Disclaimer: No infringement intended. I do not own these characters or the lovely lines from the movie.
A/N: This was inspired by the prompt 'tell me that you'll open your eyes' for Victoria/Albert of the Young Victoria movie at ineffort's awesome ladies ficathon meme. It contains spoilers for the entire movie.

It is during the month of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven, that a man's breath stops and a woman becomes Queen. She is young and inexperienced, but she is willing to learn.

From now on, everyone will push and pull you for their own advantage, the Queen Dowager tells her, as if Victoria has never been subjected to such treatment.

She still recalls the push of Sir John's hand as he sought to press her signature to a piece of paper, and the pull of her mother's as the Duchess kept her from ascending a staircase without Lehzen in tow.

But Victoria is no longer a pawn in her mother's household, to be shoved into submission and locked away.

She is the Queen of England, and everyone in the kingdom - including her mother - must bow down to her.

So maybe she has not yet mastered the rules of the game. But, from now on, she is the most powerful piece.

And it is only by her order that any moves can be made.

You are stronger than you look, he reminds her, in an echo of her own words.

She steels herself against the still-angry crowds, and his voice rings loud in her ears to drown out their cries.

It is late one night, as her fingers trace the handwriting of his latest letter, that she realizes that she does not need the people's forgiveness. What she needs is to feel less alone in the world.

What she wants is happiness, and that the people cannot give her.

So she summons him to England, and feels her longing for him increase to the point that she can think of little else but his impending arrival.

We will take care of each other, won't we?, and she's not referring to the dangerous game of chess they must play together, not thinking about Parliament or Court or anyone else.

Always, he promises, convincing her by a gentle tug of her lips.

It is a push and pull that she never had the pleasure of experiencing before him, even more entrancing than a waltz.

If he is trying to take advantage of her through it, she does not feel it.

All she feels is safe.

For pity's sake, smile, woman, he cajoles her, as if she is simply a hysterical wife and not the disobeyed Queen.

Don't talk to me, she commands him, turning away to stare at the crowd.

It is five minutes later that she is crouching over his unconscious body, her hands on his face and her lips inches from his, begging him to say anything at all.

Open your eyes, she pleads with him, certain that she will never order him around so insensitively again.

He might be stupid and insufferable, but she knows now that he is the only person she can trust without reserve, the only man as passionate as she is about the causes she holds dear.

I can't lose you, she wants to tell him, because - even though there is a life growing inside of her - she has never felt more alone.

It is during the month of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty, that a man's breath nearly stops and a woman almost becomes a widow. She is young and unprepared, and it is a lesson she will never forget.