Character(s): Russia/America, England, mentions of Canada, Belarus and France
Rating: PG for now.
Genre: ... Really, really lame attempt at humor, general stuff.
Notes: Uh. Light violence. Ongoing. Stupidity. xD Usage of human names, since it's a weirdo fantasy!AU and all. Dragons, swords, magic all that.
Summary: Once upon a time, there was a Totally Awesome Hero. Cursed by his own Dad, Absolute Ruler of the Britannia Kingdom, he goes off on an Epic Adventure with a Stupid Evil Sorcerer – the only one able to break that Freaking Curse. Fantasy!AU, RussiaAmerica.
Fifteen Years, by Impervious Marr
Prologue – Phasma Phasmatis
When the transportation spell was done, he opened his eyes to see a myriad of battle armor, swords, shields, vases and tapestries; the occasional servant or two making up the glorious entrance hall of the Britannia Castle. And the man in front of him who owned it all.
"Just shut up and don't say a word," was what greeted him first, and Ivan merely graced His Majesty with his customary amused smile. Which Arthur wanted to throw a vase at, or made him want to chuck Ivan out the window.
"Why, I haven't said a word, comrade," Ivan replied pleasantly, and Arthur rolled his eyes, turning on his heel as the matter was presumably laid to rest. "Though it must be humiliating for His Majesty himself to call upon assistance concerning matters of magic -"
With a snicker, he dodged the incoming vase, with nary a glance when it shattered on the wall behind him.
"- especially when he practices it himself. Had your hands full lately, Your Majesty?"
Arthur scowled, thick distinguishing eyebrows furrowing like caterpillars on his forehead. Ivan found the whole scene quite amusing. (Whenever does he not?) Instead of chucking another priceless antiquity at the taller man's head, Arthur surprised Ivan by huffing and continuing to walk - the invitation to follow.
"It is only because I am in dire need of your expertise that I do not wring your neck this time, Ivan, though I very much wish it," Arthur said tartly, waving aside the servants and the guards who scrambled to pay their respects. Ivan raised an eyebrow at this, adjusting his ever-present scarf as he easily caught up with the shorter male.
"Oh?" How intriguing. Arthur almost always never let a jab at his magic skills slide, especially without the usual three broken vases and throwing the unfortunate person into the moat. It really must be an urgent matter for the King to rein in his infamous temper.
"It is better to simply show you the problem than explain," Arthur deadpanned, stopping in front of two large double doors in which Ivan recognised vaguely as the entrance to the expansive royal library. He was suddenly struck by the thought that he hasn't been in these halls for quite a while - ten? Fifteen years?
He remembered a boisterous boy of seven summers and his quiet brother when he visited the last time...
And how annoying he was, always on the way to becoming the 'hero' and vanquishing the 'evil sorcerer'. Ivan snorted mentally; it would be amusing to know how the boy grew up.
"The problem is in here?" Ivan asked with that smile, even though the answer should be obvious, and bloody hell Arthur just wanted to pitch the infuriating man off a cliff. Why did he even -
Breathe. Breathe. Arthur pinched the bridge of his nose and snapped out an irritated 'Yes' before moving to push the left door aside. The smell of old paper and other miscellany wafted lazily from the room and Ivan smiled absently; it reminded him of his own collections back at his domain.
"Gods above know the last time you've decided to make a visit here. You remember Alfred, don't you?" Arthur commented dryly, and that's where Ivan remembered.
"The little would-be knight who would love nothing more than to 'strike through your heart, foul sorcerer'?"
"Which would be my ward you are disparaging; yes." Arthur made his way into the library with quick steps and with the absence of fabric dragging on the floor; so very unlike the royals Ivan dealt with from time to time, who preferred extravagant robes, fine jewellery and dressing up like an overstuffed peacock. The king in front of him wasted no time in such trivialities; so he was dressed in simple breeches, a dark green jacket and boots worn out from constant use, though made from very fine materials.
But then again, this was the same man who expressed his temper through throwing miscellany at whatever displeased him. At least the life of a king mellowed him out enough that he wasn't throwing curses and enchantments all about; Ivan grimaced slightly at the days of his youth when the both of them were still seeking tutelage from their Master.
And he had a distant feeling that he wouldn't like this current problem very much, especially since it involved that loud boy who loved nothing more than to kick him on the shins. The only reason why Ivan put up with the maddening nuisance was because if he did anything to Arthur's precious little boy, I will feed you to the - Alfred Fay Jones Kirkland get down from there right this instant!
