Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Title: Perish in the Name of Passion
Summary: Shallow sorrows and shallow loves live on. The loves and sorrows that are great are destroyed by their own plenitude, Oscar Wilde. Henry had spared Anne from beheading. But on the last day, he had unknowingly let go of two lives. It will be six years later that they are reunited, but have their feelings changed enough to give them a second chance at love?
A/N: Hey there, I am sorry if it had taken too long. Actually, I cannot even tell whether it has been that long. It merely just that I am stuck with school, my last year and just today, I had written an exam for six hours... I will try to update as soon as possible, but I hope you guys can understand if it would take up some time ^^
From your reviews, I got the impression that I had been able to ship you back a little more near the middle line when it comes to Henry and Charles.I am glad you liked the chapters.
angel0014: Nice guess, but not exactly what might happen, I think, I am not quite sure, but you are not that wrong either...
Befham: Whether Charles stand a chance is still written in the sky, none of them knows, not even I ... :(. But perhaps you guys might be able to persuade me for a certain ending
Please tell me what you think about this chapter, especially the last words, I love that sentence :I
The next morning, Anne woke up with a pounding in her heart. She was confused and slightly in panic, when she woke up. When she looked around, she did not recognize the room as her own. In the first seconds, her mind made up many worse scenarios to reason what might have happened, before she was finally awake enough to remember that she was not at Pembroke anymore.
With a sigh, she fell back into her cushions.
At least the bed was comfortable, she thought dryly.
She closed her eyes again and let the last evening's event pass through her. It was hard for her to comprehend what had happened. No, actually, she knew what had happened, but what was truly hard to understand, was how it had went from just horrible to horribly confusing to her. She had known all along that it would be torture for her, to be stuck with people, who despised her as much as she despised them, but never had she expected for that, what had happened. She wished that she was able to specify it.
Had it been just her imagination, when she heard Henry's more or less admitted that he was missing her, or at least her jealousy towards him? No, it could not have been her imagination. She had not drunk enough to have made up such fantasies, even if it would not be for the first time and she surely had not been that desperate. She was past that stage.
However, it is likely that she had interpreted just too much in his words. But the question was, had she or had she not?
She was more inclined to the explanation that her doubts were true and that Henry indeed that he missed her. But then, she would have to wonder whether it was because she liked to believe it or because it was just the truth.
Anne bit her lip. This was the exact reason, why she had abhorred the thought of returning. A mere day has passed and she was already robbed of her peace. How she wished to return to Pembroke, her safe haven, the sanctuary that she had built for herself and her children.
The sudden thought of her children caused her thoughts to take a complete different path.
Anne shot up from her bed. Just in that very minute, the door was thrown open with a loud thud.
"Charles!" Anne gasped out of surprise. "What are you doing here?" Especially at such an ungodly hour, she thought to herself in slight annoyance.
"Listen, Anne, I have to tell you something-"
"Surely not in my state of-"
"I am sorry!"
This was enough to shut her up. Anne closed her open mouth and let his words settle in. She blinked a few times, wondering if she had heard him right. But judging from the eerily silence that shot throughout the room, she guessed that she had not dreamed it.
"I..." What was she supposed to say? Thank you? She hardly doubted that. "I, I am... surprised." She said hesitantly.
"Listen Anne, I know that last night, I acted out of line. It was not my place to reprimand or judge your behavior, I know that now." Charles was avoiding looking at her, a sign which told Anne that he was nervous. "I just wanted you to know that I did not mean to hurt. I care about you."
Again, she hesitated before answering him.
"I know." She replied, causing him to look up. "I know and that is why I will not stay mad at you this time." She put more emphasis on 'this time', to indicate that it would be the only time she would be so willing to forgive him. But it seems that it was all that Charles had hoped for, when he flashed a bright smile at her, leaving Anne no other choice but to return it.
"Did you have your breakfast already?" he questioned. Anne shook her head in denial, however before he could propose to her, she added that she had unmade affair she would prefer to do now.
"Will I see you later today, then?"
"I will try." From the look on his face, he was not pleased with her answer. "As soon as I finish my letter."
"I thought about writing a letter to Elizabeth or at least to her governess, just to see whether they are doing fine."
"Anne, you just left yesterday. I doubt that they would have injured themselves to a point of exaggerated motherly apprehension, especially not under those observing eyes of their governess. She adores them; your whole household adores them."
"You make it sound as though it was something awful."
"See, you misunderstand me again. It is just... irritating."
"I guess you cannot help it. It must be the jealousy that is speaking out of you." Charles shrugged.
"I don't care much about that."
