Reminder: I don't own Reign or its characters.
Anyway, I still have my children, little pieces of Henry and me, I may not have him, but I'll have them till I leave this world. They must be enough; they are enough. Catherine said it to herself, willing it into existence, as she held Claude close and slept.
The sun shines through the white, laced blind, hitting Catherine's face making it seemingly glitter. "Your majesty", a woman called tapping Catherine's shoulder, Catherine slowly opened her eyes but quickly moved her hand to shield them from the morning sun. "Charlotte, what's the issue", Catherine responded, her voice groggy and barely audible. "Court is to be called soon", Charlotte began but stopped as if she remembered something, "Are you alright, Caterina".
Charlotte's eyes were laced with worry and as soon as she said this Catherine knew as much. You see, of Catherine's ladies, Charlotte had been with her longest and was closest to her. So much so that before she became queen Charlotte simply called her Caterina, her birth name. For her to call her that now, would have to mean she was concerned. "I believe myself fine, Charlotte, but I can see in your eyes you believe differently", Catherine answered. Charlotte simply nodded but didn't say a word.
Even though Catherine looked calm and not steeped in anger, Charlotte knew Catherine often wore a mask which hid her true emotions unless she wished them to be known. "Speak freely, Charlotte", Catherine commanded, eager to know her lady's feelings on the matter. "You missed the first day of the summit, your in Claude's room which is strange because the last time you two got along she was younger and you have been a bit detached since Claude returned", Charlotte listed off.
As if the mention of her name was a wake-up call, Claude started to stir, with her face still buried in Catherine's chest. "Thank you for your concern, Claude hasn't been herself which is why I've acted in those ways, she hasn't been as tempered and head strong as usual and she reads more often, not to mention, her extra-curricular activities have ceased, though that is good it's not her, well not who she became while I was grooming Francis for the throne and Elizabeth for Spain", Catherine said softly as not to wake Claude but still shaken by last night.
"Don't be so hard on yourself", Charlotte muttered understandingly, "Now, court is starting soon and afterward, the summit has been scheduled to start right after". Catherine looked up questioningly at Charlotte to which she responded, "Your absence yesterday". Catherine knew they needed allies if England continued to wage war and that the promise of her Medici gold was what enticed the Spaniards greatly, including her daughter's husband King Phillip. "Good morning, mother, …. Charlotte", Claude said as she opened her eyes rolling out of Catherine's side. "Morning, dear" "Good morning, Princess Claude".
Catherine got up along with Claude kissing her on the forehead, they bathed then dressed. "How would you like to accompany me to court Claude" "Charlotte your dismissed". Claude agreed and as they walked, they talked and laughed. Upon entering the throne room all the nobles, commoners and servants bowed to the queen, Claude all the while still by her side till she sat on the throne. After waiting a while for Henry, Catherine decided to hold court herself and people lined up with requests. Court finished and the French council and Spanish dignitaries filed in.
"Gentlemen, the king is on his way we'll begin shortly", Catherine said even though she had no clue. "Mother, where do you think Father is"? Claude asked once everyone was out of earshot. "I don't know but I've sent two of my ladies to ask his guards". The throne room was fluttering with whispers about the King's absence, as Catherine sat, silently cursing him for making her wait, till her ladies came back with news, "The guards believe he is in the gardens, he slept there last night". "And Diane", Catherine inquired, causing one of her ladies to answer, "she slept in different chambers on another side of the castle".
Catherine couldn't help but smirk, thinking, 'They had a falling out, how strange, what is next, pigs taking flight'. Catherine rose from the throne exiting the room, Catherine soon made it to the entrance of the gardens, 'They're lovely this time of year, the lilies are growing nicely'. After many twists and turns Catherine's eyes finally landed on Henry. He was sitting on a wooden bench with brass rims, he was sleeping with his mouth open and mummering in his sleep, Catherine couldn't help the laugh that escaped her lips. She nudged him causing him to jump, eyes wide.
"Catherine what are you doing, trying to kill me in my sleep", I groaned, 'She must want something'. Catherine retorted, "In your sleep, I would never", she feinted shock before glaring, "there are much more painful ways for me to end you and if I did Francis would have to take the throne, he is still too young". Despite her words I can't help but admire her dress, it was midnight blue, long sleeved and had gold diamond prints on the skirts. Catherine must have realized as she rolled her eyes.
"Henry, you missed court and the summit is starting, have your whores distracted you so, that you won't bother to run your country"? she snared, not even bothering to look at me.
I couldn't look at him, the top buttons of his shirt were exposed, his morning daze face which I haven't seen since our youth and his admiring of me even if it was just the dress and my 'assets' that caught his attentions. He has wreaked havoc in my usually focus mind, years ago I promised myself I would not hang my hat on him. Yet even after years of sorrow and dread and 'love making' simply for heirs, my heart unlike my mind was unpersuaded.
So, I did what I could, to reminded myself not to indulge in this moment of weakness. I insulted him, I brought up his faults for the day and my usually favorite, his whores. But what he said next left me surprised at his statement and scared of his unpredictability. "Catherine alas it is thoughts of you that have distracted me, your foolish husband and king", his voice was husk and low as he murmured. No, I would not be made a fool of, we have heirs, plenty, I may love him, but I have too much pride and dignity to fall in bed with him. Knowing tomorrow he'll be with Diane or Kenna or whatever woman catches his eyes.
Catherine and Henry were so caught up in their thoughts they didn't notice Claude approach. "Father, Mother, the dignitaries are restless you need to come right now", Claude piped, though her eyes were focused on her parents' expressions. Claude was just as perceptive as Catherine could be, the difference could be missed by her saw it for a moment. Her mother and father alone in the gardens, not trying to rip each other's heads off, it's like the main attraction at a wizard parlor.
"Duty calls, my Queen, we must get going", Henry said annoyed, upset their moment was interrupted but his tone changed as he looked to his daughter, "Claude, you seem back to normal, whatever troubled you certainly doesn't show anymore". Catherine was bewildered, Henry who hardly noticed much especially about the children, knew Claude wasn't herself. Henry walked over to Claude and said, "Well your Highness, court is expecting me and your mother, lead the way", he said taking Claude's hand. Henry could be very lighthearted when the children were concerned, particularly the girls.
As they sat in the summit and Henry couldn't help but look over at Catherine, gauging her reaction to statements made before passing on suggestions and agreeing. Catherine, by the request of the Spanish spoke, all the while Henry glanced at Catherine. A friend of Diane's, Carla, watched this carefully as Diane herself was preoccupied with her devious plans. At the summits end, Carla left to speak to her friend while Catherine and Henry watched everyone scurry from the throne room, except Claude.
"Catherine ", Henry was unsure how to proceed, "I was wondering if we could talk". 'I can't believe I'm asking and not commanding but she never responds well to being told what to do', Henry thought. "Sorry, Henry but I have horse riding and a picnic planned with Claude, not to mention, no time for your silly whims", Catherine's last words cut him, leaving an open wound. A wound that he would usually fill with Diane, Kenna, some silly girl but they didn't heal anything, just hide it, bandage it.
"I wonder what else you've ridden recently", Henry said, wishing to punch himself after the words left his mouth. To his surprise Catherine stood, not looking at him, not exploding or insulting him and walked to Claude, they talked and laughed as they left the throne room. Henry sat, his head bowed, calling himself a fool.