At that particular incident, Ivan almost choked on his tea to keep himself from laughing when the brat was poised to jump from the North Tower's balcony, his brother panicking not too far behind. Precious little boy indeed.
"Alfred? Alfred!" Arthur called out, seemingly to nothing as his voice echoed through the room, as they reached the center - furnished with luxurious rugs, mahogany tables and comfortable chairs for the occasional bookish visitor to make full use of. They were surrounded by tall shelves filled with grimoires and tomes guaranteed to make most bibliophiles green with envy.
Arthur always did love his books. "Where is that boy?" he wondered irritably, skulking like a mother hen looking for her chicks.
Ivan situated himself on a nearby chair, letting the wood take his weight as he relaxed completely, running a hand through his cream-coloured hair as he watched Arthur peer through the shelves in search for his elusive ward.
"Maybe you could at least explain to me a little bit of what I would be dealing with, net?" he asked idly, voice peppered with an accent distinctive for people belonging to the North. Arthur called out for a bit more before huffing in exasperation, and then quickly sat down on the chair opposite Ivan, crossing his legs thereafter.
"Might as well; bother it." Arthur cleared his throat, shifting more comfortably. "As you are aware, there was a recent misunderstanding at the last Spring Festival involving the Eastern Throne; long story short Emperor Wang Yao wasn't too pleased with the way his daughter took offense from Alfred being -"
"Stupid?" Ivan suggested.
"- I was going to say inappropriate, but I suppose that works."
"He does have a knack for offending the poor souls in his vicinity, doesn't he?" Ivan interjected, smiling that amused smile that reminded Arthur of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. Pleased at a joke only he knew about.
"Yes," Arthur murmured dispassionately. "Lord knows how much sense I tried beating into that boy. It hadn't occurred to me recently that it might be just more than a little comment that he made which offended the young Princess - until the Emperor decided the best way to go round and fix the whole mess was by targeting Alfred's rooms."
Ivan blinked slowly in bemusement, waiting for clarification.
"Trying to kidnap him," Arthur corrected a moment after, and Ivan's eyebrows shot up past his bangs.
"I'm afraid I do not understand."
"Alfred didn't offend the Princess by telling her a disgusting joke or making a ghastly comment about her dress," Arthur explained, and he looked as if he needed a good, long sip of one of those teas he was so fond of. "He turned down her hand in marriage."
"... Oh, dear."
"Oh dear doesn't even begin to cover it. The Princess is quite besotted with the brat and thus declared her intentions of marrying him. Not that I would have approved of the union in the first place," Arthur said dismissively, eyes narrowing at the thought of anyone running off with someone who could be called his son, "But there are other ways to turn down a marriage offer - all, I'm very sure, without having to spit out the best wine onto the fair lady's face in front of an audience."
"... I would safely assume that the dear prince didn't even bother apologizing?"
"You assume right. Cutting straight to the chase, you could say that the Princess was so humiliated by the turn of events that she immediately demanded compensation in the form of an apology - with the bonus of Alfred proposing to her."
Ivan covered his grin with his hand.
"Which you immediately refused."
"Which I immediately refused," Arthur confirmed. "Of course the Eastern Throne didn't take it too nicely, and started to take matters into their own hands. After negotiations went sour, well, the kidnapping attempts started."
Ivan suddenly lurched sideways as something ran on to him from the right, said offender landing on his back when he was sprawled on the floor. Arthur jumped out of his seat from pure surprise.
"Foul sorcerer!" an unfamiliar voice rang out from that weight pinning him down, causing Ivan to push up from the floor and roll away, getting the pest off him, taking a crouched stance before blinking at the fool who dared tackle Ivan Braginski, Master Sorcerer of the Northern Winds.
And he looked again.
"Who are you?" was all he could manage, and the handsome young man in front of him glared expressively - bright blue eyes positively blazing behind those thinly-rimmed glasses, and golden hair like the sun; shifting when he did. He got to his feet quickly, showing off a build gained from years of hard training out in the sun, the tunic and breeches he wore only accentuating the muscles moving under all that fabric -
He didn't resemble the annoying pest Ivan dealt with fifteen years ago.
