A/N once again I am astounded by the amount of support this story is getting, it really really makes me smile to open my email and see I have more reviews or alerts.
Thank you to MonicaOP, wwesimmer, Marina Ka-Fai, Dan Sickles, Robin4 and titpuce86
I would also like to thank my two anonymous reviewers:
Cheriblossem: thank you so so much for your review, lol yes Henry is a dick...No hate is not a strong word...Well not when describing Jane Seymour anyway who I also hate. Anne is not quiet on her way to being that strong confident person we all know and love but in time she will be. Thank-you again for the review.
LittleHellCat: thank-you so much, I am really happy you think my plot is unique...and yes who thought Jane could think LOL...Don't worry I don't like her either. Be patient and the answers to all your questions will be answered ;) and well done you defiantly made me smile and I hope I got this up quick enough so you didn't die from suspense. Thanks again
Anyway on with the story, I own nothing blah, blah, blah, hope you enjoy
Chapter 3: The future of England
February 5th 1536
Residence of Princess Elizabeth and The Lady Mary Tudor
"The concubine lives?" Mary Tudor, Princess of England,and the only true heir to the English throne fiercely whispered.
She could hardly believe it, when Chapuys had told her she thought she had misheard him. How could God possibly allow that harlot to live, after all she had done…? Anne Boleyn deserved to rot in the fires of hell not to sit by Mary's father's side claiming her mother's, good sweet Queen Katherine's, title as her own.
"I am afraid so, your highness," Chapuys responded. He clearly hated speaking the words, telling her of that horrid woman's survival.
"And the child?" Mary questioned, knowing as well as anyone that if Anne had lost her child, Mary need not worry of her for much longer.
"The brat lives," Mary flinched involuntarily at the ambassador's unkind words; whether she liked it or not the babe Anne was carrying was her blood and she would never truly wish it any harm. In fact she was quite sure (if given the chance) she would grow to love her little half sibling just as she had grown to love Henry FitzRoy (or Hal as she had dubbed him during their youth) and of course Elizabeth, she would not lie to anyone about her growing affection for her sister; Bess truly was a force to be reckoned with. Yet Mary knew she would never be able toreally look past the fact that her siblings were an act of her father's betrayal of her mother and, in essence, Mary herself. Yes, she loved her siblings dearly but that didn't change that fact that they were illegitimate…Mary was the only heir to her father's throne and one day (hopefully soon) she was certain, that with God's help, he too would see it.
" Has my cousin… the Emperor, sent any message for me," Mary questioned, taking care to keep her tone calm, steady and quiet, so as to not alarm the young maid (no doubt sent to spy on her)who was sitting just out of earshot, of the nature of their conversation. If she were to be found talking about her cousin she had no doubt at all that Anne would convince her father to have her thrown in the tower and left a head shorter.
" He wishes you your good health as always," Chapuys replied before sighing deeply, a look of concern clearly etched upon his face, it was clear to Mary that he was thinking over his next words very carefully.
"What is it?" Mary questioned, her voice taking on a shrill edge at the thought that he was keeping something from her, "What's wrong?"
"Your highness," he said carefully and slowly, "my master does not know how much longer he will be able to offer you his support and protection…
"Ambassador, what are you saying?"
"His grace believes that if the whore succeeds in giving your father a son, that you should not hesitate in signing the oath of succession as soon as it is placed under your nose,"
"He wants me to sign away my rights? To declare myself a bastard? Tarnish my mother's good name?" Mary yelled rising to her feet, to say she was outraged would be an understatement, "How could he possibly ask that of me…after everything my mother went through, I…"
" My lady please," Chapuys pleaded knowing that it was almost certain that they were being watched, " It pains your cousin to ask this of you but he feels he no longer has a choice. He needs England's support against France and he cannot achieve that unless he aggress to accept your father's marriage to the concubine,"
Mary could not respond; what could she possibly say? No matter what had happened to her these past three years she had always been assured of her cousin's constant support, now she was being informed that she no longer had it… that the one thing that had been keeping her going was to be snatched away from her so cruelly, so unjustly. She couldn't help but ask herself where God was as her life was crumbling around her.
"May, May," the smile that was placed on her face could be called nothing but forced as Mary looked at the red haired beauty that was tugging on the skirts of her sombre black gown. If Elizabeth noticed Mary's less than happy composure it did not show on her young face.
