Author's Note: This is in a response to The Marquess of Pembroke Challenge by CordeliaHalliwell of The Tudors Fanfic Forum. Normally, I completely plan out my stories and at least write the majority of them before I begin posting them, but something possessed me to do things differently this time. I do hope you enjoy this, and - of course - reviews are most welcome!
Oh, and this chapter does hint at some mature content, but does not go into explicit detail. I'm also assuming that Anne's stillborn son was born on January 27, 1536, which I believe is the historical date.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of The Tudors content in this story; all rights belong to Showtime.
"A Night of Love Rekindled"
March 3, 1536
It was understandably difficult when she lost her second child.
There appeared to be no cause, nothing which sparked her baby to flee from her womb so far before its time that it could not live. Henry, though he did not dare voice it to her, blamed Anne, but tried to give her a slight amount of consolation, the only consolation he could give her.
She was laying in her bed, surrounded by pillows and blankets and staring hard at nothing in a feeble attempt to erase the day's horrors - the fact that she had lost her baby from her mind, when he entered. He walked cautiously by her ladies, not bothering to acknowledge their courteous honorifics and curtsies. When he entered her bedchamber, Madge, who'd been sitting on the bed attempting to comfort Anne, quickly stood and exited the room, giving the King and Queen as much privacy as possible. Henry stopped at the foot of Anne's bed, glancing down at his wife, completely at a loss of what to say.
His experience with Katherine had taught him that women would be delicate after the loss of a child and, while he wished to console Anne - his true and wedded wife, unlike what Katherine had been - he could not find the right words. He was angry. He had been disappointed too many times to be able to think clearly and speak eloquently at such a time, despite his excess of experience. Anne was fragile and he did not wish to upset her more than she already was, but a part of him wanted so desperately to scream at her, to berate her for killing his son.
Not wanting to say something he would later regret, he settled for silence.
Henry's silence unnerved Anne, and she thought that he might not have been told about the loss of their child. She was frightened, having seen the effects of Henry's anger and knowing that this was one rift that would not solve easily. Henry was an impatient man and, after suffering miscarriage after miscarriage with his first wife - though she could not really be called a wife - it was likely that he would not be forgiving of Anne for this unfortunate happenstance.
"I lost the baby," she finally said, her voice hoarse from crying, rationalising that if he did not know it would be best if he heard it from her. She did not even look at him, she couldn't. She was too afraid of the emotions she might find etched into his features.
"Yes," he replied, sounding briefly annoyed, and then he continued almost bluntly, "They told me."
Anne did not know who he meant. 'They' could mean many people. It could mean her father, uncle, or her brother. It could mean the Royal Physician, Dr. Linacre, or even Master Cromwell. She supposed it didn't really matter who had told him, only that he knew and, for the moment, was not yelling at her.
He was silent for a few seconds, apparently racking his mind for something to say, before he added, "We shall make no public announcement of the fact."
"No," she agreed, glad that he had allowed her this concession, though she knew he had probably done so more for himself than for her.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him attempt to smile, before he turned around to leave her.
Feeling the need to say more, and perhaps she was hoping that if she said something he would stay and take her in his arms, promising her that he did not blame her and that sometimes unfortunate events such as this just happen, she said quietly, "Thank you, Your Majesty."
He stopped and merely inclined his head back toward her, nodding slightly before continuing out the door. Anne hoped that his demeanor was from a lack of knowing what to say, rather than a lack of love for her.
Her father, of course, barely attempting to conceal his anger for her benefit did not waste much time in berating her for the loss of her child, which he had viewed as more of a pawn for the betterment of his stature than an innocent child of his own flesh and blood.
"What caused it?"
His worry was evident in his features when he spoke, his words almost hastened as if he feared he did not have much time to speak them. Anne could only wonder what he was afraid would happen.
"There was nothing," Anne replied, nearly pleading with him to believe her. He had to believe her. She would have done nothing that would have harmed her child.
"Of course there was something!" he shouted, all attempts to conceal his anger gone and his fear showing itself in its entirety. "What did you do to kill the baby?"
