Title: Between Scylla and Charybdis
Author: Zalia Chimera
Warnings: Implied sex. Implied non-con
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters.
Notes: In November 1961 England's Prime Minister (Harold Macmillan) and France's President (Charles de Gaulle) met in England to discuss England's entry into the European Economic Community. The meetings didn't go well, the main sticking point being England's relationship with America and the denial of France's nuclear ambitions. They met again in June 1962 at Château de Champs, which is when and where this fic takes place.
Summary: Caught between Russia and America, there are still smaller battles to be fought and lives to live and politicians to be exasperated about.
"Your boss is a tosser." England rolled over, sprawling himself out across the bed, one arm falling over France's body possessively. He turned his head so that he could glare at France, as though this was entirely his fault somehow. The sliver of light which slunk through the curtains fell across his bare back and buttocks in a long pale stripe, highlighting the contours of his body.
France blinked down at him, a faint smile curving his lips as he leaned over to tap the ash from the end of the thick unfiltered cigarette which was caught loosely between his fingers. "And yours, mon Anglais,, is a snivelling little weasel, so I believe that we are even, non?" He dropped his free hand to England's head, petting his hair absently, fingernails grazing lightly over his scalp. He always had such soft hair, it was quite surprising when it usually looked something akin to broom bristles in his opinion, but then, England did insist on turning down France's attempts to improve it. Much like his fashion sense in that respect. England made a pleased purring noise at the petting and stretched languidly, pulling close to France so that his face was nuzzled against France's hip, warm breath teasing his skin. France continued petting him, taking a long drag from his cigarette, holding the smoke in for a moment before exhaling, letting it cloud away towards the ceiling.
He felt England's breathing even out slowly and frowned as he peered down at the other nation. Asleep? He had fallen iasleep/i? France was not fond of being ignored by his bedmates especially when their time was impinged upon by politics and politicians, and having England fall asleep while France was very much awake was just insulting! He was the guest so surely England should be entertaining him! He reached down to shake England's shoulder insistently until the other man stirred and glared blearily up at him. The dark smudges beneath England's eyes seemed more pronounced than normal and France smirked slightly, running the calloused pad of his thumb over one, as though he could wipe the bruise away.
"What do you want, frog?" England asked sourly, but his voice was more tired than annoyed. He slumped against France's side heavily, still glaring up at him.
"Are you really sleeping again, Angleterre? You have been sleeping for hours already." Although he feigned irritation, he couldn't help but feel a little concerned, although he hid it, turning away to stub out his cigarette, leaving it smouldering in the thick glass ashtray.
"Can't help it," England muttered. "I'm so tired recently."
"Your economy?" France asked, giving him a curious look. England always had energy to spare when it came to getting into an argument and yet he was not even taking the opportunity to rant about the 'damn lazy French bastards'. That was a trifle worrying.
England made a noise of agreement. "It's sluggish. Leaves me feeling drained a lot of the time."
Ah, that made sense he supposed. England of all of them seemed to be having the most trouble adjusting to the new ways of the world, torn between America and Europe and not really being comfortable with either option. He was trying to play both sides and not particularly managing either very well. It must have felt rather like crashing back to Earth after flying so very high as an empire. "Is that why you are here, Angleterre?" France asked mildly although with a touch of genuine curiosity. "Did your boss tell you to seduce me to try to ease your way into Europe?" It was not a particularly horrific thought to him personally. France had been bedded for politics before, but England had always loathed playing the whore. It would be strange for him to start now when it seemed less necessary in the world of politics than it used to be.
"He did," England admitted blithely, shrugging his shoulders, those taut muscles that France so liked rippling beneath his skin. It was rather entrancing and no wonder that France caught himself staring. "And I told him where to shove it," England added darkly, rebellion sparking in his eyes. "I'm here because I want to be." iWith you because I want to be./i
"You should be careful mon cher, saying things like that. People might think that you actually possess feelings." France replied, smirking down at the other nation. A cruel jab perhaps, but really, England was so repressed at times, it was quite ridiculous. "If you want to fuck I am always most happy to accommodate you."
France watched as England's face flushed with anger and he pulled away sharply to the other side of the bed, turning his back and leaving a gap between them. "Fuck you," he snarled, with rather more venom than France had expected. "It doesn't always have to be about politics. It doesn't always have to be just fucking. I don't work that way. Just because your boss has you spread your legs for Germany to make this fucking European Community doesn-"
England broke off, his shoulders hunching up and there was a horrified silence. France felt bile rise in his throat, knew that his face was milk white and for a moment all he could see, all he could hear was the invasion of his lands, his body being used, his people oppressed, the fucking puppet government, all merged together into the sick nightmare of those years.
England's voice cut through it along with a hand against his arm and France flinched away, lips drawn into a tight line. His hands were fisted into the sheets, fingernails digging into his palms. England's hand moved down his arm, forcing his fingers to unclench. "God France, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking about- I'm sorry."
France took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm, to force those thoughts away, back to the dark long ago. It was easier now than it had been even just a few years ago, although he doubted there would ever be a time when it didn't make his skin crawl. He schooled his expression into one of blandness, satisfied when England cringed upon seeing it. He knew well that France's moods were commonplace, but the blank calmness was reserved for when France couldn't adequately express what he was feeling. "For a supposedly intelligent country, Angleterre, you can sometimes be immensely stupid." The words were delivered mildly, but he knew that England could hear the grit behind them, see the tensing of his jaw.
