AN : Hello everyone, again! Cathry is back and better (hopefully) then ever! Who's up for some sweet family times? I wanted some Hercule in this one. The other children will all be introduced into this story later as I want Cathry to learn to parent some together in this sequel! Also Henry is still a bit weebky wobbly on the balancing fatherhood and his own needs, but he's so much fun to make mistakes with lol. Without further ado here's the happy (mostly happy) couple.
Disclaimer : I don't own Reign or any characters associated with the show.
A few simple candles is all that illuminated the bed chambers of the King and Queen of France as Catherine sat waiting on her husband. In the past three months since Hercule's birth, the royal couple had taken little time to be alone together. Stolen kisses in between meetings with advisers and time filled with caring for their family had left the couple searching for every free moment to simply be together without interruption. Catherine hadn't been able to bear a moment away from their youngest son so most nights Henry had found her asleep in her rocking chair with Hercule resting against her breast. She would fall asleep during his feedings, and Henry had finally had the baby's cradle and the rocking chair moved into their rooms. Their study had been transformed into a makeshift nursery of sorts and it had made it easier on mother, father, and child. Henry could now easily gather up both of the rocking chair's sleeping occupants and put them both into bed without a fuss. They had all rested better after that.
Tonight Catherine had decided to try to reclaim her bed for a night with only her husband present. She was dreadfully in love with her curly haired little Prince, but she missed being able to converse with her King without fear of waking their sleeping babe. She had decided on trusting the nurse with Hercule's care for the night, and she had called for a late dinner to be served for herself and her love in their bedroom. It would be a nice surprise for Henry. He hadn't complained once, but she didn't want him to feel left out. Their relationship was finally at a good place and she meant for it to stay that way.
The slow creaking of the door brought Catherine out of her thoughts and hazel eyes met smiling brown orbs as the King of France entered their bed chamber. He had clearly received her message. Before she could stand to greet him, Henry had already taken long strides to her side. He swept her hand up and planted kisses along her palm before he spoke.
"What great act have I committed in your favour to be summoned to your bedchamber for dinner, my Queen?"
Catherine smiled contentedly up at the handsome man that she was lucky enough to be able to call hers only. Her Henry could be such a charmer when he wanted to be. He always seemed to be able to make her smile when she felt her worst these days. It was funny how trust could change a person's perspective.
"Your patience and kindness to our son has been noted as has your faithfulness to me. I thought we both deserved a night of uninterrupted conversation. I've missed you."
Twirling one of his wife's untamed curls around his finger, Henry took a long look at the woman he loved.
"I've missed you as well, dearest. Who would have known that our son would have taken up so much of his parent's attention?"
Catherine chuckled at her husband's bewildered tone. He seemed almost as childlike as their children in that moment. Henry had never taken much time when their other children were little so he was learning new things about babies everyday. Namely, how much caring was needed.
"It will get better as he gets older, sweetheart. Although I must say that there is no doubt that Hercule is your son, Henry. He vies for my attention as much as you do. I hate to admit I've spoiled the whole lot of my Valois men."
Henry pulled a chair to his wife's side as a servant entered with their dinner.
"You've charmed us all, wife. Your beautiful Medici eyes have enchanted us all to vye for your gentle hands to heal us of whatever ails us."
Catherine motioned for the servant to pour their wine and waited for her to leave before handing her husband his glass.
"Shall we drink to my Medici eyes then? Or to my ability to bewitch entire households of men?"
Raising his glass, Henry took a moment to think before answering.
"We shall drink to you, mi amore, and all of the beautiful ways in a day you please your King."
Catherine noted the singing of their glasses clinking together before taking a sip of her wine. A knowing smile appeared on her face as she watched the tapping of her husband's foot.
"Henry, you flatter me. Is that your goal? To make me drunk on platitudes and whisk me off to bed?"
In truth, Henry had been hoping to make love to his wife, but he didn't want to seem too rash. The wink he received from his Catherine had him even more hopeful then before.
"I want whatever you want, darling."
Sitting forward in her chair, Catherine sat her glass down on the dark blue tablecloth and started cutting her pheasant up into small pieces.
"Well then, husband, I want my pheasant for dinner and then I want you for dessert. Is that pleasing to you?"