" Bess, my sweet," Mary began kneeling at the level of her sister, all the while ignoring the shallow bob the ambassador was directing in her sisters direction, she knew he had no choice but to do it, yet it still hurt her to see her (bastard) sister getting the treatment that was rightfully hers, " why are you all alone?"
"I wanted to see you May," Elizabeth responded as if it were the most obvious thing in all the world, "I needed to ask you a question,"
Mary raised an eyebrow waiting for her sister to continue speaking, but Elizabeth only looked at her a quizzical look in her eyes while she bit her lip.
"Bess, what is it?" Mary laughed when Elizabeth still had not asked her question after a good minute or two.
"Lady Bryan told me not to," Elizabeth responded shyly looking at her feet with only a slight look of guilt on her face, "But I really must know..."
"Elizabeth," Mary prompted unable to stop herself from smiling at her sisters innocence.
"Why aren't you a princess like me?" Elizabeth blurted out unable to stop herself. She knew she was being rather naughty, but she couldn't help it. When Lady Bryan had told her that under no circumstances was she to ask Mary that question, Elizabeth had just wanted to ask it more.
"Princess Elizabeth," Lady Bryan's stern voice echoed off the now silent room, with a shake of her head the older woman took hold of the young princess' hand and all but dragged her out of the room, and away from her sister who looked to be on the verge of either tears or irrational rage, neither of which Lady Bryan was in any mood to deal with.
February 7th 1536
The Queen of England's apartments
The room was eerily silent, the only sound being made coming from the flames slowly flickering away in the grand fire place. It had been over ten minutes now, of this Anne was quiet certain, it had been over ten minutes since either of them had uttered a word to the other. They had talked of Elizabeth, Henry's leg, and again of Elizabeth before they had slipped into a state of highly uncomfortable silence.
Once, and Anne knew it was not too long ago, they had been able to talk for hours on end, no subject was off limits, no topic was to grand or to small, yet now they could hardly go a half an hour before they ran out of topics that were not likely to end in a screaming match.
"Our son is doing well," Anne said quietly, her voice sounding almost foreign to her. She had no idea if mentioning the baby was the right course of action, but it was the only thing she could think of to say…and if they had stayed sitting in silence one moment longer Anne didn't know if she would be able to stop herself from saying what she really wanted to speak of, the matter that had been driving her insane for three day now…Jane Seymour.
The woman was still in her service, still attending to Anne with a fake smile as if she were not one of the contributing factors to the fact that Anne had almost lost the baby. It wasn't that Anne expected Henry to banish Jane and her horrid family from court that would never happen, not while Henry was so consumed by their little game of cat and mouse. However Anne had believed that her husband, who surely knew how much it pained her to see his precious little doe, would at least have a shred of compassion in dismissing his whore from Anne's service, and allowing her to keep what little pride she still held. Of course that had not happened, and now, bedridden, Anne had no choice but to lay eyes on the little slut everyday watching as the jewels around her neck grew more extravagant with each new day.
"So Linacre has said," Henry responded breaking Anne's silent fuming; she had all but forgotten what she had only just said to him a few moments before, "You should strive to keep it that way madam,"
Anne bit her lip to stop the retort that only months ago would have flown freely from her lips, she could not allow him to see the pain he caused her each and every moment, No, she would keep her mask, her illusion of obedience and submission, she would be as cold and as lifeless as death.
"Of course husband," she said her voice soft and sweet, as if it pleased her to hear his cruel hate filled words, "I do everything in my power to keep your son safe,"
Henry bit back a laugh in response to her words, her keep his son safe, if she had of kept his son safe they wouldn't be in the terrible situation they were currently in. If Anne had not have leapt into a frenzy, if she had of kept in control of her emotions, he would be able to sleep...he would not be having visions of Anne losing their child every time he closed his eyes.
Although, she had been rather pleasant these last few days, she had not lashed out at him as he expected, she had remained calm and cordial every day since her near miscarriage, it was as if she had turned into a different person, and though it was a welcome change Henry could not help but notice the spark missing from her dangerous eyes.
I would only be unhappy if you ever stopped loving me, He had hurt her, he knew that, he had done the one thing he had sworn he would never do...he had bought her unhappiness, was this the result of it? Was this empty shell Anne's way of telling him she no longer cared? Perhaps it was an effort to show him just how damaged she had become, how broken he had made her. He couldn't think like that, it was of no fault of his what had become of them, this was a good thing, Anne was finally accepting her responsibility as his wife and Queen, she was realising that her only duty in this life was to obey and serve him, and of course to fill the royal nursery with healthy son's. As a woman (Queen or not) she had no business interfering in the hearts and minds of men.
