♔ Equals ♕ {Francis♥Mary} #295: "I will love you for the rest of my life, and I will never let you go again."

♚ & ♛
francis & mary

e q u a l s;
“She's his equal in every way.
He loves her. She loves him.”

★ ★ ★


Mary and Francis were childhood playmates, each one remembering their shared history fondly: the falling feathers, the laughter, the general mayhem they brought to the castle halls. “Francis is a girl’s name,” young Mary whispered as they raced up the stairs hand-in-hand. Fast-forward to years later and it’s almost like meeting again for the first time. Mary stands nervously on the front lawn, searching for the boy she once knew as a child. “Is that Francis?” one of her ladies inquires, but the man before her is not the right one. Not at all. She continues to search the unfamiliar faces, hoping … and that’s when Francis appears. She knows him in a heartbeat and her face lights up. What a relief, what luck …

If they were just a girl and just a boy, things would be so simple, but most worthwhile things never are … Their first conflict is head vs. heart – Mary and Francis are not your average teenagers, they are rulers of nations, and as such, their obligation to their countries far outweighs their desire for their own happiness. It is Francis who understands this well before Mary arrives, causing him to keep her at arm’s length ... he cannot let himself love her, it’s far too dangerous for both his nation and his heart. And it isn’t long before Mary’s duty to protect Scotland teaches her that Francis is right.

“Love is irrelevant to people like us,
a privilege we do not share.”

And yet … The heart wants what the heart wants – Mary and Francis yearn for one another. Mary already loves him and all she desires is for him to love her in return. He tries to fight the pull, but the pull is far too strong. Logic, reason and duty fall to the wayside; his heart tells him to love her relentlessly, and it is far too loud for him to ignore. The chemistry is palpable long before their hands clasp together or their lips and tongues touch. The sparks ignite with every gaze – with just a breath of air between them. In a moment alone by a lakeside at sunset or clinging to each other by firelight, their passion burns like a supernova. Mary had once vowed to save Francis, and when Mary’s life and reputation are put at risk, Francis proves that he’d be willing to do the same – even at the risk of his own life. Mary goes to him afterwards, her body humming with the fear of losing the man she loves and the realization of just what he was willing to give up for her. She beats her fists against his chest, begging him to tell her why he would be so stupid, and the answer takes her breath away.

“Because I love you …”

It is no wonder then, that all previous bumps in the road are long forgotten. #thepull now rules their heads and their bodies as well as their hearts. He whispers for her to tell him when to stop and she replies, “Never …”

After weeks of "never stopping," they share an intimate morning together full of hopes and dreams of their shared future. Lounging in bed, enjoying a moment of precious stillness (™Kayeberrie), imagining a future full of children and grandchildren. Tickles and giggles with no inhibitions. The bliss of being in love, the comfort and freedom they feel in each other’s arms – it is everything they'd ever wanted and more. When he proposes to her later that day, they are so overjoyed that they literally resort to twirling and skipping through a meadow. The highest of the highs …

… lead to the lowest of the lows. No OTP is complete without its fair share of angst, and these two have heapfuls to spare. A prophecy looms, tying Mary and Francis’ marriage to Francis’ premature death; Mary’s desperate attempt to save the man that she loves, turns the world upside down and shatters both their hearts into tiny pieces. There is absolutely nothing she wouldn’t do to save him and nothing he wouldn’t do to be with her until his dying day, whether far or soon.

Francis accepts his defeat, believing the love of his life, as well as his crown, are lost to him. He takes the freedom that once belonged to his brother and he disappears … Mary, left behind with a broken heart, finds herself desperately trying to keep her plan to save Francis afloat. It weighs heavily on her, but she uses all her strength to do what needs to be done and tries to make the best of her new, darker world. She is just coming to a place of acceptance in this world, when Francis’ sudden and unexpected return begins to pull her back to the light.

The revelation that the prophecy has changed begins to tear down the walls of Mary’s new reality. She is afraid to believe, she is terrified to trust that it won’t be taken away once again. However, when her greatest foe, Catherine, grants her a free and clear choice to be with the man she truly loves, she takes this gift and runs with it. Quite literally. Racing desperately through the castle hallways she searches for the only man who has ever been in her heart. With tears of joy she flings herself into his waiting arms and lips, drinking him in after a seemingly endless drought.

“You. It’s you. It’s always been you.”

Francis reciprocates her kisses; they are the glue that mends his broken heart. The third time’s the charm, as he asks her once more to become his wife.The wedding day solidifies that these two equal halves are now one unbreakable whole. They are equals in their marriage, partners in all things for their rest of their lives. As Queen and King Consort of Scotland, and someday King and Queen Consort of France, they will share the burden of ruling their people with clear heads and compassion. It is their combined strength as a #powercouple that has them poised to be truly great leaders. Together they will overcome all future obstacles, til death do they part.

