Title: It's Not Me, It's You
Summary: Francis Bonnefoy is a famous writer who only requires a pretty face to be his muse, clean his house and listen to his problems. But when his last 'boy toy' walks out on him without warning, he's left desperately in need of a replacement. Enter Gilbert Beilschmidt, both a blessing and a curse.
Pairings/Characters: France/England, France/Prussia, America/England, Austria/Hungary, Spain/Romano, Seychelles, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands
A/N: This is yet again another plot bunny that swooped in and would not let me rest until I started writing. And it chose the worst time ever to do so! But I've been really wanting to write something featuring Prussia and France as main characters so I guess it's not all bad. Enjoy~
Extra Notes: Angelique = Seychelles, Belle = Belgium
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia and Gauloises cigarettes belong to Imperial Tobacco
It's Not Me, It's You:
Francis blinked. It was the only thing he could do. He really wanted a glass of wine but the receptors in his brain had shut down and thus his arms hung lifelessly at his sides. Across from him stood Arthur Kirkland, who, up until five seconds ago, had been his employee and part-time lover. Arthur tapped his foot impatiently as he waited for Francis to speak.
"This has to be the first time I've ever seen you so speechless, Francis," Arthur said. "No smooth retort or witty comment? Has that so called talented brain of yours finally crashed from all that disgusting wine you drink?"
"My wine is not disgusting," Francis snapped. It was the first reply that he could think of. Arthur rolled his eyes.
"Yeah and I'm not two seconds away from walking out that door."
"Didn't you just hear me? I'm done. Finished. I quit."
"You can't quit! You have a contract!"
Arthur reached into his pocket and pulled out a rumpled piece of paper. "You mean this?" Francis watched in horror as he ripped it up.
"You'll have to pay the early termination fee!"
Arthur threw the pieces of paper on the floor. "Take it out of my last paycheck," he spat.
Francis tore his eyes away from the remains of the contract to focus back on Arthur, who was now tightly gripping his suitcase. "But…but why are you leaving?" he asked.
"Because I'm tired of being your unappreciated workbitch."
"I appreciate you! I even ate one of your scones the other day!"
"That's not what I bloody mean!" Arthur yelled.
"Then tell me what you want!"
"What I want? I want you to stop insulting my culture, my cooking, actually listen to me for once, stop sleeping around, stop smoking, give me at least a weeks vacation and when I ask you to take me somewhere nice, I don't mean to Antonio's for lunch!"
"What's wrong with Antonio's? His food is actually good!"
Arthur threw his hands in the air. "Fuck this," he said before heading for the door, suitcase in tow. With the feeling back in his arms and legs, Francis leapt up from the couch and went after him.
"Ok, ok. You want to go to a nice place? Sure, why not? And I'll stop with the bad food jokes. Happy?"
Arthur whirled around so fast that Francis nearly crashed into him.
"No Francis, I'm not. I'm sick of your half-arsed promises. I'm sorry but this 'relationship' is extremely unhealthy and is not working. I can't be your plaything anymore."
Francis Bonnefoy didn't beg—unless one of few support people in his life was about to walk out the door. So for the second time in his life he got on his knees for something other than sex.
"But you're not. Arthur, Arthur, you're so much more to me than that."
Arthur glared down at him. "When's my birthday?"
"What's my mum's name?"
"I know this one! It's, it's—damn it!"
"My favorite book?"
"Something by Shakespeare."
"My favorite animal?"
Arthur shook his head. "You self-absorbed frog. I'm out of here." He turned to go.
"No! Arthur! Your favorite book is Harry Potter! Don't go!" Francis wrapped his arms around Arthur's legs.
"Let me go, you wanker!" Arthur said through clenched teeth as he dragged both Francis and his suitcase across the floor.
"How can you leave me like this?" Francis wailed. "The nominations are in May. What am I supposed to do without my muse? How will I write?"
