Title: The Language Of Love And The Language Of Roses
Author's note: Kink meme: France being the one to pine after Canada
France wasn't in love. He assured himself that this was not, in fact the case. Well, to be fair he was always in love. In love with the beauty of his countries, of other countries, of other people – what France wasn't, was pining. He wasn't fixated on one single person, and that fixation wasn't feeling like an addiction – a disease. Said fixation did not make him want to do rash things, like think of such crazy things like commitment.
France could get anyone he damn well wanted. (Well, except maybe England, but he didn't want Rosbif anyways. Really.) He was the grand republic of France. The country of love, of light and art. He'd had many famous lovers over the years. He'd had a fling with Colette and shared coffees with Nin; flirted with the macabre ideas of de Sade and the philosophies of Descartes, Sartre and Camus in turn; dined with the impressionists and surrealists and cubists, every art movement ever since the paintbrush had been invented. He had known Picasso, Monet, Cézanne, Degas and Chagall personally and reveled in each of their own styles: the chaos of Picasso, the delicate ballet performances of Degas, the thick surreality of Chagall and Cézanne.
He did not stoop so far as to be so besotted as to lose all senses. Love did not own him in such manners. If he was rejected, he found another lover, for there were always others. He was far too proud to be bowed by love. Which was why he was in bar in the middle of the day, drinking high priced wine and mutilating a daisy. This was the third daisy and he kept getting 'loves-me-nots'. Damnable flowers. He came across the last petal, only to find another not. He tossed away the flower in disgust. Roses were far more beautiful than daisies. Perhaps plucking them would give him the result he so desired. It would be a shame to ruin them, though.
France took another swing and settled in to being miserable. It wasn't as if he had a lot other to do, given that he'd been stood up yet again.
Canada had been quite busy with national relations that month, too busy in fact, to get back with him until quite a bit later to inform him that he'd forgotten all about their scheduled time together. (Calling them 'dates' would be a misnomer, he told himself again.) On their last phone call, he had informed him that he'd gone to have ice cream with Cuba. France's mind had translated it to Canada being the bowl, and wearing only a sheen of ice cream which Cuba was eagerly licking off. Usually such a mental image would be pleasant, one he would savor, but it only made him twitch. The day after that, he'd related about how Netherlands had sent him a large amount of beautiful tulips. France's mental image was of a smitten Canada smelling the flowers, looking up shyly at Netherlands and then fading to him being pressed down in a field of flowers. France was gritting his teeth by then. Canada then related his meeting with Ukraine. France's mental picture was of her delectable tracts of land sprung free and bouncing, bouncing, bouncing... That mental image he didn't mind so much, at least until the moment when the mental image of her kissed his Canada and they proclaimed their eternal love for each other.
He wasn't jealous, dammit. France did not get jealous. If someone else had the one he intended to be his paramour, he would simply find a way around this. Winning them to his side, suggesting a 'compromise', or simply moving on to the next lovely thing that passed by. That was how he did things. He wasn't caught by the darker impulses of love. He was above such things in his freedom to enjoy, and admire the beauty of any passing beauty, and not get tied down to any single one. He was in love most with love itself, not someone with a gentle gaze and a soft voice.
France took another long sip of wine. He wasn't drinking from glasses in a civilized manner, he was simply downing as much alcohol as possible to dull the mental images that were haunting him. It took a lot to get a nation drunk, and even more to get himself drunk given his tolerance. He intended to get himself inebriated as soon as was possible. Of course, but any self-respecting, proud nation like himself upon being stood up for other nations should have done was find the nearest pretty Parisenne and spend the night with her.
However, he was in too poor a mood to succeed in anything but getting a drink thrown in his face.
He did not know when things had progressed so far as they had. He had always been fond of his little Canada. His beautiful untouched, rural lands were where he found the purest serenity. Even back in the colonial days, he had felt calm simply by Canada's presence. Unlike Angleterre's feelings toward Amérique, they had not shifted to irritation, and the other complicated gamut of emotions he held. Canada was a serene boy, quiet and sweet. He had seeming endlessly patience with all of France's eccentricities, and still he felt calmest around the one person who never judged or looked down on him.
He wasn't sure when that fondness, that calming nature had grown to this... this thing which was not love, yet was most certainly wanting. A wanting which was not pure lust – a wanting which refused to share and filled his chest with unpleasant jealousy and left him miserable for the lack of him.