"A man would never understand." Anne shook her head and sighed. Of course there was no way he would understand, and Anne doubted that any other woman could either. After having lived years under constant observation, eyes whispering resentment and over judging looks, she appreciated every kind of kindness and confidentiality.
"You could try to explain." Anne rolled his eyes, dismissing the playful gleam in his eyes.
"You need to leave, now." She took his hand and pushed him through the door. Luckily, he did not put up any resistance and soon, she shut the door. With a sigh, she called for her maids, in order to help her redress, while sending one to retrieve paper and a feather.
My dear Elizabeth,
Not much time had passed since my departure and yet, I cannot express the yearning inside my chest to see you again. Do you miss me? For I miss you very much already, my daughter and I fear it is growing every minute you two are away from me. I hope you and your brother are faring well without me. I have to admit that I worry much about you, although I do trust you and know what a reasonable daughter I am blessed with. However, Darien might be a different matter, he is a wild boy.
Anne pondered on a moment on whether she should mention that he was taking after her father. The subject had always been delicate, especially since Elizabeth was old enough to know exactly what had happened. She had to admit that she and her daughter rarely spoke of Henry, partly out of her fear for any resentment directed towards her. Perhaps it was unreasonable and silly, but she could not help it.
I hope you are not angry at my choice to leave so suddenly. The affairs here at court are soon over and like I had promised you, I will get home as soon as possible. So rest assured.
Anne bit her lip, wondering how she would continue writing. There were so many things she wanted to tell her daughter, she felt uncomfortable leaving out so many important mentions. On one hand, she did not want to burden her and on the other, she knew, as she was aware of her daughter's high intelligence and observation skills, that her daughter was not fooled by her words or at least, she did not completely trust them.
There are so many things I wish to tell you, but I am neither sure whether it is appropriate to tell you nor I am sure whether I want to burden you. You deserved the best, Elizabeth and I hope you know that. You are my beloved daughter and as a mother, I want what is the best for you and yet, there is a side in me. Her selfishness scares me, for her desires are above yours. Sometimes, I feel it pulse strongly inside me, like now; when I wish so much that you were here at my side. But as I have already said, you are the most important thing to me, Elizabeth and of course, your brother as well. Thus, I will wait until the day I will see you again, which I hope by God, will not take long and take the both of you in my arms. Until then, I will dream of the day.
Your mother, Anne.
Anne put the writing instrument away and starred at her letter. Somehow, it turned out much more emotional than she had first intended. It had been so long since she had written a letter that came honestly out of her heart. It is such an irony that it would land in her daughter's small hands, a copy of the last receiver, whom she had unburdened her heart to. Surely, she and her daughter shared a deep and loving relationship that cannot be argued. It was the written letter in general. She did not know why herself, but she had gotten used to expression her emotion as formal as possible in a letter. The times she and Charles exchanged letters, at times when he was at court or in his own home, she would still keep her distance. It was not meant as an insult against him nor was she trying anything, playing, like Charles had at times implied. She guessed that it was some kind of defense mechanism.
She folded the letter and got up, with the intention to send it out as soon as possible.
"Charles, I did not expect to find you there. What a coincidence." Charles looked up, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
"Not as much as a surprise for you to be here." He knew that it was not the coincidence for them to meet up here, as Henry would have liked him to believe. "I know you, and I fear that there is another reason behind your visit in this library than wanting to broaden your knowledge."
"Indeed, you know me too well, my friend." Henry chuckled. "Actually, there is something I wanted to talk to you about." The amusement and playfulness in his eyes made way for a somberness, which alerted Charles.
"What is so important that the King forsakes his duties and instead come to me?" he joked.
"I heard that you and Catherine are separated."
"Yes, that is true. We have been for quite some time."
"Why is it that I have only heard from you now?"
"You know that I would have gone to you sooner or later, after all, you are the only one, who could grant us a divorce." Charles was a little bit irritated as to why Henry was so pushing, just as Henry was irritated to the unresponsiveness of Charles or actually, he was on a whole irked by his friend.
"Why did Anne knew this before me?"
"Had she told you that last night?" Charles asked, not quite believing that she would betray him in such a manner, especially to Henry. Well, maybe in hindsight it would not be that surprising, considering it was Henry.
"No. I just wanted to see whether she did. I guess I have my answer." He shrugged.
"What? Henry, why are you doing this?"
"I could ask you the same question!"
"Pardon me, my King, but I doubt-"
"Have you slept with her?"
Charles gave no reply. Instead, he was merely regarding his King. His words had been like a bucket full of icy water that rained over him. It made him feel cold, it caught him off-guard and in a way, it made him angry.
"Your Majesty, I believe it is better if I take my leave now. Enjoy your stay, I hope I could have given you the answer you had sought," Charles spat through his gritting teeth.