"Find a new muse! There are plenty of people in this town that are more than willing to bend over for you." They had reached the door and Arthur finally succeeded in shaking Francis off. He gave him a look that could almost be described at pitying as he unlocked the door. "I wish you could see how pathetic you look right now. Get serious Francis. Before you lose everything." He slammed the door behind him, leaving Francis to stare in shock at nothing except the finely crafted woodwork.
"F-fine!" he yelled at the door. "Who needs you? And your scones tasted like shit!" He scrambled to his feet to and ran to his phone, dialing the only person who he knew wouldn't hang up on him.
"Hey Francis, " came the cheerful voice. "How's the book?"
"Antonio, I need you to come over here now."
"Did something happen?"
"Arthur left me."
"Thirty seconds ago. The little bitch even ripped up his contract. Please tell me that you can make it over here tonight."
"I can be there in ten minutes. I'm so sorry Francis."
"Don't be. I don't need sympathy, I need alcohol. Bring cigarettes too."
"No problem. See you soon." Antonio hung up and Francis dropped the phone back onto the receiver. He stumbled to the living room and sank into his favorite chair. His head was spinning and he didn't know whether to be sad or angry; heartbroken or vengeful. He glanced around his apartment. His notes and manuscripts were scattered all over the place. His editor was going to kick his ass if he didn't have the next chapter done by the weekend and he had only written three pages so far. How the hell was he supposed to finish without Arthur? He looked up in surprise when he heard a knock on the door. It was too soon for it to be Antonio.
"It's open," he said. A pretty blond girl poked her head into the apartment.
"Francis? Are you ok? I heard yelling." It was his neighbor, a Belgian student who was studying abroad and living with her brother.
"Oh Belle, my sweet Belle, I've just been cruelly abandoned. Arthur's gone."
Belle left the door ajar as she went to Francis's side. She sat on the arm of the chair and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Poor Francis! What happened?"
"I don't know. We were getting on so well. He said I didn't listen to him. Can you believe that? And then he got all pissy because I didn't know his mum's name. How am I supposed to know that?"
"Her name's Joanne. He calls her at least once a week. You've even spoken to her."
"I don't remember this and who even cares? I am—was—his employer. His concern was my life. Not the other way around. It was even in his contract!"
Belle sighed. "Francis, you can't keep treating people like this."
"Like they're nothing except your employees!"
"Belle, love, that makes no sense. They are my employees."
"No, they're people with their own lives, goals and families. But you never take the time to even try and get to know them."
"Are you here to comfort or scold me?" Belle laughed and playfully squeezed his shoulder.
"A little bit of both," she said.
"Francis?" They both looked up to see Antonio Carriedo, Francis's oldest friend, come into the apartment.
"I brought the wine. Oh, hi Belle," he said.
"Hi Antonio. I'm glad you're here. This one needs some cheering up."
"Did you bring the cigarettes, Antonio?" Francis asked.
"Yeah. What happened to your Gauloises's?"
"Arthur threw them out yesterday. I should have known that he was going to leave!"
Belle stood up. "I'll leave you two to talk. I'll be over later Francis. Bye Antonio."
"Bye Belle," Antonio said. After the door had closed he turned to Francis, who flinched under his gaze.
"Don't look at me like that. I'm innocent in this. I did nothing wrong."
Antonio sighed. "That's what you always say. Start from the beginning."
Antonio pulled a bottle from the bag at his side. Francis made a face.
"It's all I had."
"It will have to do. Pour me a glass and I'll tell you how that ungrateful brat ruined my life."
"And then he slammed the door without so much as a goodbye. How could he do that to me Antonio? Me? After everything I've done for him!" Francis refilled his glass. Antonio sat across from him, his own glass untouched.
"I don't understand. I though Arthur was 'the one'. He's been with you the longest of all your 'boy toys'."
"Don't call them that Antonio. That's such a media label. And it offends me," Francis said.
"Sorry. But how long were you two together? Two, three years?"