" As is your duty," Henry nodded smiling just slightly
"Henry sweetheart, I have been meaning to tell you that quiet recently I have developed a rather curious fondness of oranges," Anne said taking his hand in her own hoping he would get the hint she was trying to give him.
"I shall put in an order for the finest oranges in the country my love," Henry replied clearly having very little interest in the matter, "Now you must forgive me for leaving so early, but I have a kingdom to run, after all not all of us can sit in bed all day long," with a quick chaste kiss goodbye Henry was out of the room the sound of good day Lady Jane piercing his wife's heart like a dagger.
She wanted to kick herself for not being able to keep the tears in check, why she thought today would be any different from yesterday, or the day before that, and all the other days before that was beyond her. Her husband had been cold and distant to her since before her near miscarriage that would not simply change overnight.
"My lady, Lord Rochford is here," Madge said, then with a look at her mistresses crying form added in a hushed whisper, "I can send him away if you'd like your grace; tell him you are not well..."
"No, Madge it's...send him in," Anne said rubbing the tears away with the sleeves of her nightgown; how she wished for the day were she could once again were normal clothes.
"Dear sister," George called his face happy and content, it never ceased to amaze her...his ability to find light even in the darkest of times. He took her hand in his as he sat in the chair that was not five minutes before occupied by her husband, "How are you, and of course how fares that nuisance of a nephew of mine? I swear Anne if he is not handsome after all the pain he has put you through..."
"George stop it," Anne laughed more grateful of her brothers presence than she had been ever before, "We are both well,"
Anne didn't know what caused it, maybe it was the contact of George's hand taking hold of her own, it seemed so long ago that she had received loving human contact, and suddenly she couldn't control it, suddenly she was in her brother's arms crying pools of tears unable to stop herself.
"Anne," George said softly rubbing soothing circles on his sisters back, at that moment he wanted to find Henry Tudor and strangle him, king or not for daring to cause this pain on his little sister, "What has he done to you?"
George Boleyn was not in any way a stupid man, in fact if anyone a sked he knew he would be able to say (quiet confidently) that he was a very smart man. Yes, George Boleyn was very smart, but that didn't mean he was incapable of doing stupid things, and George was pretty sure that this, knocking on the door of a sworn enemy, would definitely be considered dumb.
" My Lord Rochford, to what do I owe this pleasure," Brandon's voice could be called nothing but sarcastic in nature, yet George was quiet positive that he noted a hint of surprise in the other man's eyes.
"I came to ask a favour of you, Your Grace," George explained cutting straight to the point. George was sitting at one of the two unoccupied seats positioned either side of the large wooden desk, before the Duke had even had the chance to offer it to him.
"A favour of me," Charles questioned raising an eyebrow, "and what may I ask could a Boleyn, the Queens own brother, want with a little Duke such as myself?"
"I need you to organise for Elizabeth to be brought to court," George said simply
"I have no control over the Princess' household or her movements," Charles said quiet surprised by the younger mans request.
"I want it to be a surprise for Anne..."
"Then go to the king," Charles reasoned
"He does not wish for her to come, he told Anne so yesterday when she asked," George explained carefully, trying to keep the impatience out of his tone.
"Why would Henry do that?" Charles questioned unable to believe the other mans words. Henry loved Elizabeth, he was her jewel, he would never throw away an opportunity to see her.
"He is using her as a bargaining tool..."
"What in God's name are you talking about Boleyn," Charles muttered then with shock he realised what the other man was saying, "You don't mean to say he is using Elizabeth as a way to make the Queen..."
"He told Anne that he would bring the Princess to court when she had a little brother to meet," George finished all but spitting the words out.
"If I brought her here against his wishes he would..."
"Have your head, I know," George said smiling widely, "Don't fret you can keep your pretty little head Your Grace, I simply ask that you try to convince the King to surprise the Queen with a visit from her daughter, tell him...tell him whatever the fuck you like, just convince him it will help his precious little prince and he will call for her immediately,"
"And tell me My Lord, why would I do this for you?"
"It's for her not me...you surely can't be that heartless that you can deny helping her, all she has left is Elizabeth," George didn't wait for an answer before he left the room, the look on the Dukes face had all but screamed yes at him.
Charles didn't know how or why it had happened but suddenly, by some miracle, he had found himself wanting to protect Anne from the harms that were slowly destroying her.
