“Thank you for speaking with us, Katherine.”
Kat nodded, coughing quite a lot, shaking. “Y-you... there’s money. I’m owed money. Right?” She asks.
The man stands up, nodding. “Jane Seymour arranged for you to get paid, yes. Come on, I’ll get you your payment.”
Katherine smiles happily at that, moving to follow him through the corridors. She was finally going to get a good amount of money - a few thousand dollars, per agreed upon based on Jane and Anna’s rates. She could stay in a hotel for a bit, finally get her bearings in this world.
He opens a door to the street.
“Out you go.”
Kat frowns. “But the money-“
“There is no money,” he says, rolling his eyes. “You don’t get money, Katherine.”
Kat’s alarmed. “I came here to do the interview and to get paid for it, sir-“
“Only the real queens get paid, no one wants to hear what you had to say anyways.” He pushes her out the door. The door slams shut just as Katherine hits the ground.
She scrambled to the door and bangs on it.
“Give me my money! You promised!” She yells, but it’s no use.
She slides to the floor, coughs wracking her body. Pneumonia or not, the girl is still homeless and it’s going to be cold tonight.
Could she even survive the night?
Kat snaps her head to look at the woman standing a few feet away. She remembers her, vaguely.
Maria de Salinas moves over to Katherine and kneels down. “What happened there?”
“He owes me money for an interview,” Katherine said, glaring at the door. “They said they’d pay me and-“
She stops, though, when another coughing fit arises.
Maria gently puts a hand on the girl’s back.
“You’re still not well, eh?” Maria asks sympathetically. When Katherine nods, Maria hums in thought. “How about this - you come with me and-“
“No!” Kat yells scrambling away. “No, I don’t want charity. I wanna do things on my own, I don’t need people babying me all the time.”
“Easy, Kat, I wasn’t going to say that,” Maria says with a nod. “I was going to say that you and I should go talk to Catherine. She’s getting interviewed in five minutes. If they don’t give you your money, she’ll likely walk.”
Kat frowns. “She would do that?”
Kat looks at the hand that Maria is offering... and takes it with a nod.
A few minutes later, in the society’s waiting room, Catherine of Aragon has just stood to enter the interview room. She’s stopped, though, by her lady calling for her.
“I don’t think we can do this, Catalina,” Maria says, a gentle arm wrapped around Katherine’s shoulders.
Catherine of Aragon tilts her head. “Why not?”
“They tried to swindle Katherine here,” Maria says with a gentle smile Kat’s way. “They said they’d pay her, but they didn’t.”
Catherine looks over at the man who had kicked Kat out; he looks furious. “Is this true?”
He recovers with a soft smile. “We were going to send her a check in the mail, as I explained to Miss Howard. Now, if you could follow me-“
“That’s literally impossible because she doesn’t even have an address to send to,” Aragon replies. She takes a step back. “Do you have her money now?”
The man frowns. “I don’t.”
“Then you’re not getting anything from me or my fellow queens,” Catherine replies. “Good day, sir.”
The three walk out.
When they get back outside, Katherine frowns.
“I’m sorry, I caused you to lose money, too, now, haven’t I?”
Catherine shakes her head. “Not at all. It wouldn’t have been worth it if we all weren’t getting paid.” Catherine looks over at Kat with a neutral face. The girl is shaking, sniffling... how she got out of the hospital is beyond her.
But she also knows that if she’s here - without Anna or Jane or the other ladies - that Katherine likely left on her own. There’s bound to be a reason for it.
“Where are you staying tonight, Katherine?”
Kat frowns. “... near the park,” she lies.
“Did you find a flat, finally?”
“Something like that.”
Maria watches Kat carefully as Catherine continues.
“Well, regardless, do you want to come over for dinner? Cathy wanted to talk with you a bit and I want to thank you for your help.”
Katherine bites her lip nervously, but a chill from the winds make her decision.
“Yes, please,” she mumbles, “if it’s not too much trouble-”
“It’s not, Kat, I wouldn’t have asked if it was.”