Francis sighed dramatically. "It would have been three years in July…or maybe August. Anyway, it's irrelevant now. Antonio, what am I going to do? I need a muse. I can't write without one. And Angelique is going to rip my hair out if I'm not done with the next chapter by Saturday."
"Have you ever tried to write without one?" Antonio asked. "Maybe now is a good time to start."
Francis looked at him like he had just said that Coco Chanel was a man. "Absolutely not. Everyone needs a muse and even though he was snarky, uncultured, a horrible cook and much too conservative in bed, Arthur was the best I've ever had. My career is over." He drained his glass. "I still don't understand why he left. Just because I didn't know his favorite book!"
"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."
Francis glared at him. "Don't you start. You're supposed to be making me feel better. So what's my next plan of action? I need to hire someone new by the end of the week. Who's available?"
Antonio look uncomfortable. "Um, the thing is, there is no one left. At least no one I can call."
Francis gasped. "Are you telling me that Arthur was my last option?"
"Pretty much. He was your sixth boy—I mean, muse."
"Impossible. How about Vash?"
"He still has a restraining order against you." Francis opened his mouth. "It covers his sister too." Francis groaned.
"Feliciano?" Antonio shook his head.
"Lovino would kill you. And apparently he's in a relationship."
"I won't touch."
"You always touch. Try again."
Francis rubbed his head. "Um, um—shit!" His list of contacts was extremely short once he eliminated everyone who hated him.
"What about Belle?" Antonio asked. Francis shook his head.
"She's a sweet girl but her brother scares me."
"Really? He seems like such a nice guy."
"He almost broke your fingers."
"No, he just didn't know my hand was there."
Francis would never understand how his friend was so thickheaded.
"Ok. Anyway, she's out of the question," he said.
Antonio leaned back in his chair. "Well I'm out of suggestions. I really don't know what to tell you."
Francis slammed his glass on the table. "I will find someone! I will! The book nominations are in less than two months and I cannot face Roderich like this!"
"But you're sure to get nominated Francis. Your last book was a hit. And you always get nominated."
"And this was the year I was supposed to win!"
"You can still win. You don't need a muse to win."
"Antonio, my employees aren't just my inspirations. They're my sole literary support. My everything when I'm writing. I need them. And I'm going to go insane and burn my manuscripts if I can't fill Arthur's spot in 24 hours."
Antonio wasn't as slow as most people liked to believe. The only person who ever got a glimpse of the sharp mind behind the goofy smile was Lovino, and that was rarely. But at that moment, Antonio wished that Francis could hear himself. Or that he would at least listen whenever Antonio tried to point out that maybe if he didn't see people as disposable spots to be filled, they wouldn't walk out on him as often.
Antonio put down his wine glass. "Ok, I'll see what I can do. I still have one or two people I can call."
Francis hiccuped. He was on his fifth glass. "You're a dear. Have I ever told you that I love you? You would be the best muse ever. Why can't you work for me?"
"We tried that at the beginning, remember? It was…bad." To say the least.
"Phaw. We were fine. Second time's the charm."
Antonio stood up. "Well I'm going to head home now. Lovino's coming over soon."
Francis sighed. "You're so lucky to have someone who loves you like that."
You had someone like that too, Antonio thought to himself. He didn't want to start another fight so he didn't say it out loud. "I'll call you be tomorrow evening. Don't drink too much."
Francis lit one of the cigarettes and took a deep drag. "I'll be fine. Just don't let me down."
Francis was still curled up on his couch the next evening when Antonio called. He had barely moved all day except to grab another box of the cigarettes that Antonio had left on the kitchen counter. Belle had stopped by the previous night with more wine—thankfully red this time—and comforting words. She had smartly taken her leave when Francis started getting grabby.
He was lying face down on his couch when the phone rang. It took his alcohol-addled mind a few seconds to register the sound before he answered it on the fourth ring.
