure there’s a vase of your favourite flowers in the drawing room when they’re in season.
And they’re polite and a bit flustered (apart from Aramis who’s always going to be a charmer, no matter the AU) when you address them and they tip their caps and go out of their way to research orchids for the hothouse because it makes all the young ladies smile so much, and they can be all chivalrous and upstanding when the young gentlemen that come to call get a bit forward with you.
And there’s the potting shed around the back in the courtyard of the servant’s wing where they sit and have cups of tea in their breaks and tend their cuttings and listen to the wireless and smoke cigarettes, and you always find a reason to get “lost” and wander there, or get caught out in a rainstorm and have to run in to shelter there, in your flimsy fashionable dress, and you get given a big jumper (that one of their mum’s knitted) and a flat cap to wear and a seat by the little brazier and a cup of tea and it’s all so nice but so AWKWARD and they’re a bit blushy and can’t stop standing up to fuss over things that don’t need fussing and you can practically hear them fretting about the place being dirty and not fit for you and oh God that fashionable dress really is a bit short DON’T LOOK AT HER KNEES and has that dress gone a bit see-through in the rain?
But it really is raining far too heavily to send you back to the house yet so they bring you cut flowers to show you how wonderfully the roses are doing because they know you’ve missed the rose garden while you’ve been in town staying with friends and they’re SO pleased when you remember something about roses that they taught you so you get some of the first strawberries from the hothouse as a reward, and you all sit around stuffing your faces and everyone relaxes a bit.
You end up playing cards and listening to the crackly wireless and they even manage to hide being vaguely scandalised as you take Athos’ freshly lit cigarette RIGHT OUT OF HIS MOUTH and chain smoke your way through the rest of them, and it makes Aramis’ eyes light up in a particularly non-gentlemanly way. So Porthos immediately drags Aramis off to separate the begonias because he won’t stop smiling at you even though he’s only a servant and Porthos is worried that Athos will covertly stab him with a trowel if he starts aiming too high.
And sometimes you forget that they only came back from the Great War two years ago, where Aramis signed up with all the boys he’d grown up with in a Pals Battalion but they all died, all but one who shed his uniform and walked out into no-man’s-land and was never seen again. And Porthos sort of adopted him then, and Athos was their captain, but now they just want to spend the rest of their lives in peace and quiet and growing things because they still wake up sweating and terrified sometimes, and every now and then one of them will be clearing the brush to plant some spring seedlings and will have to put down his rake and lean against a tree and close his eyes and breathe deep, while the others come and talk to him in low voices with careful hands on his shoulders until the shaking stops.
And they plant wildflowers in a little hidden piece of garden for all the friends they lost and one day you find it and spend ages wondering why something so pretty feels so sad and they find you there and you realise you’ve intruded on something private and you don’t know why.
And they don’t like to talk about it, and Porthos and Aramis will NEVER discuss their facial scars and Athos sometimes shoulders his shovel like he’s on parade and looks a little frightened when he catches himself. Sometimes when it’s raining heavily you send them hot-toddies from the main house because you know the thunder puts them on edge and they hate being cold and wet, and there’s always something lovely in a vase in the parlour for you the next day. Even in winter. Especially in winter when the mud is heavy and everything is grey.
This has given me too much joy to sit unseen in mausii and my inboxes, so here it is in its glory, including images from a pinterest board that I made when I couldn’t get back to sleep at 4am, because I will moodboard the SHIT out of anything I can.