The Queen is Dead!: Katherine of Aragon dies in 1518

XXVIII - March 1520
Cecily saw the King leaving her sister’s rooms and quickened her pace, hoping to waylay him. Too late. He was gone. And by the set of his shoulders, he wasn’t best pleased about something. Oh God. What had Bessie said? Please God she hadn’t thought herself invincible with His Majesty’s son in her arms. Please God they were still able to fix this.

Cecily hurried into Bessie’s rooms, eager to find out the extent of the damage.

*** *** ***​
Marie rode back into the courtyard at Havering, only to be greeted by a volley of joyful gunfire that almost threw her from her horse. George, who had clearly been watching out for her, ran forward and caught at the animal’s bridle to steady it as she slid down from the saddle.

“The King has his son, then?” she said, by way of greeting. George nodded.

“Just three hours ago. Henry Fitzroy, they’re calling him.”

“I must go and join the celebrations. As must you, brother. I’ll just run up and change.”

“Aye, but be careful, Marie. His Majesty noticed your absence earlier and he wasn’t pleased.”

“Right. Thanks for the warning, brother. I’ll bear it in mind.”

Marie blew her brother a kiss and raced indoors. Not twenty minutes later, now attired in a gown of rose-coloured satin embroidered with tiny crystals, she was circling the Hall, a cup of mead in one hand.

All of a sudden, a hand shot out and captured her wrist. It was the King, his drunken, bloodshot eyes hardening with a mixture of desire and loathing as he pulled her tight against his body, spilling her mead as he did so.

“Where have you been?” he slurred, “I sent for you earlier and you weren’t here. Where were you?”

“Your Majesty – I -” Mary started. She never got a chance to finish her sentence. As abruptly as he had pulled her to him, the King thrust her away.

“Do you know what, Marie, never mind. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to spoil tonight by fighting. Just get out of my sight.”

“But…Your Majesty…”

“Get out of my sight.” The King stalked away, leaving Marie, shaken and confused, to stare after his retreating back, her words of congratulation dying on her lips.
 
XXIX: April 1520
“What have you done?! Daughter, what have you done?! One day he was virtually bowing and scraping before you, now he won’t so much as look in your direction. What have you done?!”

“I don’t know! Papa, I really don’t know!” Marie was almost in tears as her father shook her violently.

“Oh don’t play the fool with me, girl. I don’t have time for it. I’m leaving for Paris with the Earl of Derby at the end of the week and I don’t want to leave a useless, past her best favourite behind me. I thought your years in France would have taught you better than that. You must have done something. Come on, out with it!”

He raised his hand and Marie cowered away from him, cringing in the face of his fury. Unexpectedly, however, her uncle spoke before the savage blow could fall.

“Thomas. It’s not as bad as it could be. At least the King hasn’t retreated into the Lady Blount’s arms. And the child’s made him sentimental. If she plays her cards right, the girl might yet win him back to her.”

Marie stared at her uncle as he defended her. He turned to meet her gaze, eyes like granite.

“You’ll waylay him after Mass tomorrow. You’ll beg his forgiveness for whatever it is you did that offended him. On bended knee if need be. You’ll assure him of your undying loyalty and tell him that, whatever you did, you only did it because you had his best interests at heart. Whether or not that is the truth, I don’t care. You’ll say it anyway. And for Christ’s sake, make sure you look innocent. Understand?”

Marie nodded vigorously. Thomas Howard allowed himself the faintest glimmer of a smile at her obedience.

“Good. Then get yourself out of here. Go on!”

Marie needed no second urging. She picked up her skirts and ran.
 
Before anyone says anything, I am aware that I am playing up the fanfic sterotypes when it comes to Thomas Boleyn. I'm guilty of it, because it gives me more scope to play with...
 
I find myself disliking Thomas Boleyn, and liking Thomas Howard after this. That must mean something bad is going to happen to him, curse you!
 
I find myself disliking Thomas Boleyn, and liking Thomas Howard after this. That must mean something bad is going to happen to him, curse you!