"I didn't," she responded, growing offended that he would believe that she would do something to harm her baby. She would never have done anything of the sort, so this could not possibly be her fault. Could it? "I don't know. Believe me, Father, I was so careful."
Anne racked her brains, trying to pinpoint a likely cause to her miscarriage. She went through all of the events that had happened since she learned she was pregnant, remembering almost instantly how worried she had been that Henry would take a mistress, as he had when she carried Elizabeth. She had contented herself, partly, by setting Madge, someone of her own kin and who could be trusted to not lead the King too far astray, as Henry's mistress, but that did not make her any happier. But what woman would be happy with her husband taking mistresses?
Had her worry caused her to lose the baby?
"Not careful enough."
Her father's voice interrupted her thoughts and snapped her back to reality. It didn't matter now what had caused the miscarriage. Now, she needed to focus on keeping the King's good favour and presenting him with a son as soon as possible. A son, after all, would secure the position of herself and, undoubtedly to her father's immense pleasure, that of her family, as well.
He moved to lean on her bedpost, as if he needed support while he thought out a way to survive this catastrophe, "Well, from now on, we must all be careful - you especially - not to lose the King's love, or everything is lost. Everything." he emphasised, a great amount of spite seeping into his voice. "For all of us!"
And then he marched out of her room, not caring about the state he left his daughter in.
As painful as the loss of her second child was, it could in no way compare to the loss of her son - as she had been told the stillborn baby she'd born was, nor could it serve as preparation for the troubles to come. Henry had strayed farther than he ever had before, falling for a pallid mouse who, it was whispered at Court, would become the next wife of King Henry VIII and the next Queen Consort of England if Anne failed to give the King a son. The feat had been proven possible by Henry and Anne when he annulled his incestuous marriage to Katherine, but the scenarios were undeniably different. He couldn't possibly divorce his true wife; certainly God would not allow it.
While Anne had heard the rumours of Henry's relationship with Mistress Jane Seymour, the pallid mouse who presumed to follow Anne's virtuous actions before her marriage to the King in the hopes that they would have the same outcome as they had with Anne, it had come as quite a shock when she walked into Henry's chambers and saw the Wench upon her husband's knee - and kissing him, no less!
The memory, still fresh in mind, never failed to make her heart weep.
Anne had planned to go to Henry's chambers to request that Elizabeth be brought to Court for the birth of her brother and that she might stay until after her birthday celebrations were over. Because she was with child, Anne could not dare to make the trip to Hatfield to visit her daughter, and surely Elizabeth would wish to see her brother - or little sister, Anne rebelliously allowed herself to concede - when he was born. It would also be fitting for Elizabeth to attend the baptism of the little Prince of Wales. Henry, hopeful for a son and wishing to keep Anne in good spirits - despite his obvious affections for the Seymour Wench - would not deny her.
She opened the door unannounced, as she was by rights as his wife allowed to do, and the sight that welcomed her was deplorable enough to cause her heart to jump into her throat, restricting her breathing and causing a hoarse cry to erupt from her mouth.
"Oh, my God!" she cried, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God! What is this? What is this?"
Jane jumped off of Henry's knee, rushing to hide behind the ornate chair where he sat. Anger boiled up within Anne; she'd heard the rumours, that was true, but she had eased her troubled mind that was plagued with vexing thoughts - for the sake of the child she carried - by telling herself that not all things spoken at Court were true. Now, she saw for herself to truth of the rumours which so blatantly expressed the treachery her husband was committing against her. She could not deny that things were not well between them, but she had - foolishly, she admitted with hindsight - thought that he would honour her as his wife for duration of her pregnancy, knowing as well as - perhaps even more than - she did the importance of the child she cradled in her womb.
"Just when my belly is doing its business," she screamed, swiftly approaching the desk, "I find you wenching with Mistress Seymour!"
