Disclaimer: I own nothing
AN: So this is just a one-shot I wrote a while ago. Any one-shots have the potential to become a series if there is interest and if creativity allows.
This was her sanctuary. No one ever ventured out to this secluded space at the edge of the Blood Wood. Sitting upon a fallen tree trunk and burying her face in her hands, Catherine could finally allow the anger and frustration to flow forth. Henry had left for Paris that morning with his precious Diane in tow. They needed a 'getaway' according to servants' gossip. Without so much as a farewell from her husband, all of the tedious responsibilities the he had neglectfully permitted to pile up were heaped upon Catherine. All morning she had been meeting with councilmen and putting out fires. She needed to clear her mind and silence the endless droning of the idiots that Henry employed. Honestly, it was a wonder that there was even an empire to govern with these men at the helm. Increase the already ridiculous taxes to fund pointless tournaments? Of course we should give peasants greater cause to riot. Send the majority of the military to the border of Calais? Yes, because that wouldn't provoke an English attack! That wouldn't leave the rest of the country undefended! Enough! She came out here to escape these ludicrous strategies.
Just then a little face appeared. Crouched on all fours and peering up at her face held in her hands was the king's handsome little bastard.
"Are you sick?" He spoke with the slightest lisp.
She straightened her posture. She had never actually spoken to Diane's son. He was generally accompanied by his mother or one of the women in her service.
"Where's your nanny? You shouldn't be out here alone."
He rocked back onto his feet in a squat. "They think I'm in bed. I snucked out through the window. I hate naps! Besides I'm not alone, you're here,"
"Why don't you like naps?" For the life of her she didn't know why she was asking questions, continuing a conversation with the boy, but she found herself mesmerised by the dancing blue eyes before her.
"Cause naps are boring! There's lots of stuff to do out here. The woods are fun! Is that why you're out here?" He sat next to her on the fallen log.
"No, I came out here to think."
"Are you scheming? My mama says you are always scheming. 'Scheming' is a fun word to say, isn't it?"
"Your mother would probably not want you talking to me."
"Yeah, she wouldn't like it. That's why I never talked to you before, but she isn't here and I just won't tell her. You don't seem evil to me."
"Oh, I assure you, I am quite terrifying."
"Mama said you want to chop our heads off." He made a chopping motion with his hand. "She said you would like to wear our teeth around your neck like the people in the New World do. I have a loose tooth, wanna feel it?" Before she could protest he had her index finger in his mouth and was wiggling his front tooth vigorously.
"That's very nice."
"It's the only one that's loose, but you can have it if you want?"
It took everything in her to refrain from laughing. "Hmmm… Well, if you only have one tooth to offer that wouldn't make much of a necklace. I suppose I'll have to keep to the jewelry I already have."
"Yeah, this one is very nice." He reached up and played with the jewels at her throat, "It's blue. That's Francis' favourite colour. Mine is probably green."
"It was a gift. Francis chose the stone for my birthday."
"Oh yeah! He told me that Papa was gonna let him pick your present! I didn't get you anything, but if you like I could hunt a bear for you and you could wear its fur. My mama really likes fur." As he spoke he looked around in search of any bears in the area. "I'm not scared of bears, you know, because I'm gonna be a knight."
Hearing him call her husband 'Papa' pricked her heart. "I think it best we head back to the castle. Your nanny will be looking for you. Come along, Sebastian."
"Oh good! You know my name. I was wondering about that 'cause we never talked before. Your name is Catherine, but you're a queen so I'm supposed to call you Queen Catherine, right?"
She finally broke down and smiled, "Since it's just the two of us, I guess you can call me just Catherine."
His animated little face lit up. "I'm glad we're friends now. You have the best stories!"
`"What do you mean?"
"When you tell Francis and Lizzie and Claude stories at bedtime, I listen with my ear on the door like this." He demonstrated on the nearest tree.
"Well, I don't think any of them would mind if you came in and joined us for story time instead of listening at the door."
He shook his little head, "No, Christine, my nanny, wouldn't let me, but if you talk real loud that would be good. Sometimes I can't hear when your voice gets soft."
They made their way back to the castle and Bash sprinted off to find his panic-stricken nanny as Catherine headed into the throne room to do battle with boredom.
That night in the nursery, Catherine made sure that her voice carried as she told the story of the brave, bear-wrestling knight who came upon a queen in the enchanted forest.