A/N: Alo, so, I decided to write a little one-shot prequel to all of the other gen!flip Gakuen stories, this one of how Francis met Gill and Antonio. So, as with all of the other gen!flips, this will be AU and have female Romano, Italy, and Prussia.
[Edit: This was originally planned to be a two-shot, but I decided that it worked better as a one-shot, so I've decided to mark it as complete. Nothing was really lost in this decision, since the events that I'd planned can be easily incorporated into other stories.]
The Rest was History
She had promised.
She had promised that she would come. He'd sat on his bed a week ago, phone pressed tightly against his ear, listening as his mother had chattered on about all of the things that she and his father were seeing and doing. He'd only been half-listening, though, because what he'd really wanted to know was...
"And we should be finishing our work up tomorrow morning. And then we'll have a whole week free, so we'll be coming home."
Which had almost sent Francis into a squealing fit. His parents were coming home! After being gone for nearly three months, he was finally going to see them again!
They'd finished talking about a half hour later and he had immediately run to his nanny's room, slamming the door open without knocking—startling her and her boyfriend, who looked as if they'd been wrestling on the bed, into jumping apart.
He never really understood why she and her boyfriend liked to wrestle so much. But there were much more important things to worry about now. "Maman and Papa are coming home!" He jumped up onto the bed between them, earning a dirty look from her boyfriend. "Maman said that they're coming home! You need to help me make a present!"
His nanny hadn't responded at first, since she was trying to pull her sheets over herself. But then she'd reached over and picked him up, setting him on her lap. "Ah, your Maman called?"
"Oui! We have to make a present... We could make a super ginormous cake, oui?"
"Of course. Of course. You should probably tell Madame D'Anjou about this first, though, right?"
Francis had blinked at this. Ah, he'd almost forgotten. His governess would need to know about this. "Ah, oui! I will go tell her now!"
"Good. Good. And...don't tell here where I am, all right? You know how grumpy she can be in the morning..."
Francis immediately nodded, leaning forward and kissing the girl on the cheek before climbing off of the bed and running down the hallway to where he knew Madame D'Anjou's room was located.
The household had been a madhouse for the rest of the week. Everyone was bustling about, cleaning, shouting at each other. Francis mostly hid in his room after getting run into and yelled at one too many times. But it was okay, because this was all because his maman and papa were coming home!
And then, this morning, he'd awoken to see one of the maids standing at the foot of his bed, staring down at the floor, scuffing her shoes...
And she'd told him that his maman had just called. Something unexpected had come up. They wouldn't be able to come down after all. She said that his maman had said that she was really really sorry and they'd make sure that they came down next week.
But he'd barely listened to that.
...His parents weren't coming.
His maman had promised, but she wasn't...
He'd left the house after that; rather surprised at how easy it was to do so. Everyone had more important things to do than worry about him, after all. And he'd never done anything like this before, since they'd been telling him for his entire life that it was important he stay within the grounds. Because someone might steal him away otherwise... And he didn't want to be stolen, right?
But at the moment, he didn't care. He'd been lied to. His parents had abandoned him. He wanted to be stolen away; he wanted them to worry about him.
So he was now wandering around in a forest or something, not knowing where he was or where he should go or what he should do...
And then he was startled by a sudden shout coming from relatively nearby.
"Haha! Stupid knight in shining armour! Your silly sword won't be able to defeat the awesome wizard of awesomeness!"
That voice had belonged to a girl...a rather loud girl. And now another voice responded, this one definitely belonging to a boy. "Of course, I will defeat you! Because I must rescue the beautiful princess Lovinissima. And I will also steal your gold and... Hey, wait, where'd Lovi go?"
"Hey! Lovina, get back in that rope! We can't play damsel in distress without the damsel!"
"And you can't eat the tomatoes! That's the treasure!"
Francis moved forward, heading toward the voices. What in the worl—ah! There!
He hurriedly slipped behind a tree, glancing out upon the sight in front of him. Three children, two of them about his age and one probably a little younger, were standing in the middle of a clearing. Doing...something. He couldn't figure out what.
