Disclaimer: I don't own The Tudors. If I did, no one would ever see Henry or Charles Brandon again…hubba-hubba! ;-)
Author's note: Here's the third and final part. Read, review, and enjoy!
Henry Tudor, King of England and eighth Henry of the realm, remembered where and who he was. Looking down, he'd found he was in his normal clothing: breeches, hose, doublet, and boots. His wife Katherine of Aragon was nowhere to found, nor was Cardinal Wolsey, nor Thomas More. He was all alone in his palace; not even Charles Brandon, his friend from childhood, could be found as he paced down the hallways. Westminster looked just as it should, everything in its exact and right place. Candles glowed softly in their sconces, extinguishing behind him as he passed. He felt himself drawn into a grand chamber, with a fireplace along the north wall…and a beautiful maiden appeared in front of it. She stood stock still, as if waiting for him to come. Her gown was yellow and gold, cinched tightly on her body and sparkling even in the weak light. Her hair, black as a raven's wing, fell down over her shoulders, gracing her neck. But her face…oh, he knew that face! It was his dear Anne, with her dark eyes, her pretty upturned nose and kissable lips. His Anne…Anne Boleyn.
"Anne, my Anne," he crooned, stepping forward. Instead of running away, like he thought she would've, she crossed over to him.
Placing a hand on his cheek, she murmured, "Henry. I've missed you…"
"How long has it been, sweetheart?"
"Over five hundred years," Anne replied, stroking his cheek. Henry flushed and sputtered, the memories flying at him. He'd loved her, wedded her, bedded her…spied on her, suspected her…killed her. For years he'd forgotten his great crime. How she must hate him so! And yet, her hand still lay upon his jaw, and she did not turn away in repulsion.
"Anne…there's no way for me to explain or excuse what I've done. I do not…I do not know where to begin," he started, trying to hold her close. He was repaid with a hasty slap to the face before she walked away.
Stunned by her action, he could only listen while she talked. "Henry, you know what you did to me. To Elizabeth. To yourself. For these past centuries, I've hated you, demonized you because of what you did. You left me for a milksop, and you couldn't stop once you started. I had to suffer, to die so you could what you wanted, what I tried to give you: a son. Truly, I hated you."
This was no reconciliation like he'd been hoping for.
"If you're going to cite me all my wrongs, perhaps then I should leave," he said icily.
"No! You need to hear what I have to say," she pleaded, gripping his arm tightly with both hands. "I've been waiting to retaliate for years, but I've wanted to talk to you for even longer. Henry, even though I hated you for so long, I've realized that despising you changed nothing. We both died, we both faced our faults and our ends. Death is nothing, now that we've found one another again."
"How could I have missed you?" he wondered, turning his attention to the high windows along the far wall. The greens were empty; they were truly alone. "If we've both been wandering for hundreds of years, how could I not see you?"
"It wasn't meant to be," Anne stated, falling back. "Time had to pass; we had to become memory itself. And since you did not suffer in death-"
"I was lying in a sickbed unable to move! I was in pain," he admonished her, the weariness of his old bones suddenly weighing him down again.
"-It took you longer to come back," she pressed on, ignoring his outburst. "I had to learn that our lives are made up of the good and the bad, and that no matter how I felt, the past will remain as it is for all time. I dealt with my fury on this side; you dealt with your guilt every day you lived without me. I had to wait until you learned that same lesson."
It was a true statement. His thoughts, his moves, his life had been plagued by Anne Boleyn, even after her execution. He ate to fill the void she'd left behind, and he withdrew sanity as he raged against his inexcusable trial and behavior towards her. His paranoia led to the divorce one woman, and the deaths of two others. Oh, little Katherine Howard…could she forgive him for his crimes? Did Anne truly forgive him?
"Henry, look at me."
He did as she commanded, like he'd done long ago in the first flush of their love.
Placing her fingers against his lips, she stopped his voice again, took his very breath away in only the way she could.
"We're being given a second chance," she whispered. "We must forget the past, and leave it as thus. We're being given a future now. I've done horrible things: threw down a rightful queen, disrupted the monarchy, held a vendetta against an old man, and maintained a vicious temper. And you have done many evil things, but I will not list them yet again. What's done is done, there's no way to alter it. My question to you is this: can you set aside the petty grievances, the evils, and return to life with me?"
The query cut him to the quick. Every fiber of his being begged for the return to her side, to the second chance of life. But what would happen the second time? Certainly succession was no great issue; he was no longer king and had no worry of providing for his people. But could he bear her presence, mocking him with his failure, with the lies that her death represented? Would he stand the malicious glint in her eye and taunting when things went wrong?
Or did he want to stay dead, alone, lost…without her?
He'd lived without Anne Boleyn once. Henry VIII would never do that again.
"Yes, Anne. There is no life without you, beloved," he said, gripping her forearms tightly and blinking rapidly to still the tears. Her dazzling smile lit up her face, lit up the room. The light began to grow more and more in the passing seconds, nearly burning his eyes…
Harry Thompson was back in Westminster, shielding his eyes from a burst of sunlight that shot through the grand room he was in. Breathing heavily, he wondered if he'd imagined all the events between Henry and Anne, or if it was real. Glimpsing the brunette goddess by the paintings again, he felt a pounding in his heart that he hadn't felt in a long time.
Over five hundred years…
Nanette Baker rubbed her face, banishing the brightness from her gaze. The vision had come on so rapidly, it shocked her to her core. Tossing her hair, she found herself returning the frank glare of the handsome young man across the room. In a show of confidence she'd never displayed for any guy before, she strode right up to him and extended her hand.
"Hello, I'm Nanette," she said, unsure of how he'd respond. She was eternally grateful that he'd returned the handshake offered.
"Harry. Harry Thompson," he introduced himself, his voice sounding far away. Like he was lost in a dream…in her dream. Unable to control herself, she found a single word creeping out of her mouth in surprise.
"…Henry?" she asked tentatively, the name so familiar and yet so foreign on her tongue. He stilled, shaking slightly, before a tear dropped onto his face.
He remembered, she'd found him. Though they'd been raised up as different people, under different names and in a different century, they'd recognized and found each other in life again. Pulling her into an embrace, Harry didn't know why, but he knew he could never let her go. Nanette clung onto him, knowing somehow she'd found her place in the world, by his side.