For Richard, it is simple:
They are younger then, riding through the forest in France. Philip is hardly a man; Richard older in body but not spirit. Philip is thrown from his horse, and Richard, frantic, dismounts and checks him for injuries.
He remembers the way his hands looked, big and brown against Philip's pale, bruised skin; he remembers the choking fear when Philip lay there limp in his arms and the flood of relief when he saw the slight rise and fall of Philip's chest.
He remembers the way his heart constricted and his hands trembled when Philip's eyes opened, piercing blue and halfway to innocent.
And then Philip kisses him, with a knowledge beyond his years, and takes Richard's hand and presses it to his breast.
For months they are more than brothers: they share a cup, a bed, a heart. It is as close to happy as Richard has ever been.
When he leaves, he does not write because he thinks Philip would not answer, and because he has no words to say what is in his heart.
And so, when it comes, Philip's outstretched hand is his redemption.
For Philip, it is not so simple: layers of truth and lie fold over and around each other, like the petals of a rose. Philip is no longer sure whether there is truth at the heart, whether any of it is true or whether it is all true.
This is the truth Richard told him: that Philip fell from his horse, and when he awoke in Richard's arms, kissed him.
This is the truth that Philip thinks he remembers, although he may have invented it in the cold hours of the night in France, when Richard returned to England and his bed and his heart were empty: that he woke in Richard's arms and knew by the terror in his eyes and the shaking of the hands on his body that Richard loved him, and that Richard, overcome with relief, had kissed him like he wanted to make them two souls in one body.
This is the truth that he knows: Richard left, and did not write, and Philip, for pride, did not write either.
This is the truth he tells to Henry: that Richard pawed at him, and he bore it bravely as another weapon against Henry, for even then he was a vicious, vengeance-bound cur. And perhaps he came to not mind, even to care for Richard, who is so very earnest and caring and kind, whose heart would break if he knew that Philip only suffered his touch for the promise of revenge.
This is the final truth, the truth at the heart of the rose: that no matter how it happened, no matter that the look of fear and loss and self-hatred in Richard's eyes tears at Philip's heart, loving Richard as his own soul is not enough. His hatred of Henry is far stronger than his love of his soul.
This is the truth at the heart of the rose, and it is dust and ashes on his lips.