Author's Note: I do not own Reign, but the story is mine =) Neither do I claim any historical accuracy ;-) Please enjoy this one-shot!
The smell of gunpowder radiated upwards, even to the highest balcony of Linlithgow Palace. Mary detested the new weaponry becoming prevalent across Europe, though they were most effective in eradicating the enemy. The enemy. Mary could see the fiery red hair of her cousin Elizabeth, leading her armies as she was well-known for doing. Threats against Elizabeth, and England, had been growing in number, though Mary never sanctioned them. She encouraged her people to live harmoniously with their neighbors in England, but skirmishes along the border only grew more and more violent.
The mist from the Loch masked the larger number of Elizabeth's army from view, but Mary knew, from her scouts, that their numbers were great. She struggled to maneuver her growing belly so she could see the bridge leading from the castle. Though she had loyal supporters in her homeland, she was afraid they would be no match for the English experience and might.
His short brown hair stood out at the front of her soldiers, for he refused to wear the heavy metal plates and armor. Crossing herself, Mary prayed for a shift resolution to this conflict. A resolution, hopefully, without any bloodshed. A small ray of sunshine filtered through the fog and mist, illuminating a small patch of earth between the two advancing armies. The baby gave a shift kick, causing Mary to gasp. It was nearly time for the child to greet the world, but Mary fervently prayed it would not be today. Their two other children were safe in Falkland Palace, a place Mary wished they could be as well.
A sudden battle cry arose, and Mary jumped. She saw Elizabeth hoist her arm, sword held high, and charge forward on her black steed. The fog and mist parted, funneling the English army toward her castle. Mary heard the answering, guttural sound, and her armies charged. Between the ringing of the guns and the clashing of swords, Mary covered her ears. With God's mercy, please let this be over.
Mary had watched in horror as her army was pushed further and further back towards the castle. She feared this day would come, when she would lose Scotland to England, but she never dreamed it would be in her lifetime. She sat on her throne, attempting the most regal stance she could muster at nine months with child. She had polished her crown, and it glistened in the light of the candles. Impatiently, she waited. Any minute the door of her throne room would be busted open or torn down, an enemy army creeping within its most precious walls. A few of her ladies remained by her side, refusing to evacuate the castle with others in the days prior.
Mary heard the shouts. The English army was anything but quiet. The doors flew open, and in marched two lines of soldiers. Mary bristled at their forwardness. The soldiers stopped when they lined the entire walls in the throne room. A heralder marched forward, blowing a quick regal entrance tune. Elizabeth strode forward, her hair flying wildly behind her. Wrapped within her pristine armor, not a scratch to behold, she was impressive.
"Cousin, I do so dislike meeting on such terms." Elizabeth stood before Mary, her words laced with malice. "If only you were not constantly trying to take my crown and my country."
"It is good to see you too, cousin." Mary replied with equal distaste. "As God as my witness, I can honestly tell you I have never sought your throne. Nor would I ever."
Elizabeth chuckled, pacing around Mary's throne. She covetously eyed the items in the throne room, her gaze stopping most noticeably on Mary's crown. "You humor me, Mary. Lying does not suit you."
"Assuming I lie does you a great disservice." Mary matched the staunch stare of her cousin. Elizabeth chuckled again.
"You do amaze me, you know. Lying to my face is very brave, and very foolish." Elizabeth turned to walk the few steps out of the throne room. She motioned with her arm, before coming to stand in front of Mary again.
"Maybe I can persuade you to admit to your treasonous plots? I do so hate executing my relations." The commotion behind Elizabeth caused Mary to rise unsteadily, unsure of what was about to happen. Several English guards entered the room, dragging a limp body between them. Mary felt the uncontrollable fear rise within her. One hand gripped her belly protectively, the baby kicking in response. She felt the nails of her other hand dig into her cheeks. She stifled the gasp that threatened to escape. She did not want to show weakness in front of Elizabeth, but her heart was breaking.
"Oh, so this is not your most beloved?" Elizabeth asked, a lilt of humor in her voice.
