Apple Telling

The wind that whispered through the bright red and yellow leaves of the forest was scented with the coming of winter, carrying smoke and the smell of baking and smoking meat and the sound of the villagers preparing for the harvest festival.

"By yourself again, petit lapin?" Francis greeted from behind him, the deep violet of his dress a dark contrast to the dry, golden grass. He carried with him a basket of apples, shiny and freshly picked. With the last blossoms of summer strung into his hair, he looked as he always had. Carefree. Angelic.

"Shut up." Arthur replied, looking away from him and shivering as the breeze turned sharply colder as night fell, and snuggled deeper into the cocoon of his forest green cloak. Francis giggled at him and set the apple basket down to sit beside him, fingering the fruits before taking one.

"Do you want one?" It didn't matter what he said, because Francis placed a bright red apple in his hands. It smelled sweet, even through the skin, and promised to crunch and flood his mouth with tart juice. The frog grinned at him.

"I'll spoil my dinner." he warned.

"You eat like a pig regardless." Francis returned jovially. "Besides, the girls showed me a fun game to play with the stems." Arthur might have said something about Francis and his flirting with the village girls, but Francis began to twist the stem off his apple. It snapped as he said out loud "A."

"What game?" Arthur asked, curious.

"See, you turn the stem and say letters out loud, when it breaks off, that's the first letter in the name of the person you marry." Francis pouted at the apple and the snapped stem. "So far, I haven't gotten passed A." he took a bite, and looked thoughtful as he chewed. "Maybe I twist too hard?"

Arthur scowled down at the apple. Stupid village girls and their stupid games. But he twisted the stem off his apple, saying the letters to himself while Francis continued to crunch down on the ripe fruit, pale juices around his mouth. "F." the stem snapped, and Francis watched him with interest, eyes twinkling like he was going to smile. Arthur flushed. A person with f. Knowing Francis, he would say something obscene, make Arthur scream and hit him until he was chased away, leaving him to think and blush.

"Felicity is going to die when she hears this." Arthur tried to scowl, couldn't quite manage it through the heat in his cheeks. It was times like these when he was thankful that the frog was so stupid.