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 [OS] With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
As Francis stood on the balcony of the home that he now shared with his father, Bash, and Diana (he still had a hard time referring to her as his father’s fiancé), he looked out and sighed. His fingers were white as they tightened around the wood, the wind cool against his face. He closed his eyes, blocking out the lights that shone across the city of New Orleans. He had hoped that New Orleans might bring change and new perspectives, and it indeed had done that at least. Just not quite the change he had hoped for.

He had always known his destiny, always had to accept it. He was prince of France, the eventual king and alpha. It was his birthright despite not being the oldest of the king’s children. It wasn’t until recently that Bash had been legitimized, so until that point he had not been eligible for the crown or the pack. The problem was that Francis didn’t want to be king, didn’t want that responsibility or job or pressure. He was 17 years old and often felt as if he had the weight of the world-at least of a country-on his shoulders, and that was hard for anyone to bear.

With Cora, things became more bearable, easier to accept. At the thought of his future, as long as he envisioned her beside him he felt as if he could do anything, that he could handle the pressure and the weight of his title. And it was no longer because of the agreement that his father had made with her mother, it was more than that now. Even without that agreement and pact, he loved her.

The problem was that Bash did, as well. Francis still felt betrayed, still felt a bit resentful toward his brother. The moment that their father had Bash legitimized, Bash bargained with the king which left Francis with the one thing he wanted least and took the one that he desired the most. Cora for the crown. Despite the pain, he couldn’t blame his brother. Bash deserved to be happy, and Cora accomplished that. Francis might have done the same, had he been given the opportunity, or taken it. But where he had the supposed easy life, Bash had it hard, being mocked and ridiculed. Francis wanted his brother to have the happiness that had he had been deprived of, even at the expense of his own.

His jaw clenched as his fist lowered on the wood, causing the balcony railing to splinter into a crack. He hated the fact that he felt the way he did, that he couldn’t let her go, and he hated that he couldn’t talk about it. It had become such weight on his heart that he had reached a breaking point, trying to confide in Ben at a time that he had felt very much alone, however unjustifiable it might have been. However, it had looked as if he was moping, and maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t handling it as well as he should be. But he hadn’t realized just how alone he had felt. He had no one to confide in, no one to express his sadness to. He couldn’t talk to Bash, who felt guilty for hurting Francis, knowing that if he knew what Francis was feeling would feel even worse. The same went for Cora. He had made new friends but again, one of them had thought he was moping so what would the others think? They wouldn’t understand anyway.

He felt that his choices weren’t his own. Maybe they were; maybe he could choose to tell his father that he refused the crown, and tell Bash that he refused to let it-her-go without a fight. But where would that leave him? If he refused the crown, would his father thrust the responsibility on to Bash or to one of their younger brothers? Francis couldn’t allow that, he wouldn’t wish the pressure on his younger brothers or the unhappiness on his big brother and best friend. And Cora had the choice herself, and while he did believe there was still a chance, still hope…If she had agreed to the bargain that Bash had made and agreed to be with him, who was Francis to break that? She knew how he felt and that he would wait however long it took if it meant having the chance to be with her. Until you tell me not to, he had said. And he had meant it.

So what then, what now? He had made his choices, and he’d have to live with them. Without sulking, without anyone there to understand. It was a burden he had to bear on his own because anything other than that made him weak. Vulnerable. A complainer. Shut off the feelings, turn off the heart, whatever he had to do. He was a man, not a boy; he couldn’t sit around and feel. He had to suck it up and deal, and that meant distractions.

Archery was a good one, though a bittersweet one. It was something that he and Bash and Cora often did, and so if they were both busy (either together or individually) and he was alone, it lost a touch of its enjoyment. He was also training with the pack more and more, working to make himself stronger and more fit to lead. He and Bash had made a bonding habit out of painting the house, starting in his room and moving on to other rooms, and Francis found it soothing and enjoyable to spend this kind of time with his brother. He had seen Cora a few times and wished he could see her more if not because he missed her but also to remind her that her friendship still meant the most to him. That he didn’t just want a romantic relationship with her, but that he wanted her in his life as a friend. It was hard to balance out the feelings with the friendship sometimes but he would do what it took to keep her in his life however he was able to have her.

So no more of this. He’d say he was fine when someone asked even if he wasn’t, he’d laugh and he’d smile even if he felt like punching someone instead. He could act, he could pretend, and he’d do what his father asked of him because it was his duty even if it killed a little piece of him inside. He’d learn and he’d work out and he’d toughen up because that is what was necessary. It was what was expected of him.

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