Francis ran up through the field, as he turned he laughed loudly when he saw you face-plant into the ground. “Careful now!” He called, coming back to you to help you up. “Thanks!” You replied, grinning though there was mud all over your face.
Chuckling, the young blond wiped it away with his sleeve, running his hands through your hair to make it stand up. You chased him, shouting loudly. This was the most fun you’d ever had! It was so lucky to have spotted Francis through the window. Normally you weren’t allowed to go outside without anyone to guide you, but even then you only went on boring walks.
Now that you’d found Francis, you were sure you were going to have way more fun. His parents were specialists in roses and while they mostly tended to the garden that was the main reason they were employed.
Your late mother absolutely adored them and when she died, the flowers reminded your father of her so much. He liked seeing them, but the pain at her loss was ever present. Because of that, the roses were named after your mother.
The Queen’s rose always made you imagine what your mother was like, you’d never met her after all, but if the scent of the rose was anything like she’d been, you knew you could be proud of her.
You’d seen Francis and his parents around the castle for a while, but you were never allowed to talk to them, all you could do was smile warmly at them. You squealed as your thoughts were broken but a clod of earth being thrown at you.
Grabbing some of your own dirt, you flung it back at Francis, ducking behind a tree trunk. Your banter continued until way into the afternoon, when your enjoyment was abruptly ended by your tutor and several guardsmen.
At this point, Francis was on top of you, the two of you smeared head-to-toe with mud and your clothes in ruins. “Hah!” he cried triumphantly, not knowing what his words would invoke, “ you’re mine now (y/n)!”
Your tutor’s eyes widened and you were separated. That was the first time your father had been truly angry at you and you made sure never to do it again.
“Lady (y/n).” You blinked drowsily, feeling yourself being lightly shaken by both the carriage and your servant’s hand. “You were moaning in your sleep, so I thought it better to wake you up. I was getting a bit worried."
You smiled, shaking your head. “Don’t worry. I was just....reminiscing I guess.”
Glancing out of the small window, you sighed. “We’re almost going to stop at a small village, shouldn’t be long anymore.”
You nodded in acknowledgement and settled on staring out at the golden fields surrounding your escort.
Francis panted, slipping into the closest alleyway. Trying to even his breathing, he pressed against the stained brickwork, hoping upon God that they wouldn’t see him. It seemed as though God was smiling on him today though as the guardsmen passed him hurriedly.
Smirking, he brushed his some dirt from his collar and slicked back some of the blond hair that’d fallen out of the ribbon he had it tied in.
Then he swift fully and purposefully marched out onto the main road, his stance tall and proud, just like his family used to be.
After the mud-flinging incident he and his family had been sent away from the castle in disgrace. Their fortune now fizzled out, Francis had to resort to stealing whilst his parents chose begging. It wasn’t long before his parents died of hunger, sickness and anguish.
For that reason Francis swore to take revenge on the King, for if he hadn’t sent them away they’d have still been alive, laughing. So when he heard that you were acting as the King’s representative and travelling all around the country, he knew the time had come.
He rubbed some dirt from his nose, reaching the market place it being the place where you were going to arrive. Shrinking into the shadows, he anticipated your arrival, fingering the silver ring he’d managed to snag before coming there.
“Come then, my princess, I dare you to....”
You composed yourself, your posture automatically correcting itself, courtesy of all of your lessons you were ever taught.
Picking up your skirts, you daintily took hold of your captain’s arm and stepped onto the squalid soil. You scanned the crowd gathered round you and smiled warmly.
“My people, it is so wonderful to be able to see you all. I hope we get along splendidly.” You said, your soft voice immediately enchanting people.
“My princess, I will escort you to your resting place.” A young guard murmured, offering you his arm which you took. “Lead the way then.” You replied, already feeling sleepy at the prospect of a warm bed for you.
A smile as sweet as honey on your face you were led through the crowd, you asking questions about the town and people as you walked, so as to keep up your front of the curious, harmless princess.
What a farce. You hated having to act so differently, so ‘proper’ for others. So far there’d only been one that had gotten you out of your shell, your husk of well mannered-ness. But he was gone, sent away by your father for the crime of playing an innocent game with you.
You bit your lip, suddenly feeling sad at the loss of your friend. I wonder if I’ll ever see him again, you thought, those eyes of his that glow like the blue sky, that hair that gleamed like all the treasures in the world.
You’d recognise him in an instant if you saw him, that was how well you’d imprinted his features into your mind. You turned to ask your escort a question about something nonsensical, but froze. For you stood eye to eye with the very person you’d been dreaming of.
“Well hello there, my princess.” He muttered, tightening the grip he had on your arm. “W-wha-Fr-Francis....?” Your eyes the size of saucers, your breath hitching in your throat you knew tears were going to fall.
“I thought you were dead!” You wailed, hugging him tightly and weeping into his chest. He blinked at you, his hateful idea dying even before he could think of it.
There you were, his playmate of old, the one responsible for his undoing, his fall into misery and yet he couldn’t bring himself to hate you. His heart yearned for you, he wanted to touch you, comfort you, protect you from the sorrow he’d experienced.
Shakily he wound his arms around you, burying his face in your hair. “I wanted to see you.” He whispered, squeezing your shoulders.
“I’ve wanted to see you so badly.” Repeating that, he tilted your head up and gazed lovingly into your eyes. When his forehead touched yours, you saw out of the corner of your eye that the crowd was cheering happily, yet your guards and servants were staring at you aghast.
Before your lips touched Francis’ you shot them a look, motioning with your eyes that the two of you were surrounded. “Don’t worry. I’ll get us out of here.” He murmured, smiling at you. “Just like old times?”
In answer to your question he chuckled and nodded. “Just like old times, though,” he said,” I’ll have to run a bit faster.”
Without any further explanation, he stooped down to scoop you up, making sure your many dresses came with you.
Smirking, he glared at the guards surrounding you. You held onto him tightly as you glanced up at his face. His lips twitched and he sprinted towards one of the guards.
Though said guard had a spear pointing at him, Francis held you in front of him like a shield, knowing the guard’d be forced to put down his weapon.
“Hands off!” He shouted, running through the throng of people with you like a sacred baton. “She’s my princess!”