Chapter One: Little Dancing Thurisaz
» Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
» Rating: T for now
» Classification(s): Humor, Romance, Supernatural
» Warnings: Violence, Language, Sexual Situations
» Pairing(s): Ivan/Alfred (Russia/America), Francis/Arthur (France/England), more to come
» Summary: Like many a sorcerer's apprentice, Alfred is convinced that Wizard Kirkland is A) the biggest wet blanket in the world, and B) totally keeping all the coolest spells for himself. Bored out of his mind, he decides to steal a spell and summon up a little... diversion. Things do not go as planned.
Chapter One: Little Dancing Thurisaz
Swish and flick.
Swish, and, flick.
"This really, really sucks, Mattie."
Matthew sighed, smoothing the pages of his book down as a sudden breeze ruffled them. "Al, have you considered that maybe if you hadn't made Master's whole collection of feverfew somehow spontaneously combust, you wouldn't be on garden pest duty? Peter, you need a thurisaz there."
"Mmkay," the younger boy mumbled. He was squatting next to the low garden wall where Matthew sat, carefully outlining tiny runes in the soft dirt around a star-shaped leaf. One of the manor's many small brown cats watched interestedly, occasionally reaching out to give the leaf an experimental bat before being shooed back.
Beyond the wall, Alfred stood with his back to them listlessly moving his wand to and fro over the neatly planted bed, a depressed conductor leading a particularly adagio piece. "Don't call him 'Master'. Ick."
Matthew reached up to comb a few loose curls behind an ear, frowning as the wind plucked them free almost immediately. He looked prim and proper as a choirboy with his high-necked black robe and neatly crossed ankles. "That's what we're supposed to call him. Not Artie, or old man. We're his apprentices, and he is a master magus and our teacher. Peter, that is not a thurisaz. 'In the middle of the land is a pyramid', remember?"
"Nn." Catching his tongue between his teeth, the younger boy delicately added another line. The cat, bored, flopped over on her side and began to play with the hem of Matthew's pants.
Alfred rolled his eyes, and swished. Another snail previously minding its own business found itself pulled from the stalk of the tomato plant it had been enjoying, and Alfred's petulant flick sent it catapulting into space and climes unknown.
Matthew continued, turning a page as he did so. "He deserves our respect, if not admiration, Al. He's very… well. Very knowledgeable."
Alfred grimaced and swished with a bit more force than necessary, rending an inoffensive squash in two with vivid red sparks. He winced, and glanced back over his shoulder, but Matthew was too engrossed in his flaking hide-bound book to notice. Forget Peter; he hadn't looked up from his runes once since they'd been run out of the tower. Yawning, Alfred stretched exaggeratedly and furtively ground the smoldering plant into the loamy soil of the vegetable plot.
He stood waist deep in one of the kitchen gardens, plants rippling wildly around him in the blustery summer wind. The world smelled like rain and damp earth, and the mercurial sky was all shades of violet, indigo and gray. Small and unpredictable beams of sunlight poured across the ground like molten gold as clouds rolled overhead like waves. One struck Alfred, briefly blinding him before passing and leaving the garden dim again.
The old manor where Wizard Kirkland and his apprentices lived was on an island in quite literally the middle of nowhere, one of a few thick drops of craggy land somewhere between Scotland and Iceland—much closer to the former, as Alfred could see the mainland on a clear day, if he squinted. The island, manor, and family Kirkland all took their name from the ruins of a church on the northern end of the island, from which monks of the Holy Roman Empire had once brought Christianity to the heathen masses. The manor house itself— a castle, really, in all but size— lay in the south-central region, in a dense copse of trees crowded around the banks of a steep rocky creek. Beyond the crumbling stone walls of the gardens and stable the ground sloped sharply away, into the island's wide interior meadow. In the summer months it was a smooth carpet of impossibly green grass and clover flowers. He could see a few of the horses grazing out there, foals racing around their mothers in joyful abandon. It was beautiful sight, with sunlight spearing through the clouds and the dark glitter of the ocean behind the trees, the green and the foals and the warm summer air.
