Title: Different Point of View|
Author: Alena (Alena1405@mail.ru)
Translation: Juxian Tang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Historical slash
Pairing: Philippe of Orleans/chevalier de Lorraine
Summary: Philippe, brother of Louis XIV, was notorious for his whimsical
behavior and cruel pastime. But was he really the person everyone thought he
was? And could he be different? Who can judge it better than a man who spent
years at his side?
DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
Sometimes it hurts me to look how you waver. You try so hard to be good - at
least for someone - for your brother, or for mother - or, only a short time
ago, for your reputable guardian. But for some reason everything you do turns
into a pathetic joke causing only a condescending smile. And then you change,
you become a wicked and spoilt boy everyone knows. A cruel and whimsical prince
whose entertainment is flavored with wine and sometimes colored with blood. The
rumors of your pastime make shudder even those who know dark sides of the court
You don't feel someone else's pain - or, maybe, you feel it too well, and
it's exactly what brings you dark pleasure. But sometimes it seems to me that,
looking into the eyes of another cornered prey, you seek a reflection of your
own nightmare there...
Young falcon with broken wings; all his life being turned into a peacock in
bright feathers, made puff up to entertain the audience. Philippe, why do you
torment yourself? Isn't it enough for you that others do it?
But you don't need pity, and even I don't see your tears. Real tears - not
those put on hysterics every page can tell tales about.
"Everything is decided. Henriette will be in Paris in a few
Nonchalant tone, as if it's not your life you're talking about. Well, maybe,
it's what it has to be: a dynastic marriage, wanted neither by you nor by your
bride, yet advantageous for both kingdoms. An inevitability that can be
discussed only with indifferent annoyance, like a bad weather.
"Should I leave?"
"I don't know. As you wish..."
Oh if I hadn't known you so well! You always can make me go, and you did it
so many times, on a whim. But you'll never ask me to stay. What for? You need
no one, don't you, Philippe? You're completely happy all alone.
You freeze when I embrace you but you don't try to get away.
"So... we still have a few weeks..."
I say it in my best tone of a crafty seducer, breathing passionately...
Here, I managed to make you laugh after all. It's better than your sullen
indifference. I like it much better when you're as you're now - with a wry
smirk on your lips and devilish flicker in your eyes. I even learned to love
your shrill laughter and the way you hug me as if trying to smother...
"We won't waste this time, right?" you wink pointedly and, without
waiting for an answer, capture my lips in a long kiss.
Oh no, we won't waste this time! Every minute with you is my private hell -
and incomparable pleasure. You're my present. And my future is so indefinite -
who said it certainly would be bad? Maybe, everything will work out.
* * *
But reality often kills hopes. I didn't doubt Her Highness would hate me
from the first sight. Another thing is surprising: it turned out there were
some sparkles of a youthful naivete in me and I thought she would treat you
without hostility. If not out of love then at least in response to your effort.
But probably I was the only one who saw what pains it took you to stay as
complaisant and obliging as you were with her those first days. For her sake,
you even chose to part with me.
Well, I always bend to your wishes, and if my presence complicates your
relations with your wife, I'm ready to free the way. The more so as some rest
in my estate will definitely serve me good.
But at heart I knew my dismissal wouldn't last long, and I wasn't the reason
why your marriage was far from ideal. I miscalculated only one thing - you sent
for me not in two months but in two days. Even before I had time to pack and
leave my Paris mansion.
* * *
You meet me with joy but again I can't guess your real intentions. What
hides behind this finical smile and coquettish gesture when you give me your
hand to kiss?
"Oh how glad I am!" a simpering voice that sounds almost like a
squeal because you try to bring feminine notes into it. "What happened to
you? Everyone said you disappeared."
As if it was not you who ordered me to leave. But it's not the first time
for me to accept the blame, forgetting about your orders when you forget about
"Yes, Your Highness," I bend bringing your hand to my lips - and
nearly gasp when your nails stick into my palm.
With my peripheral sight I see an overturned chiffonier in the corner and
splinters of broken glass.
What happened, Philippe?
Small talk that means nothing - and alarm that lurks behind your easy tone.
You're alone and you hurt and you don't understand what happens. You don't
understand why your wife avoids you, even though you try so hard... to be good.
Again! Didn't life teach you anything? Well, I'll have to make you see. A hint
will be enough.
"I have to tell the truth. I was told Monsignor De Guiche often shares
the Princess' company..."
That's it. The seeds are sown and the crops will come soon. You're not so
naive as you seem sometimes - and you can guess the rest by yourself.
* * *
Actually, I'm always right - but it doesn't mean that I can't be mistaken.
This time I just hurried too much. Now I can admit it: De Guiche was just a
small nuisance and it was better to keep him at the court than to deal with a
new threat. A count can always be shown his place but who will dare to hinder
the king? Not me; not any one of your people. And you are too cautious to raise
your head openly. To pout with resentment and sneak on the Queen Mother - oh
yes, it's a good joke for all the court to laugh for the whole week if it gets
known. But you'll never try to claim your rights seriously. Who but two of us
know what endurance really is behind this compliance?