England huffed softly, pushing himself into a sitting position, leaning back against the headboard of the bed. He pulled his knees up to his chest and leaned on them, the sheet sliding down to just below his hips, revealing the curve of his buttocks. Such a movement would normally have been taken as an opportunity, an invitation to slide a hand over those curves, slip them beneath the sheet. Amazing how his libido could be killed so quickly by a few ill thought words from his Englishman.
The uncomfortable silence stretched for many minutes, the only sounds piercing the room the occasional raised voice from the gardens below, the songs of the birds in the tree just outside. France reached for his cigarettes again, tapping one out of the packet with a smooth motion and lighting it just as easily. He brought it to his lips, dragging the smoke into his lungs, the dark taste of the tobacco soothing him.
"I don't understand how you can be allies after everything," England said quietly. He groped for the bottle that rested on the nightstand, uncorking it and pouring himself a shot of whiskey. He didn't drink it straight away, but took the glass tumbler into his hands, trailing a finger around the edge of it.
France sighed. "It is barely noon, Angleterre, should you be drinking?" If he started now then he would not stop, would set about it with a fierce determination and he would be quite insensible by the time that dinner came and they had to face their bosses.
England shot him a sour look. "It's none of your business." He raised the glass to his lips and put it back in one gulp. France wrinkled his nose in distaste. Fine whiskey was meant to be savoured, not gulped like cheap vodka. Even if it was not France's drink of choice, he knew better than that.
England reached for the bottle again and France sighed. "It is, as you say, all politics mon cher." At the typical endearment, England seemed to relax a little, setting the bottle down and turning to give France his full attention. France tapped his lips lightly. "It is good for France to move on, to build a friendship, just as we built our Entente yes? Or would you prefer that I sink into memories and depression?" iLike you/i went unsaid, but England blanched none the less. He never had quite come to terms with the slow crumbling of his empire, France felt.
"And you're having too much fun with each other for me to join?" England asked nastily, reaching for the bottle again.
France magnanimously decided not to throttle the idiot. He would never be able to explain it to England's boss. He took another drag on his cigarette, forcing himself to be silent until he could reply without anger. "I will never share my bed with Germany," he said finally, a hard note to his voice. "But we are cordial, and it is a political arrangement."
England gulped back another shot, fingers gripping the glass hard enough to turn white. France reached over to pry the glass from his fingers, earning him a glare but no resistance thankfully. "You are being quite ridiculous today, Angleterre."
"It was supposed get easier after the war," England said, letting France take the glass and bottle and move them away from him. "A new era of international bloody cooperation and here we are, America and Russia and their contest to prove who's cock is bigger dragging the rest of the world into the path of absolute destruction, you and Germany and sodding Europe and it's all or nothing with all of you. Either with you or with America, you won't let me do both."
"You can be beholden to America if you wish, but I will not. You have always stood apart from Europe," France replied, a small frown curling his lips. "You dislike Europe."
"I dislike being obsolete more," England snapped. "And I'm not beholden to anyone."
France blinked slowly at him for a moment and raised an eyebrow. "It is so terrible that you have to walk on the ground with the rest of us," he said, sarcasm colouring his voice. "The world has changed. We must submit to a new power, just as we had to submit to you when you reached your peak, just as they bowed to me when I reached mine." It was the way of things. England knew that as well as he did. Had they not seen it happen before, a hundred times?
"You know what I mean," England said coolly. "And I'd rather America than the Soviets."
"Which is why I know that this will pass. You are entirely too stubborn for me to believe that you will become obsolete." He sighed softly, resting a hand against England's shoulder and coaxing him to uncurl. He did so reluctantly, lying next to France, eyebrows drawn into a tight frown. France smoothed his thumb across the lines there. "You will get wrinkles." England snorted softly. "You are hardly obsolete with your devastating weapons and you certainly do not seem on the verge of withering to dust." France shifted up against him, pulling himself up so that he could straddle his hips, leaning down over him, hand resting against his chest. He was thinner than he had been, but his body was still strong. "Quite the opposite. And I thought that this was not about politics," he said with a smirk.
England remained stiff and tense beneath him for a moment but he had never been able to resist for very long. He relaxed back against the bed, one hand raising to cup the back of France's neck, their moods shifting, mercurial as the desires of their people. France leaned down to kiss the corner of his lips lightly, letting England's fingers wrap into his hair.
"Do you think they've noticed that we aren't there yet?" England asked after a moment, gesturing absently towards the window and the gardens beyond in which their bosses were doubtless arguing over tea and wine.
"They must be very blind if they have not," France pointed out, occupying himself by tugging the sheet down England's legs.
England gave him an incredulous look. "They iare/i politicians, France."
France cocked his head to one side slightly, giving that the consideration that it deserved before nodding. "True. Then we should make the most of it non? Before anyone who is not a politician notices our absence and informs them." He slid a hand down England's stomach, resting his hand against his thigh.
"Horny bastard," England muttered before wrenching France's head down for a deep kiss.