N.B: Not quite as long as my other story, so don't be expecting chapters ;-) Just a short little scene between the Marquis de Sade and his wife, Reneé Pelagie.

Charenton was never the friendliest of buildings upon first impressions. The stone walls loomed high above any visitors that dared go beyond the wrought iron gates, long trails of ivy clambering the walls and peeking into the lower windows. The sky- which seemed to promise rain- swirled threateningly about the turrets, the heavy charcoal clouds intermingling with the wispy white ones and chasing them away. Almost upon command, a few colossal drops of rain splattered onto the ground, causing the inmates that loitered vacantly in the gardens to scuttle inside.

The raindrops dashed against the small, murky windows of Reneé's carriage, distorting her view of the building. They fell with an angled persistence, beating the glass like the ends of a flog. Reneé back away from the window, clasping her cape protectively at her throat. Her other hand tightened its grip upon the leather pouch nestled in her lap. It contained the usual fare- the embarrassingly crude toys that the Marquis ordered her to bring, a few chocolates and truffles that she had purchased, and a stack of parchments and a quill. She often wondered why she visited her husband with such dedication- he had only recently humiliated beyond belief with his latest play. The way she had heard the laughter, shameful and scorning, felt all of the eyes in the room fall upon her…she had fled home in tears that night.


The coachman's voice interrupted Renee's thoughts, and with a fleeting and somewhat pinched smile, she took his hand and stepped out of the coach. She pulled the pouch to her chest, even though she was full aware that everyone within Charenton knew what she was bestowing upon her husband. She saw the smirks of the inmates, heard the giggles of the chambermaids. And most of the time, he wasn't even appreciative…

The Marquis de Sade had been quite contented that afternoon. His meal was of exceptional quality today, he had been the recipient of quite a bout of inspiration, and Madeleine was with him. What more could a man ask?
He poured two glasses of wine, pushing one of them towards Madeleine. He watched as her slender fingers encircled the stem, as she lifted the glass to her lips and took a generous swallow. The Marquis took a sip from his own glass, and set it down with cautious care. In one smooth movement, he slunk into his chair, a thought creasing his features.

"Madeleine, you must ask our darling Francois to purchase a different wine. This one is positively rancid."

Madeleine glanced at her glass, her lower lip pouting in consideration. "It's not so bad. And if you mean *Abbe*, then I do not think that he'll be eager to ply you with any more luxuries." There was a smile in her voice.

De Sade feigned offence and splayed a hand across his chest. "You cut me to the bone, coquette. All I ask for is a better wine to sip at, is that such an awkward request?"

Madeleine went to answer, but the sound of a key rattling at the door halted her tongue. Her eyes immediately darted to the keyhole, wondering who would be so eager to speak to the Marquis. To her surprise, the door swung open to reveal the Abbe de Coulmier, disapproval shimmering quite evidently in his green eyes. To his eternal credit, however, he didn't say a word against Madeleine's presence.

"Marquis, there's someone here to see you."

Reneé stepped from behind the Abbe, her downcast eyes slowly rising to meet her husband's. Their gazes locked with a burning acknowledgement, and with a barely contained scowl the Marquis turned away and waved a dismissive hand.

"Please leave, Mademoiselle LeClerc. I assume that my wife wants to speak with me in private, per usual."

Madeleine nodded and scuttled from the chambers, preparing herself for the warning Coulmier was about to give her. Shutting the door behind them, the Marquise dropped the pouch onto the small table near her husband. She pulled her hood off her head and unlaced her cape, draping it over a chair.

"I see that you're entertaining visitors again. That girl is often seen in your quarters, is she not?"

The Marquis relished in the jealousy that coated Reneé's voice. He raised his eyebrows, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly.

"Madeleine does attend my quarters quite often, yes," he purred, walking a circle around his wife, "such a comely girl. Quite obliging to my demands, too."

Reneé flinched visibly, icicles forming on her veins. She clenched her jaw and tried to maintain her calmness.

"I heard that one of the rules was not to allow visitors, Donatien. Why should such laws be adjusted especially for yourself?"

Letting one hand snake around his wife's neck, the Marquis tensed his grip slightly, causing her to jolt.

"I do not have many visitors, darling. So whenever one does kindly grace me with her presence, I make it my aim to make her feel comfortable. And anyway," he continued, traces of venom sharpening his voice, "Madeleine is such a special girl." He splayed his hand over his wife's chest, her cheeks reddening at such a sudden, vulgar touch, "Curves that the gods themselves would envy, and such a mind…" Suddenly, the Marquis tilted Reneé's head back and pressed his lips to her ear, hissing cruelly. "And the most important thing…the most welcoming mouth a man would ever have the extreme pleasure to encounter."

Reneé wrenched herself away from the Marquis, picking the pouch up from the table and hurling it unceremoniously at him. All it resulted in was an infuriating smirk spreading across de Sade's face, eyes glittering dangerously. The Marquise had to struggle to hold back the hot tears that pricked at her eyes.

"How dare you! Not only do you disregard me, but you take advantage of a young girl! Or is she a prostitute, Donatien, tell me that!"

This blatant insult against Madeleine angered the Marquis. He kicked at the ornaments that were now scattered on the floor, the quill landing a small distance away from him. He picked it up, waving it at his wife.

"This is my salvation. So don't go fooling your sorry self into thinking that your visits to me lift my mood. They do quite the opposite! You have no idea how my mood darkens as soon as your carriage rolls up the path, complete with your ever-generous gifts that you bring me. They are of no amusement to me, and neither are you, so I demand that you leave." He raised his chin haughtily, looking down at his wife. "And no, Madeleine is not a prostitute. She need not flaunt her body to get attention. She naturally achieves the longing looks of many a gentleman without having to parade the streets- unlike some," he sneered. Reneé snatched her cape from the chair and hastily wrapped it around herself.

"I have no idea why you do this to me. Me, of all people! I have stood by you throughout your notoriety, the scandals, the rumours. And this is how you repay me. Honestly, how can one man be so selfish?"

"When one has such an asinine bride one cannot help but be selfish!"

With that, Reneé slapped the Marquis, hard. Before she could even catch her breath, the back of his hand met her own face. She stumbled backwards, verging on falling, but she kept her balance and cradled her stinging cheek. To her complete and utter shame, silent tears rolled down her face, and her voice was cracked with emotion.

"I hope you're happy here. I hope you settle in amongst the other madmen, those that cannot distinguish between right and wrong. You know, I'm glad that I didn't put you in prison. You are a madman, Marquis, and I hope that you suffer for your crimes!"

"Oh for fuck's sake, woman! You know nothing of what it is like here, and before you pass judgement upon the fellow inmates, let me remind you that it is easier to get a decent conversation out of them than it is you."

With a twisted cry that escaped her throat, Reneé stormed out of the Marquis' quarters, leaving him to seethe. As soon as she opened the door, Madeleine practically tumbled into the room. She stepped back suddenly, eyes facing the floor.

"'Scuse me…"

Reneé turned to face her, pulling her hood over her head. She looked at the girl with a mixture of jealousy and compassion.

"Madeleine, please do not get seduced by my husband's charms. Nothing comes of it."

With that, she silently turned and hurried down the corridor, trying to ignore the tactless curiosity and insistent stares of the inmates. She sighed with relief as soon as she saw her carriage waiting obligingly outside, and with the anonymity of a shadow she swept into the coach, blurting a rushed "please hurry" before she covered her mouth with her hand, stifling one of many sobs that would accompany her to her bed that night.