But as it was, the heavy signet ring dangling from a chain round his neck spoke loudly of his status: His Highness Alfred Fay Jones Kirkland, Crown Prince of the Britannia Kingdom, all around Nuisance of the Court and the Prick in his Ass, in the flesh.
Ivan suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to shield his shins.
"Brat?" Ivan tried, and Alfred looked as if he wanted to throw a fit, choke Ivan, or both. Instead he cleared his throat and pointed quite rudely at the older man.
"Foul sorcerer; I thought I banished you from these lands!" he declared again, and Arthur slapped his forehead. Ivan ignored this. "You have come again to terrorize our lands, have you not? Begone!"
Ivan ignored all this. All that didn't hide the fact that Ivan could very well see the tapestry hanging at the opposite wall, directly behind Alfred's translucent body. His eyes shone unnaturally, and close to his feet his edges seemed to blur. All telltale signs of -
"You're a ghost," Ivan concluded plainly, and Alfred strode up to him, face as if set into a permanent scowl.
Then he drew back and gave a hard, violent kick to Ivan's shin - which didn't hurt, not really, but who liked getting kicked? Ivan grunted in displeasure, before realising something was very wrong.
Alfred, translucent - a ghost, by all intents and purposes - was able to touch him. Never mind that the 'touch' was quite violent; Alfred shouldn't have been able to do that in that state. He ignored the vexing young man in front of him to look at Arthur - only to be taken aback by the utter relief on his face.
"At least I didn't actually ended up killing him outright," Arthur confided, already slipping back into his usual snarky self, and Alfred made a face.
"Told ya so, Dad. I'm practically indestructible," he announced - abandoning his previous style of speech - with no small amount of confidence (arrogance, Ivan's mind corrected) in that announcement, and a wide grin to boot. Which promptly disappeared when he looked at Ivan, replaced instead by a sour face. "What's he doing here? I thought he went to terrorize other castles since he left fifteen years ago."
"Oh, do shut up. He," Arthur emphasised, pointing at Ivan who merely raised an eyebrow, "Is going to help you solve your little problem."
Alfred pouted, all ready to argue back.
"Yeah, which wouldn't have happened if you just listened to me in the first place -"
Arthur completely ignored him, motioning at Ivan to listen.
"Well then, Ivan, it pains me to say this but I am partially responsible for this fiasco."
"- that I like, told you, I'll be fine without you throwing an enchantment at me to keep me safe -"
"You casted the Phasma Phasmatis curse," Ivan said idly, tone not one of question but of deduction.
That particular curse was a highly tedious, difficult spell to cast. It simply sent the victim into a ghostly state - physically a ghost but very much alive; it could only be reversed by a high-level mage or sorcerer. Ivan still didn't understand why the makers of the curse even bothered creating something like it.
Probably to go through walls to rob treasuries and valuable things such as that, but they never quite worked out one flaw in the creation - the victims couldn't touch anything as much as anything couldn't touch them.
Arthur grimaced when the taller man started to chuckle in amusement, waiting for him to finish before he explained again.
"Not one of my best moments, I believe. But when the kidnappings became more and more insistent I had to do something - and you remember how much Alfred loves to disobey orders of staying put, locking him up in his room is a much more futile effort than anything. Not to mention that I have my own royal duties to attend to, he to his own - I can't keep watch over him all the time."
"And you do not trust your own men to guard him?"
"Think of it as an added protection." Which meant that of course he trusted his knights unconditionally, but when it came to Alfred, Arthur took absolutely no chances.
Ivan made a noise at the back of his throat, crossing his arms to think.
"So you casted the spell, in order for the East to avoid laying a hand on Alfred, literally."
Arthur nodded. "Before long, the kidnappings ceased - greatly helped by the fact that the Princess soon fell in love with the Southern prince; rather anti-climatic, really. After smoothing out everything with the Emperor and our truce starting anew, I went to undo the curse - but something kept me from actually doing the deed."
"Knowing you, you would've tried everything you knew before coming to summon me, da?" Ivan asked, and looking at the King's expression, he guessed right. Ivan smirked.
"Sod off. You're the one with the expertise in black magic, curses and necromancy; I deal in the other half of the spectrum. Now instead of fishing for an ego boost, go find out what went wrong with the spell," Arthur snapped, though he did flush slightly from embarrassment. The odd two hundred years or so of knowing Arthur made Ivan capable of picking up the slightest signs from the king.
