(Disclaimer: all bolded dialogue is taken directly from the show. I own nothing.)
She knew the moment she saw her. She'd know that look of fear and shame anywhere. Mary's eyes told her everything, and it shook Catherine to her core. Those men who had invaded their home, had forced themselves on Mary, the way those soldiers had forced themselves on her as a child. She tried to shake off the memory and gain control of her emotions. It had taken her years of struggle to overcome her attack, to find some semblance of normalcy again, and by God, she wasn't going to watch the same thing happen to Mary. Not if she could help it. She looked at her, seeing in her mind, the little six year old girl who had once been left in her care. The one she promised to protect. She knew she hadn't done that before, but she would make sure she did it now. She summoned up the most powerful words she could, because she knew Mary needed, not only compassion, but strength.
"I know you don't want to be touched, that's all right. But you're safe. I don't know how you managed to escape, but you did. You are alive. You will survive this. I know this... because I survived. You know that, too. They tried to destroy you by taking your pride and your strength, but those things cannot be taken. Not from you. Not ever. We're going to change your clothes, fix your hair, we are going to erase any mark of their hands on you."
"Please, leave me be."
"We are. We are going to do this for you and for Francis and for Scotland and for France. They tried to diminish a king tonight by degrading a queen, and they will not succeed. Because the world will never know what they did to you."
"That's not possible."
"It is, because you will walk out of here and you will face your court as if this never happened."
"No, I can't. I can't."
"Yes, you have to. Mary, your guards saw must put to rest any rumors, immediately. These next moments of your life will either define you as a victim or a powerful queen untouched by a failed assassination attempt. They will define who you are perceived to be. Your place in history. Do not let them win. Trust me. Trust me and let me help you. Trust that I can get you through this, because I swear to you that I can."
Catherine offered Mary her hand. She didn't think she would take it, but she wanted her to know she meant what she said. Mary stared at her hand a moment, and for a second, for reasons she couldn't understand, she felt safe. Still shaken and sobbing, Mary extended her arm and took Catherine's hand. Catherine's breath caught in her throat. She knew what kind of courage that small gesture must have taken, she also knew the amount of trust it must have taken. The kind of trust that could not be altered. She wasn't sure how she garnered that trust, but she was sure she wouldn't betray it. She gently squeezed her hand to reassure her. She started to stand and held out her other hand to help Mary up. Mary stood and released her grip. Catherine reached out a bit, wanting to comfort her, but then retracted her arm immediately, not knowing how far she should push it. Mary noticed this gesture, and to Catherine's great surprise, Mary hugged her.
She froze there, Mary crying into her shoulder, not quite sure what to do. She very slowly let her arms raise up to hug her back, making sure she gave her every opportunity to stop her if she had to, but she didn't. She stood like that, silent for a spell, letting Mary decide when she was ready to let go. When she started to pull away, Catherine brought her hand to Mary's cheek and wiped the tears off her face.
"Come now, let's get you cleaned up." she said, ushering her to sit. She poured some water in a small bowl and grabbed a cloth off the table. Sitting down next to Mary, she squeezed the excess liquid off the cloth and began dabbing the cool fabric across her face to aid her red, puffy eyes. Mary sniffled a bit, trying to stop new tears from coming.
"I don't think I can do this." she choked out.
"You can. I know you can. Your too strong to let this beat you." Catherine said, placing the cloth back in the bowl and setting it on the table.
"I don't feel strong. I can't even think straight." she said.
"You may not feel that way now, but you are...After all, how many other people could've gotten the best of me the way you did." she tried to lighten the mood just a bit. Mary actually almost smiled at this.
"I learned from the best." she said in a bittersweet tone, still trying to keep her tears at bay. Catherine pushed Mary's hair over her shoulder and gently tucked it behind her ear, trying to give her a reassuring smile, but not quite managing. She grazed Mary's neck with her fingertips, trying to inspect the damage as gently as possible.
"I don't think makeup will be enough to cover this. I'll go fetch something from your room for you to wear. Do you have anything with a collar?" she said getting up. Mary's hand shot out to grab her arm.