"Hello?" he mumbled into the receiver.
"I've got great news! I found someone willing to work for you!" Antonio said happily. "Feliciano's boyfriend's brother just lost his job and apartment and needs some quick cash."
"Antonio, have you even met this guy? I don't want some punk off the streets. If he needs money, point him in the direction of a street corner."
"Feliciano said he's a good guy."
"No offense, but Feliciano is even more gullible than you."
"No need to be rude. Anyway, think of him as a temporary replacement until I can find you someone else. It's the best I can do with such short notice."
Francis groaned and sat up. He had a pounding headache that was getting worse by the second. There was about half a glass worth of wine left in the bottle Belle had brought and he tipped it into his mouth.
"Just give him a chance," Antonio said.
"What's his name?" Francis asked.
Francis winced. "He's German? God, you're going to kill me Antonio. A Brit and now a German. Oh well, at least he's not Austrian."
"Should I send him over then?"
"Sure, why not? He's just a temp. I expect you to keep helping me looking for someone else in the meantime."
"Yes, of course," Antonio hung up to make the arrangements and called back fifteen minutes later to say that Beilschmidt would be there by 7 p.m.
It was 10:30 p.m. when Francis heard the knock on his door. Even though he wasn't expecting much, he had cleaned up. He'd washed his hair and curled it so that in hung in soft, loose curls around his face. He was wearing the last clothes that Arthur had dry cleaned for him, not because Arthur had done it, but because they were his last clean clothes. His first job for this guy would be a very long trip to the drycleaners.
When the knock came at the door, Francis had been about to open another bottle of wine. He worked the scowl off his face and smoothed down the invisible wrinkles on his black jacket. With a deep breath, he opened the door.
"Bonjour, you must be…Gilbert." The man who stood on his doorstep grinned and held out a hand.
"That's the awesome me!" he said, loudly. "Francis, right? I imagined you taller."
It was only because Antonio was his best friend that Francis didn't slam the door shut. Gilbert had the most unnatural hair and eye color that he had ever seen and those were just the first things he noticed. He looked like he's just come back from a fight. His jacket was ripped and there was a visible bruise underneath one of his eyes. What looked like a grubby knapsack was slung over his shoulder. Francis suppressed a shudder and took his outstretched hand.
"Yes, it's a…pleasure to meet you. Uh, please come in."
"Fuck, this is a nice place," Gilbert said as he stepped into the apartment. "How much does it cost a month?"
Francis closed the front door and checked his floor for muddy footprints. "$15,000. $20,000 when you factor in insurance."
Gilbert whistled. "Fuck. That's awesome. I'll be honest, I've never read your books—I actually don't read much—but I had no clue that writing about sex could rake in so much cash."
"Well sex sells in our society." Francis held up the bottle he had been about to open before Gilbert had arrived. "Would you like some wine?"
Gilbert shook his head. "Not really my thing. Got any beer?"
That was another strike. He had already gone past three but Francis couldn't afford to throw him out. "Not at the moment," he said. "My neighbors might though."
"Eh, it's no big deal. I had a few cans before I came here."
Francis's grip on the bottle tightened. "Is that so? Lovely…" Stay calm. Stay calm.
"So where's my room? I'm wiped out."
"You shall sleep in there," Francis said, pointing to a door down the side hall. "But before you turn in, I need to go over what you'll actually be doing for me."
"Sounds awesome Francis, but I'm seriously about to keel over. First thing tomorrow, 'kay?" Gilbert grabbed the last of the cigarettes that Antonio had brought and headed for the bedroom. "Night," he said before slamming the door shut. Francis stared at the door for ten more seconds before picking up the bottle of wine and heading for his room.
Some things were better left for the morning.
A/N: First chapters are always very important. It's seriously the make or break for a story. So shall I continue? Y/Y? XD
Also, I would love to know if anyone got the nerdy and clever reason I made England's mom name "Joanne" ;)