Ivan turned to look at the prince who was still ranting off into space.
"- they couldn't even do their job properly 'cause they kept on - you two aren't even listening to me!"
Such a pretty mouth really shouldn't be used for saying stupid things.
"Well, now you certainly know that whatever that went wrong didn't make the spell irreversible," Ivan said, giving Arthur some measure of peace. "Since he couldn't go through me."
"Yes, I bloody well noticed that."
If the spell was made to be irreversible, that meant that Alfred was very well much dead to the world - but it wasn't the case here. They simply couldn't find the right way to release Alfred from its clutches. Ivan's long experience with dealing with the Dark Arts have simply made his whole body into a sort of spell neutralizer - almost half of curse effects wouldn't work on him unless they were permanent.
Thus Arthur's relief.
Though he never realised that the Phasma Phasmatis curse wouldn't have any effect on him. Ivan could only remember he came upon a few cases in which the curse was casted - not more than three - and in all of them, he never touched the victim, so he never knew if his body nullified the curse.
To get to the point, Ivan was possibly the only one in the world at the moment who could pitch Alfred over the window right now, and Ivan was the only one who Alfred could do the same.
Alfred looked thrown as a sudden thought occurred to him. "Hey - I could tackle and kick you just now! Why's that!"
And apparently that relief went down the drain as Arthur muttered a long oath about Alfred's blatant stupidity. Ivan couldn't resist a jab.
"You haven't grown very well in the brain department, have you, brat?"
"Shut up! I'm pretty sure it's just one of your evil sorcerer tricks!"
Ivan rolled his eyes and walked up to the prince, who tensed immediately at the approach, about to speak his mind again before Ivan gave him a Look to shut his mouth. Pretty indeed, when not saying stupid things. He promptly took off his gloves and held out his hands, noticing the prince being half a head shorter than he was.
"Now give me your hands and stay still."
"Why would -"
Ivan grabbed them anyway and held them tightly, closing his eyes as he spoke in the language all magic users were familiar with - short, lilting syllables which Alfred never found the patience to appreciate - and soon he opened his eyes again, violet irises flashing as the magic washed over the both of them.
Alfred shuddered, unable to look away.
"Well, the magic signatures all point back to you, Your Majesty," Ivan started, tilting his head as his mouth shaped into a frown. "That's strange. There's one which isn't your work."
Arthur looked insulted - he had to be, he took extra precautions even if he was a mage with the status of a Master. There were only a handful of magic users in the realm who had the power to assume such a title - Arthur and Ivan were one of them, taught by the same mage.
"What? That can't be; I made sure all spellwork was mine when I weaved it. I even checked Alfred myself earlier and everything points back to me."
"Well, it isn't the case here... Or maybe you did the casting just fine, because this looks like it was applied right after Alfred became a ghost. The signature looks familiar..." Ivan looked straight into Alfred's own eyes.
"S-Stop staring at me like that!"
Ivan's eyes snapped open in alarm, something not usually seen on the calm, composed man. Alfred protested when his hands were clamped down suddenly. "Of course it should look familiar - that is Nataliya's work." Fear crawled up in his stomach.
Alfred cocked an eyebrow. "Who the hell is that?"
Arthur almost choked.
"You have got to be kidding me -"
"I would not joke about my own sister, comrade," Ivan said dryly, releasing Alfred's hands and turning to look at Arthur. "She is obviously preventing you from reversing the spell. And I think with the case of me being able to touch Alfred is not because I am impervious to the spell effects; it would likely because she wanted this to happen."
"Why in the bloody hell would she want to do that?! Alfred has nothing to do with her."
Ivan chewed the inside of his cheek in thought. "I can safely assume that she knew you would call upon me to work out what was going on," he slowly spoke, and then shook his head. "And since I am the only one who could touch Alfred, and also since she is my sister, she would assume you would send me off to deal with her? She knew how much work I did to avoid her."
"You mean you still hadn't worked out the whole marriage thing with her?" Arthur squawked indignantly, and Ivan had to surrender a sheepish smile. "Because of your - your - inability to settle your sister's incestous feelings for you I almost thought that my son was dead because of me!?"
"... Should I answer that?"