Haha! No, he sort of disappears off the radar after this scene, to be honest. I don't know quite what happened to him... Papa Boleyn, on the other hand *smirk*
 
Section XXX - April 1520
Since the last section was so short, I'm feeling generous. Have another chapter a day or two early :)

Henry was just coming out of Mass a couple of mornings later when Mistress Marie fell to her knees in front of him.

“Your Majesty, I humbly beg your pardon for having displeased you. I know now that I should never have presumed to do anything such as visit Her Highness at Eltham without Your Grace’s permission, especially not at a time when Your Majesty needed me so, but I beseech Your Majesty to remember that I never wanted to abuse the favour that you so graciously bestow upon me. I acted only out of the impulsive kindness of a young girl’s heart. Furthermore, I can only hope that Your Grace will realise that I only desired to see you reconciled with your daughter because I saw it as my Christian duty to reach out in kindness to a motherless child such as the Princess Mary, and smile upon me for it.”

Henry looked down upon her golden head as it was bent in supplication. He had meant to stay angry at her, but how could he when she begged so abjectly for his forgiveness? And she had been acting out of kindness, hadn’t she? She’d been thinking of others besides herself; of his little girl, his little pearl. It was more than Bessie had ever done. She’d even been jealous when he spent too much time with his own sister, for God’s sake! Marie, on the other hand, clearly wouldn’t mind that. She didn’t seek to rule him as Bessie had. Rather, she let him command her, as Cata had always done. It was obvious which of the two, Bessie or Marie, cared for him more. Which of them cared for him in the way that Cata had done.

“Marie, look at me.” He spoke gently, waving the others around them away. She raised her head a fraction, showing him the tears that were swimming in her eyes and threatening to spill over on to her dove-grey damask.

At the sight of them, a stab of guilt went through Henry. How could he ever have made this beauty cry? Hadn’t he promised to be her Knight Gallant until London melted into the Thames? Knights Gallant didn’t make their damsels cry.

He reached down to slide his palm under her chin.

“Did you truly do what you thought was best for me? On your own account? No one put you up to it?”

“No, Sire. I acted purely on my own foolish whim. Indeed, my brother George tried to stop me. He warned me that you would not like it.” Her voice was little more than a whisper.

“Yet you still did it?”

She bobbed her head, the tears on her lashes quivering dangerously.

“How can I argue with a sense of duty as keen as that?” Putting his hand under her shoulder blades, Henry helped Marie up, “You’re a blessing to my Court and to my life, Mistress Marie. What boon would you ask of me? Ask, and, if it is within my power to do so, I shall grant it. A heart as innocent and caring as yours cannot go unrewarded.”

“Anything, Sire?” Her voice was quiet, as though it were seeking reassurance. Henry nodded encouragingly.

"Anything. You have my word."

“Grant me permission to visit the Princess Mary at Eltham whenever I so desire.”

“Granted,” Henry laughed in surprise. He’d been expecting her to ask for a new dress or some jewels, like Bessie would have done. After all, wasn’t that what all women liked?

“And say you’ll come with me. Mary would love to see her Papa again.”

Henry hesitated. The last time he’d seen Mary, she’d only been two, but already blossoming into a little copy of her mother. Katherine. Could he put himself through that pain?

“Please, Sire,” Marie’s voice was desperate. She slid her arms about his waist and peeped up at him, pleading.

Oh, how could he ever resist those eyes? And he’d promised her anything he could grant.

“Tell me when you want to go,” he sighed, bending his head to find her lips with his.
 
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I feel so guilty for not keeping up with this thread. Hopefully Henry's finally moving his head out of his arse now.. And for goodness' sake, go to Eltham and visit Princess Mary already!
 
I feel so guilty for not keeping up with this thread. Hopefully Henry's finally moving his head out of his arse now.. And for goodness' sake, go to Eltham and visit Princess Mary already!

Firstly, don't feel guilty, because I have been updating very quickly, because it's really just a case of transferring most of this over from FFnet.

Second, yes. Henry is finally coming around to his fatherly duties again. It's only taken him a full seventeen months... *Rolls eyes*
 
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