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Family: Being Loved No Matter What

Chapter Text

Jane lay in bed, a blanket huddled around her as she tired to control her shaky sobs. Slowly, she attempted to take deep breaths in and out as quietly as she could.

This was becoming a common occurrence. This was the sixth time that Jane had found herself like this within the past two weeks. Each time, it seemed to get worse.

For the past two weeks, Jane has been having these dreams- though they were more like memories- about H-him. She wasn’t sure why or what had brought them on. All she knew was that she was getting less and less sleep. And it was starting to show.

Jane has noticed the concerned glances that Kat and Aragon occasionally sent her when she’d zone out of a conversation. Jane knew that they were worried. Which is why she constantly acted as though she was perfectly fine. Even if that was the furthest thing from the truth. But she couldn’t let any of the other queens worry about her. Especially not when she was the ‘mum’ of the group.

Which is why Jane lay in bed alone, crying to herself quietly at 4:00am. She tried to make herself drift back to sleep so that she could at least rest for a couple more hours. But she just couldn’t.

After being unable to sleep for about another hour, Jane decided to head downstairs.

Quietly, she crept down to the living room, at to not wake the others. Usually, Jane quite enjoyed a bit of peace and quiet. But now, the silence of the house seemed to hold an uncomfortable tension that Jane couldn’t seem to shake.

Deciding to make the most this rare alone time, Jane began to clean the living room, later moving onto the kitchen.

The whole time, Jane was on a totally different planet. Her mind was battling with a million different thoughts. No matter where her thoughts went, though, Henry was constantly in the back of her mind.

Jane actually thought about their past life a lot more than she let on. She would think about her Edward practically everyday. She also thought about Henry. And all of the pain that he caused her, and so many others. This was a realisation that she’d come to in this life.

If she was honest, Jane just didn’t feel like she deserved to have those feelings. Not when her fellow queens had experienced so much worse. It’s not like she could admit to those feelings anyway. Not when she was ‘the only one he truly loved’, right?

Finishing her cleaning, jane Chechen the time. It had just gone 7:10. Sighing, Jane sat down on the sofa, resting her head in her hands. She was so consumed in her own thoughts that she didn’t even hear the footsteps coming down the stairs. Nor did the realise when she was joined by another queen.

‘Jane?’ A voice called gently. Her head snapped to attention. Jane’s eyes were met by the concerned gaze of Catherine of Aragon. With great effort, Jane forced a weak smile.

‘Morning, love.’ Jane stood to fetch the Spanish queen some tea. She didn’t get very far, though, before Aragon gently grabbed her arm. Internally, Jane scolded herself for flinching at the touch, Hope no that Catherine didn’t notice. If she did, she didn’t say anything about it.

‘Are you okay, love?’ The term of endearment slipping out naturally. Unable to form a coherent answer, Jane just nodded her head, painting a smile on her face. Aragon said nothing more about it. Instead, she just helped the third queen get breakfast ready.

Breakfast went as usual. Although, Jane didn’t miss the worried glances that Aragon occasionally threw her way. Jane just made an extra effort to keep a smile on her face and not alert her fellow queens to her own problems. However, Jane could never have foreseen the mess that this would turn into.

Chapter Text

As the days went on, Jane’s night terrors only seemed to get worse. To the point where, now, getting even up to 2 hours of sleep was a miracle. In front of the other queens, though, Jane tried to be as normal as possible.

She put on an almost ridiculous amount of makeup to disguise the bags under her eyes. She kept a smile glued to her face, and she continued with all of her motherly tendencies.

Thankfully, the others didn’t seem to have noticed anything out of the ordinary. Well, except for one.

Over the past few days, Catherine of Aragon noticed some subtle changes in her friend. Like Jane zoning out of a conversation every so often. Or the way that Jane could barely keep her eyes open after a show. Not to mention the fact that Jane’s smile just didn’t seem to reach her eyes anymore. Not most of the time, anyway.