Arthur cursed loudly. "You bloody - you, are going to settle things with her right this instant and I'm not going to hear another word from you until you get her to reverse whatever she did to Alfred, do you understand -"
"You have gone insane, da!? That is exactly what she is planning! She would order me to marry her before she would even do that -"
"Then that's your problem -"
"I am not about to marry my own sister because of your -"
"Will the both of you shut the hell up!" Alfred exploded, throwing his arms up in the air. He rounded up on Ivan who looked surprised at the sudden burst of emotion. "Look! From what I heard, you've got a crazy sister who thinks messing with my curse is an invitation to invite you over to her house for you to get married - okay that's weird -"
Ivan distantly thought Alfred looked like an annoyed puppy, but couldn't say a word when Alfred turned to his father figure next.
"And Dad, look, you're the one who actually casted that curse in the first place; but look at it this way okay, I'm the one who's turned into the ghost and not you old people!"
"We're not old!" Ivan and Arthur snapped together, and Alfred snorted.
"Yeah, sure, three hundred years is so not old, maybe it's just me." Alfred rolled his eyes. "Whatever! Just see here, okay. I don't wanna stay as a freaking ghost for the rest of my life, so will you guys just do something about it?"
"Like I said earlier, Ivan here would have to go and work things out with his own sister -"
"I repeat, I will not go and ask Nataliya - it's all up to you, Arthur, I will not be a part of this."
"Bloody hell, Ivan - you're the one who unintentionally created this mess, so you are very much a part of it - you should fix it instead of running away the whole time. And I highly doubt she would listen to me anyway."
Ivan bared his teeth. "Well then, if that's the case, Alfred would have to come along with me."
Both the king and the prince squawked.
"In case you are forgetting, Arthur, she would have to be present to undo what she did, especially for such a high-level interference spell; unless you want Alfred to die, net? You ask me to sort things out with her, fine; but I will not play errand boy to your wishes and fetch her here."
Arthur started to speak, but fell silent. Alfred, on the other hand, wouldn't take it lyin' down god damn it!
"Like hell I would go with you!"
"Oh? But I thought you wanted to be human again, little Alfred," Ivan taunted, and Alfred growled, tackling him - sending both of them down on the floor into a fist fight.
"I'm - not - little anymore you bastard -"
Arthur ignored the commotion, face set into a frown. Ivan was right - as much as Arthur could bother Ivan to undo what he caused, Ivan probably would only agree to it just because it involved Alfred; not more than that, certainly not making the painstaking journey to Nataliya's realm and back only because Arthur wouldn't let Alfred go with him.
It would save more time anyway if Alfred was brought along.
And Lord knows how much the castle needed a break from the prince's overbearing presence - every week or so a new incident came up, all of them pointing back to the playful Crown Prince. Some adventuring would do the young man some good, would it not? 'Twas really his fault for making Alfred so oblivious to the world outside.
Not to mention Ivan wouldn't let anything happen to Alfred - Arthur was sure of it. He would flay him alive otherwise.
"I suppose... It would be best if you brought him along," Arthur started, giving in, and then jerked his head up at the sound of more struggling. "Oh will the both of you - Alfred!"
Alfred panted, hands pinned firmly above his head as Ivan loomed over him, smirking.
"Get off me," Alfred demanded breathlessly, eyes bright with anger.
"Only if you would stop with that infuriating habit of yours of picking fights; you should choose them carefully, little Alfred," Ivan sneered, the threat as dangerous as he meant it to be. Alfred gritted his teeth and jerked, but the hold on his wrists wouldn't budge. Ivan was at least a good deal more heavy than he was, if the man's sheer size was anything to judge by.
He bit his lower lip in frustration. "I -"
And as quickly as that, the weight above him disappeared as Arthur growled, kicking the sorcerer aside - absolutely furious as he launched into a long tirade of How Dare You Touch My Boy interspersed with a great deal of If I Ever See You Do That Again I Would that Alfred watched with great fascination, because Ivan looked so relaxed and... Normal even in the face of Arthur's infamous temper (much worse now that it involved one of his sons).
No. He wasn't admiring that Evil Sorcerer.
It was just that no one... Yeah. And... Yeah.
"Alfred," Arthur called, causing the prince to look up in surprise. He usually took up a longer time to dish out verbal punishment to whatever offended him. "As much as it pains me to say this, go get ready - you're going with him."
Alfred's eyes ballooned out of proportion.
"You've gotta be kidding me -"
"Alfred," he repeated, a bit more sharply, and that was when he knew when to stop.
