Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN HETALIA. IF I DID, THERE WOULD BE A LOT MORE CANADA X THE WORLD.
So. We had to write a story in our English class using this prompt:
"A couple renovating their house finds a secret passage."
Since my teacher is as awesome as Prussia, he let's me write FanFiction. And here it is. It took me over twelve hours to write. ;_; Too much.
Alfred stared in awe.
Before him stood a familiar house from the 1920s, crafted with careful detail but now falling apart- dusty, worn, and fragile.
The young American eagerly rubbed his hands together. "Alright! Let's fix this baby up!"
A quiet chuckle resounded from beside him. "Let's examine the place first, Al."
Alfred Kirkland flashed his brightest grin at his Canadian girlfriend as he began to bounce excitedly. "We get to explore like when we were kids? Awesome!"
Madeline Bonnefoy let out another laugh. It was timid, but unafraid. Alfred loved listening to her voice. Soft, gentle and comforting. "Oui. I know that you want to start fixing it up, but we haven't been here in a long time…"
She fondly reminisced of 'exploring' her ancestors' house with Alfred when they were several years younger, just after they had moved in. Although painful memories resurfaced, the two had been searching for a house for a while when Madeline remembered that they still had the option of this place with unease. She wasn't sure because of the condition and the incident that had occurred before, but Alfred eagerly volunteered to renovate the house. She couldn't refuse his puppy dog eyes as blue pierced indigo.
"Yeah! Let's go!" The nineteen-year-old man was already on the creaking porch, opening the chipped door.
"Be careful. You don't want to break anything." She followed her boyfriend through the entranceway, admiring the old-fashioned design. A well-used carpet greeted the couple along with a lone, oval shaped mirror adorning the wall. Light filtered in through a small window on the slanted ceiling, revealing the vast sea of dust that Madeline and Alfred were currently standing in.
The Canadian breathed in deeply, unfortunately inhaling much of the dust. She began to cough and attempted to fix her glasses that now lay askew upon her face.
"Maddie, are you okay?" Alfred was immediately by her side, worried.
"I'm-" Cough. "I'm fine. Just got a little dust in me... Nothing-" Cough. "big."
"If you say so..." The American didn't look convinced. He gazed up the wooden stairs to the left of the foyer, running his hand along the cold banister. Then he glanced down the hallway in front of them. "So, whatcha wanna check out first? Upstairs or this floor?"
Madeline adjusted her spectacles and ran her fingers through her long golden hair, slightly nervous. Her curl, a single strand of hair that looped in front (but above) her face, bobbed as cocked her head in thought. "Hm…"
Alfred couldn't believe how cute she looked. Without realizing it, he pulled her into a tight embrace. She blushed.
"I-Is something wrong, Al?"
"Nope. Just couldn't handle your charm~!" Madeline deadpanned. "Plus, I'm… Cold?" Alfred added, attempting to give an excuse to cuddle. It sounded more like a question than a statement.
The Canadian simply rolled her violet eyes. "Al, we're in Vermont. And it's autumn. Of course it's cold…" She inspected her boyfriend's sleeves and blinked in surprise.
"You're not wearing your usual bomber jacket."
A light-hearted laugh that seemed to be filled to the brim with blissful freedom echoed throughout the desolate house, one that Madeline had admired ever since her childhood. The two had often been mistaken for twins because of their similar physical appearance; they were the same age and the way they had always been together.
They were best friends after all. "Nope, I decided to try something different. You nagged me about it anyways…" She flushed and tried to retort indignantly but Alfred continued, "You should try wearing something besides this baggy red sweatshirt!"
"Eh, it's my favorite…"
"My jacket is my favorite too, Maddie! Change is good!"
The American whined tugging on the sweatshirt. "If I can do it, so can you!"
"If we're talking about change, then how about you stop eating that crap you call food!"
"McDonald's isfood! Their hamburgers are the best!
"It's slowly killing you, Al."
"No! Fine then! You can't eat pancakes with maple syrup anymore!"
Madeline let out a mock gasp of horror and bristled before sighing, lighting pushing her boyfriend away. "We can argue later. Let's just check this floor out first."