We talked about it, more than once or twice, and your reply stayed
unchanged. It's better to be a court jester than to spend the rest of your life
as a honorable prisoner somewhere in a God-forsaken fortress. You had an
example one shouldn't follow - your uncle Gaston, the former Duke of Orleans.
The man who gathered in his hands too much power - and was removed from the
court exactly because of it. No one needs strong people near the throne,
especially if they are princes of blood.
And now your wife shamelessly flirts with the king, and you pretend
everything is all right. Small misunderstandings, like broken china, don't
count, one can write them off on your usual temper. Whimsical, spoilt boy who
can break furniture and even beat servants just because he feels like that. You
vent out your anger on those who are weaker, who can't respond but... They all
expect it from you, and you are well aware of it.
* * *
One more day is close to the end. An evening reception, with its brilliance,
fuss and unbearable boredom - it tires one out worse than a big hunt.
Ceremonial courtesy of greetings, insincere smiles, memorized words and
The bloom of the court is all around the Sun - and around you there is only
a small group of your friends. Tiny planets of a dull star. They look at me
icily and I smile back at them arrogantly. I always was a favorite, and I
shouldn't forget to show other mignons their place from time to time. Perhaps
only d'Effiat smiles at me sincerely... My constant adversary and my only
The king is again with the princess today, whispering her something, leaning
to her ear, and she accepts this attention favorably. When the reception comes
to the end, you walk up to your wife, to follow her to your apartments.
"Not tonight, mon cher," indifferent indulgence is too obvious in
"As you wish."
You bid your farewell to your brother and your wife and walk to the exit,
too swiftly. Everyone sees you choke on impotent rage.
Actually, right now you control yourself pretty well - I can see it in many
signs - for example, you forbid the page to enter your rooms with us. You
haven't forgotten even such a small thing - the reputation of this boy you for
some reason decided to keep untouched. I remember well how, a few weeks ago,
you told your buddies: "I'll throw out the first one who touches
him!" I risked to grin then and, looking at me, you said completely
seriously: "I mean you, too."
I don't know why you decided to play a protector with him. At first I
thought you planned to seduce him in some new way, based on kindness and trust
- so that he came to you himself. But recently I get convinced you really want
to spare him. Perhaps because he looks too much like that one... The boy I
carried from your bedroom half a year ago, wrapped in bloodied sheets. He
survived only by some miracle, and he was returned to his parents accompanied
with such an amount that he wouldn't earn even serving you for a hundred years.
The scandal was hushed but it was the first time you lost control like that. It
was not the first blood on your hands but the first time when death almost
touched your games. No doubt, some time, maybe, soon it'll happen again - and
then you won't stop because you'll decide you'll be able to stay unpunished or
at some moment it'll stop bothering you.
* * *
You dismiss the servants and lock the door yourself. Then you slowly turn to
me and I understand you really are in rage. And this time you'll vent it out on
It's even better like this. Not because I like to sacrifice myself but it's
easier to bear it myself than spend a few days covering your next crime. At least
it's more difficult to completely exhaust me than some kid.
Our love nights always start with a fight. Sometimes it's simply a game and
you give in almost at once, fall on the bed laughing. Sometimes I really have
to stand a lot - when you're in a mood almost like now - and I have to do my
best to win and then nurse bites and scratches for days. But today is a rare
day, when everything is different; I fear such days most of all. Today you're
not going to give in. I'm stronger than you but I have to pull the punches not
to injure you accidentally, and you need to limit yourself in nothing. You
fight with special frenzy, tearing off my clothes, and then your nails stick
into my shoulders, and I know I'd better submit, or you'll flay off my skin as
I throw my arms apart and lie in bed, still. And then everything changes.
You touch me gently, tenderly stroking my skin, trying not to bother fresh
scratches, helping me to get rid of the remnants of clothes. Philippe, why are
you always so tender when I succumb? Why can't you be like that from the
You don't hurt me any more, you know how to do everything right. Aromatic
oil, unhurried movements, attentive gaze that follows my expression. You can be
very considerate if you want and you learned my body so well, knowing all its
weaknesses and desires. Sometimes you torment me with pleasure, tie me to the
bedposts and keep me on the peak of pleasure for agonizingly long. However,
today it is not so, today we both want it to end quickly. You do your best for
it - your shaft moves inside me fast and rhythmically, miraculously pressing on
the necessary spot. In the end, you even let my hands go, allowing me to bring
myself off even faster - and we come almost simultaneously, in delightful
Then you fall onto me and I don't protest. Even if you fall asleep like
this, lying on me, and in the morning all my bones ache, it'll be just a small
inconvenience - because I got off lightly today. You have enough strength to
slide down from me, though, and settle next to me, on soiled sheets.
I smile gently and brace my arm around you. You'll never see this smile; you
won't remember the gesture in the morning.
Good night, Philippe.
* * *
You wake me up with a kiss I respond to without opening my eyes. It's not
the most pleasant morning in my life: a crazy headache bordering on nausea
because of the heavy smell in the room. Certainly, it was too laborious to
bathe at night but sometimes in the mornings I think that the result would've
been worth it. If only I could remember that at night.