Well, just because he knew it doesn't mean that he would. "B-But you never let me go out of the city proper unless you're coming along -"
"I know, but I won't be going with you. Your brother isn't back yet from his studies so unfortunately I would have to stay - a kingdom can't go unsupervised without its king. Anyway, didn't you recently turn twenty one?"
Alfred brightened up at the prospect of travelling outside the kingdom without his guardian's supervision - something had always been hoping for since his 21st birthday came to pass, before this whole mixup with the Eastern Throne happened.
Matthew, his younger brother by only a few minutes was an exception to this; excelling in his magical studies, he was only able to travel out of the country to resume them after a great deal of arguing - both he and Alfred teamed up against their guardian - and also after Arthur made absolutely sure that the Master who was teaching Matthew was trustworthy.
He lamented from time to time how Matthew decided on elemental magic as his major, because if he followed in Arthur's footsteps as a light magic user Arthur would've been able to tutor Matthew himself.
Still, the king was proud at how quickly his ward was able to apply for apprenticeship under a Master at a young age of seventeen summers. He's been gone for four years now, only coming to visit during Alfred's and his shared birthdays and the Summer Festivals.
Finally, the chance to travel outside without the stuffiness of being a royal! Alfred grinned brilliantly - before remembering who exactly he had to travel with.
"Do I really have to go with Him?" Alfred whined, jerking his thumb at His direction. Ivan rolled his eyes - Arthur, on the other hand, clearly looked uncomfortable with the next words he said.
"Well. If I had to pick one person who I trust to watch over you other than myself - I am speaking this in comparison to everyone else I've met - Ivan would be the first choice."
Alfred blinked at the easy admission, before remembering that Arthur and Ivan were apprentices to the same Master give or take close to a hundred years. That... Explains it.
"Though if he does lay an inappropriate hand on you, do tell, Alfred," Arthur said sweetly, while Ivan held up both of his hands in defense, returning the smile.
"Why, I wouldn't dream of it, comrade."
Alfred scowled, crossing his arms. "Like you would even get close, stupid sorcerer."
"How funny - I certainly saw nothing of the sort when I pinned you down earlier, da?" Ivan purred, and Alfred cursed loudly, moving to kick him on the shins again.
Arthur only sighed, moving to make the proper arrangements, and along the way, trying to convince himself that it wasn't a bad idea.
"This is a bad idea," Alfred said faintly, looking at the giant... Lizard... Thing in front of him, where Ivan was oh-so-calmly preparing everything he needed for the trip, which wasn't really all that much. One plus of being a ghost was that Alfred didn't really need anything physically; he simply stayed in the state of when the curse was put upon him. No hygenic needs to attend to, no feeling hungry, just... Nothing.
It wasn't as if he hadn't seen dragons before, in his life. Oh, sure, in the pictures, the tapestries, the illustrations in the books, and far, far away when Arthur didn't even let him get close to smell that brimstone-like breath of a very real, very vicious, very chained-down Fire Breathing Dragon.
This? This was a 17-foot tall scaly black horned winged monster with sharp looking teeth that looked as if it wanted to dig itself in your flesh if you even looked at it funny; currently absent of the usual chains which prevented it from, you know, wreaking havoc.
Alfred wasn't a coward, of course he wasn't. Sometimes even heroes needed a little bit of time to adjust being stared down by gigantic reptilian eyes, you know? Alfred returned the gaze as valiantly as he could before looking back at Ivan, barely keeping his voice from reaching an octave higher.
"You sure he's not going to eat me?"
"Scared, little Alfred?"
"For the last time I'm not little, and I'm definitely not scared!" Alfred shouted hotly, before the head of that - that dragon swung down to look at him closely and oh god I can smell that brimstone - actually, it kinda smells like someone just passed - "Oh my god oh my god oh my god -"
Ivan jerked his head up from where he was double checking the knots of the knapsacks, to be greeted with a sight that made him throw his head back - and laugh. Loudly.
"He - hah - certainly likes you, brat."
Alfred sputtered, wiping off the slobber off of himself. "He just - licked me! What the hell! Was he tasting me or something!? And how the hell could he lick me in the first place anyway - ewwww stop that you stupid dragon -"
"Oh, they're magically impervious, so the ghostly effect would not work on dragons," Ivan explained after calming down, with that amused smile as Alfred was assaulted again. "Think of dragons as cats. Just as crafty, just as affectionate, only a hundred times larger and more scaly."