Henry approached her and attempted to wrap his arms around her shaking body - but she moved out of his reach before he had the chance, his tone surprisingly soothing when he spoke to her, "Hush, sweetheart." And, then he turned to the Wench, his tone commanding, "Jane, you had best leave."
Jane did as she was told, leaving through the nearest door. Anne leaned on the table for support, her outburst causing her head to feel dizzy and the outlines of her vision quickly becoming hazy. Henry came up behind Anne and wrapped his arms around her, protectively - though Anne could not be sure if he was trying to protect her, or his son.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked rhetorically, knowing Henry well enough to know that he would not answer. "Why did you have to do this?"
She spun out of his arms and pushed against him, hoping to cause pain so that he might know what it felt like to be the one who was spurned. A slight pain erupted in her lower abdomen, causing her to cry out as she instinctively placed her hand over her womb.
"Peace," Henry said, his tone growing more impatient as she continued to fight against him.
"No, no, no, no…" Anne cried when he approached her, catching her tight within his arms. Under other circumstances, she would have loved the sensation, but she could not enjoy the comfort of his arms - not when they had just been wrapped so lovingly around the Seymour Slut.
"Stop," he commanded her, willing her to calm down. "Stop it! Stop."
No longer possessing the strength to fight, she allowed herself to relax into his embrace, one hand intertwined with his over her womb, the other reaching back to feel his face.
That night, she lost her son - the son that would have changed everything. Henry would have loved her again, forgoing the Wench's bed and returning to her as a faithful and loving husband. They - Henry and herself, her family, and all of England - would have celebrated the birth of the long-awaited Prince of Wales. Elizabeth would have had a baby brother to look after and love. Perhaps she could have even taught him some things about life, when they were older. They would have ceased to be on the edge of a golden world, as they would certainly be living it. But, what could have been didn't matter because it never would be.
Henry was far from pleased about the death of his son, the son he had torn his country apart for. And, while he was certainly displeased when she miscarried the first time, his anger was paramount of what it had ever been before. He did not even try to console her.
He stormed into her chambers, stopping at the foot of the bed as he had when she had miscarried their second child. Anne was crying on her bed, awkwardly kneeling in centre, mourning the death of her son - who had been more than a political or ambitious pawn to her. She had carried the child in her womb for almost four months, long enough for him to be visibly male, and was quite attached to him, as any mother would have been. She attempted, albeit in vain, to calm herself down; weeping would only anger Henry more.
Henry wasted no time in speaking this time, his tone accusing and full of immense disappointment, "You've lost my boy." Anne did not fail to notice that he apparently had forgotten the son that he had lost had also been her own, and she, despite her best efforts, began to weep silently again. "I cannot speak of it, the loss it too great. But, I see now that God will not grant me any male children. When you are up, I will speak with you."
He turned around to leave her, but Anne refused to allow him to have the last word, and she would not allow him to pin all of the blame on her, not when it had been the shock of seeing the Seymour Slut on his knee and kissing him that had caused the passion that killed their son.
It was her turn to have the accusing tone, "It is not all my fault. You have no one to blame but yourself for this. I was distressed to see you with that wench Jane Seymour!"
He kicked his leg, as if he were a spoiled young boy being scolded, but Anne continued, relentless, "Because the love I bear you is so great." And then she whispered, so quietly he mightn't have even heard her, "It broke my heart to see you loved others."
She could see him trembling, almost weeping and she felt a surge of relief that she had gotten through to him, hopeful that his anger towards her would cool - or, perhaps, turn on the Wench who was the cause of all of their problems.
He sighed heavily, repeating, "I said I will speak with you when you are well."
And then he left, leaving Anne to scream in despair. This time she had not only lost her child, but her husband's love as well.
And so, it had, naturally, come as quite a shock when the King visited the Queen's chambers little more than a month later.
"His Majesty, the King!" Anne's herald called as the door to her chambers opened.
Anne was, despite her joy at seeing her husband, slightly annoyed to see Mistress Seymour's face light up at his arrival. Her ladies, the Wench included, stood, setting down the fabrics they were embroidering and mending, and curtseyed to their King and stated the due honorifics, keeping their places in their curtseys, not allowed to move without the permission of their Sovereign. Henry's eyes briefly met Mistress Seymour's before he turned to his wife.