"Okay!" Alfred's sky blue eyes behind glass frames sparked with excitement, their previous conversation immediately forgotten."I wonder if we'll find anything!"
Madeline smiled at the childish of the bouncing ball of energy that began to move forward happily. Her expression widened as she felt a warm hand tenderly entwine with hers a moment later.
"Stay close, Maddie." His voice was quiet. "Since I'm the hero, I'll protect you… Especially from ghosts." The hand trembled as it tightened, seeking comfort.
Gently, she squeezed reassuringly back. The quivering hand grew steadier as Alfred visually relaxed. She knew very well about his hero complex and his fear of ghosts… As well as his stubbornness refusing that he was truly afraid of them. "Merci, Alfred."
Together, they began to explore the area. Down the hallway, the dark green walls were bare, save for the lone mirror. The speckled wallpaper was peeling at the edges, scratched wood showing beneath.
Puzzled, Madeline ran her delicate fingers along the rim of the oval shaped mirror. An intricate design weaved itself around, framing her reflection. The Canadian stared into deep purple irises, unblinking. The mirror didn't have a single scratch or fingerprint. It was flawless; in perfect condition.
Why would this mirror not have been touched at all when the rest of the house is practically falling apart?
At that precise moment, her reflection seemed to begin to change into a familiar image of a certain blonde Frenchman with a warm smile and passionate cerulean eyes. Her irises dilated in surprise and she reeled back-
"Maddie? Something wrong?"
Startled, Madeline snapped out of her small moment of panic. She shook her head, trying to get rid of the picture she had just seen. "Non, I'm fine. Let's keep going."
Alfred hesitated for the briefest moment before continuing. The wooden floor creaked as they made their way towards the end of the hallway. He cringed every now and then at the continuous noise, but managed to keep a poker face intact. Tilting his head to the right side, his eyes scanned the flaking wallpaper. There seemed to be no marks besides the places where the individual pieces of wood could be seen. He glanced back to the left where the mirror was.
Truth be told, Alfred had also noticed the seemingly newness of it. It was very unusual; definitely fishy to the American. No one had been living in the house for several years. There wasn't even a trace of dust on it.
At the end of the hallway was the entrance to the living room. No furniture remained except for one mahogany chair, abandoned in the corner. An opaque plastic cover lay forgotten beside it. There was another window on the wall facing them with shards of glass beneath. A shelf in seemingly decent condition embellished the adjacent wall above a brick fireplace containing black ashes. A small object rested upon it.
Madeline gingerly (and somewhat regretfully) released her companion's hand to wander over to clearly see the item. Alfred didn't seem to be fazed as he followed, curious as well.
The Canadian's indigo eyes widened as she approached the shelf. The object was a small and worn rectangular picture frame; a faded picture placed inside.
The picture contained four smiling people: A younger Madeline and Alfred, probably about eight years old with their respective fathers, Francis Bonnefoy and Arthur Kirkland. They were standing together, blissfully unaware of the troubles that would befall them a year later.
Both young adults' breath hitched as they stared into the fragile frame and memories came flooding back. Everything was quiet as the whole residence appeared to mourn with inaudible grief.
Finally, Madeline murmured, "Why is this here?"
Alfred whispered back, "I don't know. I thought everything was taken out after the accident."
A petite hand found its way into his, the warmth soothing him. Their roles switched from earlier, he squeezed comfortingly even though he himself was now uncertain about living inside this house.
Francis and Arthur had gone to school together and always had a rivalry, but were good friends. When they each had a child, they introduced them to each other. Unfortunately, both Francis's and Arthur's wives passed away. Jeanne had been very sick and she lost the ever continuing war when Madeline had been six. Alice passed away from giving birth to Alfred and Arthur raised his son on his own for the first seven years. By some strange coincidence, they ended up living in the same town in Vermont after Francis moved there from Canada.
When Francis had inherited the house in Vermont, he invited Arthur and Alfred to live with him and Madeline as the Kirkland family had been searching for a house as well. Arthur first refused; after all, he was a British gentleman and refused to impose on his so-called 'frenemy'. But after much begging from his son, Madeline and Francis, Arthur gave in.
