Title: and it's not so bad, it's not so bad at all
Series: Hetalia
Character/Pairing: France/Canada, background Germany/Italy and USUK
Rating: PG
Word count: 1118
Author's note: Inspired by aph_fluffathon: France and Canada hold hands under the table at a public event, but not officially for it as I can't claim it right now, but if no one gets to it, I'll do it officially later. Title is from Dido's "Thank You". The photoshoot mention actually happened to the Prime Minister of Canada once, btw. It's mentioned in Himaruya's notes.

Part of Melly's birthday package. :)

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Canada was not having a good day. To be fair, his summit meetings were rarely pleasant and usually left him weary and down. He'd overslept again today–he had to get Kumajiro from stealing his alarm clock again–got caught in traffic and missed the photoshoot in the beginning before the speeches. They hadn't waited for him at all, and for all he know they hadn't even noticed he was gone. Not even his brother had spoken up.

They were seated at a large table, the countries and some of their respective bosses. It was thick, with a white top and a blue trim, and Canada leaned on his palm, resting his chin there and looking to all the faces of the countries who didn't remember him as anything apart from a quieter America.

He wanted to pull the covers over his head and redo the whole day. Or maybe forget it all together.

The speaker droned on and on as a prelude. It felt rude to ignore the speaker like this–he'd flown in just to speak before this conference, but Canada felt like it was only fitting. He'd certainly been ignored enough.

There was one good thing to happen the whole day, and it was sort of a bad thing too–at least in the paying attention department. Namely, the country seated beside him.

Truth be told, it wasn't just crankiness, or another day of trying and trying to be relevant and make reasonable points and suggestions that got shot down for another digression involving giant robots that kept him from listening to the speaker—it was the scent of roses which assailed him and distracted him.

He rarely sat anywhere near France, being as there was an ocean between them and all. Usually it was by his brother he was stationed. But this wasn't a summit per se, but a meeting, a gallery, and a disaster waiting to happen. And little disasters were happening around them: England and America were fighting again, it looked like there would be Baltic-Slavic meltdown any minute ago, and Italy kept falling asleep, only to be knocked away with a loud cry by an elbow to the ribs from Germany.

But Canada was barely paying attention to this, either.

The scent of roses was overwhelming, overpowering so much that he couldn't have focused on how America and England were either going to choke each other or rip each other's clothes off over some argument or other even if he had wanted to. Germany seemed to have given up trying to make it orderly. It wasn't a summit, so things were a little more casual–though not so casual that France wasn't wearing any clothes. He felt bad for the speaker to come who would probably be pretty much ignored, or bombarded by off-topic questions from America.

A few more minutes and the speaker stopped with whatever he was saying. Maybe he was done and maybe he'd just given up.

It seemed as if for a moment his attention strayed away from France–was it a cry from Italy, or the Special Relationship turning into a case of make up and break up yet again?—and France must have sensed it.

France never could abide with not being the center of attention. Which is why he must have put his hand on Canada's knee. Canada felt a little shudder run through him, and suddenly the whole world falling down around him couldn't have drawn his attention away.

He stroked Canada's knee. Canada let out a little squeak. It was thankfully drowned out as England gave a particular loud noise of distaste for whatever America had said.

"France...Nobody notices me, but I still don't think that we could get away with doing it here, eh," Canada said apologetically.

France chuckled. He looked so handsome then. With a morning stubble, in his white Gucci suit and the sun caught in his hair. It made Canada want to kiss him right here.

"I'm trying to get you to hold hands," France said. His voice was low and rich, yet full of amusement.

Canada flushed. "Oh." he licked his lips nervously and inched a bit closer, taking France's hand in his. He hoped he didn't get sweaty palms. He still had teenage nervousness like that, sometimes. Luckily for him, France found it cute.

Their hands fitted together under the table, finger to finger, thumb to thumb.

"Does it make you feel better, mon chéri?" France murmured..

"What?" Canada asked.

"You were unhappy again," France said.

"...You noticed?" Canada said. His voice quavered slightly. It was almost overpowered completely as England threw his ale in America's face.

"Of course I noticed," France said. He looked almost hurt at the suggestion. "Cher—I am not your brother, or little Italy. I notice these things."

"You didn't seem to notice me this morning," Canada said a little sulkily.

"Quoi?" France said.

"The picture," Canada said, frowning a bit.

"That? Pshah. You worry over nothing. I remembered you well, but remembering how last year's picture turned out, where that horrible photographer made me look like some drunken escaped inmate, I thought you would be better off without it."

"I wasn't—" Canada stopped, and shook his head. "I'm glad."

So glad he could barely put it into words. Most people didn't even noticed he existed separate from America, let alone his feelings. But France saw him. Remembered him. And even looked out for him, from time to time. He was his own country now, but to know that he could talk to France, or have a helping hand to guide him...it was a comfort.

"Really glad," Canada said again, though it was so low, he thought France must have not heard him. Or maybe he just had nothing to add but a smile.

Canada leaned into France a little. The sound of his brother and England screaming at each other seemed so far away. The world could've collapsed in on itself without Canada noticing, just because France was near.

He took in a deep breath and inhaled the scent of roses. Maybe the day wasn't so bad after all.