Of course, Canada was lovely. France credited his French influence for some of it. Despite being England's colony for so long, his hair had remained smooth and silky. All France's lessons on hair care had not been forgotten in all those years, it seemed. His gentle calm only made him that more attractive. So much so that there were times when France was amazed that no one had snatched up such a beautiful boy and called them their own yet.
And yet the thought that someone else might get their claws into him galled him. It made him want to start wars, push aside the foreign invaders and claim his dear Canada for himself.
He wasn't in love, he wasn't—
He was in love. Oh foutre, he was in love.
France took another swig of wine and hoped it'd drown out the other sense of intoxication he was already feeling taking over him. And yet, as many drinks as he took, he couldn't erase the feeling, or the image of Canada in his mind.
A shy smile, a blush, his glasses falling down adorably as he looked on– a bit perplexed – the softness of his silky hair which France would use any excuse to run his fingers through, to say nothing of his quiet little accent, and the way he could look up at someone – at Ihim/I with such unabashed adoration–
France clenched his fist. Consequences be damned, he wasn't going to let all those other countries get their paws in him.
Or at least, that had been the plan. When he actually saw Canada, he had a mixture of emotions. There was the usual calmness and happiness at seeing the boy, his boy, petulance at being stood up for others still lingering around the edges, and the worst of all, a sickening feeling in his stomach he could not label entirely, but something he knew was related to l'amour. For the first time since he was a teenager, France was positively lovesick.
He decided to attribute it to the lack of sex. He hadn't had sex in oh...a week now. No wait, two. He'd been in too poor spirits to pursue anyone, and even too tired and irritated to take the very last possibility, bought love for the night. He was utterly sex starved and felt at that moment like he could take the table as his mistress. At the moment, he wasn't drunk enough to do so, but he had a feeling that by the end of the meeting he'd be close.
Because of this, France did not immediately seek out and greet Canada. He had essentially intended to meet him later, once he'd stopped feeling off balance, but it was interrupted by Canada greeting his oh-so-important friends. His mouth turned downwards into a grimace as he watched Canada hugged for entirely too long by Ukraine, her breasts crushed into his chest while he was patted on the back by Cuba with the sort of grin that implied shared knowledge of an intimate variety. The display was ended by Netherlands coming over to greet him, and they all talked amiably together for entirely too long.
Oh, he had such a lovely smile. He looked up to them with that carefree happiness as if spending time with that person was the utter high point of his life and just being there had made it the best day of his life.
It was a look that before, France had only seen Canada use in reaction to time spent with himself. He had always felt golden and warm basking in Canada's adoration. Of course, he adored being adored by anyone, such was his egotism, but Canada's was special.
And here he was, admiring any random country just like some wonton. Well, fine. Maybe they were off having orgies without him. He had figured that if Canada ever got some of his wilder nature, at least he'd invite him along, but apparently after all these years, an invitation to this 'party' was too much to ask. Canada had always displayed a naivety, endearing as it was, that he should follow the mold of the short-lived humans and live in complete monogamy. As to what had caused him to change, for all he knew it could have been the Netherlands' stash and some good wine.
Usually he would give Canada a reassuring smile during the meeting, but this time he didn't look his way once. If Canada would so snub him, then he would be snubbed as well. France was very good at snubbing. So good, if there was an Olympic event for it, he'd take the gold every year. As well as the silver and bronze medals. The French were legendary for their snobbery and snubbing of whatever displeased them, and France had personally originated this.
France avoided Canada that next meeting as well, and kept himself busy talking with others, knowing that Canada would be too polite to interrupt. It was at once both easy in means and very difficult. Every other country seemed to find forgetting Canada so very easy, but France found it a far harder task. It seemed as if every shrug of his shoulders, every nervous bite of his lower lip announced itself to him. He looked more reticent and downcast than usual, or at least, that's what he gleaned from the peripheral glances. He wanted to look at him, to see with pride at what he'd helped shape, the beauty which owed partly to himself, but oh, for pride's sake he could not.
Not when he'd been so slighted.
So it was that France returned home without so much as exchanging a word with Canada, as if he too had forgotten he existed. His pride was intact, but he was utterly miserable.