However, the time that the four lived there together was brief as a fatal accident occurred shortly after Madeline and Alfred had both turned ten in the beginning of July.
The Bonnefoy and the Kirkland family were driving together in their shared car to the store to pick up ingredients to make a dinner to celebrate the two children's birthdays (Francis would be cooking as Arthur couldn't cook to save his life). In the short time they had lived together, they truly felt like a family. Madeline and Alfred were happily chattering about how excited they were and Francis and Arthur were bickering as usual. Francis was a careful driver even though the Frenchman liked to fool around, but it didn't help them when a black van slammed into the front of the car.
The airbags activated around the car and managed to protect the young children from smashing their heads into the side, but not protecting their other body parts completely.
They were in shock from the impact and in pain due to Madeline fracturing her leg and Alfred breaking his arm. Madeline began to cry, somehow managing not to scream in terror. Alfred could only stare at his guardians in the front seat and feel the constant burning pain in his chest and arm. It throbbed over and over again. He saw red liquid drip from his father's and Francis's forehead.
"A-Alfred…" Alfred hadneverheard his father sound so weak. "Madeline… I… I love you. Both of you."
"Mon M-Madeleine… M-Mon Alfred… J'taime."
Madeline briefly stopped her wailing and sniffled uncertainly. "P-Papa! Arthur!"
The two adults smiled weakly as if nothing were wrong, breathing heavily. Their eyelids began to flutter and slowly closed for the last time.
Alfred tried to ignore his body's protests and unbuckled himself. "Dad! Francis!"
Madeline's sobs grew louder. "P-PAPA! ARTHUR! W-Wake up!"
And at that moment, Alfred knew that neither Arthur's nor Francis's eyes would ever open again.
The two had managed to stay with each other throughout the years when they were younger. They would refuse to be adopted and often played pranks and tricks to drive the adults away. It seemed to the rest of the world that they wanted to be left alone and eventually, they did. Alfred and Madeline grew up trusting only each other.
It was probably how Alfred's hero complex started, now that Madeline thought about it.
At age eighteen, they were released into the world from the orphanage they had been in and decided to continue living with each other. They managed to get a decent job as a waiter and waitress at a restaurant.
Together, they managed to rent an average apartment and live a comfortable life. After a few months of this lifestyle, Alfred and Madeline realized they liked each other and decided they were dating. After all, they had practically lived their whole lives together.
It was a bit later when Madeline remembered her family house and that she still technically owned rights to it as it was left in her father's will to her. They managed to figure everything out after calling a lawyer and making sure that she still owned it, now that she was of age.
And so, they set out to the house that held the happiest and worst memories of their lives.
Silently, Madeline turned around, Alfred's hand still in hers, and entered the kitchen. There were cupboards, a counter, shelves and areas for various kitchen utensils to be placed. Pale light shone through a cracked window, shadows shifting abruptly as if searching for something. An isolated light staggered above the whole room, swaying back and forth in short movements. A few planks from the floor were uneven and sticking out; an easy hazard for tripping. Brown stains could be discerned on the walls.
Madeline scanned the room and released a sigh, trying to act as if everything was normal. "Al, are you sure we can fix this place up?"
Alfred offered a confident grin, relieved to get away from the depressing memories of his childhood. He preferred to look on the better side of things. "Of course we can!
We just have to clean, replace the wallpaper, windows and floor, mop, put some bathrooms in, fix the plumbing and water supply, make a few plugs for electricity, add some lights… And a bunch of other stuff."
"Too much too list." She shook her head. "Not a good sign."
"Aw, don't worry Maddie! We'll get it done! …It'll just take a while." He walked over to the cabinets and began checking the contents of them. They were all empty except for the one right above where the counter was in the corner. Inside laid a box of twelve matches. He raised an eyebrow at the strangely placed object but placed it in his pocket regardless.
The Canadian nodded briefly and adjusted her glasses unconsciously, observing his exploration. "Well, since that is the dining room over there," Alfred followed her gesture towards the doorway across from them, "How about we just go upstairs now?"