"No please!...Don't...don't leave me alone. I can't..." she started to panic. Catherine quickly turned back around.
"Alright, it's alright. I'm not going anywhere." she said putting a hand on her shoulder. After Mary calmed a bit, she stood again. "Perhaps I have something you could borrow." she offered gently. Catherine went to her armoire and started riffling through her dresses looking for something that might fit Mary. She pulled out a black high collared shift and a burgundy and gold cloak. She handed Mary the shift. "Here, the seamstress made this a bit too long, hopefully it will do." Mary took it gently. She sat there holding it in her lap, staring at it. "Mary?" she said after a few moments had passed.
"Does it stop? This feeling. Does it ever stop?" she asked, still staring at the shift in her lap. Catherine sat back down next to her.
"I won't lie to you. It never really goes away. It will always be there, deep down, somewhere. But it does get better. You will get past this. I have faith in you." she assured her. Mary said nothing. She swallowed hard and stood, moving behind the dressing screen. She replaced her nightgown with the shift and came back out with it dangling from her fingers. Catherine walked over to her, gently removing the garment from her hand. She took a look at it and tossed it into the fireplace. Mary stared after it, watching until it was completely turned to ash.
Catherine turned back to get the cloak. She held it up and Mary turned around so she could pull it over her arms. Mary turned back to face Catherine, and the started trying to fasten the buttons on the front. She began fidgeting with them, but for some reason couldn't get them through. She started to get upset, and Catherine grasped onto her hands to steady them.
"Here, let me." she said.
"No. No I can..." she began, but couldn't get the words out.
"Mary, it's okay if you can't. You can't show yourself out there. But here, with me, it's okay." she said. Mary let go of the buttons and allowed Catherine to fasten them for her. Then she sat back down silently. Catherine turned to grab her own clothes. "Just give me a moment." she said, stepping behind the dressing screen herself. She came back around and made her way back over to Mary, who was silently staring at the floor. "Now, let's see if we can't do something about that hair, hmm." Mary turned around to face the mirror. She couldn't even look at herself. It only made her feel worse. Catherine pulled out a brush and started to carefully run it through her dark tresses. Mary started to cry again. "I didn't hurt you did I?" Asked Catherine worried she had an injury she hadn't seen. Mary shook her head but kept crying. Catherine put her hand on Mary's shoulder. Mary looked over at it and slowly put her hand on top. She hugged her lightly, resting her cheek on top of Mary's head.
She continued to brush Mary's hair silently, knowing there wasn't anything she could say. No words that wouldn't be more hurtful than helpful. For now she was just grateful Mary wasn't afraid of her, that she was comforted by her presence and not put off. She tried to think back to her attack. She hadn't had anyone to comfort her since she couldn't let anyone know what had happened. But she wasn't sure that she would've allowed anyone to get as close as Mary had allowed her.
After she finished with her hair, she went over to her jewelry box and pulled out a crown. She walked it over to Mary and carefully placed it atop her head.
"I remember how you always used to admire this one when you were young." she said, hoping to divert her mind back to less complicated times. Mary was still silent. "You should take a few moments to think of what you're going to say out there. Have it set in your mind. It will be easier not to falter if you already have it straight." she told her. Mary nodded. Catherine started to fix her own hair, glancing back at Mary every few moments to see what state she was in.
When she was done she walked back over to Mary, standing in front of her. "Are you ready?" she asked.
"What if they can tell? What if I can't hide it? If I fall apart out there, in front of everyone..." she started to panic. Catherine steadied her, gently placing her hands on her arms.
"You will not fall apart. You will stand tall, and you will go out there and show your people that no man can weaken your spirit." she said but then softened her tone a bit. "You focus on the words. Think only about what your saying. Nothing else. You get them in your head and then you just repeat them as if you were reading them from a book. Shut the rest out." Mary looked at the ground. "Do you have them?" Mary nodded. "You are stronger than you know. You can do this. I will be right there next to you the whole time." She stood slowly and they made their way to the door where she stopped for a second. She looked at Catherine, took in a deep breath and squared her shoulders, before opening it and telling the guards to gather everyone in the throne room. As she promised, Catherine didn't move from her side.
