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 February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:11 am

February was possibly one of the lesser known but completely festive  months at the Palace of Versailles. For other than December and the celebration of Christmas and the French National Day, no other occasion required the complete redecoration of the massive, sprawling structure than Valentine's Day. The ritual had begun since the marriage of the current Lord and Lady Clement over twenty years ago and turned into a story still repeated in the media with awe and adoration. The public basked in their Lord's love of his lady wife, watching with beaming eyes and fluttery breath as the flowers in the entire palace were replaced with Dahlias for the month and multi colored butterflies were released over the palace grounds each sunrise and sunset.

And though these gestures were plenty, they were also public. The Lady Clement appreciated grand gestures, but more than that she appreciated the most important gift granted to her in February, an opportunity to spend more time with her husband. For the whole of Valentine's week the couple put all other work aside to accommodate private dinners in the Dahlientelle and then strolls around the grounds, the maze, the stables, anywhere their feet would carry them, their eyes on each other as the stars twinkled above.

Getting on in years, the Lord and Lady Clement had safely entered their fifties and yet, when they took these nightly strolls, Vanessa couldn't help but recall the memories of the two children who had once ran through these same paths, sometimes racing each other, smoothies racing the wind. Now, as they strolled hand in head, head head leaning on his shoulder and Louis' arm wrapped protectively around her waist, they simply raced time. They raced the sun that would rise and end this moment, the world that was slowly encroaching from all sides, they raced the speed at which their children were growing and shining as beacons of hope into this world, and they raced against this feeling that would surely outlast time itself.

Because no amount of time with each other would ever be enough for the two people slowly making their way through the winding paths of the palace rose gardens. As they walked, it was hard pressed for Vanessa to imagine herself in happier scenario. Perhaps if the children were here... But then that would mean they would have to revert to their role of parents, a role which they thoroughly loved but which admitted more people into their tiny universe.

Unlike tonight, when it was just the two of them.

"I was thinking," the Lady Clement mused out loud, lifting her head from her husband's shoulder in favor of looking into his eyes. Her own slate grey orbs sparkled both from joy and the reflected stars above. "I must have done something remarkable in a past life to get this fortunate. For the Gods do not grant such eternal bliss so easily."

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Louis Clement
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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:15 am

February had come around once more, another milestone in the Lord and Lady Clement's life together, another year in which they'd battled against the odds to be with one another. Louis could never have been more grateful to the fates, for allowing them the opportunity of the life that they now had. So, with each year that came around, Louis insisted upon the public show of his love for his wife, with the complete redecoration of the Palace.

Filling it with Vanessa's favourite flowers, and bringing her gifts from across the world.

All of France loved it, Louis knew that, but it was not the adoration of his people that Louis expected to be gifted with each year. It was not the publicity of his feelings for his wife that he needed to be seen. No, Louis only allowed the world to see, because he insisted upon Vanessa knowing that he loved her so very deeply that the world had to see, to know, to wish that they were her.

Even if they never could be.

So, for the week in which they moved from their public services, Louis ensured Vanessa was treated like the Queen she was. Waiting upon her every wish, fulfilling each desire that she asked of him, and gifting her with his undivided attention. Whatever the Lady Clement asked of him became a reality, whether the request was spoken or not.

Mostly, though, their time was spent simply together. Walking the grounds of the Palace, having dinner together, or just simply being with one another. Material items had little and less value at their age, Louis knew that much, but he liked to show his wife just how deeply he loved her anyway.

As the two of them walked the grounds that evening, Louis' arm protectively around his wife's waist to ensure she did not grow cold as her head rested upon his shoulder, Louis could not have been happier. There was a tranquility of being at home, with Vanessa, behind closed doors where they could just pretend they were still in their twenties, or thirties, when time allowed them to just breath and enjoy themselves.

"I was thinking,"

It was not the words that roused Louis from his thoughts, his musings, it was the absence of the light pressure of his wife's head from his shoulder that indicated him to there being something out of the order of the evening. His eyes moved to Vanessa's, a small smile already in place as he looked down at the beautiful women he had the fortune to call his own. His eyes held the lightly questioning look that always followed when she spoke without fully completing the sentence, always eager -- even after all this time -- to know what was going on in the wonderful mind of hers.

"I must have done something remarkable in a past life to get this fortunate. For the Gods do not grant such eternal bliss so easily."