It was, to say the least, utterly disgusting.
"God, I would kill to see a flashing Mickey D's sign on the horizon," Alfred grumbled, wrinkling his nose at the smell of burning squash. "Any sign of civilization. A stranger. A hot stranger, with boat trouble. And a giant rack."
"Hmm," Matthew said noncommittally, not looking up.
"And a hot sister, also with a giant rack."
"And a hot brother with a giant cock?"
"Mattieee," Alfred whined. Peter made a gagging noise.
The other boy groaned and pulled off his glasses. "Al, seriously, just mess around until Francis gives us the all-clear. What were you even thinking, randomly reading out loud from such an obviously advanced spellbook? You're lucky you didn't immolate yourself," he pointed out, polishing the lenses with his sleeve.
Alfred avoided Matthew's exasperated gaze. "Kiku said that Wang Yao is already letting him use fireballs." He made a gun shape with hand and aimed at a fat black beetle. "Y'know, like, POW!" he added hopefully. Instead of bursting into flame, the beetle began to swell in size at an alarming rate and skittered away from him; Alfred hastily stomped on it.
Matthew pinched the bridge of his nose and exhaled noisily. "Alfred. Kiku is older. He's much more experienced."
"And smarter," Peter couldn't help adding, grinning nastily.
Alfred shot him a glare. "Shut up, ya little goblin. Who failed their basic futhark for the third time in a row this week? Huh?"
Peter returned the glare with interest. "Who turned all the silverware into toads right before the Grandmasters came to visit?"
"That was deliberate," Alfred said loftily. "I was showcasing my talent. Grandmaster Roma said I was hilarious."
"Grandmaster Germania called you a cretin," Matthew reminded him.
"Cretin!" Peter repeated, sticking out his tongue. Alfred scowled.
"Whatever. It's not like you've ever transmogrified anything. You can't even use basic runes! Even trolls use runes."
Peter flushed a blotchy red. "Oh yeah? Watch this!" He threw out his hands over the painstakingly crafted little circle and said a word that vibrated in the ear like a gunshot.
The runes began to glow a virulent tangerine, ribbons of light and shadow pulsating across their surfaces. "Peter, no!" Matthew moaned, grabbing his collar and dragging him away as the leaf began to slowly bob up into the air, energy crackling along its surface.
"I did it! I did it!" the boy yelled excitedly, fighting Matthew. The older apprentice slung him into his arms and began running full tilt away from the now spinning leaf. "Stop it, Matt! I really—"
That was the last thing Alfred heard as he completed his dash across the vegetable patch and dove over the opposite wall—into the fucking raspberries. Goddamn it! But he was glad of their cover as a deafening blast and concussive shockwave signaled the inevitable explosion of Peter's little exercise. For a moment, the world was bathed in glittering apricot light and little dancing thurisaz. As the echoes faded from his ears, the pitter-patter of tiny pieces of pulverized limestone falling from the sky grew louder and he covered himself with his arms until it faded. Dusty and dirty, he cautiously rolled to his knees and raised his head just until he could peer over the edge of the low wall.
Peter's circle, originally only a few inches wide, had expanded into a six-foot blackened crater. The section of wall where Matthew had been sitting was gone. The patch behind it was half-destroyed. But there, lying innocently in the middle of the carnage, was a small, star-shaped leaf. It was now a lovely shade of orange.
"I did it…!" Peter croaked from his squashed position under Matthew's prone form. "Hey, Matt, gerroff! I did it!"
Halfway up the craggy tower, windows flung themselves open and the incensed red face of their teacher and master appeared, complete with curling smoke from whatever he'd been working on. "WHAT THE BLOODY, BUGGERING HELL ARE YOU THREE DOING OUT HERE? !"