"My loyal subjects...I reassure you that your king and your queen remain untouched. These murderous traitors who invaded the castle tonight have achieved nothing, have altered nothing, and will die for nothing."
As soon as she had made her speech, and the room had cleared, Catherine quickly ushered Mary back to her room.
"You did well." she said as she closed the door behind them. "I'm sure no one suspected anything was amiss...are you okay? Perhaps you should get some rest."
"I can't. I can't go back to that room." Mary said.
"Then you shall stay here for the night." she said. Mary looked up at her as she pulled out a nightgown and handed it to her. Mary took it and then removed the crown from her head, handing it back to Catherine.
"Thank you." Catherine gave her a half smile, and Mary went to go change again.
When she came around from behind the screen, Catherine was putting and pillow on the couch. Mary shivered. Catherine picked up a shawl and wrapped it around Mary's shoulders and led her to the couch. She sat down next to her.
"I feel numb." Mary said.
"That's to be expected. Here, lie down." she said, stroking her hair. She did as she asked, as she didn't know what else to do. When her head hit the pillow, Catherine realized she was holding her hand. She ran her thumb over her fingers to comfort her. "You must try to get some rest." Catherine pulled the blanket up over her, tucking her in.
"I want to sleep but I can't stop shaking. I'm so cold."
"It's the shock of the night's events."
At that moment, Francis came in, looking relived to find them both alive. Catherine stood up quickly to keep him from coming any closer. She didn't want him to spook her. She explained he should go slowly and felt for her son when she saw the look of confusion on his face, knowing the bomb that was about to be dropped on him. She was worried to leave Mary alone right now, even with him. Not just for Mary's sake, but for her own.
"Shall I go?"
Mary nodded and she left the room.
Mary woke on Catherine's couch the next morning, blinking her eyes open, forgetting where she was for a moment. It was odd. She'd woken up various times through the night from nightmares of the attack. Each time, Catherine would come to her side and calm her, and yet, she was confused every time. When she finally opened her eyes all the way, she saw that Catherine was already awake and dressed, looking over some papers at her desk. She looked up when she saw Mary stir. She stood and made her way over to her.
"Is it late?" Mary asked quietly.
"You were finally able to shake the nightmares for a few hours, so I didn't want to wake you." she said sitting down next to her.
"Is there any word on...the intruders?" she asked nervously.
"Bash and the guards have been out all morning looking for them. They have yet to return." she replied.
"I...should go. Let you get back to whatever you were doing." she said, feeling a bit ill at ease with the situation.
"Nonsense, you weren't bothering me. You may stay as long as you need." Catherine assured.
"I...I think I need a bit of time to myself." she said standing to leave.
"But you said you weren't ready to go back to that room?" Catherine asked. Mary turned back around.
"I'm not, but I can't stay in your chambers forever." she said.
"Perhaps you should go back to your old rooms then, just until your ready." she offered. Mary nodded. "You only slept a short time, you should go and try to get more rest. I'll let the guards know where you'll be." Mary nodded again and turned back toward the door, then stopped.
"Catherine...I..." Mary began. Catherine held up her hand.
"I know." she said quietly.
Later that day, Mary still lay in bed, unable to sleep. Visions of her attackers haunting her dreams. Unfortunately, they haunted her awake as well. As she stared at the wall, trying to think of anything else, anything at all, she heard some commotion coming from outside. She slowly made her way to the window, where she could see Bash rounding up some prisoners. She prayed that one of them was her rapist.
She quickly dressed herself and made her way back to Catherine's room. The guard let her in. Catherine was still at her desk. She looked up when Mary entered.
"Bash has brought in more prisoners." she said. Catherine could see the fear slowly creeping up on Mary. She understood, without her saying so, that Mary wasn't just here to give her an update, she wanted her to go with her. She was afraid of facing her rapist alone. She stood and grabbed her fur.