"Sure." His warm blue irises were compassionate and Madeline was grateful for that.
Retracing their steps, the couple found themselves in the foyer where they first began.
Glancing up the turning stairs, Madeline breathed deeply again.
"Don't worry, Maddie. Calm down. Everything's fine! Remember, I'm here to protect you."
She smiled. "Thanks, Al."
Together, they began to ascend the stairs. They both winced as the stairs groaned beneath their combined weight. When they reached the top, they both inwardly released a sigh of comfort.
Spotting their old shared bedroom, Alfred excitedly dragged his girlfriend over to it. "I haven't seen this place in forever!"
Madeline allowed a small chuckle. "It's been ten years…"
"I can't believe it!" The American ran around in a small circle before happily collapsing on the ground. She openly laughed this time.
"You need to laugh, Maddie! Don't get caught up in the past. Keep moving forward!" Alfred sat up and seriously looked her in the eye.
The Canadian blinked. "Wow, that's the most philosophical thing I think I've ever head you say."
Alfred pointedly ignored her statement. "Anyways, let's check out Dad and Francis's old rooms!"
As quick as Madeline stiffened, she relaxed, trying to release the tension that was built up within her. "Okay."
She followed her boyfriend through the short hallway to her former guardian's room. Memories flooded her mind as soon as she stepped within it. She could tell Alfred was having the same experience.
"Ten years, huh…"
Alfred stared around his father's old room. Now it was barren and nothing remained. But clear as day, he could remember every single detail. The way his father seemed to talk to nobody and claim it was his magical friends, read Shakespeare aloud, do his embroidery, drink tea with Madeline and criticize everything Francis or Alfred did.
Without a word, they both exited Arthur's room and entered Francis's. Together they would dance and sing, plan practical jokes on Arthur, read stories and play games.
Nostalgic was a simple word to describe how the two young adults felt.
"Wow. Just… Wow." Alfred broke the silence. "After shutting away all the memories all these years and finally remembering… Wow."
Madeline only nodded. She could feel salty tears pricking at her eyes, but she blinked them away. "…Let's look at our old room one more time."
They returned to the room they spent the one best year of their life. Madeline walked around the whole room, reminiscing. Alfred watched.
"Eh? What's this?" The Canadian had been running her fingers across the wall farthest away from the door when she felt a slight change in the way the wood melded into each other.
"Is something wrong?" Alfred was instantly by her side.
"No, I don't think so… Something is off though."
"Hm?" She gently guided his finger along the strange area and he frowned. "Let me see."
He began prying at the wood and it easily opened up. The space was big enough to let someone the size of an adult enter without any difficulty. The beginning of stairs that led downwards could be seen.
Madeline peeked into the damp blackness curiously. She reeled back slightly at the coolness of the area. "This hasn't felt the sun's rays for years…"
Alfred swallowed nervously. Once again, he took Madeline's hand. "L-Let's go, Maddie. We gotta go see what's down there."
"Al… We don't have to if you don't want to."
"I want to!" He insisted. Then he frowned. "Too bad we didn't have a light or something…"
"I have a flashlight." She handed him the small one she had been keeping just in case of emergency in her pocket. "Are you sure?"
The American nodded with absolute certainty that even surprised himself. Hand in hand, they descended into the darkness.
"Careful, there's a turn here!"
"Wha- Oof! Sorry, Maddie!"
"It's fine, Al. Don't shine the light in my eyes-! …I think this is the last step. Yes, it was."
Alfred held the lone beacon of light and cast it around the room they were in. It seemed they were in a small room made of cement about fifteen by twenty feet in size. Two candlesticks were hung on each individual wall, spread out an equal distance from each other.
"Do you have a match?" Madeline questioned after a moment.
He was suddenly glad when he found the abandoned matches in the cupboard. "Yes, I do! And I have enough to light all of the candles!"
They started going counterclockwise around the room, lighting each candle using one match each. When they reached the entrance, the pair surveyed the room.
The flames steadily flickered and illuminated the darkness, so the room was quite well-lit now. (Just in case, Alfred didn't shut off the flashlight.) An old dark green sofa was pressed up against the farthest wall. On it laid a relatively thick book.