"You mock me, cousin." Elizabeth nodded behind her, and one of the guards stepped forward, kicking the man in the stomach. He emitted a weak moan, and the guard laughed, moving to kick him again. "Stop! Stop! Stop!" Mary screamed hobbling forward from her throne and falling most ungracefully beside the man. "Please stop." She whimpered.
"Ah, so it is him? We have heard the stories in England. The bastard who leads your armies, who stands by your side, and who occupies your bed." Mary glared at her cousin. "And apparently a bastard begets more bastards." Elizabeth gestured to Mary's swollen belly. Mary stood, approaching her cousin so they stood face to face.
"Why are you so critical of who shares my bed? Is not yours occupied by your Master of the Horse? Tell me, dear cousin, does he ride well?" The resounding slap could be heard all the way to England. Mary fingered her cheek lightly, the sting of Elizabeth's hand refusing to leave.
"You would do well not to anger me. If I was not so feeling towards the child you carry I would drag you out to that bloodied green and have your head as we speak." Elizabeth pointed towards the balcony that overlooked the battlefield.
"Thank you for showing some compassion. I thought you were incapable of such emotion." Elizabeth laughed loudly this time.
"Do not push me, Mary."
Mary made her way back over to the body lying immobile in the floor. Gingerly, she sat on the stone floor, placing his head in her lap. He was bloodied, and bruised, but he was breathing. Mary sent a quick prayer of thanks to God for granting her at least a few more blessed minutes with him. She hoped it would be more than a few. Brushing the sweat-soaked hair away from this forehead, she placed a gentle kiss on his brow.
"Oh Lord, are you going to be all teary-eyed on us? Such displays do not befit a Queen." Elizabeth muttered, walking around the throne room and inspecting the tapestries closer.
"Maybe not to you." Mary whispered, gazing lovingly at her lover. He had risked everything coming to Scotland with her after Francis had died. She had risked everything taking him as a lover when he could never be her husband, king or consort. But neither cared. Her council and court loved him, accepting him as a crucial fixture of the Scottish court, and pivotal to Mary's life. When their first child was born, a boy, her privy council worked hours upon hours securing the legal and correct documentation for an Act of Succession. Their daughter was born a few years later, the spitting image of Mary. And now, their third child was due any day. Mary hoped he would live long enough to see his child. Mary hoped they, together, would live long enough to see their other children again.
"What do you plan to do with us, cousin? As I have told you, I have made no plots to overthrow you. I have no wish to rule the English throne."
"No doubt, seeing as you cannot control the lords within your own land. You could never manage the English lords." Mary knew she referred to the lords whose lands bordered England. The same lords causing all the current problems. But Elizabeth's mocking tone did not sit well with Mary.
"I am not them, Elizabeth." Mary stated calmly.
"As I said, I have no wish to execute my relations. Therefore, I think imprisonment within England should suffice. I can keep better watch over you there." Elizabeth motioned to the guards, who moved to surround Mary. "Have your ladies pack your things, we are taking you to Tutbury Castle. It is ruins, yes, but perfectly suitable for a treasonous Queen."
Mary panicked. She had not planned on leaving Scotland until her death, but to leave now as a prisoner? Her emotional shield finally broke, and Mary sobbed uncontrollably. Elizabeth rolled her eyes, and gestured for the guards to move her anyways.
"But my child..." Mary started.
"Can be born in England." Elizabeth finished.
"And Sebastian? Please allow him to come with me, I beg you." Mary looked back at his body, still limp but breathing on the floor.
"If he lives, then yes, he can accompany. I do not want to hear anyone claim I am an unfeeling Queen. I am most just in my punishment." Mary could hardly find the words to thank her cousin. As long as Sebastian could remain by her side, Mary could stand being imprisoned in England. If her child was born healthy, and she could communicate with her son and daughter, she could stumble through the rest of her life as a prisoner.