The smile on Louis' lips didn't falter as it grew larger, and they drew forth to his wife's forehead, planting the softest of kisses on her skin. He had long since learned not to point out the turmoil they'd both gone through to get where they were today. That had, quite simply, not happened when it came to moments like these. Not forgotten, no, just safely put away because those years would not bear any weight on their future.

"Ma chéri," Louis replied softly, shaking his head ever so slightly at the sentiment. "The Gods do not grant such things, we work hard to achieve them." He told her, tone fond as they continued walking. "And, no lady has ever worked so hard for her family as you..."

The compliment was nothing more than a whisper, Louis didn't need to speak loudly for Vanessa to hear him. But, more than just a compliment to the woman in his arms, it was the gentlest of thank yous for everything that Vanessa had done for both their small family, bringing him three perfect children, and a grandchild, but also to the wider world. The family of France, and the countries she was taking over.

For them.

For the Clements.

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~ Lord Clement ~ Profile ~ 52 ~

Thank you to the amazing Ruby for the signatures! <3
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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:23 am

The line of conversation was so familiar, it brought forth its own warmth as Louis spoke. Vanessa had always believed in the Gods and he had always believed in them. And yet, they had been able to exist with their parallel belief system because it had never been more important that what they were to each other. The Lady Clement however liked to think that they were covering all bases with their widespread system of operation. The more eggs in their basket, the better it would be after all.

Which was precisely the plan with the acquisition of all the countries they had to their name now. Withe the children's victory - for Vanessa was sure her children would win - their number would be up to seven. And seven was a good number, but not good enough for what they needed to do. Not nearly good enough.

As the walked, the couple approached a rest in the rose trail, a solid marble bench carved by one of the most renowned sculptors of the seventeenth century. On days when the garden was open to the public, the bench with its claws and wings was the object of many a photographs. Tonight, it served as a dull white seat for the Lord and Lady Clement.

"May we?" Vanessa asked softly, looking up at her husband though long lashes, sure that he knew what she meant. The bench was hardly big enough for two but her seat had always been by her Lord Husband. And some things were best discussed out of the palace lest the staff find itself absently intruding.

They hadn't spoken about the UK directly because no direct approach there would work. And yet it was still a problem, that needed addressing. Vanessa was certain that if the idea of solving two problems at once had occurred to her, it had occurred to Louis as well.

"I'm afraid I am not as young as I used to be," she smiled, no air of regret in her expression. Growing old with the man by her side had been and would continue to be her greatest joy.

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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:31 pm

As the two of them found their way through the rose gardens, towards the marble bench that had stood in the gardens for as long as Louis could remember, Vanessa slowed off a little bit, leaving the Lord Clement's steps to slow by her side without question. The soft question of taking a break from their walk was one that Louis agreed to with the smallest of nods.

Vanessa knew that she had never needed to ask for his permission, anything she wanted, anything he could give her, he had promised her the world a long time ago, and slowly, slowly that promise was coming in to fruition.

"As my lady wishes," Louis replied, trying to mock the notion of a lower class man, but his eloquent nature betraying such form. The seat had only ever been big enough for both of them to sit comfortably when they had been children, so without hesitation, Louis took up the seat comfortably, and drew his wife in to his lap. There wasn't even a glance around them, Louis knew the staff would not be around, they needn't hide from anyone in this moment.

"I'm afraid I am not as young as I used to be,"

"And yet, you're still the most beautiful woman in the world," Louis told her softly, leaning up only marginally to place a soft kiss to the corner of Vanessa's mouth, not daring to disrupt the soft tint applied to her lips the evening as they sat together on the bench.

"You have something you wish to discuss..." Louis prompted, still talking softly as his hand sought out his wife's, entwining their fingers carefully and waiting for her to bring forth what was on her mind. He knew Vanessa much too well to miss the fact she wished to talk about something, and he'd never deny her his time, he would always make time to listen to her.

Tonight would not be any exception.

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~ Lord Clement ~ Profile ~ 52 ~

Thank you to the amazing Ruby for the signatures! <3
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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Fri May 11, 2018 3:55 pm

As they took their respective seats - Louis upon the bench and she atop him in a manner only the Lady Clement would ever be allowed to - Vanessa silently sent another grateful prayer to the Gods. His lips barely ghosted the corners of hers but they both knew what it meant. Of course he would know, he always knew. A romantic tryst might have been suitable for the occasion but was not the only thing on her mind.

