England knocked on the thick mahogany door to France's large, opulent manor; he hadn't heard from the other nation in a few weeks and was getting slightly worried. Normally he'd get half a dozen text messages a day and at least three calls a week but he had received none of that in so long he thought the other might be seriously injured or possibly already dead.
Stamping his numb feet in the snow in an attempt to get feeling back in them, he called out, "Francis!" in an annoyed tone. He had come all this way to check on him, the least he could do was let him in. When he didn't get an answer and knocked again. "Francis, open the door! I know you're in there!" He tried to keep a nervous tone out of his voice but was failing. Still no one answered and snowflakes started to fall around him, encouraging him to seek warmth and shelter. "Fine. I'm coming in." Grasping the knob, he found it turned easily so he let himself into the home which seemed strange; France always made sure to lock his doors.
Inside was eerily quiet and judging by the amount of dust on everything nothing seemed to have been touched in days, possibly even weeks. It was also nearly as cold indoors as it was outside the home and he found himself pulling his coat tighter around his body. The whole situation was starting to unsettle him, making him wish he had never come in the first place but he felt a strong need to keep looking for his fellow nation.
Once he finished examining the first floor, finding nothing that could point him in the right direction, he turned his attention to the second floor.
The second floor seemed as empty as the first until he headed toward the wing containing France's bedroom. A soft crying reached his ears, making him pause momentarily. Very rarely had he seen France cry so something definitely had to be wrong with the man.
Following the sound, he hurried to find the source. As he rounded a corner he saw a child probably about seven or eight at the end of a hall. The child was sitting up against a wall, hugging their knees, and crying into his or her lap.
Confusion flooded England's head at the sight of the child. What was this child doing here? Did France have a child? Why was this child here and France not? How long had this child been here?
Another heart wrenching sob broke through his thoughts and his paternal instincts washed over him, causing him to hurry over to the child. As he approached he noticed the child was only 33wearing a large dress shirt and was clearly shivering in the near frozen air; its skin had a slight blue tinge to it.
Instantly he pulled his heavy coat off and draped it over the child's small shoulders, ignoring the instant rush of chill himself. Kneeling next to the strange child, he quietly asked, "Where is your father?" in French. He chose to speak in the foreign tongue because if this truly was France's child he doubted he or she would know much English if any.
"I-I don't know," the child replied with a small whimper, still in French.
"How long has he been gone? How long have you been alone?" England was starting to get very concerned; a child this young shouldn't be left alone. He was also starting to notice that the child was male from the pitch of his voice. Even though he had yet to go through puberty, there was still enough difference for him to realize this child was not female.
"Why are you in the hallway?"
"I-I was sleeping in th-there…" He pointed at the closest door which England knew led to France's bedroom. "A-And I fell a-and hurt my l-leg…" Gently adjusting, he moved so that England could see the large black bruise on his shin which was surrounded by dried blood. "I-I wanted t-to get some f-food but it h-hurt too much t-to go any m-more…"
"When was the last time you ate?" England asked, worry continually increasing for the small boy who seemed abandoned.
"A-A couple days a-ago…"
"What is your name?"
"F-François..." the child said as he finally raised his head to look England in the eyes to reveal bright, innocent blue eyes he saw for the first time centuries ago.
And suddenly everything clicked. The reason France was missing, the sudden appearance of this mysterious child, why he was wearing a shirt that was clearly too big for him, this child, for whatever reason, was France.
"Nice to meet you, François. I know your father and it seems like he's going to be gone for a while so I'm going to take care of you until he gets back, alright?"
"Arthur. You can call me Arthur. Now, first things first, we're going to get you bathed and on your way with me to my home." He helped Francis to his feet, careful of his injury, and into the bathroom attached to the bedroom. "I'm going to start the water then go to find you something to wear. Call me when the water gets to here, okay?" He indicated a spot on the side of the tub with his hand and Francis nodded again. "Stay here, wash your leg carefully, and I'll be back soon." Quickly turning on the taps to a warm temperature, he let the tub slowly begin to fill before handing the boy a washcloth and leaving him alone in the room. The only place he could think of to find clothes Francis would fit into at his current size would be in the attic so headed that way.
France's attic turned out to be much more cluttered than England's, most likely due to his longer history and somewhat eclectic nature; he always kept clothes he thought might come back into style someday along with many other strange things. Hidden behind a large, chained trunk that seemed strange to him, he found a promising looking box marked, 'Mathieu's clothes' next to a box labeled, '900's clothes'.
He grabbed both, curious as to which Francis would prefer and fit in better, and started to open them as a call from downstairs caught his attention. Carrying them back to the bedroom, he placed them on the desk for the boy to choose from in a moment. He stepped back into the bathroom and turned the taps off before taking the boy's leg and carefully inspecting the gash, deeming it clean.
"François," he started, straightening up again. "Come up with me so you can find something to wear after your bath." The boy nodded and followed him into the bedroom and looked through the clothes once England opened them for him. He picked out a forest green shirt, tan pants, and a pair of bloomers; England decided they needed to go shopping once they were settled back at his home. "Okay, you have towels and soaps in the bathroom already. Can you bathe yourself or do you need help?" Francis shook his head. "Alright. Take your clothes and I'll wait out here in case you need anything."
Gathering his choices, Francis walked back into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
AN: Italics- speaking in French or internal thoughts
No Italics- speaking in English