His hand brushed over her clothed knee in response to her question before taking up his own knife and fork. He was suddenly famished beyond belief.
Catherine chuckled at Henry's hurried response as he haphazardly cut up his meat. It seemed someone was a bit excited.
"Henry, you don't have to chomp down your food as some heathen would. We have all night."
Henry kept right on with his fast pace, barely hearing her words before choking out a response.
"We do have all night, wife, and I don't plan on spending a minute longer than I have to on ridiculous things such as eating."
Catherine raised her eyebrow at him at his choice of words. She set her mind on dragging out the experience even longer for her excited spouse and replaced her amused smile with a bemused look before she spoke.
"You do realize I don't care to be rushed, dearest husband? This isn't a race to the finish you have in mind, is it? I would think a marathon of sorts would be more pleasant for us both."
At his wife's changed tone, Henry stopped his eating and laid down his cutlery before taking her hand into his.
"I assure you, dear lady, I meant only that the eating of the pheasant would be rushed. I plan on taking as much time with you as you need and only taking for myself as the sun's first rays kiss the darkened sky."
Catherine's skin tingled at the brush of his skin against hers and a warm heat filled her heart at his words. She almost felt bad for teasing him...almost.
"And what If I want to give to you before the morning? What if by satisfying your needs then I can also have my own needs met?"
A smile had touched Catherine's lips again, softening her features and making her hazel eyes sparkle. Henry had never seen her more beautiful then she was in that moment.
"Then your wish, Caterina, is my command."
Leaning forward, Henry captured her smiling lips against his own for a soft, slow kiss. Her arms went around his neck drawing him in even closer as she deepened the kiss, a fever starting to drive the longing Queen. Catherine squealed a little in surprise when she felt her husband lift her forward to sit on his knee. His arms drew her close as they settled around her waist. It was nice not to have an interruption from outside sources. Their tongues twirled and danced around each other as they held each other close in the quiet haven they had created.
Pulling back, Catherine rested her forehead against Henry's as she traced her thumb across his scruffy jawline. It had been so long since they had quiet moments only to cherish each other and she didn't want to waste it either. It seemed dinner was over.
"I have a surprise for you, my King."
Trying to move from his lap, she was stopped by his arms pulling her closer.
"Henry, don't you want your surprise?"
He kissed her cheek as his grip refused to lesson.
"Not if it means you have to move off of my lap. I've missed having you seated at your proper place."
Catherine's hands went to his doublet to start freeing him of the material before she spoke again.
"I've missed being here as well, but I also went to alot of trouble for you, darling. Do you want to dissapoint me?"
Her fingers caressed the small patch of chest that greeted her above his shirt under his doublet as she felt Henry's arms loosen a small bit.
"You know I don't want such a thing, Catherine, but do you have to leave me now?"
His voice had gotten low as he now whispered against the soft skin of her neck. A shiver ran up and down Catherine's backbone from the sensation, and she was almost regretful for her answer.
"I promise I won't be long. Ready yourself for bed, darling."
Pulling out of his arms and standing, she blew him a kiss before calling for her ladies to help her in their bathing room. She wanted to look perfect for her Henry tonight.
Groaning a small bit in frustration, Henry pulled his boots off before discarding his doublet, shirt, and pants and walking to their bed to pull down the covers. He laid down to wait for her all the while wondering what her surprise for him was. Closing his eyes just for a moment he realized how long his day had been. He would be glad when Catherine could help him with the grumpy Nobles more. They were the most frustrating group he'd ever dealt with and since the uprising of the Duke, Henry had been suspicious of everyone who surrounded his family. Catherine had always been a better judge of character than he was and she had more patience when it came to dealing with certain matters. Rolling onto his side he got comfortable as he waited for his wife to return.
Catherine looked at herself in the full length mirror. The light green hue of the gown complimented her skin and her hair color, and it accentuated her breasts and hips. Taking note of her still present baby belly she sighed heavily to herself. She had a long way to go before she could say that she had her pre-pregnancy body back. It was such a frustration to try to be sexy for one's husband when you felt as if you were the most unattractive woman in France. Granted, Henry had told her throughout her pregnancy that she was still beautiful, and she had tried to believe him. He might even really think her beautiful, but she just didn't feel that way about herself in this moment. With every child of theirs that she had carried her body changed and shifted to accomodate, and although she loved their children very much she still wished her body hadn't changed quite so much. Oh well, she would just have to let Henry show her how beautiful she was to him. A grin turned up her lips as she thought about how good he was at that. He had a way of making her feel as if he had never felt so completely satisfied before, and she loved him all the more for it. Waving her ladies out of the room, she ran her fingers through her hair one last time before going back into their bedroom.
