Born in pain
Raised in hate
Helpless to defy his fate
Let him run
Let him live
But do not forget what we never forgive… From 'Not One of Us', The Lion King 2
A/N: This oneshot series will not make sense unless you've read my story Handmaid. While this ficlet does not follow the idea of the lines quoted above, they are what inspired it, so I put them in anyway. I also think they do sort of go with Edward's train of thought. He's about 14 in this fic, just so you know.
Reconciliation: Edward wished he could stop coming here, but he could not. Every time he came to London with his foster parents, he found himself here, at the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. His uncle and mother were interred here, both of them having been beheaded for treason. He was haunted by the knowledge of their deeds, plagued by the blood in his veins.
When he looked in the mirror, he could only see a scion of a disloyal family, nothing Tudor in him save his eyes. And no matter what the two people who he'd been taught to call Mother and Father said, he wondered if he too was fated to be a betrayer.
"I don't want to be like you," he whispered to the ghosts that always surrounded him, especially here. "But what if I have no choice? What if you have doomed me to act as you did?"
Henry never came to the Tower normally, but after receiving reports from the Constable about a young noble who habitually spent hours in the chapel, he'd had to. There was one simple reason for this – the boy wasn't just anyone, he was Henry's bastard by Jane Seymour, Edward Fitzroy. Why did the boy continually come to the place where his traitorous relatives were buried? Henry had resolved to find out, hence his visit once he learned that the boy was here again.
Sure enough, there he was, sitting in a pew with his head bowed. He was whispering, "Please, let me be able to choose."
Choose what? Henry frowned, clearing his throat. The boy jumped up, whirling around to see who was there. When he recognized Henry, he moved to the aisle and knelt, lowering his head. "Your Majesty."
"I'm told you come here often, Master Fitzroy. Why is that? Look at me when you answer."
The boy looked up, his expression nervous. "I... They're my family, my blood, but they're traitors. What if I... What if their blood in my veins means I have to be like them?
Henry saw that the boy – Edward – was trembling. Did he really come here to try to ascertain if he was going to be a traitor? Surely Surrey and his wife had taught him that he wasn't. But then, perhaps they didn't know he felt this way.
Henry had acknowledged Edward as his son, but he'd never treated him as such. He couldn't, not when he saw the too-small corpse of a baby boy or Anne still and pale in her bed whenever he looked at Jane's son. Thomas Seymour had tried to kill Anne – had killed their unborn son – for the sake of this boy. And yet...
Katherine and Anne had both said he could not blame Edward. And now, he couldn't help but wonder if he had a duty to this boy. He had created him, after all – for good or for ill. Perhaps it was time he became a father to him in truth as well as blood. If Henry were honest with himself, he knew that Edward was not responsible for his half-brother's death; his uncle was. So maybe it was time Henry stopped blaming Edward for it.
He pulled the fair-haired boy to his feet, studying the young face. Edward greatly resembled his mother's family, but the eyes staring out from that Seymour face were Henry's own. He'd never noticed that before, on the few occasions he'd seen the boy. It made his words come more easily.
"You're my son, with my blood, and you were raised by good people. You're not a traitor, Edward."
"Thank you, Your Majesty."
Henry frowned. He couldn't quite bring himself to tell the boy to call him 'Father' yet, but soon he would. Because he didn't like one of his children using his title, and Edward was his as much as any of his legitimate children. He may have only just realized that, in the shock of seeing how much the past tormented the boy, but it was no less true for all that.
He led Edward outside and they walked the Tower grounds together, for a short time banishing the shadows of that foreboding place with the pleasant sort of conversation that they should have shared years ago. Henry knew now that he'd done Edward a wrong by ignoring him for so long, but he could rectify that with time. For now, he just let himself bask in the moment, grateful for the reconciliation he hadn't known he was looking for.