Arthur hated the man who called himself Vichy France. He hated the lie that was told through a thin lipped smile. Hated the obvious loss of all morals, all belief in himself or anyone else. This man who called himself Vichy... He was not France. He was not Francis. He was a wasted kingdom. A puppet.
And Arthur hated it.
He hated the way he smiled. He hated the way his body moved. He hated the way he obediently followed behind Ludwig, smiling gently. He hated the bruises that sometimes marred his face. Hated the crooked fingers that pushed away stray strands of hair. He hated his blank expression, put together carefully. He hated that he could look so much like his Francis, yet not be him.
"What are you doing?" He hissed when he saw Francis, separate from Ludwig. He didn't doubt that the German was near by. He never left Francis by himself. Francis smiled at him, easily ignoring the blue and green under his eyes, perfectly blank. A puppet.
"What do you mean, petit lapin?" His voice was still the same voice. His secretive smile was still the same. His fingers, the curl of his lips, the way he walked, the way he controlled the desire that always managed to leak through his mask. It was all the same. But he wasn't Francis.
"Run!" Arthur whispered harshly, dragging Francis into an alley so they could speak privately, fingers wrapped tight around his wrist. He ignored the flinch he got, saving his anger for later. "Why haven't you run yet?! Come to England, I'd keep you safe. You know I would."
"Why would I want to do that?" Francis asked, glancing around carefully, watching for signs of an enemy that was too real. "I'm happy in my country. Germany keeps me safe."
"Stop sprouting that puppet crap! I don't want to hear it from you." In truth, the subservient attitude sickened him. Where was his Francis, who had fought him tooth and nail for France? Where was his Francis that never went down without a fight? He was about to say more, tell Francis exactly what he thought of him, but Francis clapped a hand over his mouth to silence him.
"Hush petit lapin. The free half of my country is already moving. They plan to resist soon." From not far away, they heard Ludwig's voice, calling for Francis. "I will be there when I can, but he doesn't trust me enough to leave me alone." With a gentle kiss against Arthur's mouth, Francis left him, smiling. "I'm not done yet."
Francis ran from the alley with fake joy, playing his part of puppet well. He pulled on Ludwig's arm just enough to drag him down to his level, kissing him lightly. Ludwig stuttered something and blushed, pulling Francis away.
Francis's eyes narrowed with malicious glee, a smirk spread over his lips. He flipped his hair dramatically, glancing back the way he came. But the smile was not aimed at Ludwig, instead it was tossed over his shoulder at Arthur who watched from the shadows of the alley. Arthur himself was unsure of what to think.
He was a puppet, maybe. But not a stupid one. Not one without will. Arthur sighed, wondering how soon he should expect Francis on his doorstep, beaten and bloodied and broken, but grinning none the less. 'I'm not done yet.'
'I'm not done yet.'
Arthur sighed once more and smiled, watching Francis follow Ludwig, noticing the way his eyes glowed, ready to pounce and betray. He wasn't as obedient as he had first seemed. Typical France, puppet or not.