Title: Perilous Times

Summary: Sequel to 'Toy Soldiers'. Arthur has made himself ill; Francis gets protective; Matthew feels trapped between a rock and a hard place; Gilbert feels sexy and doesn't care who knows and Alfred should really think about some good places to hide.

Disclaimer: I do not own and never will.

Warning: Slash, don't like don't read.

A/N: I'm back! I know … this is going to be bad. Mwuhahahahaha. ^_^

Also, if you have not read 'Toy Soldiers', It might be advisable that you do, otherwise you might ask why is France so moralistic all of a sudden, among other things.

Chapter 1

Francis sat and looked out the window, watching the rain fall while his head rested in his hands. Rain was so depressing. It was wet, cold, and it made you feel all clammy when you got wet and then went indoors. However, Francis could think of nothing else to do with his time other than to watch it.

For the country most closely associated with love, Francis didn't particularly feel that he was even remotely linked with it that day.

Life had become so dull and quite monotonous.

He didn't even try to chat anyone up when he did eventually get around to going out now, which was becoming a bit of a rarity in itself. The phrase 'lock up your sons and daughters' no longer brought a smile to his face. He had never had preferences in the past, but now he realised that he only had eyes for one ... and he was taken.

Life seemed unfair at times. Very unfair.

Francis rose from his seat and tried to busy his mind. He was very good at hiding what he felt, after all, he had had centuries of practice. However, with no one to hide it from, and no prying eyes around, Francis felt that it was more of a hassle than it was worth trying to hide it when he was on his own.

Opening the front door to see if the morning paper had been delivered, he stopped, horror struck by the sight that met his eyes.

Arthur. Ashen. Drenched. Inert.

Inert all exept for his violent shivering.

Francis dropped to his knees next to Arthur and manoeuvred him so he rested fitfully in his arms, allowing Francis to get a better look at him. Why was Arthur on his porch in the freezing rain?

Arthur hacked loudly, bring specks of crimson blood to rest on his lips. Francis was chilled as he watched Arthur trying to cough his lungs up in an attempt to achieve a decent breath. Francis moved Arthur slightly in his arms so he rested in one, allowing him to rest a cool hand on Arthur's forehead. It was clammy to the touch and Arthur groaned as his head felt like it was going to split open, every breath causing him excruciating stabbing pains in his chest. His head rolled as his clouded emerald eyes remained unable to focus on anything, leaving Francis worried that delirium had set in.

Shaking him slightly in his arms, Francis hoped to gain his northen friend's attention. Arthur, to this point, had barely recognised that Francis was even present. Arthur's head just rolled around on his neck until his chin rested on his chest. Francis lifted Arthur's head back again so he could see his face. Arthur, though awake, was distant.

"Arthur. L'Angleterre. Delinquent!" Francis began to feel panic rise in him. Arthur wasn't responding to anything, even the names that would have wound him up to the point that he would lash out at him in anger. Francis desperately wanted to see some contempt in Arthur's eyes instead of this vacant stare he had.

Taking the initiative, (and honestly, there was no one to tell him otherwise), Francis lifted Arthur and took him back into his house and laid him down on the sofa. Francis even propped Arthur's head up on a pillow and covered his feverish body with a blanket before leaving again. He was thinking about tearing his hair out. What was going on? Months of peace and now this? There was simply too many questions, and just brooding on them would lead to nothing other than Francis completely 'doing his nut'.

Tearing books off of shelves, he quickly trawled through a huge volume of medical illnesses, trying to identify what Arthur had. His mind was screaming hospital at him, but he ignored it at first knowing that he was going to obey it in the next few minuets, but just not right that second. He didn't know what was possessing him as he angrily pushed his silk, blonde hair behind his ears in irritation, but he wasn't going to go against it. What happened if he did and then could not think of anything to do? What would happen to Arthur if he froze and panicked? Would Arthur die?

No! He continued to trawl his way through the book before landing on a page entitled pnemonia. The symptons matched. Hospitilization required. Francis slammed the book shut, shaking the table but not caring as he went back to Arthur.

"Arthur!" Francis shook him hard as he returned to his side, the full weight of the situation coming crashing down on top of him.

"Francis?" Arthur rasped for the first time, giving Francis some much needed relief. He seemed to be coming around slightly.

"I'm here." Francis took Arthur's hand and gave it a firm squeeze. "I'm here. I'm taking you to the hospital." Arthur groaned as Francis picked him up again, (blanket as well), and made his way out the door again, neglecting to lock it in his haste. "Arthur, what made you sleep outside my house in the freezing rain all night?" Arthur grunted something undecipherable in response. Francis didn't push it at that time because he was far too busy shrugging off his coat and laying it across Arthur who was now curled up on the back seat of his car. His eyes were open. Francis got the distinct impression that an abyss of despair had opened up in his life as it was evident in his eyes. Why else would he go to his house but refuse to knock to be admitted? That Englishman was too damn proud for his own health!

Leaning over, Francis made sure the coat covered Arthur before affectionatly tucking it in around his sides. Brushing the Englishman's hair back and away from his eyes, Francis tried to survey the situation one last time, desperatly hoping that the true extent of his fear did not show. Arthur had made no attempt at stopping Francis' gestures. "L'Angleterre, what's wrong?" Francis asked again, but in a whisper instead of having an edge of hysteria to his voice like he had done previously.

"Alfred … he's cheating on me."

A/N: Short, sweet opening. I'm hoping you all like it. ^_^