However, before he could pass his friend, Henry had already taken a hold of Charles' arm, preventing him from going further. Charles, somehow not surprised by this event, glanced at the part of his arm that was connected to him. Then, after a few seconds without anything spectacular happening, the Duke finally looked up the seething blue eyes of his sovereign.
"Are you going to her?"
This was it.
"What is your problem, Henry?" Charles nearly shouted in frustration, his hand running through his hair. He was really pushing him. Each word made him more and more furious.
"My problem is that you are fraternizing with my former wife." The King was fuming by now. "What is worse, you seem to prefer her over me."
"Well, last night, it did not make the impression that you consider her as your former and not your recent lover."
"So, you are satisfied with second best, knowing that I and four, if not more men, had her before you?"
He was pushing it!
Charles was seething by now.
"Do you plan on marrying her?" He knew himself that it was low of him to mention that. And deep down, Charles also knew that there was not verity in his words, as both know, whether Henry could ever dare to admit this to himself, that Anne is, could and never would be second best. To nothing. No one. She would always be the first. In a way, Charles found it sarcastic and ironically cruel that Henry had been the first to see that, but in the end, he was the only one who still remembers.
"I would make a wonderful father to Elizabeth. She has said so herself dozens of times before and I doubt that she would have a problem against an union between me and her mother, especially since she knows that I going to treat her mother much better than you and also be a wonderful father to her, as you had never been."
"Tell me, child, have you seen the Duke of Suffolk?"
After Anne had asked the servant, he had given her a piece of paper.
She frowned, wondering as to why he would go through so much trouble, just to meet her. It almost seemed ridiculous, at least in her eyes, but she guessed that others would agree with her on that term. But oh well, she had promised to meet him up and if he wanted to meet her in the library for whatever reason, she suspected that she had no other choice but follow his plead. Of course, not after she had retrieved someone to send away her letter.
Thus, after she had finished her little task, also having taking a small bit of food, which could not even be considered a breakfast, she went on to the library. During her walk, she examined the interior design of the place. It was funny that nothing seemed to have changed and yet, it seemed different to her. She was still glued on this thought, when she suddenly heard a loud thud. It surprised her and the violence of the sound made her wince.
She wondered what had happened.
Shortly after that thought, the answer seemed to arrive in the form of Henry, her former husband. Of course, it should not be a surprise to realize he was the cause of such an uproar. She wondered what matter had angered him that much, judging from his appearance, wondered whether it was truly as serious or if it was just as trivial as all the other fights they had.
"Your Majesty," she greeted him.
"Anne-" He stopped in his tracks and looked at her, as if the mere sight of her had made him contemplate something.
Anne stood there, letting him think of whatever was crossing his mind, all the while trying to appear calm and unmoved by his presence. It was harder than she let her appearance lead on, as she remembered his words from last night very well. Those words were actually repeating over and over again in her mind, much like an attempt of her mind to try to figure out what they meant and in hope it might find something new.
"Are you on your way to see the Duke of Suffolk?" he inquired.
Anne blinked in astonishment. Did it mean he was just there as well? For what purpose then?
"I..." One daring glance to his eyes, which had cost her a lot of willpower, told her in an instant that she had to be careful in her answer. One wrong choice of words and he would explode. "No."
She wondered what might have happened, while she was on her way. Something grand must have transpired between those two, questionably former, friends that angered him in such a way. Anne worried for Charles, and at the same time, she felt her anger rise about the hypocrisy of her friend, who had reprimanded her to not catch the King's anger.
"No, I was not. I just meant to take a look at the library, in hope to quench my boredom. However, I was not aware that the Duke had intended to do so as well. Why were you asking, Your Majesty, if I may ask."
Henry was still patronizing her with an unreadable look in his eyes and although it was meant to conceive his emotions, the turmoil in his head, Anne could guess what he was thinking about. He doubted her words, not that she could blame him, as she would do the very same thing if she was in his stead. He was weighing out her words for the trustworthiness in them.
"I see," he merely said. Anne nodded, knowing that she would not get an answer to her question and although it irked her that she would not receive the information she had hoped for, she knew there was nothing she could do about it. She just hoped that when, or if, she was allowed to pass the King, she might get it from Charles.
"My lady, if you are so bored, why do you not take a walk with me?" Henry offered.
"I..." Anne was thrown in the next surprise again, when she heard his proposal. "I would love to," she answered him with a smile after a long while. He returned her smile; his blue eyes told her that he was satisfied with himself, which in turn made her angry, her pride hurt. She pondered whether he was intentionally asking her so that she would not be able to meet Charles, as she had promised, knowing that her words from before were a lie.
"Would you like to take a walk through the garden?"