"... That is so not the mental image I need right now," Alfred groaned, as the dragon proceeded to get more 'affectionate' with him - god that sounds wrong. "Why're we taking a dragon anyway?"
"Because it is faster than riding a horse, don't you think so?" Ivan asked idly, but continued without waiting for Alfred's input. "They are also one of the few creatures you are able to ride on, seeing that you're a ghost and everything."
"Oh. Uh, right, I knew that," Alfred mumbled, embarrassed - why does he always have to look so stupid in front of Ivan? Absolutely aggravating, that. He was on the floor - which he didn't even touch, actually, since ghosts were usually an inch above the ground - letting the dragon nudge against him as he petted the long snout, already getting used to the touches.
Mattie would be laughing if he was here right now, seeing his older twin deal with the scaly thing. Alfred suddenly missed him terribly. "So when are we leaving?"
"Soon, my prince," Ivan dictated with a mocking tone, busy with some of the straps, and Alfred flushed. "Just waiting for His Majesty to see us off."
"About time those blundering fools let me off," Arthur suddenly said, appearing from the western entrance of the vast courtyard with an irritated look on his face. "Honestly, this kingdom would be in ruins if I'm not around to run it. I would've thought my own Court would be more competent than that."
"They are merely intimidated by your presence, Your Majesty," Ivan murmured, smiling serenely. "I'm sure they are very capable of doing their work, but in fear of making a mistake around you they falter more than if you aren't watching over them like a hawk."
"I would've thought fifty years of being around me would be time enough to adjust. Alfred? What are you doing down there?"
"The dragon's mauling me," Alfred deadpanned, and the dragon seemed to protest to that, nudging against him harder than necessary. "Ow!"
"Don't be silly, now get up. I spent all night looking through Ivan's records for this," Arthur muttered, and waited for Alfred to be on his feet before embracing him.
"D-Dad? How come you can -"
"Ivan found a spell how to temporarily let me touch you, but it wouldn't last for long." Alfred looked back at the sorcerer in surprise, before Arthur suddenly smiled at him, patting him on the back. "You've grown well. And even if both of us aren't blood related, I'm happy you've treated me as your father since you came to be with me - in all the years I considered you as a son."
Alfred blinked, eyes bright, before looking away, laughing awkwardly. "Y-Yeah, of course! I know that."
Arthur shifted his gaze to fix on his long-time friend.
Ivan went to guide Alfred to the dragon, right after Arthur's arms went through Alfred's body, a sign that the spell he used had worn off. The two magic users clasped their hands in a silent oath as Alfred watched, only able to wonder what they exchanged to each other.
Take care of him.
Arthur watched as Alfred quickly got on the dragon as if he rode one before - simply pure talent; the young man was just as extraordinary as his brother, but only in different aspects.
"Let's take off, little Alfred."
He never really got this emotional, not really. Twenty years would seem like such a short time for someone with his kind of lifespan. But twenty years of taking care of a bratty boy who did nothing but worm his way into his heart - well. He was entitled to some sort of attachment, wasn't he?
The feeling of loss was just as empty as the day when he watched Matthew go. He knew it wasn't as if he would never see them again, but...
Never let it be known that he was so sentimental about these things. Francis would surely laugh at him, would he not? Arthur watched again, this time bracing himself for the force of the wind coming from the dragon, who spread its wings high - and then bringing it down in one fell swoop as it leaped into the air.
Alfred screamed - in delight, Arthur noticed, snorting. Figures Alfred would adore flying. He watched for a bit more as the dragon disappeared into the clouds, before smiling and waving goodbye.
Then he promptly scowled at the subjects gawking at him from the sidelines.
"What, haven't seen your King smile before? Get back to your work!" he barked, and the servants and the ministers scrambled around the courtyard to avoid flying vases or a trip to the moat.
A/N: -cough- I like Hetalia. ._. Sorry, guys. Well, in other news, I'm writing For You chapter four? ;_; -cough- I'm really sick la la la Why is it that when I post up a fanfic it's when I'm really sick? Gosh.
If you're wondering, Phasma Phasmatis means ghost in Latin. LOL. spelling/grammar mistakes here and there, ah, I don't have a beta so. Sorry guys.
Any more questions? Read and review! :D This is probably gonna be a five-parter. Nothing too long.