Just a Thank You
The first thing Arthur noticed when he got up that morning was that his rabbit was not by his side, staring at him inquisitively, black ears cocked at an odd angle to show it's curiosity. Instead, it was curled at his head, shivering. Worriedly, he poked it. It only curled into a tighter ball.
He didn't go out to run about the fields as usual. He stayed by the bed and watched his beloved pet. What was wrong with it? Why wouldn't it move? At frequent intervals, it made little squeaking noises of pain, trembling pathetically. He pet it's soft furry head in hopes of comforting it. Nothing was working. Nothing he did or said would get his rabbit to look up.
He started to panic by noon. What was wrong? Why wouldn't his cute little rabbit look up at him? Who could help? No one else kept rabbits as pets. They just ate them. And if he asked a healer, they would suggest blood letting or drilling a hole in his poor rabbit's skull, or something equally gruesome. He was near tears, before an idea struck him.
Francis would know what to do. He always did. And it didn't matter that the frog would gloat about it. No matter how many jokes and jabs at his pride Francis would make, laughing smoothly all the while, he would still help.
Determined now, he donned his green cape, tying it at the neck, before picking up his rabbit, cuddling it in his arms. Quickly. He had to find Francis lest something disastrous happened.
He ran through the castle, out into the woods, leaping over fallen logs and burbling creeks, arms wrapped securely around the bundle of white fur. The fields were a rippling sea of gold, the sun highlighting each strand of grass, making the splash of blue and red stand out even more obviously.
"Francis!" He called, pausing just a moment to catch his breath. The Frenchman turned, brushing his wind strewn hair from his face with a bright smile, a half finished daisy chain sitting in his lap.
"I was starting to worry something had happened to you when you weren't here this morning, mon petit lapin." His tone was a singsong and mocking one, and carefully distracted Arthur from the fact that Francis had said he was worried. About him.
"Stop calling me that in your stupid language, you idiot." He hissed. Movement in his arms reminded him of why he'd come in the first place. Blushing, he held out the rabbit. Francis gave him a confused look, blue eyes taking in his disheveled appearance almost knowingly, taking note that underneath his cape, he was still wearing his night clothes.
"He's sick." Arthur finally admitted. Francis studied the rabbit carefully. His soft hums of understanding didn't make him feel any better. "I don't know what happened! He was just fine yesterday and then this morning he wouldn't get up and–!" Arthur had to stop himself before a sob escaped. He felt stupid, crying in front of Francis. He was expecting the older nation to say something, make fun of him.
That's not what he got.
Francis smiled gently at him, brushing his fingers through his hair affectionately. It was a touch reserved for special occasions only, otherwise, the French pervert wasn't allowed to touch him. For once, Arthur didn't jerk away from the touch, just sniffled quietly and scrubbed away the tears that had managed to slide down his cheeks.
"What did he eat yesterday?" Arthur looked up at Francis curiously, momentarily distracted from his despair.
"Eat? Well, he had some of my sweets cause I wanted to share, and I gave him some of my wine because he's never had it before. And he ate his grass like usual." The sound of smooth laughter floated over the field, just as Arthur had expected it to. Only he didn't mind the sound as much because it was a kind sound, and had no mocking ring to it. Francis was smiling kindly.
"Mon petit lapin, your bunny just has a stomach ache. Bunnies weren't meant to eat sweets and drink wine." With one last affectionate brush of hair, Francis handed his rabbit back to him. "Just leave him be, and he will be fine by tomorrow."
Arthur smiled brightly at the news, relief flooding through his body and washing out the concern that had sunken to the pit of his stomach like a stone. On a spur of the moment, Arthur grabbed the collar of Francis' dress, pulling him down. He still had to stand on his tiptoes to reach. It didn't cross his mind to think about what he was about to do.
Shyly, uncertainly, he pressed their lips together for what felt like eternity, it was only a brief moment. Around them, the sun shined as bright as ever, and the wind tousled their hair. He rocked back from his tip toes, his face hot and red. A beautiful smile was spreading over the Frenchman's face, his eyes glittering with pure joy.
"You stupid frog, don't read too deeply into that! It was just a thank you! For my bunny! Don't go around saying I'm in love with you or whatever. Cause I'm not!"
Having made his point perfectly clear, Arthur turned away with a childish pout and a huff. He didn't see the way Francis delicately touched his lips, still grinning gleefully. As he started his way back home, he tossed a single soft 'thank you' over his shoulder, hoping Francis hadn't heard it at all.
Francis smiled, going back to braiding daisy chains. "You're welcome, mon petit lapin."