Alfred, whose dive into the raspberries had put him almost directly under that window, shouted back, "Hey, congratulate him, old man! He finally managed to do something besides blow crap up!"
An inarticulate stream of expletives filtered down from the open window as the wizard began the long trek down the winding stairs. Alfred grinned.
A few feet away, the door to the kitchen flew open and their cook said, "Children, I heard—mon Dieu, my cabbages!"
"It was Peter," Alfred said automatically, as the Frenchman ran out in his hideous pink 'Kiss the Cook!' apron and floppy leather sandals. He had flour streaked through his hair and all over his hands. "Ooo, will we have baguettes today? Francis?"
"La ferme, tu petite terreur," the man shot over his shoulder as he passed the smoldering crater and strode on to where Peter was kneeling next to a still-prone Matthew, shaking his shoulder. Seeing that, Alfred stood and followed him, dusting off his knees and elbows.
"I'm okay," Matthew was saying as Alfred reached them. "Really, I'm fine. One of the spell fragments hit me, but I don't feel—Al?" Alfred had started shaking, hand vised over his mouth and tears forming in the corners of his eyes. "Al, what's wrong?"
Peter looked down at him in thinly veiled glee, lips trembling as they fought hard to contain a smile. "Ohmigodimsosorry, Matt!" Alfred finally burst out laughing, doubling over as it spilled from him.
Matthew looked from one to the other, shocked. "What? Why are you laughing?"
"Mattie, your hair! Your FACE!"
Bewildered, Matthew reached up and gingerly touched his cheek. "What about my face?"
"I think, mon petit, that your ignoramus of a brother may be referring to the fact that you have been turned completely orange," Francis said dryly, crouching down to rub a carrot-colored lock between his fingers.
"Wha—?" Matthew started up into a sitting position, staring at his hands. "Peter!"
"I'm sorry," Peter said, unable to contain his smile any longer. "Honest!" he insisted with a giggle as Matthew the Oompa Loompa glared at him.
Unfortunately for all of them, at that moment Arthur reached the bottom floor and stormed out into the gardens, a few flying familiars and his English gentleman's army of hunting dogs following after him. Alfred and Peter stood unconsciously to attention, and Francis sighed and folded his arms over his floury apron. As he approached, Peter began, "Master, I—"
The wizard's expression was, in a word, thunderous. "That is enough!" he spat. "I have had it! No supper, no—no anything! Just go to your room and stay there!"
Alfred realized with a jolt that Arthur's furious stare was aimed at him. Arthur was addressing him. Worse, the force of his anger was creating a palpable pressure around them, making it hard to answer. Alfred managed, "Hey, wait just a minute—"
"I WILL NOT BE DISOBEYED!" And thunder, actual thunder cracked across the darkening sky. Someone had obviously not gotten over the feverfew episode yet.
"SCREW YOU!" Alfred yelled back at him. No thunder pealed for him. "IT WAS PETER!"
"It was me!"
Arthur stopped mid-breath and looked down at the small boy staring up at him, scared stiff. "It was me," Peter repeated, less squeakily. "I was practicing, and Matthew was helping, but then I thought I got it right and so I—"
"Enough," the wizard said again. Peter stopped.
Arthur looked to Matthew. "Is this true?"
Matthew nodded, slowly.
Arthur looked back to Peter, lips pressed in a thin line. "Then the same goes for you. No supper. Room, now," he ordered, voice still shaking with anger.
When Peter didn't move, and only stared up at him with gathering tears in his eyes, the wizard barked, "Now!"
"Arthur," Francis said reprovingly as Peter ran for the house, hands over his face.
Arthur stopped him with a finger. "These are my students, Francis. I will discipline them as I see fit." The dogs, who had flattened themselves to the ground in terror at Arthur's outburst, began cautiously rising to lick at his hands and twine themselves around his feet submissively.