All of these things were very small, minor things. Aragon knew she was probably reading too much into it. But she couldn’t help worrying. She’d never forgive herself if something was happening to Jane and she didn’t do anything about out.

It was that thought that had landed Aragon here, in front of Jane’s bedroom door. If there was something wrong, Aragon intended to find out what it was.

Taking a deep breath, Catherine knocked on the door. A few brief moments of silence passed before she heard a quiet, ‘come in’. Opening the door, Catherine was met by a smiling Jane Seymour, as per usual. Something was different about her, though. Her eyes looked red raw. As if she’d been crying.

‘What can I do for you?’ The question brought Catherine out of her thoughts. Not entirely sure where she was going with this conversation, Catherine simply asked,

‘Well, I just wanted to ask, are you okay?’

For a split second, Aragon saw Jane’s smile falter. She recovered quickly.
‘Of course. Everything’s fine. Why’d you ask?’

Sitting in front of Jane on her bed, Aragon contemplated her next words.
‘It’s just- you’ve seemed a little, I don’t know, off lately.’ Seeing Jane look away from her and instead averting her eyes to her lap, Aragon continued.

‘Look, I want you to know that I’m here for you. We all are and you can tell us anything. You know that, right?’ Aragon noticed the slight hesitation before Jane nodded.

Only as Jane lifted her head did she realise that a tear had escaped her eye. She was quick to wipe it away, but Catherine had already seen it and her concern only grew.

Before either one of them could say anything, a knock at the door interrupted them.

‘Hey, mum, I-‘ Kat stooped upon seeing her mum and Aragon, who seemed to look... worried?

‘Oh, sorry, I didn’t-‘

‘It’s fine, Kitty, love. We were just chatting. Is everything okay?’

Aragon could hear a barely noticeable tremor in Jane’s voice, but chose to keep quiet. For now, at least.

‘Um, yeah. Parr told me to tell you guys we need to head to the theatre now.’

‘Okay then. Let’s go, love.’

Jane and Aragon both stood and all three of them headed towards the stairs. As they did, Jane gave Aragon a weak smile. Aragon could feel a pang of sadness in her chest. What could Jane have been hiding that she felt she couldn’t tell any of her friends? Well, Aragon was sure she’d find out soon enough. She wasn’t wrong.

Chapter Text

Before the show, Jane had managed to avoid another interrogation from Aragon. Jane knew that she meant well, but she couldn’t tell Aragon- or any of the others- what was bothering her. Besides, it was nothing that Jane couldn’t handle.

All of the queens were backstage. The show was due to start in a few minutes. As usual, they were all buzzing with energy.

However, Aragon couldn’t stop thinking about the day’s earlier events. Looking at Jane now, she seemed fine. More than fine, in fact. She was laughing and joking with the other queens and the band. It was almost like what had happened earlier, hadn’t happened at all. Almost. Despite Jane’s bright smile, there was still something in her eyes that seemed dull.

Aragon’s train of thought was interrupted as everyone made their way onto the stage to start the show. They all took their places and the music began.

During the show, everything went as normal. Jane felt a little tired, but it didn’t seem to affect her performance too much. Her voice was a bit shaky during her solo, but she could just put that down to the emotion.

By the time they got to the mega six, though, Jane was hit by a wave of exhaustion. Her vision became blurry and her head felt light. She just moved through the song on autopilot.

Towards the end of the number, something caught Jane’s eye. A man. He looked very familiar. In fact, he resembled-

No. It couldn’t be. It was impossible. Jane could feel her heart pounding out of her chest as memories of her dreams flooded her mind. As her vision cleared, though, she realised that the man was not Henry. At the realisation, she relaxed a little. But the memories still clouded her mind.

In the midst of her panic, Jane bumped into Kat, who looked at her with concern. Jane just tried to smile at her, continuing the performance like nothing was wrong.

