The feathers floated down like soft snow. Just like that perfect day so many years ago. Had it really been seven years since they had jumped around on his bed, danced in the contents of ripped goose down pillows, and laughed until they both collapsed in a flurry of feathers? So much had changed since then.

Francis was no longer just a care-free pampered prince. Now he was the heir to the Throne, privileged, yes, but with the weight of the kingdom on his young shoulders. He spent hours every day with tutors and counselors in preparation for the huge responsibility of ruling. His father was stern, his mother over-protective. Both expected, demanded, much from him. Francis loved his siblings and had many friends at Court, but even there, his future crown cast a long shadow. Sometimes he enjoyed pulling rank and always having the last word, or being the most eligible and desirable bachelor in the land and having a debutante's first kiss. But more often than not, the top was a lonely place to be. Francis would never admit this "problem," even to himself (how could he, in such a high, envied position as his?), but he knew, because of etiquette and politics, other people could never be themselves around him. And he could never be himself in front of others either.

The last time had been seven years ago, with Mary. Even as children, they understood they had been thrown together out of necessity, the alliance of their two countries. Despite their royal titles (or was it because of their equally royal titles?), Francis and Mary became close. Not political allies forced to put on friendly faces, but true friends, without artifice, without ulterior motives, just real companionship. Mary had not seen him as the Dauphin, but a boy to play with. And Francis had not seen her as his future queen, just a girl. A girl who was sweet, clever, and funny. She had made him laugh. She had made him happy.

Francis' eyes followed the descent of a feather as it fell upon Mary's dark hair, just like that day seven years ago. She had changed, too. She had grown into a beautiful, graceful queen. But Francis knew from the minute they spoke to one another after so long that she was still the same smart, adventurous, kind-hearted girl, his friend, his Mary.

As if inexplicably drawn at that exact moment, their gazes met and wouldn't break. Her warm brown eyes still looked at him with affection, even after the shameful way he had behaved earlier. No matter how much had changed (and he was sure she was disappointed with him), she still saw him, Francis, not the prince, and wanted to be his friend. Looking at her, he remembered innocence and trust and joy. In that moment, frozen in feathery snow, Francis realized Mary was the only pure thing in his life, then or since. Their past connection was still there but somehow stronger, pulling them back to that day, back to their brief but happy time together, back to each other.

Then the song ended; the spell broke. There was a royal party, and so much more, between them once again. Francis watched as her ladies-in-waiting escorted Mary out. A white feather fell from her hair as she passed, and in spite of his great efforts to remain ambivalent in order to protect his country and his heart, Francis fell with it.


A/N: I rarely write fic, but this show and this couple immediately got me hooked. This was inspired by the beautiful song "White Feathers" by L'Arc~en~Ciel. I hope you liked it. Please leave a review. Thanks! (I do not own Reign or any of its characters.)