Francis sighed. "Still—without supper. Quelle tragédie!" he said with all the wounded spirit of a cook deprived of a good eater.
Arthur brushed him off and crouched down to touch Matthew's shoulder. "Matt, m'boy, can you stand?" he asked, not unkindly.
Using Arthur's outstretched hand, Matthew tottered slowly to his feet. "It's not… I think I'm just dizzy from hitting the ground so hard."
"Perhaps," Arthur said absently, and plucked something invisible and slightly sticky-seeming from Matthew's chest. Abruptly, the boy's natural colors returned.
"Oh, good," Matthew said happily, before his eyes rolled back in his head. Francis caught him under the arms, grunting under the sudden weight, and let him down gently.
Arthur blew out a breath and leaned down to feel his pulse. After a few moments with his fingers on the boy's wrist, he sat back on his heels with a relieved look. "He's fine. Just needs a rest and a decoction." The wizard mumbled something and Matthew's unconscious body began floating upward, limbs lose and hair moving as if underwater.
Alfred watched it with interested eyes. "At what level do we learn levitation, anyway?"
Arthur shot him a quelling look, anger sparking again in his kelly-green eyes. "One still far beyond you, at your current level of discipline. Francis, I'm going to take Mattie back to distillery. We still have valerian and peppermint, don't we?"
"Oui and oui."
Alfred straightened. "Yes?"
Now that the situation under control, Arthur seemed to deflate, towering presence shrinking back to fit his small frame. He looked almost exhausted. "I'm sorry for yelling at you, and for jumping to conclusions."
"Apology accepted. And, um," he hastily added as Arthur stared balefully at him. "I'm sorry for this morning. And for swearing at you."
"Apology accepted." Arthur rubbed his hand over his face tiredly, and waved the other vaguely towards the partially destroyed garden. "Please, clean up this mess. Hell, I'll even take a few days off your dishduty and garden patrol if you manage it without blowing your bloody head off. Ah!" He rummaged around in his robe pockets before withdrawing a small sketchbook and stubby pencil, and handing them to him. "Make sure to draw a clear and detailed sketch of the circle Peter closed and bring it to me, so we can go over it tomorrow… Oh, and Alfred?"
"Er, yeah?" he asked uneasily. Arthur's suddenly narrow eyes had focused on a point behind the apprentice, towards the ruin of the cabbages and the plot he had been de-pesting earlier.
Arthur spoke very deliberately, biting off each word as if he wanted to hurt it. "If that bloody great beetle does not disappear in the next thirty seconds, I am selling your apprenticeship to a bricklayer."
Alfred spun around to see the swollen beetle from earlier merrily ripping into the tomato bed. "SHIT!"
Francis gasped in genuine horror. "Non, not my tomatoes too!"
Beginning at the beginning, I was woken out of sound sleep by a serious bout of Creator's Insomnia, and couldn't get any rest until I jotted down the outline for this story. It was originally supposed to be a PWP smutty oneshot (the juicy, juicy remnants of which are scheduled to show up in the third and fourth chapters), but then it got bigger and bigger and so damn serious. Jesus. You'll see what I mean in the next chapter. Also, although I do love you Harry, this is not a HP crossover of any kind. J. K. Rowling does have exclusive rights to the word 'wizard' (yet).
Raspberry bushes are large and very prickly. Do not jump into them.
A thurisaz is the third letter in the Viking-era Elder Futhark alphabet (you think I'm making this up? Go pop that shit into Google). A thurisaz looks a bit like a pointy 'P', or if you turn it sideways, a pyramid. :-)
Linguistic notes: Even though Francis is referring to Alfred, a male, as 'une petite terreur', that does not make Alfred a he-she. Terreur is feminine and so all supporting descriptors and articles must also be feminine. Sorry Al.
Also, I was tempted to refer to Yao as 'Wizard Wang'. So very tempted. But I resisted, and am a better person for it. XD
See you next Friday!