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Reconciling with the Fool

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‘My bedchamber. The privy room. My private room and your chamber, Tom Badgerlock.’

Lord Golden twirled as he pointed to each of the rooms, they were elegant and colourful, truly fitting for the vanities of the young noble. Lord Golden is a Jamallian noble, the newest gem in Buckkeep court and the source of all gossip. He was also my closest friend. The Fool had a completely different personality to Lord Golden, he was kind and thoughtful and cared about our friendship whereas Lord Golden was a vain man with only self interest and a lot of money to spend.

I went to unpack my belongings in my chamber but when I opened the door I was shocked at the sight. The room smelt musty and was completely dark, there were no windows, only 4 walls, a roof and a bed, it was hardly inviting. ‘Why’s it so dark, are there no candles along the walls?’

‘Tom Badgerlock, a servant does not require the same luxuries as a noble. Come, I’ll show the real purpose for the dark.’ I resented the role of Master and Servant, I missed my beloved. He took my hand in his gloved one and led me into the room. This simple gesture reminded me of our former days in Buckkeep, often the Fool would attempt to embarrass me by holding my hand or strolling arm in arm throughout the court to display our love. Of course everyone believed it to be another jest by the Kings Fool. Even I believed it to be a jest at the time.

‘If you touch here you’ll feel a slight bump, press on it firmly and it should catch.’ He led my hand to an uneven surface located in the centre of the wall. I pressed the catch and a door unlocked from behind me. ‘Where does it lead?’ Could it be a secret corridor leading to Chade’s workroom just like the one from when I was FitzChivalry at Buckkeep. ‘It gives you access to most of the rooms and halls of Buckkeep so you can work discreetly, if you follow the staircase it’ll lead to Chade’s workroom. I believe Chade will be waiting for you.’ I thanked the Fool and made my way up the winding staircase.

Chade’s room looked the same as it always had, herbs and powders littered the wooden table in the centre, scrolls flowed from various shelves and the fire was still alight. The day’s journey was creeping up on me so I sank into Chade’s chair whilst trying to fight off sleep. Maybe Nighteyes will get enough sleep for the both of us. Why visit the Grey one when you can sleep in your chambers? He had a good point but as much as I’d like to sleep now, the small room frightened me, would I be able to spend a night there with no windows? The moonlight wouldn’t be able to shine through, and there’d be no sound of the wind and no light breeze to ensure a peaceful sleep. No, I’d just as well stay awake here than sleep in that room. Nighteyes sighed as a response and then curled up to sleep.

‘Fitz!’ Chade’s voice woke me with a start. ‘I think it’d be best if you go to your own chambers to sleep tonight, my matter isn’t urgent, I but wished to see you were well.’ He all but shoved me back down the staircase and into my empty room. All thoughts of sleep had left me as I stood in the centre of the room. Despite the Fool placing woollen sheets on the bed, the place still looked uninviting. I decided I’d rather make a pallet next to the Fools bed and have a comfortable night’s sleep. I just hope Lord Golden wouldn’t mind too much.

If I were still Fitz and Lord Golden still the Fool I wouldn’t have hesitated when knocking on his bed chamber doors. Since I’d arrived at Buckkeep, Lord Golden had been the insufferable noble everyone expected of him. I was desperate to speak to my old friend, to confide in him my fears for Nighteyes and to show him how much I missed him. Lord Golden didn’t seem to miss me, but maybe the Fool did.

I knocked upon the door and anxiously awaited a response. ‘Tom? Are you alright?’ I took that as a sign to enter his rooms. The room was dark but a sliver of light entered through an open window and a cool breeze greeted me. In the midst of a King size bed lay a slender figure, his silky hair fanned out across the pillows and looked to be various shades of gold, the moons light created dancing shadows across his cheekbones and his small smile made him look most endearing. I wondered how such a man could look so pretty when just awoken from sleep.

‘Lord Golden, as a servant I know it is only proper to sleep in my own chambers, but tonight I fear I won’t be able to sleep at all in the enclosed space. I can’t explain my fear, other than I feel so distant from Nighteyes and it puts me on edge.’

‘Oh Fitz, stop calling me Lord Golden.’ He sighed and put familiarity back into the atmosphere, ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you all day as the Fool.’ I smiled, ‘Fool, oh how I have missed you! Talking to Lord Golden is a grim task, I miss my friend. It scares me to see how perfectly you act as a Jamallian noble and I often wonder whether you miss me at all.’ I looked down and averted my eyes, I didn’t want him to see the true extent of my hurt. To me it wasn’t like missing a friend who didn’t care for me, but like missing a lover.

I heard him sit up and walk a little closer, stopping just short from me he clasped my hand in his own. ‘Fitz, it taxes me to treat you as a servant when I know you are my greatest friend. It breaks my heart to catch you staring at me expecting me to break out of this foolish act when I know I cannot. I miss you even when you’re in front of me.’ He closed his eyes but couldn’t suppress the single tear which rolled down his cheek. ‘It’s ok Fool, we can have more times like this when it’s just us, Fitz and the Fool.’ I hugged him tightly, his body was shivering whilst he sobbed. I didn’t realise my friend had missed me too, it shocked me that our roles as Tom Badgerlock and Lord Golden had been hard to endure for the both of us. I broke apart our hug and regarded him at arm’s length. ‘Fool, we must sleep tonight for we have an early rise in the morning. Is it ok if I make up a pallet by your bed so I can sleep comfortably?’

‘If you’d like, you could share my bed for the night? It’s large enough for two. I’ve missed you so much that even knowing you’re close by me would help.’ I’d have loved to take him up on his offer but I feared if I were to sleep near the Fool I might not be able to control my affections for him. I tried to deny the offer but he caught me by the wrist, ‘Beloved, please would you share the bed with me tonight, it would be a great comfort..’ His eyes pleaded with mine.

‘Beloved’ I whispered the word, it sounded wonderful coming from his lips. ‘Do you really love me Fool?’ He hesitated, ‘You asked me this once before Fitz, the answer is the same, my love has no bounds,’ he looked down as if ashamed by his answer, ‘If you feel that you cannot share the same bed as me tonight on the basis that I love you then I fear I can’t...’

I put a finger to his lips to quiet him. ‘I love you Fool, it’s taken me a time to realise it but now I can’t bear to keep it from you. It was stupid of me to have once flung harsh words around and to not have considered your feelings, I’m sorry Fool.’ I embraced him again and briefly kissed his cheek. When our eyes met again they were swirling with warmth, he smiled as he said, ‘Thank you Fitz’

We crawled under the feather duvet, the Fool curled up and I hugged him tightly to my chest. ‘You know Fitz, if the servants find us in the morning there’ll be a scandal.’ We both laughed delightedly, ‘Imagine the gossip, Lord Golden bedding with his servant Tom Badgerlock, it adds a bit of eccentricity to your name. I wonder what Chade and Kettricken would do if they found out.’ The Fool turned to face me, we lay in a tight embrace with his head resting on my shoulder, I moved my hand to tousle with his golden hair whilst somewhere in the distance a wolf howled in agreement. This is pack. ‘Goodnight Beloved.’ ‘Goodnight Fool.’

The night proved to be peaceful, the fool smiled as he slept in my embrace and at some point in the night he clasped our hands together. We were finally together, old hurts had been put to rest and we were whole.