Author's Note:I should not be allowed to write at 4am. Just sayin'.

It wasn't love. It never had been. It was an alliance, forged when others had failed. It had been a necessity, and one that had existed long before there was ever a marriage. The marriage had merely cemented it as it began to show the strain of time, to keep the bonds strong, to keep a powerful alliance. France was powerful, and that was the only thing that Austria desired. He was strong, and unlike Antonio, he understood.

This wasn't love.

Neither of them called it love when France came to see him for no other reason than to shower him with compliments, to offer sweet nothings and brief touches to try to entice him. Austria was not foolish enough to be swayed by empty words and vague caresses. He was a nation whose attention was strived for…it was not he who went begging after others.

It wasn't love when his "husband" good-humouredly led his "wife" out of the room he'd wound up in, assuring him all the while that he knew that he hadn't gotten himself lost. Austria would never know that France was hiding amused little smiles the whole time, especially when the brunette seemed to have no desire to let go of his hand as he led him back to his piano room.

He was most certainly not head over heels with the blonde the first time he ever wound up in his bed. It was a particularly unforgiving winter, and no matter how he tried, he could not stay warm in his own bed in the guest bedroom of the Frenchman's home. He had muttered that excuse (several times in fact) as he curled in close to him, and he never admitted how sublime it felt to be safe and warm in his embrace. He couldn't help but feel that France knew what he was thinking in that moment, because he held him in his arms for the rest of that night, and every night after.

It was merely the right time to cement the union, the first night they had sex. The King and Queen of France had finally overcome their blunderings so that they could produce an heir. It was only natural that he finally permit his husband to do what he'd been wanting to do since the moment the wedding had occurred. It was sex, pure and simple.

It was not making love when France pressed soft, warm kisses to every inch of pale skin presented to him. There was no love in his eyes as he watched the face of the Austrian beneath him as he entered him, slow and gentle, wanting above all else to make sure that he enjoyed it. It didn't make them lovers as they clung to each other, moving in perfect tandem; nor were they lovers when they came with each other's names on their lips. It was a carnal action meant to seal an alliance as words alone could not.

And eventually that alliance came to an end, when France was no longer powerful, strained under a revolution and crumbling beneath the ambitions of a new leader who the world wanted to depose. And Austria remained until he could no longer afford the tie, joining the Sixth Coalition with other European countries to stop the conquest of Napoleon. And there was no guilt, seeing the once-great power on the battlefield. He had learned to sever all ties the day Spain had turned his back on Haus Hapsburg. He was not in love with him, with the man who had whispered sweet nothings and shielded him from the cold of winter and worshipped every inch of him when he made love to him.

It had never been love.

But maybe it had still meant something.