As his hand found hers, Vanessa lay her head against the man's broad chest, silently listening to the beats of his heart as they synchronized with her own steady breaths. "I fear for the British Isles," she finally confessed, a mere whisper but one that would not go unmissed because it was Louis. He would hear her from anywhere, through anything. "Their incompetence knows no bounds - the failure to elect a leader after over six months stands in evidence to that - yet they would not acknowledged they need better leadership." Once again, the words were so softly murmured, they could have been a love poem on the velvety background of this moonlit night.

The dilemma of the English had spanned far and wide, and their unfortunate history with France meant a traditional alliance was... unreliable at best. The Clement's usual strategies of acquiring control would not work with the United Kingdom. And yet it remained a particularly stubborn piece in the puzzle they needed malleable in their hands for when the time came.

"Have you given it any thought, my darling?" she asked, not raising her head from where it rested, counting the strong, steady heartbeats she loved so much.

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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Sun May 13, 2018 10:20 pm

As Vanessa leaned in to him, her head atop his chest, the Lord Clement wrapped his free hand around her waist, supporting her even though there was no need. No, it was an action old as time, one to draw his wife just a fraction closer as they sat quietly for a few moments, simply enjoying the moment of just... being together.

It had been a very long year, perhaps eighteen months. In which time the two of them had been busier than ever before. When they had last had a moment just to themselves... away from the Palace business, just as the two of them...

Louis' lips moved upwards in to the softest of smiles. He made time for Vanessa as often as they could afford, but ruling France and the territories they were expanding in to... it was not something that could always wait. February brought with it no excuses for making time for the witch in his lap though, and Louis would never shy away from spending time with Vanessa, never in a million years.

"I fear for the British Isles,"

But, of course, the two of them had never lived in a world where dreams came easily. No, in order to get exactly what one wanted, one would have to work for it, and it had never been a secret that Vanessa and he had been one heart, with one goal, encompassed within one lifetime.

The Lord Clement let out a soft sound of understanding those words, enticing Vanessa to continue on with her thoughts. The environment they shared together had always been a safe one, one that meant no matter how silly the thought, the fear, or the idea was, they could share it without fear of repercussion. The concerns of Vanessa's had been along the same lines as his own thoughts. Though he'd not settled on a final play, he'd thought of a couple of ways to get around it. None, however, were very nice ways to move forth with their work.

But, when it came to their family, and stabilising the future for their children, Louis knew no measure too extreme.

"I've given the situation a lot of thought," Louis confessed softly, glancing up towards the Palace to ensure the staff were not anywhere to be seen. Satisfied that they weren't in range of their conversation, Louis returned to his previous position, holding his wife as if they were talking about nothing more than the weather than the potential overthrow of power of the United Kingdom.

"I fear that my plan might be too elaborate, though." Louis continued, admitting to the worry without fear of Vanessa's judgement. The two of them always discussed major decisions, which often came with Louis admitting to his shortfalls of strategy and foresight, where Vanessa could always see so clearly.

"With the ICWW not revealing the decision made until the Minister's murderer is found, I feel that... we need to make the murderer appear." Louis explained carefully, pausing for a moment because he needed to get this right before he spoke of such things out loud. "We both know it was not us, nor was it the Canadians who brought such horrible scenes to the Summit. The speculations may be aimed our way, but they're misguided. The real killer... I do not know.

"But, I know another who did not do it, for who the blame has not yet been shown to. Someone I know we can aid in getting away from consequences..." Louis' voice was nothing more than a whisper as he built the moment, his thumb moving now to gently caress the skin on the back of his wife's hand in a calming manner. For his own sake, or Vanessa's, no one would ever know, but it was comforting gesture no less.

"I wish... to put Mycroft Winston forth." Louis explained, knowing that the Holmes' were almost like family to their own, though... in extreme circumstances, ties could be used against even the closest of friends. "But, I will ensure both Mycroft Winston and Tess Marie will not want for anything." He quickly added, not wishing to make it sound like he would ruin the family without second thought. The fact he would, for his own family, was besides the point. They could control the damage they inflicted.

Louis did not continue on further, though, knowing Vanessa would question him if she saw merit, or else gently tell him no if she'd seen a better route forward. Whatever the case, though, Louis knew they would be doing it together.

