Okay so I've been working on this whole shebang for like over a month. There's a picture to go along with this, I'll leave a link at the end. I'll also be crossposting these to DA, Tumblr and Livejournal.
So basically this epic person Rockets (rockets. tumblr. com) on Tumblr drew these two awesome pictures that crossed over Hetalia and The Steadfast Tin Soldier from Fantasia 2000. England as the Tin Soldier and fem!America as the ballerina. I thought it was an amazing connection and just had to write a story for it. Of course, I wound up drawing my own shitty version as well... and made Francis the jack-in-the-box, haha. It was either going to be him or Russia, and I figured Francis was more of an antagonist for Arthur.
For those of you more interested in my upcoming fic, Total Drama State Race, I'm working on that. I'm still missing one contestant so I'll be making one more OC of my own to fill the gap. The next chapter should be up within a few days, so long as I don't get drowned by school, upcoming externship, family and life in general. Thank you for your patience.
The rain poured steadily down onto the rooftops of a small English village, sun setting in the West as its inhabitants settled down for the evening. Inside one sleepy home a young boy lovingly placed his newest possession, a box of toy, tin soldiers, onto a table in his bedroom. He kept all of his toys there so they did not become misplaced, including things like blocks, a jack-in-the-box and even a beautiful clock with a miniature ballerina his aunt had given him last Christmas. He was eager to start playing with the soldiers, but just then his mother called him down for dinner so it would simply have to wait.
Unfortunately, by the time he retreated to his room the boy was far too tired to play. So he simply retired to his bed for the night, the hands on the toy clock ticking away until the midnight hour. With a flash of gold, it was as if a spell was broken and the toys upon the table sprung to life. As the boy slept on, unaware beneath his covers, the ballerina's sky blue eyes opened and she relaxed from her elegant pose with a relieved sigh.
"Gods, I thought it would never be midnight! Finally, I can stretch out..." The ballerina swung her arms about, twisting her body to work out the kinks of remaining in the same position all day. Golden locks fell about her bare shoulders, bangs clipped back by red barrettes. Her dress and shoes were simple, all white and satin as she begun spinning and twirling about her frozen lake of polished glass. She hummed as she danced, movements holding no pattern yet exuding grace as she simply coerced her body into each step.
However, the ballerina was not the only toy to come to life in that moment. To the right, the jack-in-the-box stirred and bounced upright, stifling a yawn as he rubbed the sleep from his deep blue eyes. His blue coat and jester hat flowed with his hopping about, smoothing down his blond hair and rubbing at his stubble as he looked about for some form of entertainment. It was not long before his eyes landed upon the dancing ballerina, and a lecherous grin immediately spread across his lips. The jack-in-the-box had been trying to win the ballerina's heart for what felt like ages, but she would always want to dance rather than spend time with him.
Well, he would not take no for an answer tonight! As an import from France, it was his duty to win the heart of such a lovely maiden. Swinging about, he easily stretched over to her little lake and grasped her tiny hand mid-twirl. "Ah, bonsoir, mademoiselle. As usual, you look absolutely ravishing this evening..." he purred, leaning in to kiss the back of her hand.
However, the ballerina was having none of that, quickly retracting her hand and stepping away from the larger toy with a pout. "Francis, don't even try it! I've told you before, I'm not interested in you, so just leave me alone!" she huffed, dancing away.
The jack-in-the-box, "Francis," raised his eyebrows in slight surprise then promptly scowled at the ballerina. He had only managed to kiss her hand once, the first time he had tried and caught her off-guard. Clenching his fists and glaring at the stubborn thing, he wracked his brain for a way to finally win her affections.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, the new additions were coming to life. One by one, the soldiers were springing from their box and into perfect, single file formation. They were dashing in their red jackets and feather-plumed hats, tin muskets flashing in the firelight of the small corner stove. Four straight-backed soldiers began to march, but the fifth was having a bit of trouble it seemed. Upon closer inspection, he was missing the lower half of his left leg, as if it had been cut-off at the knee.
Scoffing and undeterred, the soldier merely straightened his tall, red hat over his slightly messy locks of pale yellow and hopped out of the box. Emerald eyes looked over his musket critically as he fixed his stance, bushy brows meeting in the middle as he followed after his fellow soldiers with either a stark stubbornness or fearless determination. Of course, having only one leg made jumping about a bit difficult, but as a soldier to the Queen he would manage.
Unbeknownst to the soldiers, Francis was making another move on the ballerina. She had paused in one of her favorite poses: one leg stretched behind her while the other held her up on mere tip-toe, eyes closed and blissful smile on her face. She was absolutely exquisite, and the jack-in-the-box could not resist making a grab for her. Oh, he longed to hold her to him in an embrace and whisper sweet nothings to her in his native tongue-
"Sacre bleu! Quoi-?" Francis gasped, lip curling in disgust and eyebrows rising as he spotted the toy soldiers making their rounds past the clock. As they drew nearer, using a xylophone to reach higher ground, he tensed and felt a brief pang of worry. Surely the soldiers would not look kindly upon him forcing his affections on the much smaller ballerina, and though the runts were just as tiny they also outnumbered him. As such, he decided a prompt retreat was in order post haste, ducking back into his box and tucking the lid almost completely closed. He kept it open enough to peek out as he scooted back away from the lake, not wanting to take his eyes off the soldiers.
As said toys made their way across the xylophone and onto a stack of books, the one with a missing leg was doing his best to catch up. He silently scolded himself for being slightly worn out and pushed his sole leg to hop faster lest he be left behind. Unfortunately, his fellow soldiers had slowed to jump down from the xylophone and he barreled straight into the fourth's back. Seeing as the other four soldiers had been aligned in perfect formation, it sent the lot of them tumbling onto the books like dominoes with some combined shouts and curses of surprise.
