LbN: Another one-shot. No slash this time.

"I know what it is we've lost, your majesty," Charles said softly. "Our youth." In the past, no one would have dared say that to the king. It would've sent him into a reckless desire to prove otherwise. But here, in the quiet chambers away from the court, when Henry had just placed so much trust in him, Charles wasn't afraid. He watched as the king gave the tiniest of nods.

"Youth," Henry said. "Something to be treasured."

"Indeed, my king."

"Something to be protected."

Charles said nothing. He was beginning to wonder where Henry's mind was wandering to. "Yes, it is," he said slowly.

Henry finally looked from the floor to him. "Is that why you sent guards to protect Mary?"

Charles opened his mouth to speak, and then closed it again. He'd forgotten. "Yes, your majesty." He waited for Henry to continue. He'd have to tread carefully until he found out if he was in trouble or not. Even in the best of moods, Henry was touchy on the subject of his children.

"I'd been meaning to thank you."

"There's no need. My care for your majesty's children is only outdone by your own."

"And what of my son?" Henry asked. "From what I've heard, you seemed much concerned about Mary."

Ah, Charles thought, so that's what this is about. Relieved to know where his king's train of thought was going. "I knew both would be in danger in that unstable time, but the Prince is well looked after."

Henry chuckled. "I thought you didn't like my lord Seymour."

"Like him or not is beside the point," Charles said carefully. "He loves and looks after Prince with all his power. Should anything…" he broke off, shuddering. "Should anything have happened, Prince Edward would have been protected while things were settled. Mary and Elizabeth might not have been so lucky."

Henry stood slowly and walked to Charles. "No one else in the court had the courage to protect them. Or to help me." He hugged Charles tightly and whispered, "And they wonder why I trust you above others."

Charles smiled as the king walked back into the throne room.

LbN:Hope you liked it! Send reviews!