Madeline shivered as she felt a cold spot in the dank cellar. She moved forward, wanting to get away from it and approached the couch, Alfred by her side.
Gently, she wiped away dust and dirt before cautiously sitting on the couch and picking up the book. Her boyfriend did the same.
"It doesn't have a title…" She mused before opening the worn brown cover. The first page had written words and the couple began to read:
Madeline and Alfred,
I hope this has safely made its way into your hands. I had known for a while that something would happen to change our lives, but I wasn't sure what. I have written this (Francis as well, he's currently by my side) to tell you Francis and my feelings.
As much as Francis and I seem to fight, we trust each other and get along very well. We're good friends, despite our disagreements. I'm glad to have met you, Madeline, and Francis says the same about Alfred. We've enjoyed living together for the year that we have. In fact, today is July 1
st, Madeline's nine birthday. And Alfred, your birthday is only three days later. To both of you, happy birthday!
Although I don't know what is to come, I know it will change our lives drastically in the worse way possible. Do not ask me how I know; I'm (unfortunately) always correct.
I hope that you grow up as fine and respectable as you are now (however Alfred, you need a little improvement).
But Francis and I want you to know this: We love you both very much. Never forget that. Live your lives to the fullest. I certainly hope that you manage to stay together, knowing how stubborn you both are.
I shall enjoy our last bits of time together; whether it's hours, days, weeks, months.
Love Forever and Always,
Arthur Kirkland and Francis Bonnefoy
It was after she finished reading her beloved guardians' names when Madeline realized she had tears streaming down her face. She glanced over at Alfred and could tell that he had shed a few as well.
Silently she turned the page and Madeline and Alfred's widened in surprise.
A range of moments from birthdays to pranks to running away from Arthur's cooking to everyday life were spread across the fading paper with meticulous hands, all vividly captured.
It seemed every moment had been seized, contained within a picture as Madeline flipped the pages. Happy memories were the only thing the couple could concentrate on at the moment. They finally reached the end of the album and found that the last picture taken was from the day the accident occurred.
Regretfully, she closed the book and stared at nothing.
"I don't remember Dad or Francis constantly taking pictures every second of our life."
Madeline paused for a second. Then she began to laugh. Alfred smiled and joined in.
Together, they merely sat on the couch their fathers had probably sat on ten years before and laughed.
Francis Bonnefoy easily let a loose grin spread on his face, shaking his head. "Isn't it great seeing Madeleine and Alfred after all these years, mon cher? Knowing that they're happy and still together?"
Arthur Kirkland scowled. After a moment, it changed into a small smile, his emerald eyes warm. He turned back to gazing at his son and his girlfriend from where he and Francis were currently standing on air. "Indeed, frog."
"I suppose we can finally move on."
"Do you really want to?"
The Frenchman was taken aback. "What do you mean?"
"We waited all these years to finally see our children again. We were unable to move on to the next world, trapped in this bloody cellar because we wanted to make sure Alfred and Madeline were safe and happy. Now they're finally here. Don't you think we should try and communicate with them?"
"I... I want to, Arthur. But-"
"Then we shall. Someway, somehow, we will talk with Alfred and Madeline once again."
...What. I added in the ending with Francis and Arthur as ghosts. I didn't have time to for my assignment and I just added it in. But I don't really like it... Oh well.
I apologize for changing some of the characters' attitude. I censored Francis's pervertedness as I'm sharing this with the whole class. I also changed Matthew's gender because I wasn't quite comfortable with using homosexual couples in front of the class though I probably wouldn't mind... (Ironically, my friends ended up writing homosexual couples.)
I tried to work on detail. I'm not very good with it, so I'm practicing. ^^ Also, this is a one-shot. So don't expect a continuation... Sorry.
I'll leave it up to you to interpret a few clues I had intended on using but never actually did. I suppose it could be used in Arthur's plan somehow...
I hope everyone enjoyed. Please review and tell me your thoughts! You don't know how much a single review means to me. It gives me the chance to understand the readers' interpretation and for me to have my work critiqued. Thank you!