“In the world, there is such a relationship even without money or power, they keep loyalty and love each other and respect each other, that relationship. The one that loves more is the weak one, but the world where the strong one is the one that loves more exists somewhere for sure. […] I wish there would be more strong ones in the world. A world where more people who are loved would win. I wish that world would come soon.”
Lying awake, alone in a darkened room feels right yet she knows that there is light right across the hall. She can’t keep being who her mother, her jailer, wants her to be. The idea that had any choice has never been offered to her, until Henry. Until the man that gave her a child and a crown, a man that holds the weight of his mother’s expectations on his shoulders the same way she does. The man who she thinks she could find some measure happiness in ruling with. But their mothers ruined them before they even had the chance to find out. She takes their child, their heir, the future king. God, he will never be able to just be will he? Just like her and Henry, he is cursed to hold the weight of a crown before he even learns to speak. She sets him down in the basket in her husband’s bedchamber and studies the man that is pledged to her and she to him. The idea that he will be faithful to her lives in the darkest corners of her fantasy, her father loved her mother and he didn’t stay faithful but still, he’s beautiful.
He looks so peaceful, not at all like the man who separated Lizzie from her mom, from her family. The man who was her end and yet also her beginning. She wishes she understood why her heart fluttered in her chest as she gazed at him. And the room is light and airy and she wants this, she wants to be loved and needed and the crown isn’t enough. So she pulls open the covers and slides in. Immediately it’s as though a weight pressing against her chest lifts and through the silence she hears her heartbeat, beating fast and then slowing down. The wreck of the world, the ruin of the crown, those things cannot touch them in here and they would’ve dominated her conversations with her mother. She just, Elizabeth wants peace, not war or fire or curses whispered in the dead of the night. Those are desires of her mother, not her and as much her mother wishes, they are not of the same mind. And as she lies in bed, soaking in the warmth and trying to decide if her heart or her mind should rule her action this night, she finds herself roll closer to her husband. Her husband who smells of peaches and rust and this scent that reminds her of the forests, he smells unlike any other man. And her fingers trace his sleep shirt, gripping him as a reminder that in this, like in anything else she faces in the future, she is not alone. And she will never be alone again. It’s light and warm and a kind of wonderful that was foreign, that seemed unreachable and impossible. But it’s happening and she finds herself slowly drifting but not quite asleep. She feels him turn, his eyes burning into her as she drowsily clutches his shirt, it’s as though he is protecting her from the demons that claw at the doors outside, from their mothers who seek to control them like they are children. His head settles against her hair, breathing her in and she never realized that sleeping could the most intimate act a person could partake in. He is holding her and she him and it as though the fights earlier never existed, as though the screams that she’s sure haunt his dreams will not appear. It’s a vulnerable feeling, even though she has given birth, screamed herself hoarse and dreaded the life to come, this is the most naked she’s felt. Yet it also the most seen, she feels giddy as his head rests against her hair, as her hand flexes against his shirt, she feels like the girl she never got to be. And with that image in her mind she falls asleep.