They started walking down the hall, and Catherine could see Mary was shaking. Catherine took Mary's hand and closed it between both of hers firm, but gentle. Slowly Mary stopped trembling. When they got to the gate, Mary stopped, pulling Catherine to a halt with her.
"What if he's out there? What will I do if I see him?" she said. Catherine looked down at the floor and swallowed hard.
"I wouldn't know. I never saw my attacker again. I'm sure it wouldn't have been easy." she said, then looked back up and stared her in the eye. "But this is the only way to bring them to justice. You're the only one who saw them and lived to tell the tale...As I said last night, I will be with you the whole time." Mary nodded and squeezed her hand, then they walked outside. Mary tentatively let her eyes scan the crowd of men. She let go of Catherine's hand and gave her a look to let her know she was okay. She slowly made her way over to them, looking them over, one by one. Searching for any feature she might recognize. As she searched carefully, Francis emerged from the castle and stood next to Catherine, who was keeping a careful eye on Mary, in case she needed her.
"What's Mary doing here?
She's looking for her rapist. And if you don't catch him, that's what she'll be doing for the rest of her life... in every room and in every crowd."
Catherine knew this all too well. To this day, she still let her eyes wonder over every guest that walked through the castle doors. Francis walked over to talk to Mary. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but she could see her son reach for Mary's hand, and she could see her jerk it away. Catherine knew Francis, no matter how hard he tried, could understand what was happening. She could see the hurt and confusion on his face. He was being as understanding as one could, without having been through it themselves. He finished talking to Mary and headed back into the castle. As he passed Catherine, she stopped him for a moment.
"Perhaps, next time, don't reach for her hand so aggressively. Just offer yours. Let her decide when she's ready." she said to him quietly. He gave her a thoughtful look, but said nothing and continued inside. Once he was out of sight, Mary returned to Catherine's side.
"He wasn't there." she said. Catherine couldn't tell if she was relieved or upset. She guessed it might be a bit of both.
"That's alright. I'm sure he'll be in the next batch. Or the one after that. Francis will find him. I know he will." she said.
The next morning, Catherine saw Mary returning from her window. She'd found out two hours prior, that she'd been gone all night. She put on her fur and rushed outside to meet her. When she got out side she saw that Louis was with her. She gave him an awkward look. He looked back at her, but ducked inside quickly.
"Mary, where on earth have you been all night?" she asked as Mary got down off her horse.
"I found them." she said seemingly emotionless. "They're dead...I killed him." Catherine's eyes grew wide.
"You? You...killed..." she swallowed. She wasn't sure how to respond to that. "Come. Come inside. It's cold out here." they went back to Catherine's room. Silent the whole way there. A dead look on Mary's face. A nervous one on Catherine.
Once they entered the room. Catherine closed the door. She wanted to say something, but wasn't sure what the right thing to say this time was. She stared at her for a moment until Mary broke the silence.
"I burned him alive. He said he wasn't sorry for what he did. That I deserved what I got. And I just... the lantern..." she said as emotion finally broke through her cold stare and she started to cry. Catherine pulled her into a hug gently. They stood like that for a second and then Catherine led her to sit down. Catherine moved her lips as if she were about to say something, but then stopped herself. Mary knew what she wanted to say. "It didn't help." she answered the unasked question. "It made no difference. I still feel..." she didn't know how describe it, but she didn't have to. "It doesn't seem fair."
"It never is when these things happen." she said.
"No, I mean, I wouldn't have made it through last night without you. One night was too much. And I got justice...But who got justice for you?" she asked. She was in marvel of her more than she'd ever been. How did she ever make it through all alone? "I want to, I want to find them for you, and make them pay. It's not right." she put a hand on Mary's arm.
"Mary no. It's too late." she said.
"It's not. They were soldiers, there must be..." she started.
"Please. I appreciate you wanting to help...but drudging it up after all this time...I'd rather leave it buried." she said.
"Are you sure?" she asked the tears still streaming.