When France returned home, he did not call Canada and talk deep into the night, leaning against the sink and taking sips of spiced wine as he usually did. He thought of checking his little black book to find a girl he could spend the night, or at least an hour with.
Of course, she'd have to be very drunk indeed to deal with him in his current state. At this point he might cry out someone else's name. He'd have to be very, very drunk and things could get unpredictable when he was in his cups.
The lack of l'amour (and the prevalent lovesickness) was corroding his senses, obviously. He did not do well without sex. Without the release, he began to get moody and sullen, given to fits of brooding melancholia. In fact, it had been a particularly long dryspell of lack of l'amour that had started the existentialism movement altogether. If France had gotten laid more in those years, the world would've been deprived of this life-changing philosophy.
So it was that France spent the next days with alcohol as his main companion. He didn't need another rejection now; He'd had enough already.
It was a knock at his door, some days, and many, many many wine bottles later that stirred him from his drunken sleep. He'd subsisted on nothing but wine and cigarettes lately. It was a miracle that he even heard it, given how hesitant the knocking was.
He finally stumbled to the door, nursing a hangover and simply rising to make the pounding stop as it was aggravating his hangover. Canada was there, wringing his hands.
"England said you weren't answering his calls, and I was worried..."
As it was, France supposed that even he must've not looked particularly dashing. Hungover, with bloodshot eyes and a newfound gauntness. Even his beloved gorges du tarn was overgrown.
"Something is wrong."
"Well, it is nothing of too much matter..." France said, feigning casualness.
Canada pushed his way in. He took off his shoes, as France had instilled in his ever since he was a child, and closed the door behind him.
"Go take a shower and I'll make you something to eat, eh," Canada said. "Have you even eaten anything recently?"
"Oh, some, some," France lied.
Canada narrowed his eyes. France suspected he saw right through this, but he did not say anything. It was the kind of strength France had witnessed many times, a stubborn will which usually lay hidden, but that one would be very foolish to cross.
So he didn't. He was too tired and sore to fight anyways.
Once he seen to it that France had eaten, and was taking care of himself, the strength vanished into wispy thin air. He seemed very tired, even melancholy as he faced France.
"I have to ask... I really need to know...What's wrong? You haven't talked to me at all lately..."Did I do something wrong? ...a-are you unhappy with me?" Canada asked. Oh, the way he looked at him broke France's heart. Just as he could show happiness in such an unveiled way, so it was with sadness. France had often see him bite his lip or look down in meetings, but here, now he looked as if he was on the verge of tears.
France's innate resolve to snub failed him. He couldn't be cold when looking at such a heartbreaking expression, when faced with those violet eyes on the verge of tears. Even if Canada had slighted him, he couldn't help but forgive him.
"Don't you like me anymore? Have you forgotten me too?" Canada asked in a voice so small and fragile that France couldn't help himself. He pulled Canada to him. He remembered when he'd lifted Canada up to his shoulders and carried him around, but now it was he who was the shorter one. At one time, when Canada buried his face against him, he fit snugly just under his chin. He kissed Canada's forehead as he had so often done when he was a child. Now he was the one who could fit snug against Canada's chest.
"The issue was with me. I have been feeling unpleasant, and did not want to trouble you with such things," France said.
"You talked with other people and seemed happy enough," Canada said, almost a little petulantly. "You could have at least waved or something. Or left me a text to let me know that you were all right. I've been worried for ages."
"I am very sorry," France said.
"I'm not really angry," Canada said. He pushed up his glasses, a rosy blush at his cheeks. "I just m-missed you, is all. I'm being a brat because of it. Sorry..."
France felt a sure of warm and pride for the boy.
"You're not being a brat. Even back when you were running around in nightgowns, you were very well behaved," France said. He held Canada close, and Canada smiled shyly.
"But are you alright now? I'm sorry, I should've asked earlier and I should've come to you instead of being a passive-agressive brat again..."
"Had you done so, I probably would've been cold to you, such was the depth of my mood," France admitted.
"But what was wrong? Is it something you can tell me, or..."
"I guess you could say I was...a little jealous," France said.
"You, jealous?" Canada said incredulously. "I didn't think it was even in your vocabulary."
"You're spending so much time with your friends...I can't help but feel a little left out," France said.