Katherine smiles and nods at that, moving with Maria back to their car.
Maria sits in the back with Katherine, smiling as the girl seems to sag into her seat.
“It’s going to take a while to get home,” Catherine says. “Traffic is killer this time of day.”
Maria gently puts a blanket over Katherine’s shoulders. “This might help you rest, Kit.”
Katherine doesn’t want to accept it - she really doesn’t - but the voices are as warm as the blanket and she just can’t help but nod in thanks, leaning into the nice warm sheets as she falls asleep relatively quickly.
Maria gently smooths out the girl’s hair.
“We’re literally next door to one of our apartments,” Maria says gently. “Why are we in the car?”
“We’re not going home,” Catherine replies with a shrug. “We’re getting her some help. Make sure she stays resting. Contact the other queens, let them know where we’re headed.”
Maria frowns. “But, the girl-”
“Clearly doesn’t know what’s best for her,” Catherine replies. “We’re headed to hospital. Notify the others.”
Maria frowns, looks like she’s about to say something, but holds her tongue.
“As you wish, m’lady.”
Maria does that quietly, as Katherine leans heavily against her in slumber. When it’s all said and done, they’re already close to the hospital.
“Poor thing, half on death’s door at this rate,” Maria mumbles, looking her over. “Maggie said she ran off.”
“She’s quite stubborn, apparently,” Catherine says. “I guess it’s in the family; she reminds me of Anne.”
Maria nods, keeping Kat as close to herself as possible.
A few minutes later, they’re at the hospital, flanked closely behind by the other queens.
“How did you lot find us?” Catherine asks as Maria carries Katherine inside.
“We just sorta... knew,” Maggie replies.
“Where we were?”
“Where Maria was.”
They table the conversation, though, as Katherine is immediately sent in. They’re all sent to wait, as none of them were Katherine’s legal guardians.
“We should really fix that,” Anna says with a sigh, sitting down.
“I’m sure there’s a way once Katherine recovers,” Cathy says with a soft smile. “There must be, even with our... circumstance.”
They all look at each other.
“So...” Anna says. “This is kind of the first time we’re all meeting together since... well, since Jane’s resurrection.”
There’s silence for a moment before Cathy continues.
“Maybe next time, we do it under better circumstances-”
“Next time? There won’t be a next time,” Anne replies with a roll of her eyes. “As soon as I know Kitty’s okay, she’s coming home with me and we’ll all go back to living our lives.”
Catherine, ignoring Anne for the moment, looks over at Anna. “You get paid for your interviews, right?”
“Yeah,” Anna nods.
“How much, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Seven hundred per interview.”
Cathy looks around. “We all should standardize our rates, if we’re all going to be talking about the same things. I go for three thousand an interview.”
Anna’s eyes go wide. “What?!?”
Cathy looks at Jane. “You probably go for closer to mine, right?” When Jane nods - fairly quickly, as if she wanted to get it over with - Cathy looks back at Anne. “And you?”
Anne shrugs. “Seven thousand five hundred.”
“We should talk about this,” Cathy pushes. “So we’re all getting good rates.”
“And give up the extra cash? I think not,” Anne retorts, but then Cathy continues.
“Katherine hasn’t been getting paid, Anne. We want her to get paid, and how we can help is standardizing.”
Anne looks at everyone else before she rolls her eyes and nods.
“Fine. For Katherine.”
Just then, the doctor arrives. “You’re welcome to see her now, just be gentle. She’ll be in her own room, so everyone can come in, but... still, we ask that you remain calm. She’s been through quite a lot. She had a panic attack when she first came in, we needed to get some help calming her down.”
“A what?” Anna asks, tilting her head, but the doctor has already left.
The queens and ladies move swiftly into the room.
There, Katherine Howard is hooked up to machines, has an IV in and looks decidedly better, if not terrified of what’s happening around her.
Katherine looks relieved and then immediately ashamed as she sees Catherine talk to Jane, Anne and Anna.
