Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Author's Note: I've had this idea in my mind for several weeks now and I decided to begin to write it down. Katharine of Aragon's story has long fascinated me. She was my favorite character on The Tudors, marvelously portrayed by Maria Doyle Kennedy. However, as a KOA fan, I was disappointed that the show didn't show much of the happier times of Katharine and Henry. Those two did love each other. As Showtime's The Tudors has done, I will be adjusting certain timelines to fit the story. For instance, in my story, Henry and Katharine are only four years apart in age, not six. I will try to make a note of timeline changes when it is important. I hope you enjoy this and I will appreciate any reviews that I receive.
Dedicated to: Ladyjaxs who did me the favor of reading the first draft of this chapter and encouraged me to post. Many thanks to her as well for the title.
Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's too late tonight
To drag the past out into the light—"One" by U2
"What do you think is going to happen?" the King had asked of Lady Anne Boleyn hours earlier, in his study.
"What usually happens," had been her reply.
At the time, Henry had laughed. He promised his love that it was nonsensical to think of him and Katharine together, like that. They hadn't had conjugal visits in well… obviously Henry couldn't remember, it had been that long! So the notion was rather absurd.
Nearly as absurd was the fact that he, King Henry VIII of England had to visit Queen Katharine in her bedchambers and sleep—but nothing else, of course—with her! And all because she could use that against him at court. When had Katharine become so cruel that she would taunt him so? Was it not torturous enough that Anne would constantly resist his advances to consummate their love? Was it not torturous that he was still in this "marriage" to appease...whom, exactly? The Pope and Rome? Henry had little use for them. The Emperor? At one time, Charles had been an ally to Henry, but no longer. Not only had Charles rejected the betrothal to Henry's daughter, the Princess Mary, in order to marry another, but the fact that Henry was trying to divorce the Emperor's "beloved" aunt did not leave him in good graces of the Emperor.
The King was quite unhappy. There was unrest everywhere. In his Kingdom, and in his own bed.
That night when he joined her in bed, after her ladies departed, Henry let out an exasperated sigh and glared at the woman who was causing all of this turmoil. If only she'd relented when he generously offered to have her join a nunnery. Why did she refuse his goodness? She should be so happy to live the rest of her days in a convent. And Katharine prided herself on being such a pious woman so it should have been settled.
But she refused. So this left them, it left the King at a crossroads. Sometimes he truly felt that he hated this woman, his wife, the Queen of England, the former Infanta of Spain, the mother of his only living child.
Katharine could feel her husband's anger emanating from within. He truly thought that she was torturing him, on purpose. But that was not the case. Did he not know how torturous it was for her to have him in her bedchambers—nay in her bed—knowing how much he hated it and hated her? Did he not know how much it hurt her that he wanted to cast her aside for a younger, more beautiful, and likely more fertile woman? A woman who was a commoner. Did he not know that he was hurting their daughter, the one whom he had declared "the greatest pearl in the entire kingdom" because he wanted to make her illegitimate so any children he would have with that…Anne Boleyn would take succession over her, when Mary's rightful place was first in line, to be the eventual Queen of England?
Katharine was no happier than her husband was. Sometimes she wished she could hate him. It would make things ever so much easier.
Henry fidgeted in the Queen's bed, restless. She was driving him mad.
"Husband," she began softly and he sighed again.
"What is it, Katharine?"
Shaking her head, she decided to keep her comments to herself. If Henry wanted to be miserable, let him.
"I asked you what is it," he reminded her when she didn't reply.
"Never mind," she said quietly and turned her back to the other side of her bed.
How dare she turn her back at me, he fumed! The King of England! How dare she refuse to answer him!
"I am your King, woman, never forget."
Never forget, as if she ever could or would.
Not wanting to antagonize him further, she turned back to face him.
"Your Majesty," she said softly but firmly.
"Katharine, this is wrong."
"What is, your Majesty?" she asked, confused.
"This," he said, waving his hand around the room. "You and I. We are wrong. Our marriage is over and once you face that we can move on. The fact of the matter is we never had a true marriage to begin with. It was incestuous."
"Henry," she said softly, her accent lilting. "We are husband and wife. We were married in front of God."
"We are an abomination to God!"
Gasping, she couldn't believe he'd say such a thing. "Husband, please."
"I am not your husband but merely your brother-in-law." Henry's words were so cold, but Katharine didn't flinch.
"I never knew your brother, Prince Arthur, and you know that!" Katharine's voice rose, which raised Henry's ire even more. "I was clean and pure when we wed, just as I was when I came to England at fifteen. You were the only man I have ever been with."
"All right so you were a fucking virgin! So what, that's not the point!"
"'Henry," she began, placing a hand on his arm. "Do you not remember when we first met? I was 15 and you were 11. I couldn't speak any English and we conversed in Latin."
Henry remembered it well. He was so fascinated by the Infanta. And he was jealous of his brother, that Arthur was the firstborn and the one getting married to the Spanish Princess, not him! It wasn't fair, that he was second-born male. He was intrigued by her beauty and her mannerisms. She was so new to him, as were her customs. She was shy and sweet. And beautiful. He remembered the day he "gave her away," walking her down the aisle to be married to his brother, the sickly Arthur.
Shaking himself out of his memory, Henry lifted her hand off his arm and said, "That was a long time ago. Before you married my brother and before we were illegally married. Before you lost our children!"
Katharine let out a choke. How dare he blame her, again, for the loss of their children! It was no more her fault than it was his that they didn't survive.
"We have a child, Henry. Our daughter Mary, or have you forgotten?"
"Of course I haven't forgotten about the Princess Mary. She is the pearl of my world. But she is illegitimate. Just as Henry Fitzroy was."
Katharine was fuming inside but she did her best to control her emotions. "How dare you compare our daughter to your bastard!"
"It is the truth, woman. One you'd better accept and one she will have to accept once the Court rules in my favor."
"I cannot believe that the man I married, the man I love with all my heart could be so cruel towards his own daughter and to his wife who has done nothing but aim to please him in every way possible."
"Please me?" Henry gave her an incredulous look.
"Yes, please you."
"You haven't given me pleasure in years, woman!"
"And whose fault is it, husband? Many times have I asked you to come join me in my bedchambers and you never come. Instead you visit the rooms of my ladies-in-waiting, the harlots. I have never been anything but faithful to you in this relationship, nay in life, and you cannot say the same."
Snarling, Henry threw back the covers and put his hand on Katharine's wrist. "You once told me that your father was not faithful to your mother, Queen Isabella. So do not act high and mighty as if this is a surprise to you, what Kings do!"
Katharine was displeased that her husband chose to invoke her dear mother's name. He was right about her father's unfaithfulness, but that didn't make it hurt less. To know what her father did to her mother and that she suffers the same fate.
"Your Majesty, I am well-aware the behavior of Kings."
Katharine was every bit as defiant as Henry. Truthfully, Henry admired that about his wife. It maddened him, but it also meant that she was strong and not some weak-willed wilting flower.
"Then you would best to remember that and not question it. I may be your husband—in name only—but I am always your King."
Katharine knew that if she tried to disagree, they would get into a bigger fight and she did not have the tolerance to do so. It was late and she was tired so she merely nodded and then said, "Good night, your Majesty."
Henry didn't respond, instead he simply crossed his arms over his chest and closed his eyes, willing this night to be over.