Disclaimer:"Reign" or the characters used in it are not mine, sad but true :-( Violations of any rights are not intended.
Pairing: Catherine/Henry – Cathry
Rating: M / P16
Catergory: Romance, Drama
Summery: Henry is determined to execute his wife Catherine for adultery and treason. Her fate seems to be sealed, or is there anything or anyone who can save her?
Remarks: In my version neither Mary's mother arrived at French Court nor Nostradamus' supposedly change of vision happend yet. Francis is still on the road and has no idea of the impending beheading of his mother.
Actually demedicigirl is to blame for posting this fanfic. I wanted to write a few more chapters and work on the translations for my other fanfics before I even start posting a third one... well, but here I am. :-)
What we're fighting for
"His Royal Highness, King Henry the Second of France!" Even before the court marshall could finish his announcement, Henry already pushed open the heavy wooden doors and strode through the cram-full throne room. His eyes wandered pejoratively over the people bowing to him who had come here today in anticipation of a bloody spectacle. Without slowing down, the king went up to the gallery where the deathsman was already waiting in front of the scaffold, an impressive axe resting in his hands. He sat down on his throne. Diane, Sebastian and Mary, who had also entered the hall a few seconds later, headed to their assigned seats at his side. Henry prompted those present to sit down as well with an imperious gesture.
"They hardly can't wait for her blood to spurt," his mistress whispered in his ear as they both let their gaze wander over the crowd. He was indeed surprised to see so many gloating faces among his subjects, not to mention among his privy council.
Henry scratched his chin and searched the crowd for his children who would attend their mother's decapitation. Charles and Henry sat framed between Catherine's ladies in waiting and held hands. Were they really that young? How could he have forgotten how small the two boys still were? He should have left them stay in the nursery with three-year-old Margot. Even from this distance he could see how much his youngest son's lower lip trembled and how he kept wiping his eyes with his sleeve after eyeballing his brother.
Henry called one of his guards.
"Bring my sons back to their room. But take one of the side entrances to avoid them seeing their mother. That would only upset them even more. Go now", he commanded and watched his guard escorting the two boys out of the hall.
When he let his eyes wander again he caught Mary's gaze. She nodded gratefully in his direction but he ignored her silent approval and signaled his court marshal to continue instead.
"Her Royal Highness, Queen Consort Catherine de' Medici." Both doors were tore open and his wife appeared in the doorway, framed by four of his guards, who slowly walked down the corridor with a serious expression on their faces.
Catherine's appearance caused a soft murmur but Henry paid no attention to the growing noise level. He was fully focused on his wife who strode along the aisle with her head held high despite her tied hands. She actually looked more like she was going to a ball. A blood ball in her case, ready for her last waltz.
Fittingly Catherine had chosen a blood red, wide robe he'd never seen her wear before. The skirts were long and had a train she was dragging behind her. Her corset on the other hand was extremely tight and emphasise her bosom that looked quite inviting and fuller than usual. Elaborately plaited braids adorned her head and stabilized her ruby-studded crown. On this special day she had refrained from putting the rest of her curls up as well.
Her loose hair woke bittersweet memories in him.
The last time he had seen her like that, they had inflamed their old but still existing passion to a new fire of lust. A fire that in spite of the years still glowed deep inside their souls.
Henry assumed that she chose this particular hairstyle on purpose. To remind him of that night. And that they once had loved each other.
Or maybe she just wanted to burn this image of his beautiful and proud queen into his minds eyes. An image that would haunt him from that moment on until the end of his days.
All of a sudden Catherine's eyes met his. Her brown, soulful eyes bored themselves deeply into the core of his very being. Unconsciously she slowed down her pace but their eye contact was abruptly cut off when a coarse hand placed itself on her shoulder to encourage her to move on.
"For sure she knows how to make a grand entrance, I must admit." Diane taunted and leaned forward to absorb every move her eternal rival made.
