"I need news, Catherine! I'm about to freak out!" Mary sobbed and the French queen sighed, looking away "Jamie somehow understands what happened but won't question me because he knows I'm upset a-and Anne... well..." she swallowed "she loves her papa so dearly. She cries at night, you know? She misses him so much. I miss him, Catherine! I love him more than my own life and I don't know how I'm going to do this. I'm alone! Henry's act was a nonsense and now Francis is trapped for nothing"
"Oh, my dear" the other queen sighed and hugged the now vunerable girl in front of her, squeezing her tightly "We'll do this together. Henry is out of his mind, he would never do this if he was sane" she shook her head before cupping Mary's cheeks and staring deeply into her eyes "I couldn't speak to him, the guards outside his cell are loyal to the king, only. But I've managed to bribe the jailer and he has been updating me"
"And?" Mary sobbed again, she was tired of keeping that straight face for days, she had been slowly suffocating.
"Well... he said Francis is quiet. I've sent him those books and he has been reading a lot and eaten our treats properly. He allowed us to exchange letters and will soon try to match a secret visit. Francis is fine, mentally stable and in good health. We'll soon get him out, Diane is still working on Henry and I have faith she will succeed."
"I hope so" Mary nodded, wipping her tears "I'll write to him at once. I'm so worried about him..." she walked around in circles before staring at Catherine "Thank you"
"He is my son. We would go to hell together for him"
The Tower, midnight
The heavy door opens, revealing a thin man who carried a small wooden tray with Francis' meal. He grabbed a wrapped paper from his pocket and gave him, who stood up, completely ignoring his food and thanking the jailer, who left right before he started reading it.
My darling, I could never, not even in my worst nightmares, imagine how hard life could be without you. I miss every inch of you: your scent, your smile, your glance, your curls... I feel like my heart was teared apart in multiple pieces whenever I remember I won't be sleeping in your arms at night. Jamie is so smart, he has already figured out what happened to you but he refuses to bother me. He is so mature, so much like his father. His tuthor came to me yesterday and stated he is brilliant and advanced, will even have to switch his books to a higher level. I wish you were by my side to hear that, I want to spoil him a lot, but it's not enough because I don't have you here. Annie keeps wondering where you are. She cries a lot at night and sleeps with me, she always asks why you're not kissing her goodnight or searching for monsters inside of her wardrobe. These two weeks have been the toughest. I wish I could listen to your voice for only a second, maybe then I wouldn't become mad. Catherine has a plan and is working on it, we are together. She loves you so much, Francis. She will do everything for you and for our family. Once we get you out, we will tell you everything, it's just too hard and complex to explain at the moment, but I pray every night we will be together again soon, my love. Your father will find reason. I feel I'm lost in the dark, my love... I hope I can find light in God and be with you. I love you more than words can express.
Francis sighed and sat by the wooden bed, stroking Mary's caliography, trying to, somehow, feel her. He kissed it before wrapping and keeping it under the tough mattress. Those weeks had been the worst, he had never imagined to spend a single moment inside of a cell, like a real criminal. He was the dauphin of France, after all. Whenever he thought about that, he could only laugh. And this time, his father and the council turned his life into hell. A single tear slid down his cheek before he picked up the plate and forced himself to swallow that awful meal, managing himself not to throw up.
A few ours later, still dark
"Francis" he heard a soft voice calling him, immediately recognising it, before the door was opened. He blinked hard and rubbed his eyes, trying to get up. Penelope walked in, wearing her nightgown and a robe above it "I see your life is not that bad in here" she whispered stepping inside. The door was locked again.
"What are you doing here?" he stood up and she walked around, analysing his cell. It wasn't indeed as bad as was supposed to be. He had some thick blankets, a pillow, a desk, books, fruits... all provided by Catherine.
"Your father will be furious once he finds out how good this place is. I hope he switches you to the dungeons"
"He will be even more furious when he finds out you came here at ungodly hours to tease a traitor." She chuckled lightly hearing that.
