Author: Nakimochiku PM
Whenever there was something wrong with France, it always started at his fingers. oneshot, slight France x UK, enjoy.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Drama - France & England/Britain - Words: 1,220 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 2 - Published: 02-01-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5712442
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There was something that Arthur understood. He didn't question it, didn't know how he knew. It came from his gut, this understanding. And it was as close to wisdom as he could ever come. The understanding told him this:
Every Nation wanted to believe that their leaders would only want the best for them. Every Nation wanted to believe that their leaders would never do anything to hurt them, always make the best decisions, take the wisest paths.
And there was a second thing that Arthur understood. That this was not always true. Their leaders were human, weak, prone to mistakes and greed and jealousy. He knew his own king, mad, nearly a drooling mess, could do nothing more for him. Couldn't make the right decisions. He knew that he could not place blind faith on his leaders.
Which is why it saddened him to see Francis the way he was, a shadow, not real, not solid. Not Francis. Not The Kingdom of France.
"Welcome to my beautiful country, L'Angleterre." Francis greeted him with a warm smile, bowing mockingly. His hair, not the same pure gold of autumn wheat that he remembered, but pale, escaped his ribbon in wisps. He looked tired, drawn, old. He wasn't the same. He wasn't Francis anymore.
There were bruises along his cheeks. His fingers were thin and crooked. His hands shook when they reached out to take his coat, always a perfect host. Always perfect, no matter what that meant in his mind.
"You look horrible." Arthur finally said, sipping on fine french wine, taking a moment to appreciate the sweet burn of well made alcohol as only France could do it. He sat in a comfortable chair, too elegant, too fine for the times. Francis looked over at him and smiled, hanging up his coat. Arthur didn't say anything further, just watched Francis move, the way he limped and hid a slight stagger.
"Do I? Must be losing my touch then. Here I thought I had combed my hair to perfection, and dressed perfectly to suit your tastes. I suppose that's just you being English though. You just love to pick out my faults." He sat across from him, sipping at his own glass. He hummed happily, even though his glass shook in his grip, his knuckles raw and swollen, as though he didn't notice.
"You know that's not what I meant." Arthur snapped, eyebrows knitting together to form a frown. Francis looked at him in slight shock. But his eyes.... Francis knew exactly what he meant. Just didn't want to face it, didn't want to think about it. The anger dissipated, flowing from him and leaving him drained. He wasn't able to continue. Wasn't able to bring all that pain to the forefront. He wouldn't be able to handle it.
Silence crushed them. "Oh that's right. You haven't seen my Lady's new portrait, have you? I find it very attractive. The blue compliments her skin tone..." Francis rambled on and on about new dresses and fashions and ' oh, L'Angleterre, as usual you are not keeping up with the times', his cheer swelling from the need to destroy the silence, the weakness, the pain.
"This is what I'm talking about." Arthur whispered, setting down his glass and uncrossing his legs. Francis stopped mid-sentance. Don't, his eyes screamed. Please, don't. But he had to, because this wasn't Francis, not really, and he didn't want to see a fake or a shadow for any longer. It was too pitiful. "They're killing you."
Francis shook his head. "Who? I am perfectly fine, see?" But he winced as he tried to strike a pose, hand touching his stomach. "I am fine. There is nothing wrong." Arthur made a frustrated sound, standing and grabbing Francis by the collar, ignoring his flinch because he had to make sure that he was understood.
"And the starving children on the street, is there nothing wrong with that? The dry fields of wheat where nothing grows, is there nothing wrong with that?" Francis didn't meet his eyes, staring down at the hand carved table as though it were suddenly very interesting. "The anger of your people too, is there nothing wrong? And what about all of this?"
"This what?" Francis choked out, fingers twisting the lace at the cuffs of his sleeve.
"This madness! Every thing in here is like a madhouse! Your king and queen spend money like it is nothing, they drag you deeper into debt with no thought for the consequences! They are killing you."
Francis stood, with some trouble, using his few inches of height to his advantage. "It's not their fault, L'Anglettere. There have been many other factors... its not them. Besides." He tossed his hair dramatically, fixing Arthur with a serious look. But he had nothing to follow up with, no words to convince Arthur of his nobility's innocence. Arthur sighed, and let go of the fine lace collar.
"You never should have gotten involved with that revolution." He mumbled. His hands fell limply at his sides as Francis eased himself back into the chair, lips thinning to hold in the sound of pain as he tried to make himself appear relaxed. "You never should have done a lot of things."
"Come now, L'Angleterre. Why do you trouble yourself with these thoughts? The king sees no problem, so there must be no problem." Arthur knelt at Francis's feet, taking his hands that lay curled in his lap. They were not the fine fingers he remembered of his childhood, thin, long and pale. Whenever France needed help, it always started with his fingers.
"When's the last time you looked in a mirror?" Arthur asked, looking from the ruined hands to the big blue eyes that stared back at him. Francis managed a smile.
"What are you talking about? I looked in the mirror just this morning –!"
"You're lying. You haven't looked in the mirror since this started. You hate it when you can't control how pretty you look. So when this happens, you never set foot near a mirror." Francis heaved a sigh, but didn't remove his hands from Arthur's grip. Instead, slowly, his fingers curled around Arthur's own, taking comfort where he could.
"You trouble yourself over nothing, L'Angleterre." He paused a moment, pet his hair like he used to. So very long ago, those times seemed. "Arthur."
"They are wearing you thin and tearing you apart! They don't care about you!" He was shushed again.
"It is the will of God, Arthur. If I am to die, then may the lord take my soul. And if I should live and get better, then that is the will of God also." He ignored the mumbled hiss of 'you crazy Catholics' and looked out the large arched windows to the grey skies outside. "But I will not spend my time hating. No. It is no one's fault."
There was something else, at that moment, that Arthur understood. A nation could be a vengeful, hateful, spiteful thing. But it was also so very forgiving.