Disclaimer: I do not own neither Hetalia nor Marguerite Volant, the series from which this fanfic was inspired.
IMPORTANT: I didn't want to write a fem!Canada so in this world, gay marriages/relationships are perfectly normal and accepted. Please forgive any other possible historical inaccuracies. -is very lame-
Three years... it had been three long years since his father had left for Paris, Mathieu mused as he sat in his carters. And according to his last letter, which was already nearly four months old, he was to come home on the on June second 1763. Today, that was. Nothing yet everything had changed in the Bonnefoy seigneury. When Mathieu looked out the window, mindlessly scribbling in his journal, he saw the peaceful seigneury he had grown with, the people working on their respective tasks; one woman was feeding the chickens, another was helping out in the fields, the blacksmith was making horseshoes... yet, when one looked carefully, they could see the morn expressions bearing on these honest people's faces. Were they missing their son? Their brother? Their fiancé?
''Vash...'' He muttered softly, feeling his eyes watering. It had been so long, yet the memories felt just as painful. His late older brother, Vash, had been exceptionally talented with pistols. He had been his regiment's best shooter and best hope. But even him -Mathieu still couldn't believe it- even him, like so many other men, had died on les plaines d'Abraham. And their kind mother who had passed away from sickness last year. He had to inform his father of this in their letters... he had never gotten a reply since, until recently; the simple letter that was simply informing them of his return.
Mathieu sighed as he put a final period to the end of the stanza he had just written. He often felt ashamed with himself for not having participated in the war. The war they had lost. Yet, he was grateful that his uncle had kept him in the monastery to save him from combat. He knew, and so did his uncle, that his place was not on the battlefield but in intellect, and he knew that his best weapon was not a pistol but a nib. He would fight his own battle.
''Mathieu.'' The blond turned to the smiling face of his older sister, Élizabeth. ''Will you please go to the kitchen, see if everything's in order? Father is coming for dinner.'' Quickly putting away his papers and ink, the youngest Bonnefoy exited the room. Mathieu's ears caught on the soft melody of the harpsichord in the drawing room. He stopped on the threshold, unsurprised to see his sister's husband playing. He smiled fondly as he listened to the song. When it ended, the musician turned to him.
''Did you enjoy it? I've just finished composing it.''
''Yes, very much, Roderich.'' Mathieu said, smile widening. ''I never seem to get used to your talents.'' He admitted with some pride. Roderich mirrored his smile. ''Doesn't the windmill need its miller, though?'' He added in a scolding, but gentle tone.
''My apprentice is taking care of it right now.'' Mathieu raised a sceptical brow. ''No need to worry.'' Roderich added, guessing his brother-in-law's worries. ''I've done all the work for today. It's nothing he can't take care of.'' He reassured.
''Good.'' Mathieu smiled. ''I must go to the kitchen, but you'll have to teach me this song later.'' The brown-haired man chuckled.
''He's here! Lord Bonnefoy is here!'' A young servant cried out loud in the kitchen. Mathieu flinched, dropping the herbs in surprise. He ran to the nearest window, eyes wide, and he indeed saw a carriage approaching in which sat none other than his dearest father. He sighed, smiling, feeling unbearable happiness -and relief- fill his entire being. How many nightmares had he had of his father dying on all the ways possible... God knew the trips overseas were dangerous. On top of that, it always took a minimum of three months between each letters.
Without wasting another second, the young blond dashed out of the kitchen and the out the manor, in front of the main door, where he impatiently awaited his father's carriage. Soon enough, his sister and her husband, the servants, almost everyone in the seigneury gathered around Mathieu. At last, the carriage stopped. People cheered as Francis Boonefoy stepped out, expression both tired and happy.
''Father.'' Élizabeth exclaimed, embracing the taller man.
''Sweet daughter.'' Francis chuckled, returning the embrace with equal vigour. His eyes turned to his son-in-law. ''Thank you, Roderich, you have taken good care of her, as I see.'' The other chuckled.
''Really, sir, it was more the other way around.'' Francis let go of his daughter as his eyes finally fell on his son. Mathieu had stayed frozen in place, incapable of moving even a finger, scared that if he did so, he would suddenly wake up from a dream. Francis smiled fondly at his now only son. He walked slowly up to him and gazed into those light blue eyes that were so much like his own; yet, they seemed so much more beautiful as they shined with youth and kindness. He cupped the boy's soft cheeks in his large hands and leaned in to gently kiss his son's forehead.
