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fic again

Title: Gambit
Fandom: Reign
Pairings: Mary/Francis, Mary/Bash
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Angst/Drama
Words: 1049
Summary: spec fic based on small bits of spoilers, ep descriptions, the new promo, promo pics & BTS info for eps 1x09-1x13. What I think will happen on the show. If you're spoiler free, you've been warned.
Disclaimer: CBS owns Reign, chess metaphors belong to me!




Gambit

1. Chess. an opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
2. any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.

Setting the Board

Warmth, it is the first thing that I become aware of every morning. His warmth. It's like the thickest furs, banishing any hint of cold. My eyes open and I gaze at his beautiful visage, his strong arms that hold me, protect me. I carefully unwind myself from him, moving from the bed. I feel the pleasant ache in my bones that comes from him, his touch, his passion, his lovemaking. My lips feeling bruised from the force of his kisses and the nips and bites he applies when his passion overtakes him.

I wrap myself in a blanket and pad across my rooms to a window overlooking the lake. He always woke first in those days when we thought we had all the time in the world, making sure I always got back to my rooms before the servants began to stir. A true gentleman, ever mindful of my reputation.

That's not true anymore. I've woken first these past three mornings, my sleep now restless. Unable to enjoy his arms wrapped around me when I know what the ultimate price of our bliss will be.

The morning fog is just beginning to burn off. Tufts of mist still hover over the grounds. It's still early, but the chateau is beginning to stir. A new day is beginning, but it can't end like the last few. As much as I need him, as much as my body seeks his as its home, this can't go on.

He's so beautiful when he sleeps. He's beautiful to me at all times, but there's something so peaceful about him when he sleeps, tucked up in the pillows of my bed. His hair a mess from my need to run my fingers through it endlessly; his face soft, relaxed. He holds me at night, tender and protective - always. He says we will figure out a way together, that we are better as a team than we've ever been apart. He's right, I can't deny that. But it's still not an option for me.

I feel tears begin to leak unchecked out of my eyes. I should be happy, the man I love - the man who turned out to be so much more than I ever hoped for - loves me back, and with his whole heart. He's willing to forgive me even, for what he sees as an emotionally distraught decision made in haste.

And, yet, I find no comfort in this. I'm willing to sacrifice our happiness. He's willing to sacrifice so much more.

If this is his move, he will win. I can't resist. He is my weakness. His presence in my bed these past three nights proves that. He understands the pull - this invisible string - that exists between us far better than I, and he now uses it as a weapon against me. His kisses, his touch, his passion have become what I most yearn for - and most dread. Each time I allow myself to get caught in the moment, to push away the voices telling me, to give in to my desires regret bleeds into my soul.

I tell myself each morning that last night was the last time. That I'm saying goodbye to the man I love. And if it is the last time, don't we deserve that goodbye? But as day once again turns to night, and my yearning - for his touch, soft whispers and kisses - grows I give in.

I thought leaving, and refusing to marry him would make him back away, but I forgot. Forgot that when Francis truly grabs onto something, he's like a dog with a bone - chewing, gnawing, scraping, till he finds that soft marrow, the sweet spot that he can use to his advantage. No is not an answer he's used to, not one he accepts. I've become the bone, and he's found my weak spot.

If the stakes weren't so dire his determination for us to be one would be romantic. But they are. Living alone in a world where he does not exist is unfathomable to me - my worst nightmare. How he doesn't see this I do not know. How he refuses to see how this is ripping me apart just as much as it is hurting him, I don't understand.

Actually, I think he does comprehend, which might make it worse. He understands the sacrifices I'm willing to make, and he throws them back in my face. He thinks we can defy fate. Or perhaps he doesn't, but thinks what we have is worth the price. Or perhaps it's because he doesn't believe any of it to begin with. But it's not just his decision. He is a future king, but I am a queen, just as tutored in strategy as he is. If he wants to turn this into a game; I must seek to turn the tables.

He knows I love him, he knows I will sacrifice every bit if happiness we've found together to save his life - and he doesn't care. Doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies, as long as it's in my arms. But what of me? If I'm the one to be left behind how am I supposed to live with the consequences? How am I supposed to live with the gaping void to my soul that his death would bring me?

There has to be a third option; it just hasn't illuminated itself to me yet.

I force myself to get up and move to the wash stand, to splash water on my face. The face peering back at me in the silvered glass is blotchy, drooping with sadness. My eyes haunted. He's right, they give me away. This is no way for a queen to appear.

I affix cool rags to deal with the red splotches, giving my mind a time to calm, to think, to come up with a plan. That was part of my problem the first time, I had no real plan. I won't make that mistake a second time.

He's figured out my weakness; I must find his. He can't win this game; I can't let him. The stakes are far too high. And I can't deal with the consequences of losing. I won't.

TBC

Endnotes:

1) This will be multi-chapter, so feel free to put it on alert if you don't already have me on author alert. It won't be super long, but I felt due to time and structure that a oneshot wasn't the way to go. First update will be very soon, after that I'll slow down a bit, but I need to stay ahead of the show.

2) I am a very, very solid Francis & Mary shipper. This is spec fic. What I think is actually going to happen, and me seeing how close it is to the show. There's nothing here that's purely wish fulfillment.

3) This is in a lot ways a follow up to my last story, Reconoissance. And while they are independent, I believe the reading experience is enriched by having read it first. Also, there are references that carry over, but again, not completely necessary to have read the other.

4) Finally, I want to say a very grateful thank you to two people. Poligirl25, who I have been developing the spec this story is based on independently of, but which both of us posted the other night, at which point we began going back-and-forth, pushing each other, and rounding the concept out. Her sounding board has been invaluable. Also, justcallmesmitty, who gives fabulous beta. I can't thank either of y'all enough.

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Comments & reviews are always greatly appreciated.