Anna instantly moves over, a bag in hand - Kat’s bag. “You left this when you ran off,” Anna says, a harshness to her voice that makes Kat cringe. “Did you even have any plan?”
“I did!” Katherine says, a bit too loudly; she coughs for a moment before she continues. “I was going to do the interview and they were going to give me money - it was enough for, like, two weeks in a hotel. Then I would go from there and eventually find a place-“
“But they wouldn’t have given you cash, you know that, right?” Anna asks. “It would be a check, or some sort of electronic payment.”
Kat frowns. “A what? No, they said they’d pay me, so I would walk out of there with the money, and-“
“Things are a bit different nowadays, love,” Jane says quietly. “They would have needed your payment information. They said they’d get that sorted when you entered today. I told you to ask them about it, remember?”
“They did,” Kat says with a frown. “They said they’d get it sorted when I said I didn’t have an address or a bank... thing.”
Anna sighs, running a hand through her hair. “Did you honestly expect to walk out of there with thousands of dollars in your pocket? That’s dangerous, Katherine.”
Kat frowns. “I... I dunno. I thought....” she huffs. “This world is confusing.”
“It would be less confusing,” Catherine says, though not unkindly, “if you allowed us to help. You don’t have a Lady here that’s been in this world for months - we all do, and it’s why we’re set up.”
Katherine makes a face. “Cathy doesn’t have one-“
“She has me,” Maria presses. “I’ve taken her in with Catalina.”
Kat frowns. “Oh.”
“I’d be more than happy to take you in as well,” Bessie says.
“Same,” Joan replies.
“Me, too!” Maggie says with a grin. “See? You have support, love, we all want to help.”
Katherine frowns, looking around the room. Everyone seemed so kind and helpful... why were they?
Joan, Maggie, and Bessie, suddenly, blink rapidly, twitching slightly.
Maria looks concerned. “You guys alright?”
They regain their composure before Joan looks up.
“You think we’re all going to betray you,” she says, voice a bit distant. “You think because everyone but Anne had a solid relationship with Henry - either dying as his favorite, or being divorced and still loyal to him - you think we’ll betray you.”
“Not only that,” Maggie continues it, “You think we’re going to kick you out and send you to the streets anyways because you think we’ll see you as how Henry saw you.”
“And you don’t want the pain of getting close when you know it’ll end badly, you can’t trust anyone,” Bessie finishes.
Maggie puts a hand to her head. “I... don’t know how I knew that.”
“We’re connected to her, too, it seems,” Bessie observes.
“Maria, did you feel that?” Joan asks. When Maria shakes her head, Joan continues. “We didn’t feel it for Parr, so that’s probably why.” She looks over at Katherine. “We’ve got a connection- literally.”
“’course you lot do. Of course there’s more connections.”
Everyone looks over at Katherine.
Kat looks down. “... I guess there’s no use hiding what I’m thinking then, is there?”
“We’ll learn to control it,” Joan promises. “We have for our queens... somewhat.”
Maggie nods. “We’ve learned with them, we’ll do it with you, too.”
Katherine sighs. “Right then. Who am I being shuffled off to now?”
“You’re staying in hospital until you recover - until you actually recover,” Anna replies. “Someone will be here no matter what, I promise you.”
“We’ll even take turns,” Maggie says with a grin. “You’ll never be alone.”
“Never again,” Anne promises.
Kat looks them all over before she sighs.
“... not like I’ll be able to sneak out now anyways,” she mumbles.
Anne nods. “Maggie, Ladies, if you could stick with Kat for a bit,” she looks over at the other queens. “I think we should have a chat. Privately.”
The queens move into a room across the hall - a waiting room that, thankfully, is empty and a bit of privacy.
“I know we all haven’t really hung out or anything,” Anne says, “but it’s clear all of us - even the ones that didn’t meet her - are really concerned for Katherine.”
Catherine, after a moment, nods, stepping forward. “We’re all here for some unknown reason. We should help each other out as much as possible.”
