Matthew sighed, checking his watch for what felt like the dozenth time in the last five minutes alone. His mind was restless turning the mysterious order to meet at the diner called Lizzie's at noon over and. The accent had been French, worn and guilt, which had only added to his confusion. Just as he had thought it to be a con and was considering hanging up - which he had only done once before in his life - but stopped as the tired voice had said, "I want to talk to you about Arthur."
Twenty minutes later and at least a full hour before the agreed meeting time, Matthew was standing outside the diner, a puzzled and grudging Alfred in tow. He hadn't taken a breath to explain to his twin what was going on until they were seated in a booth, drinking coffee. Alfred's eyes went wide as Matthew informed him about the mysterious phone call.
If the Canadian's mind was restless, his brother was showing the signs. Alfred couldn't sit still, constantly shifting his jacket on and off, lifting his coffee to his lips, realizing it was still empty and the entire time his finger tapped against the table in a constant rhythm. Matthew didn't have the heart to tell him that the tapping was driving him crazy, instead letting his eyes travel over the pretty form of the waitress who was talking to some of her customers, smiling and laughing.
"She will take time to warm up to you Mathieu."
Turning around Matthew opened his mouth to say that he was no staring when the words seemed to drop from his mind. "You…" he breathed, indigo eyes going wide. A tall blond man was hovering near their booth, tucking his hair behind his ear nervously. Under his arm he held a small potted lily.
"You!" Alfred was on his feet, an accusing fingers pointed at the tall blond, "I know you! You were the one with Arthur!"
Taking a careful look at the man, Matthew realized that he was right. Does that mean that night wasn't just some nightmare?
The Frenchman held up a hand. "Oui. It was me." He shifted the flower awkwardly, "Could I sit down please? I will not take much of your time."
Alfred exchanged a look with Matthew. He clearly didn't trust the man, but the Canadian was too curious and nodded, shifting deeper into his booth, indicating the Frenchman to sit down. "Ah, merci." The tall blond sat down, placing the lily on the table, "So I suppose you have questions?"
Alfred spoke before he could even gather his thoughts. "Where is Arthur?" His voice was quiet, disguising anger behind a thin sliver of hope. Matthew's heart winced at his brother's words. Oh course he still hoped that Arthur was alive. That's why Matthew loathed seeing Arthur that night, apparition or not. Giving Alfred false hope.
Before the Frenchman could answer, the waitress had approached the table, fresh pot of coffee in one had, a clean mug in the other. "Hey Francis," she said kindly, placing the cup down, pouring coffee without hesitation, "These two your new friends? What about Arthur?" She said with a shadow of a wink.
"We're his brothers." Matthew said quickly, holding out his mug, watching her as she leaned forward, brown hair spilling over her shoulder.
"Oh!" She said, still smiling, looking to Alfred who gave a curt nod, pushing his mug towards her, "Tell him I say hello. Skirt swishing as she turned, the woman walked away away her free hand resting on Francis' shoulder for a moment.
Sipping his coffee, trying to hide his flushed face, Matthew tried to guage his brother's expression but the light blue eyes were fixed on Francis, still waiting for an answer.
Francis' fingers curled themselves around the mug but he didn't lift it to his mouth. "Arthur is dead."
"No he isn't!" Alfred said, eyes over bright and amd arms tucked tight against his chest, "We saw him, you saw him, hell even that waitress saw him!"
Swallowing, Francis gently ran a hand through his wavy hair. "He was sent from heaven for me…"
Matthew found himself snorting disbelievingly. "You're telling me Arthur was an angel? That's insane."
To his surprise, the Frenchman laughed. "You are very right," he said, nodding with a far off smile on his lips, "Arthur was not a good angel. But he did help me and I am eternally thankful for that." He stood up abruptly, abandoning his coffee, "It oes not matter if you believe me or not, I have told you the truth."
Matthew was sceptical. Just as he opened his mouth to argue, Alfred spoke across him. "Then he's moved on?" Francis hesitated, then nodded, "Did - did he say anything about us?"
"He said he was sorry."
The hard blue eyes softened and Alfred sniffed lightly, wiping his eyes on the back of his hand. "Thank you…" Under the table, Matthew grabbed his brother's hand, squeezing it.
Francis gave a small smile, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pen, "If you ever need anything," he scribbled his number down on a napkin, "And I mean anything, please call me. It's the least I can do."
Watching his twin take the napkin, carefully folding it and then proceed to shove it into the pocket of his bomber jacket, Matthew turned to Francis. "Wait," He said as the Frenchman took a step away, "Your lily."
"Take it," Francis said, only turning his head slightly to see Matthew and Alfred, "I am incompetent with flowers and if you are anything like your brother, you will take good care of it." Raising a hand in farewell, Francis hurried out of the café without looking back.
Flipping his collar up against the cold, Francis stepped out on the street, blending in with the crowd. His arm felt light without the lily, perhaps for the better. This is what Arthur was talking about, this isolation, this seclusion. Exhilarating, but he understood why the Brit had not voiced the true reason why isolation was so beautiful. Someone was always waiting for you. Elizaveta had been waiting for him. Alfred and Matthew were still waiting for Arthur even after he had left. And even when Francis was finally going to take his final step, he knew that he would be welcomed with warm smiles and gracious embraces. Until then, he would live life to it's fullest, in payment to Arthur.
He stopped, something catching his eye. Stepping out of the throng, Francis took a closer look at the large park that sprawled away from him. Two children were chasing each other, laughing and shouting as they roughhoused without a care in the world. As Francis leaned against the archway leading into the grassy field, he watched the children, his heart swelling with a bittersweet feeling. Their skins contrast like the moon against the night skin. The vibrant green eyes are wide with a constant look of innocent rapture while the crimson gaze is narrowed with naïve superiority.
They finally notice that Francis is watching them and stop their fooling around. The tanned one waved first and the pale one doesn't hesitate to follow suit quickly, waving his hand with twice the enthusiasm. They continued to try and out do each other and eventually fall over each other, laughing and gasping for breath. As Francis took a step towards them, a hand on his shoulder stops him.
Forest green met watery blue and lips pull into a smirk as wandering fingers casually dishevel the short sandy blond hair. There are no words and Francis was all at once too overjoyed and hurt to do anything but gape and touch the cold hand. The angel began to walk towards the children and the mortal clings to his hand, begging for him to stay.
You have to fly for me Francis.
The twined fingers untangle themselves and when Francis tried to blink his tears away, the seraph was already standing with the two children, crouching and ruffling their hair, only to be tackled to the ground by both of them. Laughter reaching Francis' ears and he watches Arthur flail uselessly, half-heartedly fighting off the two children. Crying silently, smiling and hugging himself, he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them the children are gone and Arthur gave him one last genuine smile, flipping aviators over emerald eyes and disappears.