Trying to move, I nearly cry out: the linen, stuck to the dry blood of
yesterday's scratches, gives me new sources of unforgettable sensations.
But your voice sounds cheerful and happy when you say:
"Good morning, chevalier."
Then I smile. A few drops of my blood aren't a big price for your high
"Good morning, Your Highness."
"Yesterday you stood well," you say with a sparkle of gratitude in
I don't answer. Nothing is needed to be answered; we understand each other
too well. I remember time when I tried to be pliant from the very beginning,
cheated, giving in before the battle became too dangerous for me. Every time it
was a mistake I paid for dearly. You want a fair fight, even if you use
forbidden moves. I learned well what exactly you want and I'm glad I managed to
please you yesterday.
* * *
The day goes as usual, neither better nor worse than others. The latest
news: Count De Guiche is back at the court. Now it's for the better, he will be
a loser now - the role you play too often. De Guiche, too arrogant to doubt his
significance, will amuse the court until he guesses the princess doesn't care
for him any more. And watching him is funny enough.
It amused you as well, and your good mood stayed for the whole day. In the
evening you even generously invited the misfortunate count to your rooms, to
comfort him a little. I don't think De Guiche craved for this kind of comfort
but no one asked for his wishes.
You sent me away, and I went to bed not bothered at all with your newly
flared interest in De Guiche. The count was your favorite before me but he
won't ever return his previous stand, even if he wants to. De Guiche is too
preoccupied with himself, he can't devote his life to you as I do it. And you
appreciate loyalty, even if you pretend it doesn't matter for you.
Once you asked if I'm ready to die for you. I was going to spill a few usual
polite assurances but then I looked into your eyes and understood you wanted a
real answer. I said: "No!" You laughed and told with a quite
satisfied look that it was good, that you needed me alive more. But you know
the real worth of my answer, for behind it there was a deeper trust than there
is between a man and his confessor.
* * *
Only a few days later life at the court fully changes again. His Majesty
found himself a new toy - some little maid of honor, and now you're one of the
happiest people on Earth again. You don't have to cede your wife to your brother,
apart from all other things. To other things you got used and they stopped
Sometimes I wonder whether you could've reached higher peaks of power if you
changed your rules and wished for more. Probably not. Your mother and your
guardian took care of it, decided everything for you. The style of life they
made you follow, dressing you like a girl and forcing you to play a role of a
brainless spiteful doll - it put an imprint not only on your tastes but also on
the attitude of others to you. You would have to go through hell to get back at
least a small part of respect that was taken from you without asking you.
Only I and a few others sometimes see you as you could be - lordly, even
awesome. It must be king's blood showing after all. All the rest see only what
you want them to see; they don't take you seriously - even those who are afraid
of your temper.
You change in a split second, coming out of your rooms. Like a bright
butterfly which spread your wings. But which of your forms is real? Is it the
one you allow everyone to see - or the one only chosen know?
But I love you in any form and maybe that why you pay me back. You know only
with me you don't need to justify yourself or to be ashamed.
* * *
One more day has passed extremely pleasantly, and at the evening reception
you drag me to a shadowed corner and tell me of our plans for the night. I also
start getting excited, listening to you, and almost burn with impatience. Some
minutes more and we'll be able to leave this boring company...
I notice someone's gaze and, turning back, meet the furious eyes of Her
Highness. She is in a bad mood today and hates everyone: the King who ditched
her, you because, unlike her, you're happy and satisfied with life, and me -
just because. I could've stood this gaze with dignity but I lower my head. Too
early to challenge the Princess - but in future we'll fight, and time alone
will show what's stronger - my love to you or her hatred. So far I'm only sure
that for a chance to stay with you I'm ready to any crime.
You know, Philippe, you shouldn't have asked if I was ready to die for you.
You should've asked if I was ready to kill for you. If to think about it, it's
much more important.
The reception is over, and tonight the king leaves first, hastily saying good-byes.
In a minute you cling to my sleeve and tug me to the exit.
"Your Highness?.." Henriette's voice is confused. "Won't you
She stands in the middle of the hall, reaching her hand haughtily, obviously
expecting you to take her hand and lead her away. Does she want to pretend she
made it up with you to arouse the king's jealousy and return him or..?
You let my sleeve go and follow the call of your wife obediently. A docile
boy, always doing what is demanded of him.
You bend, kissing your wife's hand, and then you raise your head, smiling
charmingly, and in the utter quietness your voice is low but distinct:
"Not tonight, ma cher."
Philippe I of Orleans (1640-1701). The son of Louis XIII, king of France,
and Anne of Austria. A younger brother of Louis XIV.
Henriette of England (1644-1670). The daughter Charles I, king of England.
The first wife of Philippe of Orleans.
According to half-official sources (because, obviously, such information in
memoirs is based solely on rumors), Henriette of England died of poison soon
after upon her request Louis XIV sent chevalier de Lorraine to exile.