"Whatever you prefer." She followed him to the garden and away from the library. Without Henry noticing, Anne threw a glance to the side, her thoughts lingering on Charles, who was probably still waiting for her. It was not as if she was to blame and yet, she felt guilty for leaving him waiting, while she was spending her time with Henry. But he forced her. It was not like she had a choice.
She guessed that she had to wait for Charles's enlightening reply, as much as he had to wait for her now.
"Today we are quite blessed with a beautiful weather." Henry claimed and looked to the sky.
"So it seems, my King," Anne agreed. She glanced at her arm, which was intertwined with his by the elbow. She could barely remember when he had offered her his arm.
"It is fine. Just call me Henry."
"Of course." Actually, it was not.
Anne felt the urge to question him. Inside, she was screaming at him, angry and confused and there was also the part inside of her, which had assumed that the time where she would or could call him in that manner again, was lost forever. By the way he was acting she felt that part starting to grow inside of her by time.
"Was there something special you wanted to talk to me about?" Anne inquired.
"I could, but then I would prefer spending our few time with a more enjoyable talk or even silence, than bothering you with them. After all, you have to hurry up to return to Charles, do you not?"
Anne continued walking, but she had averted her gaze so that he could not look at her. She was making her face, not wanting to reveal any confirmation to him.
"Your Majesty..." There was probably something she should have said and she would have, if only something would come to her mind. Actually, there were quite a few words that came to her mind, but none which she found appropriate nor convincing enough. "Why are you so interested in Brandon?"
"Maybe I had been wrong, but from the looks of it, I had assumed that Charles had angered you in a way." It was no explanation or maybe, it was just not enough. Maybe, she just did not understand.
"He had." Anne confirmed, not knowing quite what he was hinting at with his statement. "You seem surprised," she noted furthermore.
"It is just interesting to me,"
"In which way?"
"It is merely hard for me to believe your words." He turned his head and looked at the wall of green leaves.
"And here you are doubting my words again." Her words caused him to turn back to her again and that was when he noticed the playful gleam in her eyes again, which, unconsciously, made him smile just because it was so contagious.
"I never said that I doubted your words," he reasoned.
"What is it then?" Anne asked again, more curious than annoyed.
"What you had told me, it seemed so..." He made a wave with his hands. Anne raised her eyebrow. "trivial. As if it had no importance that he angered you."
For an instance, she could not comprehend his words or the meaning of them. It was beyond her where his problems laid. But then, it dawned her.
"You cannot understand why I had forgiven him... for angering me…" Of course, this made sense. Anne then smiled and leaned back a little bit, observing Henry from the side. She should not have been surprised at his confusion. Someone like him surely must have problems understanding the concept of forgiveness. "I think the better question is: why I should not forgive him."
She chuckled at the still confusing look in his eyes.
"Your Majesty, you have to understand, all that Charles had done was to care for me. Sometimes, we both have different opinion as to what is the best for me. You know me; sometimes I am far too stubborn for my own good." With one look and one false mention, her smile, although never moving, turned bitter. But just for one second. "It is not trivial of me to forgive him, but it would be inane for me to resent him for something trivial."
"So you decided to overlook it so easily?"
"I am not." Anne replied instantly, feeling a little bit frustrated. Her children acted the same way, when they did not understand a concept she was trying to teach them. Now she knew where they had gotten it from. However, whereas it was adorable with her children, it was a little bit of a bother with Henry. They were children and Henry was an adult, or at least, should be.
"What else do you consider it to be then?"
"I have learned to let go during these years." Anne replied. Somehow, she did not feel the urge not the energy to entertain him anymore. Partly, she also feared that she might say something she is surely going to regret. "I think it would be better if I go now."
Charles is waiting for me. This is what Henry read from her words.
"No!" Henry exclaimed, grabbing her hand. With a yelp, Anne felt herself being pulled back to him. She gazed back at him, surprise mixed with disbelief. Her eyes darted to her wrist, which was still caught in Henry's hands.
"Why?" She asked her voice void of any emotion. The only thing he could hear from her voice was the roaring indifference.
"I..." She was waiting for his answer, oblivious to herself and her gaze, which lingered on his lips. She looked as if she was anticipating his answer, but this could not be. When she was sure that Henry would not finish his sentence, that she would never hear it, Anne let another few moments pass by. Silence was the only thing that could be heard, besides the loud rushing of the wind at the leaves, and for each, their hearts beating furiously against their chest, each out of a different reason. Finally, Anne, having collected enough courage, she rose her head, her gaze meeting his eyes.
And then she smiled.
"I have to go now, Henry." It was the first time that she had called him by his first name.
Suddenly, it sounded so foreign to her.
The worst thing is holding on to someone, who does not want to be held on to.