A/N: Okay, I barely made this one on time. I literally have half an hour until midnight, but that's okay, because I wrote this in an hour, listening to the Fray, and I think it turned out alright.
It's not light, nor is it Spamano. It's rather depressing, honestly, and I knew the idea's been used before. Sorry about that. That was mostly because this is my new headcanon pairing, so I just really wanted to do something with them.
I've got quite a few light and hopefully unique oneshots in the works, though.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
On your average morning, the streets would begin to busy themselves before the sun would even consider getting up, when the moon was tucking itself in and the stars in the sky were beginning to fade. One house in particular on the street would often have open windows, bright lights shining, and a soft voice singing La Marseillaise over the roaring of a shower: the singing-and-shower was optional depending on if it was a Sunday morning, which were generally spent with the blonde man who lived inside sleeping off a hangover after a night of partying with his friends. Occasionally, there was a lighthearted Spaniard or albino Prussian sleeping on his couch or floor for the same reason that the blonde was still unconscious.
Today, however, the streets were rather quiet as the sun stretched and woke up, revealing its luminous face to the world. The curtains of the house were drawn tightly shut. If you were to look beyond those curtains and dimmed lights, you would see that same blonde man sitting on the edge of his bed, dark circles under his eyes and a simple soft breathing echoing through the otherwise silent house. There was reasoning for this, and it was the same reason every year. Today was the 30th of May. To others, this may be an ordinary day, but not to Francis.
He remembered the first time that he'd met her. She was a young Catholic girl, a peasant from the eastern portion of France. She had spunk, and an aura of maturity that was rare from someone of her small stature and innocent facial features. He had been introduced to her through his boss, who stepped off to the side as her young but determined blue eyes looked up to meet his. His boss thought she was a little crazy, but yet Francis could that although she was hearing 'voices' from the Lord telling her that she was to save France, she had the possibility to do so.
And, because of Francis, she did. Jeanne, disguised as a male, brought the French army to many important battles against Arthur and his armies, which they won. Over this period of time, Francis grew close to the maiden. Everything about her was entrancing- her appearance, her perseverance, her willingness to do anything she believed in. It would be an understatement to say that he fell in love with Jeanne d'Arc. He knew that they wouldn't be together forever, because he wouldn't die as quickly as she would, given that he was a nation and she was human. He wasn't, however, expecting her to die as soon as she did, nor in the hands of who she died.
It was after she had been relocated that Arthur had decided what to do with the feisty nineteen year old blonde maiden. After she had committed several crimes, which Francis could barely figure out what he was referring to by that, he was going to execute her. Francis could do nothing about it, except watch and be by her side in her last moments.
Jeanne's final request was to have a crucifix before her. The small wooden cross, originally placed around her neck before the flames captured her, now sat charred against Francis's own chest. He remembered all too well the way that she had been consumed, and the rattling in his own chest as his heart became empty, a feeling that it was not accustomed to and didn't like. Every single ounce of him wanted her back; she had so much to live for, but instead of seeing her bright daring face, he saw her charred remains, from the back of the crowd, being spread across the coals and burned twice more to make sure she was dead. They were planning on tossing the ashes into the Seine, but Francis got there first, and collected the small wooden cross with his head spinning.
It was 580 years since he last saw Jeanne, but the wound still stung like it had happened hours ago. Even if Arthur didn't take her, he knew that she wouldn't be around today, but she could have had a longer life. He had never really been able to love properly, showing "entirely inappropriate amounts" of sensuality since then. Francis had never done that with her, due to religion, and he was afraid of actually giving his heart to anyone else in fear of losing them like he had for Jeanne.
He couldn't hold himself back any longer. Francis pulled on a pair of boots, and began making the trek to the graveyard where he had set up a stone for her which he visited every year on this date. He walked in absolute silence as the world continued moving around him. He had to remind himself of that sometimes- even though something catastrophic may have happened, life continues on. For some, longer than he feels necessary, but it still goes on.
At one point, he came across a small bridge over the Seine. There were padlocks along the fence, with names scribbled on them. He admired them closely, and remembered how many there had been in years past. He didn't quite know who had been taking them away, but he didn't appreciate it. Each and every one had a story.