None of the hostile looks or outrageous shouts from the crowd seemed to reach his wife. They all ricocheted from her steel-hard armour she had built around her heart years ago. Her congealed expression didn't flutter even for a second. Henry could not help but admire her proud, almost defiant attitude in this great hour of farewell. Catherine was indeed a true queen.
And she had exceled herself with decorating the hall. A variety of colorful bouquets of flower adorned the room, spreading a sweetish scent. A fragrance that would soon be masked by the smell of freshly spilled blood.
When she came to a halt in front of the gallery, shouts from the crowd grew louder and louder.
"Kill the Medici whore."
"Off with her head!"
"Just go ahead!"
Each demand fueled Henry's anger that started to seether and prompted him to clench his hands into fists. His anger was not directed at Catherine but rather at himself.
"BE QUIET, will you?", he hollered indignantly.
He was the only one being in the position to demand his wife's head. These impertinent plebs had no right to voice such outrageous requests. After all she was still their queen. Involuntarily he wondered what kind of husband he was for tolerating hostility of this kind that Catherine had to endure over all these years.
But this realisation came too late.
Henry rose from his throne and looked down at his wife. Catherine returned his gaze, her very own stoic provocation lay in her eyes. Was he mistaken or did she even lift her right eyebrow as if questioning him?
Irritated by her behavior he ordered the guards to escort his wife upstairs.
"Catherine de' Medici - my wife and Queen of France. I hereby sentence you to death due to adultery and treason - against your husband, the Crown and France."
Even now Catherine did not move a muscle. She just stared at him with those piercing brown eyes until she nodded. Slowly she turned and looked at the sea of faces. Henry stepped up to her and observed her eying each of her ladies before her eyes flickered on. Surely she had already noticed that her sons were not present.
But who exactly was she looking for in the crowd? Maybe her charlatan, Nostradamus? The gigantic man did not seem to attend the decapitation of his mistress. Did he foresee this end for her?
His guards had reported that today next to the clergyman who had given Catherine the dying sacrament, also Nostradamus had visited her for a few minutes. And that the visit ended in severe fighting. In the end Catherine had literally kicked her seer out of her cell with hue and cry. This dispute had apparently prompted her old friend not to pay his mistress his last respect before she sighted out her soul.
"Catherine, it's time," he whispered so gently that only his wife and the waiting deathsman could hear his words. The urge to stroke her cheek in an apologetic gesture was suddenly overpowering but he resisted the temptation and went back to his throne before he could consider changing his mind.
Henry saw her take a deep breath she arduously exhaled a few seconds later. Then she turned gracefully and slowly walked towards the scaffold that was waiting for her. Dignified she knelt down in front of the device. The executioner stepped behind the Queen of France and pushed her upper body forward so that her neck came to rest on the wooden surface, showing off her beautiful ruby-studded necklace.
Henry's heart stopped for half an eternity at this sight, only to turn wild as soon as it returned to duty.
"You're not going to wax sentimental in your old age, will you?", Diane's words made him jump up startled. "Of course not, what are you thinking?" He asked irritated, still wondering why the sight of Catherine on the scaffold went right through him, piercing marrow and bone. How many times had he wished for getting rid of her in the past? Why was there no feeling of triumph setting in - a few seconds before the deed would finally be done?
He would have loved to escape her accusing eyes that were still staring in his direction but he owed his wife at least this much respect to return her piercing gaze to the end.
The position the executioner was forcing her into displayed the gentle curves of her breasts in an almost vulgar way to everyone present. Henry came close to storming over and covering up her bosom to protect her from greedy eyes.
He forced himself to stay calm and to muster the courage to beckon the hangman to start. The chunky man had already positioned himself over the scaffold, waiting for a signal from his king.
I did it - a new chapter of a new fanfic - and a cliffhanger. Bang! I guess I'm feeling mean today.
What are you thinking? Do you like it? Any idea what might happen now?
Oh, and if there's someone out there, willing to create a nice story cover for me, I would be deeply grateful.