Kat saw something in her mother’s eyes, though. They were glazed over, like she was on the verge of tears. Worry immediately coursed throughout Kat. But she didn’t let it show. She carried on with the show, and made a mental note to speak to Jane as soon as the show finished.

As the queens hit the finishing pose, the crowd erupted into applause. The second they all got off stage, Jane rushed straight to the dressing room. The others all looked at one another, unsure of what was wrong.

‘Let me go and talk to her,’ said Kat. Without waiting for any response, she followed Jane back into their dressing room that they shared with Parr.

‘Mum?’ Kat asked, knocking lightly on the door. No response. Her worry increasing, Kat slowly opened the door.

She saw Jane sitting at n her spot, head in her hands. Her body was shaking slightly as quiet sobs escaped the woman’s mouth. Immediately, Kat rushes to her mum’s side.

‘Mum! What’s wrong? What happened?’

At this point, Jane couldn’t lie and say that she was fine. What type of person who is ‘fine’ sits in their dressing room crying? But she couldn’t tell Kat- or any of the other queens- the truth.

Her whole image was based off of being Henry’s one true love. Jane knew that true. But that’s how everyone saw her. She couldn’t admit her feelings about Henry because she was scared that the other would make fun of her. God knows Anne already loved to tease her. Jane knew it was in jest, but part of her couldn’t help but feel that that wasn’t true.

Kat took Jane’s hands in her own and looked her in the eyes.

‘Please, tell me what’s wrong. You can tell me anything.’

Looking into Kat’s pleading eyes, made Jane want to tell Kat everything. But she couldn’t. Not when Kat had been through so much worse. Should would Kat think of her?

‘I just- I’m not feeling to well, love. T- that’s all.’

‘Mum, that’s not true. There’s something else.’

It would be so easy to just tell her. She couldn’t face it, though. Not now. Jane could feel her heart pounding as she tried to come up with an excuse.

‘I- um- well, I just had a dream last night about life back then.’

‘Oh.’

Kat looked at her with sympathetic eyes. Kat had often spent the night with her mum due to having similar dreams. After being married to Henry, it was something that all of the queens had in common.

‘I guess it just- erm- left me a bit shaken.’

Without saying another word, Kat embraced her mother in a loving hug. Jane happily reciprocated. She felt awful for lying to Kat. Although, strictly speaking, it was partly true.

‘I’m sorry. But you’re okay now. You’re here, with us,’ Kat mumbles into the crook of Jane’s neck. Lifting her head, Kat net Jane’s eyes.

‘I love you, mum.’

‘I love you, too, sweetheart.’

A gentle knock interrupted the tender moment. The two queens turned their heads to face the door. The other four entered hesitantly, looking worried.

‘Hey, is everything okay?’ Anne questioned, looking at the two concernedly. The four them approached the other two, as they all huddled around Jane.

‘Yes, I’m sorry, I just- I had a bit of a bit so pleasant dream last night and, well, you know,’

‘Hey, there’s no need to apologise.’

‘Yeah, we understand.

‘Just know you can talk to us anytime.’

Jane just nodded her head in response, trying her best to smile for the others, wiping a few stray tears from her cheeks.

‘Right, I think we should get you home, love,’ Parr stated. Everyone got their things together and began to head back home.

The queens’ reassurance made Jane feel slightly better. Although, she still felt guilty for lying. But soon, this would all be over and everything would be back to normal. Hopefully.

Chapter Text

For several days following the incident at the theatre, all of the queens kept a close eye on Jane. It wasn’t often that Jane broke down like she had done. Seeing the woman, who was usually so strong, in that state shocked all of them.

She seemed to be doing better, though. Jane hadn’t had another incident since and there had been no mentions of anymore nightmares. Sure, each of them had noticed little things, here and there. But for the most part, everything seemed to be back to normal.

