Author's note: This was written for a request at the kink meme. It was for a country/human fic and how the country would handle loving a human knowing that they would outlive them, and my immediate thought was England/Queen Elizabeth I. I had to do some swift research and then I ended up writing this entire thing at 3 am in the morning =_= I apologize if there are any mistakes here, as I am not that well-versed in English history. I got all my info off wikipedia and from what I remember learning way back in school ^_^;
I now ship these two so hard like you guys have no idea.
She had captivated him the moment she took the throne in 1559. She was such a headstrong woman, with ideals and plans that made him proud. He remembered the first time they met. It was the night of her coronation and he had been invited (obviously). Most people in the palace knew him simply as Lord Arthur Kirkland, the loyalist servant to the kingdom. A select few knew his real identity.
When he came upon Elizabeth, she eyed him suspiciously. He took her hand within his own and placed a kiss upon it. "It is an honor to finally meet you, your highness," he said breathlessly.
"Who are you?" she demanded. Her voice was beautiful; powerful; everything he could have hoped for in a ruler.
"I am that which you love."
Her brows furrowed. "I love no one."
"You love your country."
"I…" Her eyes widened then and a silent understanding passed between them. England bowed with a smile.
"I was not what you expected?"
"Hardly," she replied, regaining herself. "I do not expect to meet my country on most days."
He chuckled and took her hand within his own again. "Elizabeth, we can make a wonderful kingdom together. Just you and I."
He grew to love her as time passed. It was only fair, he reasoned, since she loved him so much. She never told him directly, but he knew that each time she denied a marriage proposal, she was thinking only of her duties to her country. He loved that she remained pure for him (he told himself that was why she was a virgin). But one day, after she had denied yet another proposal and she was alone in her study, he visited her.
"I heard you crushed another man's dream of marrying you," he said with a smirk.
"Fools, all of them," she spat. "I do not need a man to help me rule this kingdom."
"You need me," he quipped.
She looked up at him and smiled slightly. "But you are no ordinary man, Lord Kirkland."
"That is true." He walked behind her. "Why do you not call me by my real name?" he asked. "You proclaim your love to me so much I thought we were through with formal titles."
He told himself that she was blushing. Who wouldn't? "It is improper for me to address you otherwise," she retorted. "Now would you kindly leave? I would like to be alone."
"Elizabeth," he said softly, leaning towards her ear. She turned around sharply. He grinned back at her.
"Do not play games with me."
"You should know me well enough to know that I don't play games." He put his hands on her shoulders then and she instantly flinched away from him. His eyes widened. She had never reacted like that. Never. Was something wrong? No, no there couldn't be anything wrong with his queen. Not his beloved queen… "Elizabeth?"
"Leave," she snarled, masking her fear well.
He left, wondering what had made her so terrified and untrustworthy, even of her country.
It was 1562, and a case of smallpox had infected her. His people were in disarray at the prospect that their queen could die. England was only now realizing how dangerous this infatuation was becoming. Elizabeth was only human – she would die someday, unlike him. The prospect of losing her so soon was not welcome. He stayed by her side throughout the illness, disregarding that her beauty was fading. That didn't matter to him. He still loved her and always would.
It was when he was at sea in 1588, fighting against the Spanish Armada when he realized just how much he had fallen in love with her. She was unlike any of his other previous bosses. Mary had been horrid and all who came before weren't any better. No, Elizabeth was special. She had had to fight for her place and he admired her spirit. When he returned to land, victorious, he saw her waiting for him covered in beautiful armor and smiled.
"It is good to see you, your highness," he bowed, his smile wolfish.
"Indeed, Lord Kirkland," she answered. "What of the Armada?"
"Destroyed," he said proudly. "They were no match for English ships."
Elizabeth seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and turned towards the many English troops behind her. Her speech was riveting and inspiring and only told him how much she loved him and would die for him. She was his queen and his alone.
Suitors continued to come for her, even in her later years. England laughed at the men that tried and failed to win her heart. She only had room for him in her life, as it were. Even though he looked not a day over twenty, she was already well up there in her years.
"I am an old woman," she told him solemnly. "I do not understand why you still love me."
"For the same reason you continue loving me, Elizabeth," he replied, brushing his fingers delicately through her hair.