''Mathieu, my beautiful son.'' Mathieu threw his arms around his father's body, burying his face in the older man's chest. Francis laughed goodheartedly, buried his nose in his son's golden curls and inhaled deeply. How he had missed that scent.
''What news do you bring from Paris, sir?'' The blacksmith cut in the cheerful greetings. Silence fell at those words and all eyes were on the lord. Francis' eyes darkened it all the tiredness from the trip settled back in his expression. He loosened the embrace but kept an arm around his son's shoulders. Mathieu glanced up worriedly at him. There was so much pain and anger in his father's eyes... no doubt the news were very, very bad.
''My friends...'' He started at last, looking at the crowd gathered around him. ''Canada... is now a British colony.'' Loud gasps followed the declaration. Mathieu stared, disbelieving, at his father. ''It has been signed over to England through treaty...'' He continued as people kept exchanging horrified and confused looks. ''Le traité de Paris.'' He ended with a tone that Mathieu could only read as bitter irony. His father's eyes landed on his; they looked almost apologizing.
''Do you speak the truth, father? How can this be?'' Mathieu asked. It didn't make sense. How could France abandon their colony like this.
''I wish I did not, son...''
That evening, the dinner that had been supposed to be lively in celebration of the lord's return, ended up being gloomy and silent. Members of the Bonnefoy family, as they slowly ate, were all thinking among the same lines. They, like so many Canadians, had feared this would happen, but had maintained the hope of a favourable treaty of peace. Mathieu glanced up at his poor father and his heart squeezed painfully as he tried to read the older man's emotions that were constantly hanging over him since his return. His father, proud commander in the French marine, seemed now torn between anger and defeat. He seemed to be looking at nothing in particular and ate his food sans his usual gourmet enthusiasm.
''Choiseul.'' The man said, startling his son and catching the others' attention. He raised his gaze and looked at each of them. ''Etienne François de Choiseul, Duke of Choiseul, Minister of State and Minister of the Marine.'' Mathieu knew this person. A person which, until recently, had been high in his father's esteem. But now, those titles were stated with what he could interpret as nothing less than apathy, disdain and false enthusiasm. ''I told him... Voltaire is writing nonsense.''
''...but Voltaire is a great thinker.'' Mathieu said quietly; he could not bring himself to agree with his father.
''A selfish one.'' Francis spat. Mathieu flinched uncomfortably and looked down at his plate, not daring to meet his father's angry eyes. ''He is mocking New-France.'' The man continued. Suddenly, his tone had gained in strength, no doubt living the conversation again. ''I told him... France cannot cede Canada to England... Honour demands it.'' He took a short pause, sighing dejectedly. ''He thanked me... told me that my words had moved him deeply... that I was indeed the proud son of Pierre de Noailles, dit Volant... we shook hands... and what do I learn the very next day? Louis XV hands over la Nouvelle-France to the British, preferring the sugar and the rum of Guadeloupe.''
In the kitchen, the atmosphere was considerably lighter than in the dining room. The servants, preparing the main course, had been listening the the Bonnefoy family's conversation, eager to know the latest gossips of Versailles. The defeat seemed to weight much less on their shoulders.
''Apparently,'' Isabelle, often simply nicknamed Bella, started with an indignant tone as she arranged a silver plate of different kinds of pâtés and cheese. ''his Most Christian Majesty organized several balls to celebrate the signature of the treaty!''
''Seems like they were happy to get rid of us.'' One man puffed, chuckling; let it be France or England, this man didn't seem to give quite a damn.
''But under the British,'' Another man cut in as he took care of pealing potatoes. This one seemed most aware. ''we'll have to become protestants.'' Silence fell and all activities ceased.
''Our Holy Mary...'' Isabelle whispered worriedly to herself, looking down at her silver plate.
''Thank you, Isabelle.'' Mathieu said quietly as the young girl set the plate at the centre of the table. The girl bowed, smiling sweetly. ''Do... do you think we should go back to France, Father? Would we be better off?'' He asked, worried about what future would bring him in an English colony. Francis sighed.
''I have not the slightest idea... I no longer know where we truly belong anymore.'' Mathieu looked away, slightly dejected by the answer. He couldn't recognize his father anymore.
''Worry not, sweet Mathieu, we'll be fine here.'' Élizabeth smiled reassuringly, then put her hand on top of her husband's. ''At least, now, peace has been signed. There will be no more battles and we are all together now and that is what truly matters.''
''Indeed.'' Agreed the priest of the seigneury, Ludwig, also Francis' cousin.