But it wasn’t. Jane just wanted to give the impression that is was. After, what happened at the theatre, the only thing that Jane could think of was Henry. Every time she closed her eyes, he was there. It was like he wouldn’t leave her alone. Even though he wasn’t even here.

Jane desperately wanted to talk to the others. But every time she thought about doing so, an overwhelming sense of guilt flooded her chest. Jane’s pain paled in comparison to the others’. There was no way she could tell them.

So, instead, she resorted to not sleeping. That was the only way Jane could avoid seeing him. At night, after the others went to bed, Jane would stay up. She’d drink lots of coffee to keep herself awake throughout the night and the day. She busied herself with practically anything. Her embroidery, cleaning, reading. As long as she didn’t sleep, she wouldn’t see him.

For the first few days, it had been fine. Now, however, Jane was beginning to feel the effects of exhaustion. But she didn’t let it show. She did everything in her power to come across as her normal, happy self in the presence of the other queens.

It was a Thursday; a double show day. They’d just finished the first show and Jane was already drained. Part of her felt ready to collapse right then and there. She wanted nothing more than to be able to fall onto her nice, comfy bed and just let herself be taken in by warm embrace of darkness.

‘Okay, ladies. We’ve got an hour until the next show, alright?’

All of the queens smiled and nodded in acknowledgment at their stage manager, before heading to their dressing rooms.

Jane spent that hour talking to Kat and Parr as the got ready. She tried to be as engaged as possible to stop herself from falling asleep. She could barely even see herself in the mirror as she tried to touch up her makeup.

Soon enough, it was showtime again.
Usually, Jane was filled with excitement before a show. Today, though, she wanted nothing more than to just go home. But no matter how Jane felt, the show must go on.

So, Jane hid her tired eyes and headed to the stage with the other queens.

As they all waited backstage, Anne noticed the way that the third queen was swaying from side to side slightly in a daze. Before she had the chance to say anything, though, they were ushered onto stage.

Throughout the show, Anne kept an eye on Jane. Something just seemed... off. After what had happened not too long ago, Anne couldn’t help but worry.

Jane stumbled through the show, exhaustion coursing through her. Sleep tugged at her eyelids as her body begged for a break. Despite her body’s pleas, she continued to smile and perform as best she could.

It came to Jane’s song and she felt ready to collapse. The soft lights and the soothing music was almost enough to send her to sleep right then and there.

Then, when Jane’s cue to start singing was given, she didn’t do anything. She just stood there. Frozen. The other queens glanced at each other, concernedly. Amongst the audience, confused whispers began to arise.

Without warning, Jane suddenly collapsed centre stage.

‘Mum!’

‘Jane!’

The five queens raced to Jane’s side. Staff were quickly ushering out the audience as they tried to get a response from Jane. The ladies in waiting joined the queens, as Joan pulled out her phone to call an ambulance.

Parr moved Jane’s head into her lap, and Aragon and Kat both took one of the hands into theirs. Anne and Anna both knelt on either side of Jane, all of them around her as they hoped for her to wake up any second.

They each had seen that something more had been bothering Jane than just a nightmare. But what had they done about that? Nothing. All of the queens felt an immense amount of guilt rush through them, looking down at the unconscious queen.

As they continued to try and wake Jane, they all silently hoped that she would be okay. Then they could figure all of this out. Together.

Chapter Text

The first thing that Jane registered was a searing pain in her head. Then, even through her closed eyes, she could sense a blinding light. Incoherent sounds made their presence known in Jane’s ears. She tried to open her eyes to see what it was. But she just couldn’t muster the energy.

As Jane continued to lay there, the muffled noises morphed into voices. They became clearer, and Jane was soon able to identify them as the hushed voices of the queens.

‘How could we let this happen?’

‘There’s not much we could’ve done, Anne,’ Parr reasoned. ‘You know what Jane’s like when there’s something up with her.’

‘Yeah,’ Anna chipped in. ‘Besides, we’re here now- all of us- and that’s what matters.’

