Title: Never Let Go
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Title belongs to Bryan Adams. The line from Cleopatra also doesn't belong to me, although I have changed it to better fit the story.
Summary: "We say goodbye but never let go." Don't worry; nobody dies.
A/N: This idea has always been in my mind and I finally got around to putting it down on paper. This takes place on Mia's coronation day.
"We say goodbye but never let go."
She never thought she'd see the day she had to say goodbye. She was losing a large part of her life, what had been her life for forty-three years. It was all she knew of her adult life. Who could have predicted she'd lose her husband and, shortly thereafter, her son, followed by her rights to the throne. She wasn't ready to give it up.
Clarisse Renaldi didn't know it she was ready to give everything up.
Clarisse sighed contently as she sat down. Her fingers caressed the arms of the throne, memorizing every curve and dip the gold and jewels made. She could still remember the first time she ever sat on it. It was the day of her coronation. She could still feel the nerves strumming in her fingertips…
Clarisse Gérard eyed the thrones nervously. She was supposed to be getting ready for the coronation ceremony, but she was too nervous to sit in a chair while someone fussed with her hair.
Hesitantly, she sat down. She released the breath she didn't realize she was holding. Why was she so nervous? Rupert was perfectly calm. He had already paid her a visit, the perfect image of serenity. He told her not to worry about anything, that everything would go smoothly. That was three hours ago. Her heart was still pounding.
"Practicing being a queen?" a voice asked her from the shadows.
A smile graced her face. "Maybe, if you have any advice for me."
"I don't think I do."
Her mood turned serious. "Will I make a good queen, Joseph? Will the people accept me?"
"Of course they will," he assured." You'll be the best queen Genovia's ever had."
She nodded, willing herself to believe his words. "Marie says the hardest part is making sure the people know who's in charge. I'm afraid I gave her a funny look when she told me that but after speaking to Rupert, I now understand what she means."
"You're afraid you can't be… cruel to hem," Joseph guessed. She nodded affirmation. He though for a moment before coming up with a solution." You could practice on me to help you get used to it."
She laughed at his solution. "Joseph, I can't. You're too much of a friend to me."
"Shouldn't I bow to the queen before approaching for an audience?" he provoked.
"Yes, you should but you are a good friend. Therefore I shall ask you to bow instead of demanding it of you," she smiled sweetly.
He did as she asked. "Do it just like that and people will fear you in no time."
"I don't want them to fear me, Joseph."
"You know what I mean."
He stepped closer. He could still see the insecurities in her eyes.
"Do you still remember what I taught you about shooting an arrow?" His voice softened, easing her fears. She nodded, meeting his eyes. "Then you'll be fine. You have nothing to worry about."
Funny. When he said it, she believed him.
"I thought I'd find you here."
Her husband stood in front of her, a knowing look on his face.
"I could never hide anything from you, darling."
Joseph moved closer to his wife. He hadn't been surprised to wake up to an empty bed. Clarisse had been nervous for days, anxious even.
"How do you feel?" he wondered.
She sighed heavily before answering. "Sad but excited. I'm happy for Mia. She's excited, too. I've already spoken to her this morning."
"Why are you sad?"
She smiled. "This has been my life for so long. One would think I'd be tired of this, of everything, but I'm not. I'm going to miss it greatly. I know I'll still be here to help Mia but…"
The rest of her words were left unsaid. Joseph knew what she meant.
Suddenly, a pillow was kicked out from under her feet.
His eyebrows raised in question.
"For your boney knees," she explained.
His eyes sparkled in recognition. "Do you still ask me to bow before you?"
"Yes, but only because I like you too much to demand it of you."
She sat up a little straighter, beckoning him closer. His hands found her, caressing her skin.
"Do you realize you were my first audience and now my last as queen?" she realized.
"I'm honored to be in your presence."
She batted at him. He turned serious.
"She'll do just fine, Clarisse."
She met his gaze. "Yes, I believe she will."