The two older children were holding sticks, the girl also wrapped up in a sheet and wearing a pointed cone—covered with gold, painted stars—on top of her head. And both were staring at the younger girl: a little brunette with a flower crown drooping over one eye who was sitting on the ground, beside a basket full of tomatoes, and munching on one of the plump, red fruits. Dribbling tomato juice all over her blue party dress in the process.
"Lovina, you can't eat the treasure!" Francis's attention was recaptured by the older girl as she stomped her foot on the ground and then removed her hat. Revealing white hair.
He blinked in surprise... White hair? Didn't only old people have white hair?
The little girl glanced up at this, flashing the white-haired girl a rather unamused look before she took another bite from the tomato.
"Well, I guess we can let her have one tomato..." the boy attempted to resolve.
All he received was a scowl from the older girl. "No we can't! The tomatoes are my awesome treasure! My awesome treasure isn't edible!"
"But..." he paused, glancing back toward the brunette, who had finished her first tomato and was now reaching into the basket for another. "But—well, you're a wizard. What if you decided to turn the treasure into tomatoes for Princess Lovinissima to eat?"
The older girl blinked, frowning. "Why would the evil wizard of awesomeness do that?"
"Because otherwise, Princess Lovinissima will start screaming very very loudly and we'll get yelled at by the neighbours again..."
There was a moment of silence, as the girl seemed to consider this. Then she nodded. "Good point."
And with this taken care of, the two older children returned to their fight... Which consisted of very little besides the two whacking their sticks together and the girl occasionally pointing hers toward him and yelling random things in gibberish...
Still, they seemed to be having fun. Francis wondered what they would do if he walked up to them and asked to play... Would they laugh at him? Or run away or...
And he was startled out of his thoughts by the sudden exclamation coming from near his feet.
Francis glanced down to see the little girl—Lovi, he thought he'd heard them call her—standing in front of him, amber eyes turned up toward him in a look of curiousity. Then her gaze dropped down to his feet and she pointed towards the ground. "Mine!"
He blinked, but glanced down, rather surprised to see that he was standing right over a doll; he hadn't even noticed it there before... He looked up again, meeting the girl's eyes. She scowled, motioning toward the doll again. "Mine!"
"Lovi, what are you doing?" Francis jerked farther behind the tree at the other voice. The boy was walking towards them, head cocked to the side slightly as he reached out toward the little girl. "Are you tired of playing? We could play something else...or go inside. Mamá will probably let us have hot chocolate if we want some."
She just looked at him, frowning suspiciously for a moment before she turned and suddenly pointed toward him. "Stupid stole dolly! Mine!"
The boy just blinked in response, obviously rather surprised by her statement. Then he glanced up...
And Francis was taken aback. As their eyes met and the happiest expression he'd ever seen on another person crossed over this boy's face, lips twisting up into an ecstatic smile, bright green eyes sparkling in delight, and then he clapped his hands together and exclaimed, "Hola! Are you new? I've never seen you before! I'm Antonio! What's your name? How old are you? Do you like tomatoes?"
It took Francis a few minutes to figure out what he'd said. Since one, he'd said all this in one breath; two, he'd said it with a rather strong accent that Francis couldn't quite place; and three—wait a second—
"Sí~!" He laughed, clapping his hands together again as he laughed. "Madre and I grow tomates! And they're very very delicious. Lovi loves them a whole lot!"
Francis glanced back down at the little girl, who was now hiding behind the boy's leg, and received a glare in response.
Ah, what else had he asked? "Ah, I—I'm Francis. And um...I'm...five..."
"That's how old Gill and I are!" His smile grew even wider; something that Francis hadn't actually thought was possible. Then he suddenly paused, "Ah, I forgot about Gill..." He turned. "Gill! I found a new friend!"
"A new what?" And then the girl with white hair stepped into sight, her cone hat tucked under one arm, her stick under the other. She paused when she noticed him, staring at him for a few seconds before she grinned. "Hey, awesome! Where'd he come from?"
Francis started to open his mouth to explain, but was suddenly interrupted by a rather loud shriek from the little girl. "Mine! Dolly! Stupid stole Dolly! MINE~!"
"Huh?" the older girl, Gill, glanced down toward his feet and then her eyes widened slightly in recognition of the little toy. "Oh... Why in the world did you leave your doll over here anyway?"