Then a soft whimper interrupted the conversation, and Jane felt her heart shatter.

‘She’s gonna be okay, isn’t she?’

‘Of course she is,’ Aragon comforted Kat.

‘She’s tough is our Jane,’ Aragon continued. ‘And when she wakes up, we’re going to find out what has been bothering her.’

At that, Jane felt her heart begin to race. She was going to have to tell them everything. What would they think of her?

But Jane thought about the conversation that she’d just overheard. The other queens really cared about her. They wanted to help her. And maybe they could.

Mentally preparing herself, Jane slowly opened her eyes. She winced slightly, the bright hospital lights too much for her tired eyes. She let out a small groan, catching the attention of the five women around her.

‘Mum!’

Kat was curled up at Jane’s side immediately. Jane smiles to herself at the sweet gesture, before looking to the other queens. They all wore matching expressions of concern and confusion. Jane braces herself for the conversation ahead.

‘Hey,’ Anna started. ‘You gave us quite the scare there.’

‘Yeah, we’ve been worried.’ Parr sat down on the edge of Jane’s bed. ‘The doctor said the collapsed because it looks like you haven’t slept in almost a week.’

Anne sat on the other side of Jane, while Aragon and Anna both sat on chairs either side of the bed. Kat remained closely curled into her mum’s side.

‘So, what’s been going on Jane?’

Anne asked the question with caution and concern. They all wanted to find out what was wrong, but they didn’t want to push Jane too much, either.

Looking at all of the queens’ worried faces, Jane took a deep breath. This was it.

‘Well-‘

Jane’s voice broke as she began to speak. Already, she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. Jane felt a small squeeze in her left hand. She looked down to be met be the loving gaze of her daughter, encouraging her to continue.

‘Lately, I’ve been having- um- a lot of nightmares about our past life. And him.’

Jane didn’t need to say his name for them to know exactly who she was talking about. They all sent her looks of empathy, silently waiting for her to continue.

‘And- it’s just- they got so bad that I didn’t want to sleep because I just couldn’t stand seeing his face and hearing his voice every night-‘

‘Hey, hey, it’s okay.’

‘Just calm down, love.’

‘He can’t hurt you now. You’re okay.’

‘Don’t worry, you’re safe, we promise.’

‘We’re here, mum. We love you.’

All of the queens’ soothing words helped Jane to calm down. Only then was it that she realised that she had tears streaming down her face. She took a few more deep breaths before carrying on.

‘I, um. I didn’t want to say anything because- well, you all went through so much worse than I did.’

Jane looked away from the queens, unable to look at them, as she trailed off the end of her sentence. The others all glanced at each other, not quite believing what Jane was saying.

Anne was the first one to speak.

‘Jane, what exactly do you mean?’

Anne spoke in a soft tone that was usually reserved for Kat. She gave Jane’s hand a gentle squeeze, a silent way of saying ‘it’s okay.’

‘I... no, it’s stupid-‘

‘No, it’s not.’ Aragon interrupted firmly.

There was a slight harshness to her voice, but it wasn’t directed at Jane. It was more the fact that Jane felt like she feeling were invalid that was bothering Aragon- as well as the other queens.

‘Yeah, if something has been bothering you that much that you haven’t been sleeping, it’s not stupid, babes.’

‘Please, mum,’ Kat said, forcing Jane to look at her. ‘You always tell me that it’s important to share my feelings. That nothing I feel is silly. It’s the same for you, too.’

With watery eyes and a shaky breath, Jane gave in.

‘Well, my story, it’s just kind of... pathetic compared to all of yours. You all went through so much. With Henry and just in general. Me? I was the one he truly loved,’

Jane’s words began to drip with spite. Her voice became unsteady as more tears threatened to fall. The rest of the queens, however, were beginning to understand how Jane really felt.

‘He was never that bad with me, I guess, but... it doesn’t mean I really loved him. But how can I say that when my whole story, my whole identity is based on loving him.’