"Your Majesty," he said, bowing to Anne with a flourish of his hand, his voice - though it was only detected by Anne because she had known him for so many years - was slurred slightly.
She rose from her chair by the fire, setting her embroidery down, and curtseyed low, remaining on the floor instead of rising as the Queen was allowed, repeating the same honorific her ladies had, "Your Majesty."
Raising her eyes to meet his, she was pleasantly surprised to see a smile on his face, even if it was likely he was inebriated. Without needing to say a word, he motioned for her ladies to leave them, and Anne noted with triumph the heartbroken look plastered on the Wench's face. Anne briefly wondered if Henry had promised to serve her, instead of the Queen, as he had when he was courting Anne. Once all of those in attendance to the Queen had left, he returned his attention to her, observing with disdain that Anne was still in her curtsey.
"Anne," he pleaded, "please stand."
She stood and then he approached her, placing a hand on each of her cheeks before he said, "Anne, you are so beautiful, and I love you so very much - and I have loved you well and long, delighting in your company."
She couldn't help but giggle when he quoted the song he wrote for her all those years ago during one of her retreats to Hever, "Then, my love, I am the most happy."
He smile broadly at this, bringing her face closer to his, as if he were about to kiss her, and then suddenly he stopped, a worried look on his face.
"Alas, my love, you do me wrong to cast me off discourteously," he recited solemnly, then he asked, "Anne, do you love me?"
"Yes, Henry!" she declared, not missing one heartbeat. "I love you with my entire heart, and I will always continue to love you, even when God calls me home."
The thought of her dying seemed to sadden him, because he responded, "He would have to come through me first, if He wanted you in Heaven. You are my angel, for now, and I intend to keep you that way for many more years - if it pleases Your Majesty?"
"Yes, it pleases me, Henry! I want nothing more than be your love, your wife and bear your children for as long as I live!"
Though he was intoxicated, Anne relished in Henry's words, drawing comfort from that fact that he loved her still. After all, she reasoned, no man could lie when he was filled more than contently with wine, as Henry obviously was.
"Anne? Sweetheart…can I kiss you?"
His words drew her from her quiet musings and, with a giggle, she kissed him, breathing a heavy sigh of relief when his lips responded to hers, brushing chastely against them.
"Elizabeth shall be brought to Court," he broke the kiss briefly to say.
She gave him quick peck on the lips, by way of thanks, before she said, "Oh, thank you, Henry!"
He kissed her again, but with more passion this time, "And you shall have to commission more dresses for her."
"She will enjoy that."
"I want you."
"Henry?" Anne was slightly confused and taken back by the turn of their conversation.
"What did you say?"
"I want you," he repeated.
"Now?" she dared to ask, though she knew that was probably the case.
He grabbed her, and kissed her more fervently, slipping his tongue between her lips, and then he pulled away to reply, "Yes. Now."
He pulled her down to the floor, cradling her on his legs before the fire, kissing her seductively, his hand beginning to trail its way up her skirts.
"Henry," she protested, her eyes darting towards her bed in the inner chamber, "the bed - "
He pulled away again and looked at her, a look of mock scolding on his face, "Anne, sweetheart…?"
He gave her no chance to respond, kissing her again, and then he took her there on the rug before the fire. He awoke some time later, noticing Anne huddled close to him, trying to get warm in her sleep. Picking her up, he cradled her in his arms and carried her to the bed, laying her down gently and placing a kiss on her forehead. Anne had woken up from the movement and, sleepily, she kissed him, and he took her again. But, when her ladies roused her the next morning, Anne woke to discover that Henry was gone and that Nan had slept in the Queen's bedchamber for the better part of the night, as she was required to do when her mistress slept alone.
Anne briefly wondered if Henry even realised the events of the night before and if, in his sobriety, he even cared.
To be continued...
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