|Heal the Whole
Author: pygmymuse PM
There are remedies in nature for many ailments, more than most people imagine. Very, very AU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 8 - Words: 29,354 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-18-10 - Published: 01-11-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5659352
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Heal the Whole
Word Count: 2,345
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: There are remedies in nature for many ailments, more than most people imagine.
Spoilers: Um, none. This is very, very AU. :P
Author's Note: Title comes from a saying used by an essential oil expert, "Heal the whole, not the part."
I, um, hate endings. I feel very uneasy about this one, even though I know it's the way it's supposed to be. But, as always, it's very open, leaving room for more someday, if I want. :)
Robert put his head in his hands and shook it repeatedly, muttering about his disbelief. Mark smiled at both of them, embraced Tom again. Christina knew that they were not doing this just as a part of their act. That was over. Julian had been taken away, to be locked up, and there would not be much delay in his execution. Robert might not be capable of it, but Mark and Tom would see to it that it was done. Julian had committed murder. Treason. They could not allow him to go free.
She did not like that man very much, but she did not want to see him die. Even if he had tried to kill Tom. What exactly did it mean, Julian losing his life? Was it justice or was it another murder? To the royals, to Tom and Mark, it was simple. Julian had to die. In prison, he remained a threat.
"You played your part very well," Tom told her, moving close to her without being intimate. She was aware of the distinction. "Perhaps you should let the rumors be true a bit more often."
Though he maintained the proper distance and propriety, his words were carefully chosen to be suggestive. She shook her head. The duality bothered her, but she could admit that he was tempting her. "I was not even the one who had everyone's attention. That was you. You are far better at commanding a crowd than you would like to admit."
He shrugged. "Should you wish to see that sort of display again, that is possible, but it would not have the same effect as yours."
"You are a terrible man sometimes, Tom," she told him, feeling warm under his gaze and wishing that they were alone. "I should wonder why I married you."
"You know why you married me," he reminded her, his voice just as suggestive now as it had been before. She shook her head. It had been too long since they had been alone together. Part of it was their own stupidity, their own awkwardness, part of it was his trip, and none of it mattered more than to know that it was too long. "Come now, let us go, speak in private."
"I am not so sure I know anymore," she said, frustration getting the better of her as she did. "You are ashamed of me."
"That is not true," Tom began, frowning as he looked over at Mark. His brother laughed at them both.
"Oh, this is amusing. You're mad because Tom has unconsciously been obeying the rules of etiquette with you. You have never been at court before, Christina, but the rules say he does not stand any closer to you than he already is, wife or not. I cannot even stand that close to my sister," Mark explained. "Court is much different from what you are used to, I am afraid."
"You cannot be telling me the truth," Christina protested. She looked between the two brothers and then around the room. They were not joking. This was the behavior of all the men and women in the room. It was ridiculous. "What foolishness is this?"
"Court life is all about restrictions," Tom told her. "I am permitted to offer you my arm, my lady. And I can do far more when we are in private."
"Absurd," she muttered as she took Tom's arm and he led her out of the room. She had never heard anything so ridiculous before, and she knew that she would never be truly comfortable at court, regardless of how accepting people might be about the color of her skin. "No wonder you wanted to get away from all of this. I know one thing. I do not think I can put up with this for long."
"Neither can he," Mark said, playfully shoving his brother. "He will whisk you away back to the quiet of your village as soon as he is able."
"I thought we were supposed to go to France first?"
"We have a home, and our child should be born there," Tom said. He frowned and looked over at Mark. "I suppose my suite has been redone, has it not?"
"Well... I believe Julian was interested in taking them over, but since I insisted on keeping my rooms despite my ascension to heir, he went for William's old rooms," Mark explained. "Yours should have been cleaned as a matter of course, but whether or not they are to your standards is another matter."
"Are you coming with us?"
Mark shook his head. "I want to make sure that they have properly secured Julian, and when they have, I trust you two will be quite busy by then," Mark teased as Tom shooed him away with his hand.
"We have not really discussed names," Tom said his hand moving in slow circles over Christina's stomach. She kept insisting that she was "fatter" during this pregnancy. Supposedly, that made this child a boy and was also all his fault. He found her whole attitude towards it amusing, and usually just let her go off on whatever was bothering her until she calmed down. When she did, he would smile at her, and she would either kiss him or throw something at him. It had been a very amusing couple of months.
They had stayed at court until after the execution, stayed as long as they dared. They found most people were too in awe of his "miraculous" return to question his choice of wife, and with Mark's support, court was almost a pleasant place to be. Still, both of them had wanted to return to their home in the quiet village, and they did so before it was no longer safe for Christina to travel.
Things had changed in Trinity. Tom was sick of the new attention and bowing and deference the villagers now showed him. Men who were in the habit of insulting him now called him "my lord" and gave him whatever he wanted without question. Christina found his objection to this amusing. Fair trade, it supposedly was, for all of his amusement at her pregnancy.
