Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: I dared Nor to do a femslash in her KoA drabbles. She dared me to do a regular slash. This is the result. Charles/Margaret being one of my Tudors OTPs, it seemed to be a familiar place to jump from. Sort of slash, sort of het, I don't know if this is what you wanted, Nor, but…
"You can love, perhaps for a year, or a month, or a day, or even an hour. And in that hour I do believe you love as well and deeply as any man. But after that hour, you love not."
Walking away from Margaret's coffin, Charles wondered if she had been right when she'd said that to him. He had loved her once, hadn't he? Her fire, her temper, her… Her nature that he'd already known in and out, because it was Henry's.
Oh God. He had known for a long time that the affection he had for his King was more than what was right and proper for a friend, but he had always ignored it. Had shoved it aside and buried it in the back of his mind while he tumbled every girl who would have him. And many would; he was not the King and could not have any woman, because he would have no incentive for them, but his looks and his charm were enough for many women. Even noblewomen like Anna Buckingham, who had risked her honor for him. Even women like a Princess.
He had wondered why it was that Margaret had drawn him in a way no other woman had, in a way only his best friend had ever managed. He'd told himself it was because she was a Princess, forbidden fruit. Except… No, that wasn't it, not really. It was because in so many ways, she was just like Henry. She had his temper, his stubbornness… It was why they clashed so often. But Margaret was a woman. Despite the fact that she was supposed to be off-limits, it would still be easier to have her than to have her brother, which was truly impossible.
So had he loved her, or just the ghost of Henry in her? He didn't know, though he did know she deserved better, and he regretted hurting her as he had done. He'd only done it because he was hurting himself, as he had since first realizing how he felt about his King, so long ago. She had been a second best, but the only way he could think of to ease the pain.
He could have the love of Henry's sister, the woman who was so like him. But he could not have Henry's. It had been that simple, in the end. He'd taken what he could get because it was better than nothing. Because before Margaret, the closest he could get to Henry's love was that grin his best friend gave them when they rode together or played sports together. Those hours when he could pretend, only a little, that Henry was like him, giving his body to women and not his heart, because his heart was already lost to a more dangerous passion.
But no. Henry loved all his mistresses, or most of them, anyway. And now, of course, he had eyes only for Anne Boleyn. And Charles would watch them dance and flirt, and… He would tell himself that he hated Anne for what she was doing to the Queen, to the country, even though he knew that he really hated her because she had Henry's love, while he did not.
But no matter who Henry took to bed, Charles was still his best friend. So they would still have those times, those hours when Charles could cling to fantasy.
"And in that hour…"