"You are a beautiful man," she mumbled, touching his face for the first time in all that they had known each other. "Your eyes of emerald, your hair of grain, your skin of pearl…how does someone so remarkable still continue to pledge himself to me?"
He took her hand in his own and nuzzled it against his cheek. How he adored her, even now. "You have captivated me," he whispered. "Your words, your manners, your emotions…everything. I do not say this to just anyone. You are my queen, Elizabeth, forever and always." He stole a kiss from her lips, though it was swift. In that one moment after he pulled away, he found her to be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
The constant news of her friends' deaths was putting an enormous burden on Elizabeth. England could see it in her eyes. She was tired and depressed. She closed herself off from others, even him. His heart ached for her, knowing he could do nothing to better her mood. And when her cousin, the Countess of Nottingham, passed away in February 1603, it seemed to drive Elizabeth into a melancholy that no one could break her out of. She allowed for him to see her in March.
She might as well have been a corpse. Her body looked frail; so unlike the strong one he was used to seeing. "Elizabeth," he called to her softly, touching her face.
She opened her eyes and nodded to him. "You still love me even now?" she questioned, her voice scratchy.
"Yes. With all my heart," he answered. He took her hand in his own, like he always did, and held it to his mouth. "I have loved you for years, Elizabeth. I've told you this countless times." He brushed a hand through her hair. "And even though you have become like this, I will not stop. You did not stop loving me; not for an instant."
She smiled then. "To hear my country proclaim his love for me, why, I must be the luckiest woman on the planet."
"Indeed," he laughed.
"So I will be known as the queen who loved her country then."
"No, you will be known for so much more. I'll make sure of it."
"You are too kind to me, Lord Kirkland."
"Please, will you drop the title just this once? Call me by name. I want to hear it from your lips."
Elizabeth paused for a moment. "Very well." Her hand squeezed his. "You have been by my side for a long time, Arthur."
He smiled. "Yes."
"It is nice to have you see me off as well."
"My time has come, Arthur. Do not make excuses." Her eyes softened then at the disheartened look on his face. "Do not cry for me when I am gone. I am not worth your tears."
"You're worth everything," he insisted.
An hour later, she was gone. He refused to leave her side, even when the people around him were crying and telling him he couldn't stay any longer. He watched as they carried her body away. And not a few hours later did he get news of her successor, James VI of Scotland. But he didn't care.
Her funeral wasn't until April, but what a marvelous funeral it was. All around him, England heard his people crying for Elizabeth. He wanted to cry with them. He wanted to express just how deeply this affected him and how terribly he was going to miss his beautiful queen. He had loved her like no other man. He would have given her everything.
Her death made him realize that loving a human was foolish. Their life spans were too short but the pain they left behind was long. It would take years and years before he could truly forget Elizabeth. But time was a luxury he had, after all.
-Elizabeth took the throne after her sister, Mary I (Bloody Mary) died and named her as her heir, at the age of 25. It was long thought she would never take the throne after being deemed the illegitimate child of Henry VIII.
-When she was 14, she was taken in by her father's last wife and her husband, Thomas Seymour. Seymour reportedly made advances toward Elizabeth and molested her, which many believe that this affected her in later years and one of the reasons she never married.
-Elizabeth was presented with many suitors to marry, and even considered some of them. But in the end, she never married and remained a virgin until her death.
-In 1588, English ships fought with the Spanish Armada and won, resulting in one of Elizabeth's most celebrated speeches.
-In 1562, a case of smallpox infected Elizabeth, leaving her half bald and dependant on wigs and cosmetics. It's stated that "the more her beauty faded, the more her courtiers praised it."
-In 1602, a string of deaths of Elizabeth's close friends resulted in her going into a depression. The death of her cousin and close friend, Catherine Carey the Countess of Nottingham in February 1603, was the last straw and she eventually fell ill in March, going into a "settled and unremovable melancholy."
-She died on March 24, 1603 in the early hours of the morning. James VI of Scotland was then proclaimed as king of England.
-Elizabeth's funeral was in April and her coffin was taken on Westminster Abbey on a hearse drawn by four horses with black velvet. According to John Stow, a chronicler at the funeral: "Westminster was surcharged with multitudes of all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads and gutters, that came out to see the obsequy, and when they beheld her statue lying upon the coffin, there was such a general sighing, groaning and weeping as the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man."