The first time he said he loved her he didn't mean to say it. It was something he thought he would never say. He had been suppressing it for so long, praying that the feeling would go away, because he could not afford to fall for this girl, not as francis, and definitely not as the dauphin of france. He had to be rational. He could not afford to have his feelings for her cloud his ability to make a decision that could cost him everything. But then he found himself, the prince of france, volunteering to take her place as ransom so as to save her from captivity, to save her from experiencing that terror, to shelter her from danger. Every part of his rational mind told him that this was a terrible idea, but he could not find it in his heart to let her face that sort of peril.When did he start thinking with his heart? And then when she chastised him for doing something so ridiculously mindless, something that put him in unimaginable danger, he couldn't help the three words that came out of his mouth.

why, why would you do something so stupid ?
because i love you .

Soft lips meeting his told him she felt the exact same way.

/

The moment he got down on one knee, her hands cradled in his, she knew that she would forever be his. A proposal was unnecessary, considering they had been betrothed long before either of them had any idea what marriage entailed. Marry me? Say yes. The act made her immensely happy, and no amount of the word yes could show him how thankful she was. She nodded and grinned at the simple words, giggling as he lifted her and spinned her. She smiled as he made promises to be by her side, to always be there for her, as he promised her things she never knew she wanted. And in that moment, she knew that a whole lifetime with him would be far less than she ever hoped she could have. He was her home, now, and forever, and she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

i'll pressure you and listen to you and argue with you and love you until the day i die.

And so he did just that.

/

The next time she told him she loved him, she had spent the night in his arms, warmer and safer than she had ever been. She knew she had to leave him to ensure he had a long life, to ensure he would be alive long enough to fulfil his destiny. That didn't make it any easier. It pained her to think that this would be the last time he would look at her with love, with anything other than disappointment and anger she was sure he would experience if she left. She said it to reassure herself, to ensure that he knew that this was how she felt, and this would always be how she felt, be it for better or for worse.

i want you to know, whatever happens that i love you.

/

The next time the both of them said those three words, it was out of utter desperation. He wanted to stop her from leaving him, to stop the person who meant the world to him from leaving his side. It was unimaginable for the future king of france to beg, and yet he found himself pleading for her to stay with him. She wanted to convince herself that what she was doing was the right thing, to prevent herself from turning back when he inevitably called for her to stop, to come back to him. It was the most difficult thing she had to do, hearing his voice crack as he pleaded with her, feeling herself advance further and further away from the only person she ever wanted to be with, seeing as he grew smaller and smaller until he was just a shadow in the distance.

have you not heard a word that i've said, i love you.

i love you.

He found himself searching every nook and cranny in france for her, sending all his men for her, spending all day from dusk to dawn riding to every possible hiding spot for the chance that she could be there, in the hope that he would see her again. He knew it was absurd, that he had no reason to care for a girl who obviously didn't care for him, if running away with his brother was any indication. But he needed to know, he needed to see her, to look her in the eye and ask her why she would do this to him, to tell her he couldn't live without her. He cared too much to let her go, it hurt too much to live without her, and wasn't this the reason he convinced himself he couldn't love her in the first place?

i love her, despite everything she's done.

/

It surprised her how easy it was to convince herself that she loved his brother, that she could spend the rest of her life with him and that she would be happy with just that. She made peace with the fact that this was what her life would be, and bash was the man she would be happy with. The look in francis' eyes when he said he would never forgive her, that icy tone that laced his words as he said 'long may you reign', the image of him walking away from her were things she pushed to the back of her mind, things she promised herself didn't matter, things she knew she needed to forget if she would ever be happy again. It never occurred to her that her love for him was the only thing that carried her through the days when she wanted to give up and cry her heart out for a prince she promised herself she would never love again.

i love you so much, and this is the only way i can think of to save you

As her gaze fell on the fallen prince, Mary could not take her eyes off the man she was convinced she would never see again. When she heard that there was a chance she could marry him, she felt her heart race, as she prayed that it would be true, hoping it wasn't some cruel practical joke the universe decided to play on her. The minute she opened that letter, the choice was clearer than crystal, as she hoped for and imagined a future with the man she loved. It was not until she uttered those very words to bash that she realised that this was how she felt the whole time. It was in that moment that she realised that her choice had been clear since the beginning.

i love francis more

/

Their long awaited union and honeymoon were things that felt like an elaborate dream, things that seemed to be too joyful and peaceful to have happened to two rulers who never had a chance to act before they thought. It was a haze in a place where only two people, who loved one another so much they were willing to give everything up for the other, existed. Yet the whole time they seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop, for a tragedy to occur to shatter the happiness, and it finally came in the form of the pressure for an heir. They had tried again and again, and after countless jabs and hints throughout the day on the subject, Mary was exhausted. Just as she found herself treating making love to her husband as more of an obligation than an enjoyment, he said those words that made her smile and lean in for another kiss.

i don't make love to you because i want a baby. i want a baby because i love you.

/

You never really know when it will be the last time you declare your love to the person who means the world to you, and he really didn't. It was one of those days where the both of them had spent the whole day with advisors, barely catching a glimpse of one another despite being in the same quarters. Those days were tiring, and made one feel so bored they just wished they had anything else in the world to do. It was ironic how the last day they had together had to be one of the most mundane in a lifetime of arguments and wars. He had just finished with everything on the agenda and headed back to his room where his wife was in bed, waiting for him to join her. He had never been happier to sit in comfortable silence, arms wrapped around the one he loved as she drifted into a deep sleep. Seeing Mary sound asleep, he pulled the covers just a little higher to ensure she would be warm enough in the cold winter night, and pressed a tender kiss to her forehead as he said i love you. It was something he did every single night, how could he have known this was the last?

[ till the day i die, till my last breath, till my last waking moment, remember that i love you, and i always will. ]

/

The last time she told him she loved him was on the worst day of her entire life. It was the day she lost her best friend, her confidant and the day she lost the man who held her heart. She screamed it with the best doctors in the city gathered around her, her ladies attempting to pull her away from the body that was turning cold in her arms.wake up francis, wake up, you don't get to do this to me, not after everything we've been through. She said it as sobs wrecked through her entire body, tears free falling as she imagined a life without her beloved. i love you.i always will.

And so she did.