The girl—Antonio had called her Lovi, right?—just scowled and refused to answer. And Francis suddenly had the brilliant epiphany that maybe it would be best to bend down, pick up the doll, and hand it to the little girl... Which is what he did...
Or tried to do...
He got as far as the bending down and picking it up before she suddenly screamed, loud enough that he almost immediately dropped the toy back onto the ground. And Gill covered her ears with her hands. And Antonio visibly jumped.
"He's not trying to take your doll!" Gill yelled back, hurriedly jumping forward toward the petrified Francis, bending down and grabbing the doll, then running back to the girl and shoving it into her arms. "Now stop screaming!"
She stopped almost immediately, hiccupping a few times as she stared at the doll in her arms. Then she hugged it tightly to her chest and sent him a surprisingly threatening glare. As if saying 'you touch my dolly again and I'll kill you'.
Francis was pretty sure he'd never received that sort of look from a four-year-old before.
"There." Antonio bounced back surprisingly quickly, as he grinned down at her and took her free hand in his. "See, Lovi? He wasn't trying to steal your dolly. He was just trying to be a friend and give it back, okay?" And now he received a slightly less murderous, but still rather frightening, glare in response—which he ignored.
"Want to play with us, Francis?" He now flashed Francis his seemingly usual bright grin, ignoring the fact that Lovi was now attempting to escape from his grip and crying 'No! No! No!' at him.
Francis was about to answer, of course going to say yes. He'd felt a surge of happiness at the question. But suddenly Gill stepped forward with a shout of "Wait!"
And now her face was only a few inches from his own. Way too close... He had to resist the urge to take a step back as she stared at him with...
He blinked in surprise as he suddenly took a really good look at her face... She had red eyes. He hadn't known that it was possible to have red eyes. Weren't people only supposed to have brown eyes or blue eyes or colours like that?
"Why are your eyes red?"
And Francis immediately wanted to kick himself for saying that. He'd probably said something bad and she'd get mad at him and yell at him and then they wouldn't want to be his friends anymore. And he really wanted to be friends with them... Even if they did seem rather weird...
But... She didn't. She didn't yell or kick him or anything. Instead, she just leaned back and smirked, resting one hand on her hip as she pointed the other toward herself. "It's cause I'm awesome!"
She seemed to notice his confusion, as she sighed and glanced back toward Antonio, who just smiled back and swung his and Lovi's connected hands, ignoring her whining.
"Okay. It's not hard, okay? See, I'm awesome. And since I'm so much more awesomer than anybody else, I need a way to show that to people. Because otherwise, people might forget how awesome I am, right? So that's why I'm all-bino."
She nodded and tugged at a strand of her hair. "Uh huh. That's what Mutti said it's called when you have white hair and red eyes. It's like Arthur's bunny!"
Antonio immediately nodded in agreement. Apparently considering this a reasonable explanation.
Which made Francis feel like he was missing something. Although, now that he thought about it, this might just be one of those things that his nanny or governess could explain to him. The other servants always told him to go ask them things that he didn't understand. "Okay..."
"Anyway..." She turned back to Antonio, whose grin only widened in response. "We can't just let Francis play with us!"
Francis immediately felt his hope die at this. He should've known that they wouldn't want to be friends with him... They wouldn't want to play with somebody like him when they already had friends...
"He has to pass the awesomeness test first!"
And now he blinked again, as two pairs of eyes turned toward him. Lovi had managed to escape and was wandering away, back towards the basket of tomatoes.
"Nobody can play with us unless they can prove that they're awesome! Except for Luddy, but that's because he's my brother and Mutti says that I have to let him play with us... And Lovi, because she'll scream if Tonio leaves her alone... And Artie, because..." She suddenly paused and then glanced toward Antonio. "Why do we let Artie play with us?"
He shrugged. "No sé."
"And Artie because he has caterpillars on his face, so he wouldn't have any friends if it weren't for our awesomeness!" She grinned, as if this explained everything. "And even though you seem pretty awesome, we have to make sure!"
And suddenly he found himself crushed between two other bodies, both of which were grinning up at him with mischievous expressions.
"So come on! We'll go to the park and we'll see how awesome you are!"