''It is a night for celebrations.'' A close acquaintance of the family, a noble, raised his glass of wine as he spoke. His wife smiled and copied him, and soon, everyone did the same. ''Let us cheer for lord Bonnefoy's return!'' All drank their wine with much cheerfulness except, Mathieu noticed, his father.
''The war may not be truly finished just yet.'' Roderich said. ''Pontiac wants to make all English forts fall.''
''Without the Canadians' support, it will never work.'' The nobleman responded, smirking slightly. ''Now all the savages are boiling because they prefer making business with the French rather than the English.''
''We'll never be at peace again.'' Heavy silence filled the room again. Mathieu turned to his father, a worried frown on his normally smooth face. He realized that not only Vash had died during that war on the plaines d'Abraham... but his father as well; he knew that he would never be the same.
''Mathieu, what did I tell you about writing when there isn't enough light?'' Élizabeth's soft voice brought Mathieu out of his reverie. The young bland turned to his sister, who walked over to his bed to sit on it. Mathieu, who was sitting at his desk no light but a single candle, put his nib away. He smiled. ''You've already gotten yourself glasses because of that, the last thing I want is for your eyesight to worsen again.''
''I know you told me I should use at least three candles, but I wanted to save them. It's probably going to be harder for us from now on, won't it, sister?'' Élizabeth's smile faded a bit, understanding too well what her son meant. Until the strong and definite establishment of the British system, there was no doubt that New-France would go through economical hardships. ''How is father?'' Mathieu asked, wanting to change the subject.
''He's asleep...'' Élizabeth sighed. ''It's been very hard for him.''
''I hadn't realized how much loosing the war would affect him... and mother's death.'' He admitted. Perhaps he didn't know his father as well as he thought; he had always seen the strong, proud lord Bonnefoy, never the fragile side of him... aside, of course, when his older brother died...
''Father...'' Élizabeth trailed off, trying to find the best words with which she should express herself. ''... Father is very sensitive, even if he doesn't want to show it. You know how much he loved Jeanne... and don't forget that unlike mother and the rest of us, father was not born here. He was born in France, has lived his youth there and feels a stronger attachment to the mother country than we do.'' Mathieu looked down to his lap. His sister's words were true. ''He is, I think, very disappointed. We all are, but father...'' She trailed off and didn't need to continue. Mathieu knew what she meant. He knew his father and his love for his homeland as well as the pride he took in the long military tradition in his family. ''But don't worry too much, brother.'' Élizabeth added after a short silence. Her tone was full of hope. ''We can all help him; with his family around him, he will recover soon.''
''So you are leaving after all...'' Mahtieu sighed deeply. The two siblings were walking in the fields of the seigneury. Summer, ironically for Mathieu, had rarely been so warm and the breeze so soft against his skin. ''Ever since Father's return, I've been feeling nothing but emptiness.'' Élizabeth stopped in her stroll and looked at Mathieu, a worried frown wrinkling her pretty face.
''How can you say this?'' Mathieu stopped as well and turned to her.
''I do not recognize my own father, mother and Vash have left us... and now you and Roderich are leaving for France.'' He took his sister's hands in his. ''Please, stay... I don't know what I shall do if you leave me.'' His voice was uncharacteristically firm, and his face very serene.
''Mathieu... you know how Roderich's desires to be a composer are greater for him than his duties in the seigneury. The only way for him to accomplish his dreams is to move to Paris and it is my duty as his wife to follow him.'' She sighed. ''I love him. I'll follow him wherever he will go.'' Mathieu smiled at the confession. He certainly couldn't hold a grudge against his sister, especially for the sake of love. ''Although,'' Élizabeth added, smiling almost mischeveiviously. ''I have convinced him to join him later. He in one month and I'll only join him next summer. He'll settle in Paris, open his music shop and get his apprentices... and when I come, everything will be ready.'' Mathieu's mouth fell open.
''And you didn't tell me sooner? And poor Roderich will prepare everything on his own? I didn't know my sister was such a opportunist.'' He declared in false indignation.
''Not at all!'' His sister replied for her defence. ''He'll save money if I'm not there and you'll get to stay with your sister longer.'' The too laughed and started to walk back towards the Bonnefoy estate.
Le salon du lys, was a lounge in Québec city where all the talented French aristocracy and the lovers of art in all its forms came to discuss and share their passion.
All in all, it really wasn't the place for captain Arthur Kirkland of the British army.