"Slow down, you're almost confessing your crime like that" she stepped forward towards him, caressing his forearm "You know I can get you out of this place"
Francis moved away from her and she laughed softly again "Yes, I know. And you shouldn't be holding such power over me. I'm your crown prince and you are nothing."
"Oh, Francis" she caressed his face but he stepped back "A dead dauphin can never be a king. Your father has plans to execute you and make our child his heir"
"Well, he can never do that. You're bearing a bastard and you have commoner blood. You'll never be a queen"
"I am whatever my lion king says so" she smirked deviously "I am his mistress, the love of his life. He will get rid of you, and then of your brothers... and then, your son" Francis flinched "Who will be here to protect them and your mother? She will be the next to go"
"You would never dare!" he glared at her, containing himself not to snap her neck at such affirmation "You're a snake! You will destroy France! The Vatican will never allow your union with my father"
"Do you want to know a secret, Francis?" she whispered "They won't stop him if he no longer has heirs"
"I CURSE YOU!" He yelled and the guards knocked on the door
"We're fine, don't worry" she answered them sweetly "All you have to do, to save yourself..." she whispered and started to unlace her nightgown, exposing her breasts "is to have me. Fully" she smirked and he looked away.
"Then I'm a dead man already" he spat on her. She winced..
Penelope threw her robe on the stone floor and screamed, furiously. The guards rushed to unlock the door "SAVAGE! HE ATTACKED ME!" she yelled, crying copiously and quickly dressing herself
"YOU'RE A LIAR!" he yelled back but four guards contained him as another one rushed to inform the king. Penelope continued to cry and Francis shook his head, still restrained and trying to reach her, out of rage.
Before morning came, the dauphin of France received ten lashes on his back.
Morning, at Mary and Francis' chambers
"Why do you have to go so soon? I need you, James. My mother is already ruling Scotland... I need you here and now. My children need you too" Mary sighed and her brother stroked her back and ruffled his nephew's dark blond hair, who also seemed sad. Anne was asleep at her parents' bed.
"You know I have a duty to my lands. But you'll be fine, Mary. I'm sure Francis will see sunlight soon..."
The door then was quickly opened by Catherine, in a rush "Mary, it's Francis!"
Mary and James stared at her before standing up from the couch "Jamie, stay with your sister, please" she whispered and walked outside along her brother and the French queen
"Penelope went to him and claimed he tried to rape her" Catherine shook her head "This is unbelieavable!"
"Francis? Attacking Penelope?" Mary raised na eyebrow but by the look on Catherine's face, her facial expression immediately changed "Oh my God"
"Henry is furious. He... he punished him"
"Punished?" Mary frowned and Catherine sighed before announcing he got whipped. The Scottish queen had no time to react, she rushed to the throne room, the French one and her brother following her
"Mary, wait!" he yelled but she wouldn't stop.
"YOU ARE A COWARD!" She screamed, stepping inside in the middle of an important meeting and headed towards Penelope, slapping her cheek strongly
"Queen Mary, I urge you to contain yourself or..."
"OR WHAT? Tell me you, majesty!" she glared at him "The man in that tower is my husband and my king consort! I insist on getting respect!" she then stared at Penelope, who looked down
"The dauphin has attacked me. I'm carrying the king's son. Thank God the guards were around" the Queen of The Bean whispered, her hands on her belly
"You are a liar! We both know Francis would never look at you, much less trying such an awful act!" she kept her straight face as pierced the commoner's eyes
Penelope stepped forward and smirked before whispering in a tone no one but Mary could understand
"Perhaps if he had been wise and had relations with me, he would no longer be on his current state" Mary's face got as red as it could but before she could react, Henry pulled Penelope back
"Queen Mary, if you don't know how to behave at French court, I insist on your return to Scotland at once. There's no longer a future in here for you."