"You mean, all this was because you were jealous of me? I like them and all, but they're not you..." Canada said.
"Well you certainly seemed to like them a lot from the way you were acting," France said. "I see you've gotten plenty of fine lovers while I wasn't looking and didn't even tell your dear papa."
Canada flushed to his roots. "Y-you thought I? With t-hem?"
"Well you certainly seemed lovey-dovey together," France said. "I did think it very cruel for you to have orgies and not even bring me along."
Canada was now the shade of a very ripe tomato. "I...I...uh. Um. No." He pushed up his glasses.
"Not even a little?" France teased.
Canada was shaking his head desperately now, so much that France thought his glasses might fly off.
As cute as it was, France took pity on him and ceased teasing him. It was time, he knew. Time to fess up. But oh, his apartment was filled with wine bottles and dirty clothes. The maid hadn't even been in recently, having left to take care of her aging mother. He hadn't gotten around to hiring a new one. It was so utterly unromantic, completely unsuited for l'amour.
He'd most definitely need a change of scenery for his grand confession.
"Come with me," France said.
"But there's dishes to do," Canada protested.
"They can wait."
He pulled Canada outside and walked down the street hand-in-hand to the nearest flower shop, which as it so happened, wasn't that far away. It was just a streetcorner away from his house, and a frequent stop for him. Sometimes for flowers for a pretty parisenne, or others simply to fill his house with floral arrangements to add some life to it. It was a small place, almost cozy, with white walls and flowers and vases taking up almost every part of the small room. The elderly proprietress looked up from her novel and smiled at them.
"Let me tell you a story. You are up on your Victorian floral language, no?"
"I think so," Canada said.
France began to sort through the flowers, finding exactly which he needed.
The first rose he handed was a yellow rose.
Canada buried his face in it, and breathed in the scent. "Yellow roses are complicated..."
"Jealousy...friendship..try to care. Those are all I can remember. It's a very loaded flower to give."
"Indeed," France said. He handed the next one. Canada touched the petals of the delicate periwinkle blue rose.
"Blue roses are mysterious," Canada said.
"And what is the underlying meaning?"
"Unattainable love? An unrequited feeling...not being able to stop thinking about someone," Canada said.
France nodded, pleased, and handed the next two roses to him. One was a deep shade of lavender, while the other was burgundy.
"Lavender meant 'love at first sight'," Canada said, frowning slightly in concentration.
France was enamored by this expression; he wanted to kiss every frown line on Canada's forehead.
"It's darker than usual," Canada said thoughtfully. "There was a connotation of...adoration?"
"Yes, that's good. And the burgundy?"
"I don't remember that one, it's been too long," Canada said. "I'm sorry."
"There is no need to apologize. You are doing very well. A burgundy rose means 'unconscious beauty'," France said.
"Like Sleeping Beauty?" Canada said.
"Someone not being aware of their own beauty," France said.
The last two roses were a brilliant rose of Sharon, and a single, full bloomed red rose. He drew them both against his lips, and Canada's eyes widened as he received them.
"And what do these mean?"
"Love..." Canada said.
He held the flowers close to him, seeming to to bask in this knowledge and warmth. When he opened his eyes again, they were shining with happiness, and his cheeks were as red as the roses held in his arms.
"Will you hold these for me for a second? I need to get something–"
"Of course," France said.
Canada looked through the flowers. His was a quick plucking as he took each rose at once and handed them in a bundle. There was a blue rose, a tea rose, a thornless pink rose, a lavender rose much lighter in shade than he had given and an amaranth rose.
He looked over the own story he had been given. love at first sight; early attachment; adoration; longstanding desire; I can't have you, but I can't stop thinking about you; I will always remember
He put Canada's roses, his story with his own story jealousy; adoration; I can't have you, but I can't stop thinking about you.; unconscious beauty; I love you.
It was almost garish, all rainbow of contrasting colors, and yet France felt he had never seen such beauty in every petal of this story.
"Together they make a lovely bouquet, don't you think?"
Canada nodded. "Yes...very much so."
He'd have kissed him right there in front of the proprietress, but she was elderly and had a bad heart, and he was a little to fond of this place to be banned from it for life because his hands started wandering.
France paid and they went out to the street, smelling of roses and new hopes.
And there, out of sight of the old proprietress, he kissed Canada while cars and people passed by.