"Henry, dearest, I'm ready to..."
Her voice cut off in midsentence when she was met with the sight and sound of her husband asleep in their bed. She must have been longer than she had meant to be, or he might have been more tired then he had thought. She chuckled under her breath as she picked up her husband's discarded clothes. She folded them and laid them on the arm of the couch for the servants in the morning, and set his boots by the bureau so neither of them would stumble over them during the night. She blew out all of the candles except for the one on the bedside table before she discarded her robe, and climbed into bed beside of her sleeping King.
Hovering above him to try and blow out the candle on their bedside table, Catherine was caught off guard when he rolled onto his back beneath her. Loosing her balance she fell against his chest thoroughly waking him up out of his slumber.
"Catherine, what in the world are you trying to do to your husband? Scare me to death? There are more pleasurable ways of waking someone up!"
Rolling her eyes heavenward, Catherine bit off her sharp retort.
"I was trying to put out the candle without waking you up, darling. Don't be so cross. You are the one who fell asleep during our special night."
Pulling her so she was seated across his middle, Henry took a good long look at the beauty in his arms. So that had been his surprise, eh? She looked good enough to eat in that gown.
"I am not the one who took forever to get my present. I am assuming that my Queen wrapped up in this extra special garment is my gift?"
His fingers tickled her skin as he ran them across her low cut neckline and exposed bosom.
"It was your gift, husband. I feel rather sleepy myself now as you clearly are. Perhaps we should forgo our activities for another night when you haven't had such a tiresome day, and then you may have your gift properly."
With a flirtatious look in her eyes, Catherine tried to roll away from her King only to be flipped onto her back as he settled himself atop her. She laughed when his lips started kissing along her ear, and squirmed under him when his hands tickled her sides.
"Henry...oh Henry, I can't breathe! Please...stop!"
His hands continued their assault on his wife as his lips made his way to her lips. His voice was a low growl, full of his need when he spoke.
"I want to take you properly now, wife! As for your lack of breath I wouldn't expect to be able to catch it anytime soon."
Catherine was completely breathless and shaky now, but it was more from the way her husband's body was pressing into her own then from being tickled. Her voice sounded strange and too needy to her own ears when she was finally able to whisper a response.
"Do you mean to ravage me, lover? Do you mean to take me at your will and leave me without a worry in the world?"
Henry's lips met hers and silenced anything else she would have said as the need within the couple met each other in full force. To be so close after so long was heaven for the deprived King and Queen, and the only sounds that filled the charged air around them was the deep breaths and moans of each other. Catherine would have been happy to stay like this forever in her lover's arms if it hadn't been for a small sound touching her ears. It distinctly sounded like a baby's cry, but Hercule was in the nursery, wasn't he? Yes she had to be imagining it.
The groan of her husband brought her back to their current positions, and her current longing. Her hands had wound their way around his chest, and he had started kissing down the slope of her neck to her heaving bosom. His hands on her were gentle enough, but when he squeezed her nipple she was brought back to the thought of their son again. She hoped Hercule had eaten enough. She hadn't used a wetnurse with him at all and he had barely left her supervision for more than an hour since she'd had him. Her body even seemed to miss her baby now as her breasts started to ache. Almost as if on cue Catherine heard a baby's cry again. She knew she wasn't imagining it this time.
Henry, unaware of anything else besides his current thirst being quenched, hadn't heard anything and didn't understand when Catherine told him to stop.
"But why? I'm not finished yet."
Catherine shushed Henry with a finger to his lips before listening more carefully. Sure enough she heard her son wailing before a knock on the door resounded through their royal bedchamber.
"That, dearest, would be why. I have a feeling our son wouldn't eat his dinner."
Rolling over onto his side with a huff, Henry let her get up to answer the door.