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~ Lord Clement ~ Profile ~ 52 ~

Thank you to the amazing Ruby for the signatures! <3
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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Thu May 17, 2018 4:06 pm

The Lady Clement listened carefully, encased in Louis' warm embrace and letting the night breeze stroke her fine hair along with her husband's fingers. To an onlooker - and there would be none, they had made sure of that a long time ago - the couple would seem to only be sharing one of the many tender moments they routinely shared around the palace grounds. No one would be able to pick out the complexities forming on Louis' lips meant only for Vanessa's ears.

She understood the dilemma he proposed. Mycroft Winston was a promising boy. Had he not been burdened with the misfortune of being a Holmes, being borne into a country which already had a clear ruling family, he would have gone far. It was not his fault for seeking to make his name elsewhere, Sheringford Holmes knew well there was no place in France for his family, no place to grow in future.

And the mere marriage of Tess Marie to Jules Valentino was not enough. Charming and talented as Tess Marie was, her duty was to bear children of a different name than her own. The Holmes boy was entasked with continuing his lineage, a feat he would not be able to do justice to in France. "Mycroft Winston made his chose when he tangled in British politics," she finally concluded, her words soft as her eyes met ehr husband's, silently letting him know that she agreed with his solution.

"It is unfortunate, but unfortunate events come to pass all too often." And with that, the deal was sealed. Did it bother her that they were about to push a close family to the brink of ill repute? Did she regret sanctioning an act that would surely fling mud on the Holmes' name? Did The Lady Clement feel even a little bad at what she was about to do to her daughter's best friend?

Perhaps she should have. But siting here safely wrapped in the glow of Louis' love and their success, she felt no such thing.

This was purely business.

"It has to be done after he's left for Italy," she whispered, her lips almost touching Louis' as she spoke, the distance between them only a hairsbreadth away. "To attend his sister's wedding."

Well, mostly business.

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PostSubject: Re: February 2024, Palace Grounds, Versailles (Louis)   Tue May 22, 2018 8:31 pm

Many people worked in expletives. Many people could only act upon a clear positive or negative connotation to an idea in the world. But Louis and Vanessa had never needed expletive affirmations of their actions to know what they were doing was right or wrong in the other's eyes. It was the softest of touches, the briefest of looks, or even the vaguest of sentences that confirmed or denied the actions of the other in times where they could not be completely sure of the other's thoughts.

Though, the not knowing for sure was infrequent at best.

This moment was one such occasion in which Louis had not been sure of Vanessa's thoughts on his ideas, but his worries were stayed by the simplest of actions. His wife's consent to the plan he'd formulated had been carefully worded, but he knew she fully understood what they were about to throw the Holmes' in to. Remorse was not a feeling that could be harboured in that moment, and it would not rise in Louis as he pushed his family forth to greater things.

No, remorse was for lesser men who did not see the world as something they could conquer.

The comment of it being unfortunate allowed the tension in his shoulders to ease slightly, knowing that Vanessa was not going to think ill of him for his ideas. Though they both knew the world was cutthroat, Louis always worried that Vanessa would see him badly for the terrible actions he took to get to where they were today. The Lord Clement knew himself not to be a Saint, but if he ever found himself in a position where Vanessa looked at him negatively, he didn't think he could make it through another day.

But that fear could wait for another day.

As Vanessa's lips moved close to his, with the instructions of the execution of his plan, Louis felt himself nodding softly with understanding of the request, his own lips moving forth to claim Vanessa's as his own, all previous worries of ruined makeup forgotten. Even after all of these years, the Lord Clement was still easily drawn from the composure of the Lordship he held by the beauty of his wife upon his lap.

Even after all these years, he was nothing more than hers, and would never be anything more.

And after Vanessa's final word on the matter, Louis cared not for his role as head of the country, but only in enjoying the time away from the Palace with the most beautiful woman in the world.

"Je t'aime ma chère," Louis spoke softly in the silence that came after his lips moved from hers moments later, slightly reddened by the colour applied to her lips, but not caring one bit about that right now.

"Et le monde sera à toi," he promised in nothing more than a whisper, much like he'd promised to show her the world when they'd been children.



Translations:
je t'aime ma chère -- I love you, my darling
Et le monde sera à toi -- And the world will be yours

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~ Lord Clement ~ Profile ~ 52 ~

Thank you to the amazing Ruby for the signatures! <3
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