The carriage ride to England was horribly bumpy, and Mary wished the ride would not induce an untimely labor. It had been seven days since the battle, and Mary officially lost her kingdom. Somehow, she inwardly vowed she would retake Scotland from English hands. Sebastian sat beside her, the bruising on his face subsiding and his cuts partially healed. He walked gingerly, and with a bit of a limp, but he was alive. Maybe, just maybe their son, or daughter, could come to rule both England and Scotland. Elizabeth would rue the day she made an enemy of Scotland.
"What are thinking, Mary?" His gentle voice roused her from her thoughts. She turned her head towards Sebastian. His face was haggered, and his eyes lacked the luster from their youth. They had spent ten happy years together in Scotland. From friends, to confidants, and most enjoyably lovers, they stayed by each other's side. He stood at the front of her armies when needed, and he held her close when the nights grew cold. He grieved with her at the miscarriage of their first child, and treasured the births of their son and daughter, and would praise the birth of their unborn child.
"I am thinking I am happy to be alive, with you, and with our child. I am praying our children in Scotland will remember us."
"They will." He reached to stroke her cheek comfortingly. He leaned in for a gentle kiss. Though not heated, the kiss was still passionate and full of love. Mary would never grow tired of his kisses. "They will reign after you. They will rule a greater Scotland and England than you could ever imagine. Our children will."
"Have you been truly happy all these years? You have faced so many trials and tribulations because of me." Mary caressed his cheeks, loving the feel of his skin beneath her fingers.
"Oh Mary, I have been more happy than I could ever imagine, and I would honestly do it all again if I had the chance. You are worth everything." His smile was weakened only by his current physical weakness, but his love still shined brightly through. She bowed her head to rest her forehead against his, and sighed.
"Do you think we will see our children again?" She whispered. Mary had been more active in her children's lives than many royal mothers. She had personally rocked them to sleep, nursed them when they were hungry, and comforted them when they were afraid. She was looking forward to doing it all again soon.
"I think we will. If we do not now, then we will see them, all of them, in Heaven." Mary began to cry in earnest. Sebastian wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close as he had done so many times before. Why was she born to this life? Why could she not have been born as a farmer's daughter, free to live her life as she wanted. It would be a harder life, but it would be her own. But then, I would have never loved Sebastian. The thought made her shudder. No, she could face anything in this life, as long as he was by her side.
"I can do anything if you are beside me." She whispered into his shoulder.
"You are so much stronger than I am."
"Yes, I am strong, but I am stronger because of you." She snuggled into his chest, grabbing his hand and placing it on the swell of her stomach. "He will be as strong as you, I know it." Sebastian's hand moved in response, the baby kicking him in acknowledgement. Sebastian laughed heartily for the first time in days.
"Well, he sure can kick. Or she." Mary smiled up at him. He was a wonderful father, more than Mary could have hoped. "Mary, we will survive this ordeal, I promise."
Mary turned toward the carriage window, hearing the gallop of several horses. Sebastian pulled back the curtain, looking for who was approaching. Elizabeth appeared, accompanied by several guards.
"Mary! We are approaching the border to England. I want to personally welcome you to your new country." Mary sighed, pushing aside all the words she would like to say for the sake of diplomacy.
"Thank you, cousin. I am most honored." Sebastian held her close as she spoke, knowing how hard it was for Mary to utter those words.
"See, my love, you are so much stronger than I. I would have tried to rip her face off by now." Mary laughed, hoping Elizabeth could not hear their amusement.
"I hope none of my Scottish lords attempt a rescue. I want no more blood shed at my expense." Mary hated to think of any additional bloodshed in her name. She wanted this to be the end.
"If they know what is best, or if they were not already executed, I doubt they will." Sebastian trailed his fingers through her hair. He loved her longer hair, and how he could lose his fingers in its length, or how it fanned out around her on a pillow in a halo of black curls.
Mary nodded reluctantly, knowing every word he spoke was true. She looked back out the window, Elizabeth having disappeared back to the front of the caravan.
"We can not change our fate now, but let us embrace our future together." She spoke the words softly, but they weighed heavily in the air.
"From now to eternity." Sebastian whispered.