"Do you want to discuss them now?" Christina asked lazily, her eyes half-closed. She had just finished putting Camille down for a nap, and her mind was on sleep as well. He could not blame her for that. She did need rest, and he liked to watch her sleep. "Why not... Mark?"
"You want to name our son after my brother?"
"Well... of your brothers, Mark is the only one I would name a child after. The others... Well, I cannot speak of Charles, as I never knew him and you do not talk of him, but the others are not worthy of such an honor. Mark, though, he accepted us, helped us, and would make a fine father someday himself."
"I am not sure I like the idea of naming our child after anyone. Besides, I have already raised one child named Marcus. I would rather not have two," he explained, kissing her forehead. "There has to be another name we can agree upon."
"Hmm... I suppose there must be," she said slowly. "It is a shame your family had so many children. You have taken a good deal of names out of consideration."
"I did not do it intentionally," Tom said. "In fact, I did not do it at all. My father chose the names. How do you think I ended up with Thomas when my mother was French?"
"So pick something French. We already have Camille. What would go with that?"
"Anything we wanted."
"You do realize that you have not actually renounced any of your lands or your title. You said you would, but you have not done it."
"I said I would do that willingly if it meant keeping you with me," Tom corrected. He kissed her forehead again. "The truth is, Christina, I have too many responsibilities to turn my back on them entirely. The nation is in a fragile state now, and I am not sure, even with Marcus' support, that Robert can do what needs to be done. And I am the link between this country and France, the keeper of the peace. For as long as I have that ability, I cannot deny what I am."
"You are a devious man, you know that? You have said things and tricked me so many times, and the worst part is, you do not even realize that you are doing it," she muttered, but her irritation was short. "You would not be the man I love if you turned away from all that you must do. You are a good man, Tom. You always have been."
"I am not so certain of that," he told her, giving her a true kiss this time. Belatedly, he realized that they had not settled the issue of the name.
"Still no name for this little one yet?" Mark asked, holding his nephew in his arms. He made faces at the boy and teased him with a finger, much to the young infant's delight. Tom shook his head as he looked at Christina, and she laughed wearily.
"Not one we have agreed on yet," she said. "Tom let Camille be my choice, completely, and he claims not to regret that, but he says no to everything I suggest, and I suppose I do the same to his suggestions. I do not know what is so disagreeable about either choice, but we just cannot pick one that we both like."
"Perhaps it is not the name you are fighting over, but something else entirely," Mark suggested, looking at them both in turn. Tom shrugged, and Christina laughed again. She figured that Mark was probably right. They really had not settled things since Tom announced that he was not renouncing everything. She understood why he did not do it, but she did not necessarily like it, either. "You dislike Tom's position, do you not? At least you are not living at court."
"Yes," Christina agreed slowly. "But he has promised his uncle that we will live in France for the next few months, and then he has to return to his lands, and then we will have to be at court for some function, and then it will be back to France."
Tom looked over at her. "Do you wish to leave? Because you have that choice."
She shook her head. "No, I do not. It is just... It is a lot to adjust to, and I will resent it for some time. But being your wife is more than raising your children and sharing your bed. It is what it is."
"And the country needs you both," Mark told them. "Julian did much to destroy the faith and trust in our land. He took the people's faith in the divine right of the king and twisted it. I am not saying that William would have been the best king—I believe we all know that he would not have been—but he tampered with the line of succession. He brought us very close to war. And the rest of us... We will never, ever, be the same. Father, William, Charles, all dead. Robert is useless, and we still do not know if his wife's death was truly an accident of childbirth or something worse. Whether your husband likes it or not, he has always been this nation's heart, and we need him now more than ever. Since he needs you just as much, that means you are forced to travel with him... If you agree to such a thing."
"I knew long ago that loving Tom would be a difficult path, but I have learned that nothing is without its difficulties. Whatever inconveniences I endure as the wife of the king's brother, they are little compared to the happiness and love our family shares. Camille and I would not do better apart from Tom, and I know that. Besides, are you not coming with us to a lot of these locations?"
"As much as possible," Mark agreed as Tom took Christina's hand and wrapped it in his. She leaned up to kiss him, and Mark laughed at them both. Tom glared at his brother. "I do envy your happiness, both of you."
"You say that now," Tom said, "but you will find someone who makes your life complete. And when you do, I am sure you will be just as... demonstrative."
"I hope so," Mark agreed, sitting down next to them. He teased the baby again and looked over at the village square. "You know, Thomas, I was thinking of what you said to me once, a very long time ago. You were telling me of herbs and things, but you told me that it was not enough to fix part of the problem. Heal the whole, not the part, do you remember?"
Tom nodded. "It means that it is not enough to treat someone's cough and not the infection causing it. If a person was in good health to begin with, if we could cure the whole person, not just one piece..."
Christina smiled at the words, knowing that the principle applied to a lot more than an individual's health. "That is what we are going to do. Heal the whole. Not just Tom, not just me, but the whole."