But, happily ever after was just the beginning …

After months away from court, reveling in nothing but their freedom to love each other, they begrudgingly return to the land of politics, backstabbing and murder. No sooner do they arrive at the castle than outside forces seek to chip away at their blissful union. The repercussions of each of their choices whilst they were apart are the foremost obstacles in their path. Seeds of doubt are sown, friends’ betrayals are revealed, but through it all Mary fiercely defends her marriage … and Francis is none the wiser.

Navigating mistakes of the past is one thing, the real challenge is navigating the politics of their future. Their original dilemma of head vs. heart has been magnified 1000-fold now that they are man and wife. Each of them are forced to put their countries first at times when they would rather not have to do so.

Mary is the first to take this step, putting her husband’s kingdom in jeopardy, when she is backed into a corner. Francis is left unsettled by his wife’s actions, but soon faces a similar dilemma. What is best for France and Scotland are again at odds, but Francis is less willing to accept the rules he had originally laid out for Mary all that time ago. He does not choose to be a great King or a great husband, he chooses to be both. He chooses compromise.

Putting Mary first may not be a luxury he can afford as King, but he does all he can to do exactly that. Unfortunately, when her life is in jeopardy, he can no longer follow through. As Mary had done for him once before, he chooses her life over her happiness, and locks his furious wife in the tower for her own safety.

“I love you, and I’ve put you first.”

With tension between them already running high, the political battlefield turns from a metaphorical one, to a literal one. Francis bargains with Mary’s nefarious uncle to get her the help she needs, blatantly going against his own best interests. With all that he has to give, he chooses Mary first yet again. Willingly putting his own life in jeopardy. But no sooner had Francis saved the day, than an even greater danger threatened them all – a mad king.

Forced to take his army – Mary’s army – and save both nations, Francis must break his promise yet again. He is beside himself, begging for his wife’s forgiveness. Mary, having come full circle, echoes Francis from the start of journey. She accepts that he must do what a Future King should do, and laments her inability to do the same. Her words of regret visibly shake him until she continues with a declaration of love and plea for his safe return.

The two are parted, Francis off to war and Mary left behind to face a far darker battle – a loss of her innocence. It is during this time, that they each continue on their journey to becoming the rulers they are meant to be. Francis leads men with compassion and inspires loyalty. Mary outsmarts Catherine and sacrifices a life for her own. Once again, the absence of Francis leaves Mary's life shrouded in darkness.

When Francis returns, a true hero, a stirring speech in the courtyard is cut short as he lays eyes on the woman whose face he’s dreamed about for months. The lovers embrace and despite the political tide rising around them, they waste no time in escaping to their chambers and ripping each other’s clothes off. All previous transgressions are forgiven as they kiss each other senseless. There is nothing left in that room but them and their undying love for one another.

“I thought I’d never get to tell you again … I love you.”

Once again, wishing they could stay in their happy-bubble is unrealistic with so much transpiring outside their bedroom walls. The English Queen is dead and Mary is expected to stake her claim … or not. Francis assures her that he is by her side, whatever her decision. And as the threat of King Henry’s madness threatens to undo them all, Mary agrees to let Francis have more time to fix things. However, Mary ends up caving to Catherine’s pressure, and the two Queens take matters into their own hands behind Francis’ back. When the plan backfires, Francis is rightfully angry at the plot to murder his father. He is left wondering who his wife is becoming?

Before that question can be answered, the King’s madness worsens, leading Francis to concede that there is no hope for his father. With things spiraling and men's lives in the balance, it is Francis himself, unbeknownst to anyone else, who is forced to take Henry's life. The action takes it’s toll on him emotionally. So, as Mary confides her fears to him – that she is becoming someone he will not love – his desire to confess his sin nearly pours out of him.

“Don't grow harder, share your burdens,
tell me your darkest truths, and I will tell you mine …
If we can forgive each other, perhaps we can forgive ourselves.”

There is hope and relief in Mary’s eyes. This is the solution to both their woes; this is the solution to their marital discord. They will share their burdens as they were always meant to, and it will cleanse their souls … but, the universe has other plans. It always does.

The moment is shattered by the news that Francis is about to become a father – Lola, carrying his unborn child, has gone into labor outside the castle walls. It is a blow to realize that Mary had known this secret all along, but there is no time for reflection. As he hurries for the castle gates, Mary discovers that a new threat has arisen – a plague that threatens them all. Anyone who leaves the castle will be at risk. She catches Francis just in time, telling him that he cannot leave, reminding him that he is now the King of France and no longer has the luxury of obeying his heart. Francis doesn’t miss a beat, “That is not the kind of King I want to be.”

He rides through the gates and Mary orders them lowered behind him. A lingering glance passes between them: He is choosing his heart; she is choosing her duty to their people.

We may not know exactly what the future holds, but one thing is for certain:
The love story of Mary Queen of Scots and King Francis II shall never be forgotten by history.

[written by firewall / Rachel]
[top artwork by reign_demedicifan / Issi]
[story artwork by kategrinstead / Kate]

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