" Janey, tell us again," Jane rolled her eyes at her father's prompting, for ten days she had been telling them the kings words, yet still everyday they asked to hear it again.
" He told me that if Anne fails him he would make me his Queen," Jane responded evenly, at first it had excited her, hearing how happy they were to hear the news of the kings latest declaration of love, but now the words caused her little happiness.
She was falling for him, Jane had never known the feeling of love before, but she knew within her heart that she was falling in love with the king. It was something her family had warned her against, be dethatched, they had said, be cold...show him no passion, they had encouraged but she hadn't been able to stop it. To stop Henry King of England from worming his way into her heart. She had fallen for him, as good Queen Katherine had, as Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn had, and as Anne had, she had now made the mistake that so many other women in England had done.
She was scared, she would admit it, Henry had taken to visiting Anne daily after the first night of her near death and miscarriage, and he had stopped complaining of the visits two days ago. She had not told this new piece of information to her father or brothers just yet, they were pleased with her and that was how it had to remain...at least until it was of absolute importance that they must know.
"He said those exact words?" Edward asked, to which Jane (as she had been for ten day's) nodded.
"To think," Thomas added a smile etched upon his handsome face, "Our little Jane Queen of England,"
" The Queen," Jane said, hating having to call Anne a Queen even in the presence of her own family, it was something that was insisted upon so that none of them would slip up and call Anne by her proper title in front of unkind ears, "has not yet lost the child,"
"It is only a matter of time Jane, it is a miracle that they have both survived this long as it is..."
"What if it's a girl?" Thomas questioned interrupting his brother little speech, "What if the child is a healthy girl?"
"That will only give the Queen time," Edward said, to his father's approving nod, "She won't truly be safe until she gives him a son."
"What if it is a boy?" Jane said, finally asking the question that had plagued her mind for weeks now.
"If it's a boy, sweet sister, you must of course open your legs for him and give him as many little bastards as your body can handle," Edward said his voice cold.
"We shall pray for a girl then," Jane said quietly, trying not to take offence at her brothers taunting.
"No Jane, "her father said seriously, "We must pray for death, hers and her little brats, for if they live we shall not."
February 12th 1536
It had been almost two years since he had been to court, yet Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset the only son of the King of England had found that it had not changed at all. The last time he had seen his father it had been at the christening of his little half sister, truthfully he had not missed it much.
He ignored the courtiers bowing low around him more than accustomed to it by now, after all once it was thought he would be the King of England, a distant memory now that his father had met Anne especially since his stepmother had once again found herself with child.
"Hal," his father's voice boomed before he was crushed in a bear hug, bastard he may be, but that didn't mean his father didn't love him.
"Father," Hal responded clapping the older man on the back, "you look well,"
"Not as well as you my son," Henry laughed, it had been too long since he had last seen his son, far too long, "I see marriage is treating you well."
"It is," Hal replied taking a seat and the glass of wine offered to him by his father's page, " In fact you shall have a grandchild by September," he couldn't hold back a laugh at the look on his father's face...he had never seen him so happy before.
"Is that why you have come, Hal, to give me this wonderful piece of news,"
"Partly," The younger man said, "I wish to pay a visit to my sister the Princess, it has been so long since I have seen her,"
" She is your sister Hal, you do not need my permission to pay her a visit," Henry explained a curious look on his face, his son was not a stupid boy, something was definitely amiss if he had come all this way to simply ask for permission to see Elizabeth.
"I know that father," Hal retorted, before schooling his face into a more serious expression, "I would also like to see the Lady Mary,"
"Father please," Hal pleaded, never losing eye contact with the man opposite him, "I know Mary has done wrong, but she is all alone just let me see her, perhaps I could talk some sense into her,"
"Oh alright," Henry answered after what felt like an age, "if you must."
" Don't thank me just yet," Henry laughed interrupting his son's speech of gratitude, " Elizabeth leaves Hatfield at the end of this week...A surprise to the Queen, so if you must see your sisters you must do so soon,"
Hal nodded unable to keep his smile at bay, he had longed to see Mary for years, as children they had been as close as could be expected and when he had learnt of her mother's death he knew had to find a way to see her. His father may act like it but he was not a complete pig, he would never intentionally hurt one of his children, of this Hal was grateful.
"Make sure you visit Your Step-Mother before you leave, give her your well wishes, she is carrying the future of England in her womb after all..."
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