He searched up and down both sides of the gate, and upon finding that the one he was looking for was no longer there, he sighed. Francis pulled out a small golden padlock from his pocket, along with a permanent marker, and wrote "may Jeanne d'Arc live on" in his delicate handwriting. He closed it around one of the wires, locking it and throwing the key as far as he could into the river.
He paused, and could almost feel her hands on his shoulders, almost being able to hear her soft laugh tinkling like choir bells in his ears. Tears pricked at his eyes. God, he missed her. He doubted he would ever get over it fully. He knew that her ashes were spread along the riverbed, that her soul lived on throughout France. Alfred had even told him stories of young girls in his country acting like his Jeanne, and announcing that they were Joan of Arc. Her spirit would live on for a long time, as a Patron Saint of France.
The sun had risen directly above him, hiding behind clouds, by the time that he arrived at the graveyard. Tucked away in a back corner was a small gravestone, with the name "Joan d'Arc" and the dates of her being engraved on it. Francis pulled out a small bouquet of flowers that he had gotten just for her, resting it in front of the stone. He knelt down next to it, looking at it as if he was looking into the past into her crystal blue eyes.
"Bonjour, mon amour," he whispered. "How have you been lately?" Francis began telling her all about how life has been around him, and murmured things to her that he knew she always loved. Before long, he could feel the tears streaming down his face, something that he wouldn't allow anyone else to see but her. "I miss you, my dear. I hope you're doing alright." He continued on shakily.
A soft patter of footsteps came up from where Francis was bent over, tears streaming down his face. A light hand rested on his back. "I'm sorry, chap," came a whispered voice, the distinct and almost stereotypical accent coming from none other than Arthur. That bastard. Everyone knew better than to try to contact Francis on that day, but the lesson should have been especially apparent for Arthur.
"Don't touch me!" he snapped. Arthur removed the hand quickly, jumping just a little. "You should know better."
"Sorry," Arthur replied. "I just figured...it's been almost six hundred years, Francis. Don't you think it might be time to...well...move on?"
"Move on?" Francis repeated, chuckling just a little and raising the bushy eyebrows of the Englishman. "Move on? How could I just move on like you speak of? This is all your fault! Moving on for me would mean completely forgetting about Jeanne! Don't you understand? It'd be like you moving on about the Revolutionary War. Everyone knows that it's not going to happen, because of the way that you cared for Alfred."
Arthur was silent, lips pursed. Francis turned back to the gravestone, closing his eyes. "You're right," Arthur began, but Francis didn't hear him.
"Actually, you know what? This is worse than you being bitter over that war. Imagine for me, imagine Alfred being ripped from your hands during that war, taken away, and killed, with you left somewhat in the dark about what was going on in the first place. Think about that. Killed. No way to ever contact him, ever again. The legacy may live on, but you would never see...well, whatever it is that you like about him. You'd never get to hear his voice again, never get to feel his presence. And, try having the person who ripped him away from you telling you to just move on already."
An agonizing silence took over them. "I see," Arthur murmured at last. "I'll leave you be then, I guess." There was a soft patter of footsteps once more. Francis stayed there, kneeling and talking to Jeanne, for the rest of the day. Only when he ran out of tears, and the sun peeked up over the opposit horizon again, did he reluctantly leave. He really did miss Jeanne d'Arc. He missed having someone to love truly and unconditionally, and he had a gut feeling that it would never be able to happen again.
It bothered him, but her death bothered him more. He took those feelings, of remorse, of overwhelming grief, of guilt for not being able to save her, and put them aside. He would try not to touch them again until next year rolled around, but like always, he doubted he would last that long. Francis knew, deep in his heart, that he could never really move on, even if that was what Jeanne wanted him to do. He knew that she wanted him to be strong like she was, but at times like this, when he was at his most vunerable, he just couldn't help himself. He was one of the locks on the bridges on the Seine, and she was the key. The locks could never be removed, unless by force. In his case, though, not even force could open the lock. It was going to be there, a constant reminder of what could have been.