Anne’s jaw sets tightly for a moment, but she nods, trying not to let that show. She looks over at everyone else. “I... I’d need a few days to get my things together, but I think I should be the one that she lives with.”
“Is that something you think you’re ready for?” Catherine asks, trying to be gentle with the situation.
Anne shrugs. “I don’t know, to be honest, but she’s family. She’s my cousin.”
“She was my Lady back then,” Anna pushes, only a little bit. “I know her the best. I think-”
“Yeah, fat lot of good that did her back then,” Anne growls. “Got her beheaded, didn’t it?”
Anna flinches at that. “I couldn’t do anything. I...”
Anne laughs as Anna’s voice fades off.
“Were you about to say that you tried? Oh, that’s a laugh. You didn’t do shite for her, Anna-”
“Anne, that’s enough,” Catherine starts. Anne snaps her gaze to her, anger and fury all on her face. It doesn’t deter the first queen. “We need to figure out where she’s going.”
Anne, seeing that, calms down a bit. “... right,” Anne says, turning back to the others. “Maggie has a third room. I’ll take her in a few days. But until then, I’ll need someone else to help.” Anne glares at Anna. “Not you.”
“Then it would have to be Jane-” Catherine points out, and Jane looks over, a bit surprised.
Anne’s seeing red.
“Definitely not her!” Anne all but screams. “No fucking way is Kitty getting anywhere near Seymour. It’s absolutely out of the question.”
“Then she’s going to be homeless for the next few days, then, because there’s absolutely no other way for this to go,” Catherine presses. “It’s Anna or Jane’s places. Nowhere else.”
Cathy steps forward. “What if we let Katherine decide?”
Anne blinks. “She’s going to just choose to be alone again-”
“We don’t give her that option,” Cathy replies. “We make her choose where she wants to stay, but it needs to be with one of us.”
They all look at each other and slowly but surely nod in agreement.
When they get back to the room, they’re met with the sight of Katherine’s hair being brushed gently by Bessie, as Maria is telling a story, with Maggie gently holding onto Katherine’s hand and Joan braiding the hair that Bessie has brushed. All in all, it’s a wonderful little scene, and it makes the queen’s hearts melt.
Katherine looks over, and it’s the happiest and safest she’s seemed since they returned.
“Hey, Katherine,” Anne says with a gentle smile. “We need you to pick who you’d like to live with.”
Katherine frowns. Anne hates that she’s made the smile go off of Kat’s face; she’ll have to be a bit more gentle with her wording next time.
Katherine tilts her head in thought. “... Anna?”
Anna perks up a bit. “Yes, Kat?”
“Can I stay with you?”
Jane can’t help but notice the look of utter devastation on Anne’s face. She says nothing.
Anna, meanwhile, looks relieved. “Of course, love.” she looks over at Bessie. “If you don’t mind, later on tonight, we’ll get things ready-”
“No,” Katherine says quickly. “I want you to stay here. Please.”
Anne’s hand clenches and she turns to leave, leaving the five queens and their ladies. Maggie is quickly out the door... but surprisingly, so is Jane.
“Anne-” Jane starts, but Maggie gets in her way.
“What are you thinking?” Maggie asks, a bit confused.
Jane looks back at where Anne is; she’s standing in the hallway, looking back at the two.
“I wanted to help-” Jane starts, but Maggie cuts her off.
“Listen, Jane,” she says, not unkindly and very apologetic. “I... I don’t think you should go after her. Let me take care of this, okay?”
Jane frowns, but nods. “Let me know if there’s anything that can be done to help.”
Maggie nods. “Right away. I’ll keep in contact with Joan.”
With that, Maggie starts after her queen. Jane and Anne make eye contact - the first time in centuries - before Anne turns sharply on her heel and walks off in a huff, Maggie barely able to keep up.
Jane enters the room again and Anna and Kat are catching up.
Catherine gently puts a hand on Jane’s shoulder. “I don’t think that was in your best interest, dear... but it was a nice thought.”
Jane just stays quiet. Cathy watches the two before she watches Katherine and Anna chat, already formulating a plan.