More than 20 years passed by and Philippe de Lorraine had convinced himself that he never loved Monsieur. That their relationship was purely based in money, gifts and power. It was easier to think of it that way. And maybe he wasn't that wrong, and love was never the reason he stayed all these years. After all now that he was old, all Monsieur asked from him was to bring young men for him to play with and to love as he pleased. Philippe told himself he didn't mind, he didn't love him, this was pure business... and he was just securing his safety and not being thrown into a prison cell for sodomy.
Then why? Why did he crave Monsieur's attention after all these years? Why did he go so far to please him? There were far more easy ways to obtain fame, money, safety and glory. And all of them were more stable than being in the Monsieur's favour. He had been a great soldier in his youth, if he pursued his military career he was sure that he would be remembered as that and the glory would be much greater. Instead, he would be forever remembered as the Duke of Orleans' lover, or Henrietta's poisoner, depending on who you ask.
But there were rare occasions in which Monsieur seem to want him, and who was Philippe to deny him that pleasure. The question still prevailed, did Monsieur still want him? Did Philippe want him? Did he still love Monsieur? Sometimes he did wonder. He was sure he did once in his youth. It was impossible not to fall for him...
He was beautiful in his youth, more beautiful than any woman in France, and the world, he was kind to him, and brave.
In the present day, the truth was: his position was at stake, with all those new boys Monsieur asked him to bring. Of course, he and the Marquis D'Effiat did all they could to keep them in line, but they would never know if one of them would fall into Monsieur's favour and steal Monsieur's heart the way he did in his time.
Maybe the solution was to leave Saint Cloud, and save himself the embarrassment of one day being “replaced”.
And if the King wanted something from him, he could always pay a visit to Saint Cloud and convince Monsieur to do whatever the King wanted him to do.
Before starting the arrangements to leave, he decided to pay Monsieur a visit to inform him of his intentions.
Philippe stopped before knocking the door. He didn't know what to expect. Monsieur could be unpredictable. His bad temper was well-known across France. There were many situations to prove that. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door
“Come in.” He heard the Duke say behind the door. Philippe opened the door to find him by the fireplace with a glass of wine in one of this heavily adorned hands. He turned his head to see who was “Oh. It is only you.”
Those simple 4 words pierced through him like a sword.
“I'm sorry to disappoint” his voice was cold, detached, hiding the real pain the Duke just caused him. “I just came to inform your Royal Highness that tomorrow I will leave Saint-Cloud.”
“Why?” asked Monsieur in such a way it was almost a cry, putting his glass back on the table turning his head to see the face of the man he loved.
“I know that now that I am old, I am no longer in your favour. It is clear to me that you don't desire me any more.” He tried to keep his detached tone but “I can send you the boys from my own house, and save the embarrassment of seeing myself being replaced.”
By now Monsieur had left his chair and approached him and took his hands.
“That's not true! I love you, and I want you.”
“How do I know that?”
“I'll do anything you want, just tell me how can I show you that I still love you?”
“Let the boys go and stay only with me. Let me be your only favourite.” pleaded Philippe, caressing his lovers face and putting his once blond hair behind his year before kissing him.
“You just had to ask!”