Yet, the man could not deny his appreciation for art and here, in this colony and with his army, there was no other way to answer this appreciation than in French. Not that the man did not understand the language; he actually spoke it quite well, but he knew from all the sly glances he was getting that his presence was not welcomed. Most of these glances, though, were actually meant for his younger companion, lieutenant Jones, who was making quite a fool of himself by stuffing his mouth with all the food that could fit in at the same time.
''Damn, I love French food.'' The young blond said rather loudly.
''Remember, Alfred. Speak French. We don't want to upset these people more than they already are.'' He whispered harshly to the lieutenant.
''Yeah, yeah... I mean... 'Oui oui'.'' He snorted. Arthur fought the urge to facepalm.
Arthur walked away from his subordinate, not wanting to be associated with him and went to a remote corner of the room. The curtains of the grand window against which he was leaning, were as bright a red as his uniform. He was almost melting into the decor; he was almost unnoticed. It was preferable this way. Soon enough, the servants started to gather some chairs around the harpsichord. The nobles gathered and sat, either fanning themselves with their laced fans or sipping their glass of wine. Arthur let out a snort. Those Canadians were no different than the French living in Paris. He saw the owner of the place; Lady Natalie who, quite frankly, sent shivers all through his spine. The lady had a sort of sadistic smile that Arthur couldn't even compare to those of his enemies on the battlefield. She had an air that certainly did not inspire trust in those who led eyes on her. She walked swiftly to the harpsichord and sat on the velvet stool. His attention then drifted on the young man that was following her. When he turned to face his audience, Arthur's breath caught itself in his throat. The boy was beautiful; his very aura was the polar opposite of lady Natalie. He radiated with kindness and modesty and his eyes, blue as the sky, were sparky with intelligence. His pale beige suit, the delicate lace that bordered every hem of his clothes, his soft, curly blond hair and his pale skin... they all formed a strange, almost hypotizing unity that made him look like an angel. Lady Natalie started playing a simple little sonnet, only meant, Arthur supposed, to accompany the boy. Was he going to sing? Smiling sweetly to the audience, the blond opened his mouth. Though it was not a song, but a poem that he was reciting.
''Il n'y a que l'azur de tes yeux
(Only in the azure of your eyes)
Qui soit un lieu sûr.
(Do I feel safe)''
The boy's voice was soft and quiet, like Arthur expected, but the blond was reciting the poem with elegance and emotion.
(It is a shelter)
Pour oublier la couleur du sang.
(To forget the colour of blood.)
Ce rouge de leur veste si éclatant.
(The bright red of their coats.)''
Arthur flinched, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. He saw the boy's eyes settle on him and saw a flicker of hate pass through them. The captain pressed his lips tightly together, trying to stay in control of himself. All this time, Arthur had almost forgotten that the boy was French. The latter turned his attention back to the audience, gentle smile promptly reappearing on delicate features.
''Ma douce, prends ma main.
(Sweetheart, take my hand.)
La nuit vient.
Dans nos rêves,
(In our dreams,)
Nous peindrons le monde en bleu
(We shall paint the world in blue)
Afin qu'au matin nous puissions cueillir,
(So that when morning comes we may pick,)
Si Dieu le veut,
(If such is the will of God,)
Le lys de l'avenir.
(The lily of providence.)''***
Although Hetalia characters are fictional, pretty much all the others did actually exist. That includes, of course, Louis XV, king of France, Etienne François de Choiseul, etc.
As you probably know, the death rates were extremely high in colonies (for various causes) so I know this is all quite angsty (lol), but it's actually fairly close to the colonies' reality.
There were also many cases of exile in the Canadian aristocracy; many Canadian nobles went back to France when the treaty of Paris was signed and there were also many cases of suicide for the same reason. See how French people hated the British? Lol Death and exile was better, apparently!
*** The poem was taken directly from Marguerite Volant (the series). I only translated the text.
Now, I know names like Ludwig or Vash aren't very French lol, but I didn't want to change them, of course. The only exceptions would be Elizaveta since the French version (Élizabeth) still is quite close and Natalie (Natalia) for the same reason. Oh, and Isabelle is Belgium. Please do not hate me 8D.
Pierre de Noailles, dit Bonnefoy: In French, it was common occurrence for nobles to be associated with the place they come from before their family name. Noailles is a district of Paris. 'dit Bonnefoy' literally means 'said Bonnefoy' but takes the meaning of 'also known as Bonnefoy'. So all in all, it's ''Pierre from Noailles, also known as Bonnefoy''.
NEXT CHAPTER: More British bashing (lol, I love you guys, I'm sorry!) and Gilbert makes his awesome entrance! Stay tuned and, above all, PLEASE REVIEW!