"It would seem so, Catherine. He mustn't have liked his nurse. Not that I could blame him really. Why dine on the mediocre when he can have the best?"
Pecking her husband on his cheek, she tried to soothe him while she pulled her robe around her shoulders.
"I'm sorry, Henry. He really isn't used to her. It'll take some time. Please don't pout."
Henry's lips were drawn into a thin, disturbed line, and she didn't want him to be cross with her.
"Who's pouting? Just because a King has to give up his wife to his son doesn't mean aforementioned King is pouting, woman!"
Stopping in her tracks, Catherine gave him her most stern look at his tone. Why did he have to act so childish sometimes?
"What would you have me do, Henry? Leave our son crying at the door until morning? He's a baby who wants his mother. Would you have me deny him nourishment and comfort because you aren't-"
"-Nevermind, Catherine. I'm just...sorry. I'm really sorry."
Henry really was sorry. It was ridiculous of him to get angry because their child wanted his mother. It wasn't as if things would always be this way. They would have plenty of time for each other later on.
Heeding her child's cry now that her husband was properly shamefaced, Catherine opened their door and took their youngest into her arms. Shutting the world out with the closing of the door, Catherine brought the sniffling little babe to bed to be fed. Once she had discarded her robe and had settled back against the headboard and Hercule realized it was his mama that was trying to feed him, he latched on and quieted immediately. Catherine hummed as the babe suckled, ignoring her husband who laid watching them both. The whole act still very much amazed Henry, but there was one thing he had started to wonder about.
"I've never asked you once if it hurts."
Crinkling her brow at Henry, Catherine looked away before answering his question.
"It hurts alot less then some other pain I've dealt with."
Feeling guilty for raising his voice selfishly at her, Henry sat up closer beside of her.
"I really am sorry, Catherine. Sometimes I still lack consideration of you. It's just been a long time since we've spent any time together, and I was excited. Can't you forgive me? You know I love you."
Bending his neck, he pecked her cheek lightly before pecking Hercule on the crown of his curly red sprigs of hair.
"And you know Papa loves you too, Hercule, don't you?"
In response to his papa's kiss, little Hercule who had closed his eyes opened his dark blue orbs to follow his Papa's voice. Catherine's eyes remained on her son in her arms as she remained silent still.
"See, Catherine, even he knows I didn't mean it. Please, mi amore, don't be angry with me forever."
Catherine finally raised her eyes to meet his. Her husband was a rash man at times, and he often didn't think about how he sounded before he spoke. She knew this about him, but sometimes it didn't stop the pain from hitting her full force, especially when he had previously been so sweet. She knew he hadn't meant to be so cross, and that did soften the blow a small bit.
"Henry, I know you love us. I also know you were disappointed and have needs. I have needs as well, but for myself as a mother my needs will always come after those of my children. I promise that I'll try to get him used to his nurse so he won't have to stay with us at night, but until then I won't deny him a feeding. He can't understand why I'm not there and I refuse to make him suffer."
Easing Catherine and the now sleeping Hercule into a laying position at his side, Henry tried to express how truly contrite he felt.
"I don't want him to suffer, nor do I want you to feel pulled between your roles as my wife and his mother, Catherine. I only spoke out of heat of the moment. I know he needs you now more than I do. Can you just promise me one thing?"
Settling her head on Henry's shoulder, Catherine gave him a small nod in agreement as she settled Hercule better across her chest.
"On some of the nights that he still sleeps in our rooms can he sleep in his crib? Maybe even with the door opened enough to only hear him if he cries? Perhaps that way we could still...enjoy each others company."
Yawning to herself, the Queen of France gave her King a most seductive gaze.
"You would have to make sure you were quiet, Henry. You couldn't be your usual boisterous self."
Running his hand down his wife's side he gave her hip a firm squeeze as he whispered into her ear.
"You, my Queen, are the one who has a hard time keeping her voice down. I would wager you will wake our son before I ever even get the chance."
So her husband wanted a challenge, did he? Catherine was always up to best him.
"We shall see, my darling. We shall, indeed, see."
Pecking both her Valois men on their cheeks, Catherine snuggled more into her husband's side.
So with the young Prince in his mother's arms, and the Queen in her King's arms, the royal family fell into a peaceful slumber that night.