Jane chocked back another sob before continuing.

‘And I- I didn’t want to tell you guys because you all had it so much worse than I ever did. I just- I didn’t want you all to hate me.’

The last sentence was all but a whisper, barley audible. The other queens still heard it, though. Shocked at this revelation, none of them really knew what to say.

The deafening silence made Jane’s stomach twist, as she thought the worst. She should never have told them. They don’t get it.

When fresh tears began to escape Jane’s eyes, the other queens were all brought out of their daze. Aragon was the first to speak.

Chapter Text

After a few tentative moments of silence, Aragon leant forward and spoke up.

‘Jane, we could never hate you.’

Jane looked up to meet the queens’ eyes with a slightly shocked expression that that made all of the hears shatter. She felt Kat’s head nod in agreement with Aragon next to her, as Parr stroked the back of Jane’s and with her thumb. Anne reaches forward, softly wiping away some stray tears on Jane’s cheeks.

‘She’s right. We’re a family, you know? You can talk to us.’

Unable to string together a sentence, Jane just nodded. She’d thought about this over and over. Never had she imagined that this would be the response that she’d get from her fellow queens.

‘You’re allowed to hurt, Jane.’ Parr joined in. ‘We all know what Henry was be like. Just because of what’s written in history, that doesn’t mean that you have to act like you didn’t suffer then or now.’

Moving closer, Anna added, ‘And when you are hurting, we’re all here to help you, babes. You don’t need to be the strong one all of the time.’

Nodding again, Jane felt a few tears escape her eyes once more as she was overcome by emotion. She’d never felt luckier to have these incredible women around her. Feeling a shift next to her, Jane turned to meet Kat’s eyes.

‘You’re always telling me that I can come to you if there’s anything bothering me. And you can come to me, too, mum. About anything.’

‘You can come to any of us.’ Parr chimed in. ‘Like Anne said, we’re a family. Nothing could ever change that.’

By this point, Jane was almost sobbing again. Never had she felt so much love and understanding. All of the queens gathered closely, sharing a group hug. Chocking back her sobs, Jane barely knew what to say. Although, there wasn’t much that needed to be said.

‘T-thank you. All of you. I don’t what I’d do without you.’

‘There’s nothing to thank us for Jane.’

‘Right,’ Aragon agreed with Anna. ‘This is what we’re here for. Please don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to us about something.’

‘Yeah, we’d never judge you. Especially not over something like this.’

Anne gave Jane a gentle smile, something that was fairly uncommon for the second queen, who was usually bouncing off the walls and full of sarcastic comments.

‘I’m sorry-‘

‘Don’t you dare apologise to us.’ Aragon cut Jane off sharply.

‘You’ve got nothing to be sorry for, mum.’

‘Just talk to us next time, okay?’

‘Okay,’ Jane said to Parr, her voice a hoarse whisper.

‘We love you, mum,’ Kat said softly, making Jane’s heart swell. She couldn’t help the small smile that found her lips upon hearing those words.

‘I love all of you, too.’

As she spoke, sleep tugged at her eyelids. By reflex, Jane resisted her body’s need to sleep. The other queens looked at each other knowingly as they saw her eyelids droop.

‘Go to sleep, Jane,’ Aragon told her.

Jane almost completely shut her eyes, but then thoughts of Henry flooded her mind again and she began to panic. The others noticed, reacting quickly. Kat curled even closer into Jane’s side. The gathered in close to her, letting her know that they were all there.

‘It’s okay, Jane. We’re all here and we’re not going anywhere.’ Parr stated reassuringly.

‘That’s right. Please, just try to get some sleep, babes.’

For the first time in a long time, Jane actually managed to drift into a somewhat peaceful sleep. She felt safe. Loved. With her fellow queens- her family- with her she knew things would get better. And even if they got worse again, she definitely wouldn’t be alone.