"Oh, bugger..." the still-standing soldier muttered, wincing. He barely stopped himself from falling over as well, managing to regain his balance as the soldiers righted themselves and turned to glare at him.
"Oy, watch where you're going!"
"Stay in formation, Arthur!"
"If you can't keep up, just go back!"
"You're on thin ice, soldier. Men! About face; march!" shouted the leader, turning around. The other three soldiers followed suit, the lot of them turning their backs on "Arthur," the one-legged soldier. Without another word they began marching again, leaving him to either return to the box or attempt to keep up with them.
"Bollocks... can I help it if I only have one bloody leg? Honestly!" Arthur huffed, sighing as his gaze wandered to trail over the large table. They barely spared the clock a glance at first, but he did a double-take as something caught his eye. It was the ballerina, and had he a heart it would have skipped a few beats in his chest upon sight of her. He had never seen anything so lovely; though, that was not saying much seeing as this was his first venture out and about.
"But... oh, why bother? As if someone as perfect as her would even consider giving a one-legged lummox like me the time of da- bless the Queen! Her leg!" he gasped, green eyes widening in shock. He had no idea her second leg was hidden behind her; all he knew was that from his position, this beautiful woman had only one leg. Taking a moment to glance down at his own missing appendage, he felt almost light as a feather at this sudden prospect. The idea he was not alone in his struggles, and that just maybe this ballerina would not immediately judge him for his handicap if she shared the same fate, was enough to make the normally stoic soldier quite giddy.
Given a confidence boost by the revelation, Arthur wasted no time at all in jumping down from his perch atop the books. His sudden approach caught the attention of both Francis and the ballerina, both toys' eyes snapping open in surprise. There was no ruckus going on by the lake, so why had this lone soldier split from the others and shown interest?
"What is he up to...?" the jack-in-the-box growled, suspicious.
Arthur did not even notice Francis, and he went unphased by the shock on the face of his crush. He swore his smile would soon crinkle the tin of his face if it grew any larger as he quickly looked about for some gift for the lady. It did not take him long to find just the thing. Pots of rose bushes surrounded the lake, and he reached down to pluck one of the flowers without a second thought.
"Hello...? Oh!" The ballerina began, only to gasp in surprise as the rather handsome soldier held out the freshly picked rose to her. "For me?" she asked, cheeks reddening darker than the blush painted on them.
Arthur desperately tried not to pass out from excitement as he grinned, hoping he did not look too idiotic in doing so. "Y-yes, good evening, madam. I... I'm sorry to interrupt, b-but, well, I just thought this... rose... w-would complement your beauty, ahm- n-not that you need it or anything! Er, oh bollocks..." That was a right mess, she probably thought him an absolute fool.
The ballerina raised one elegant brow curiously, though the soldier's adorable smile was infectious as it spread to her own lips. She giggled a bit, his stammering simply endearing as she relaxed into a graceful stance on two legs. "Why thank you, sir. How thoughtful..."
Francis's eyes narrowed as he watched the scene play out, mouth down turning into a jealous scowl. How dare this stranger just waltz up to his prize and sweep her off her dainty feet so easily? He was even missing a leg! How could she possibly find him more appealing than Francis, perfectly carved and exquisitely painted as he was?
While Francis stewed in his anger and disbelief, Arthur was busy experiencing the torture of his hopes being crushed. He spotted the ballerina's second leg the moment it dropped down and it might as well have been her lover that had appeared rather than a mere appendage. 'Two legs... Oh, now I must really look a fool in those gorgeous eyes of hers! Surely she has plenty of other, normal suitors asking for her hand and here I am on one leg stuttering like some ninny... Oh, I'm sure the others will get a right laugh out of this...' he thought dejectedly. The hand holding the rose dropped limply to his side as he seemed to wilt, sighing forlornly and waiting for rejection to smack him in the face.
The ballerina blinked in confusion, smile immediately morphing into a worried frown. The soldier had seemed so happy a second ago. What had made him so depressed all of a sudden? Quickly trying to think of a way to make him smile again, she remembered the rose he still held that was meant for her. She reached down without hesitation, pulling it from his hand and bringing it to her face so as to breathe in its sweet perfume. Okay, so it was plastic, but she could pretend, could she not? Hiding her smile behind the flower, her sky blue eyes gazed imploringly at the soldier over its delicate pink petals. "It's lovely. Thank you, really. What is your name?"
Arthur blinked, taken aback as he watched the ballerina accept his offering and even continue speaking with him. Needless to say he was at a complete loss for a few moments, not having expected such acceptance of his condition from someone so seemingly perfect. Those eyes of hers seemed to look past his tin exterior and into his very soul, and he was sure his cheeks must be as crimson as his uniform by that point. Swallowing around a dry throat, he straightened up and decided to simply not look a gift horse in the mouth. "A-ah, you're welcome, madam. Officer Arthur Kirkland, at your service. Might I be so bold as to ask the lady's name...?"
The ballerina giggled again, glad to see a hint of a smile playing on Arthur's lips once more. He was such a gentleman, though she supposed it was to be expected of a soldier. "Amelia. It's a pleasure to meet you, Arthur." She knew it was improper to call an English soldier by his first name, but she had always preferred first names over titles; it felt more personal. As she spoke, she placed the flower on her dress, right at the hip, and then held out her hand to him.
"Amelia. What a lovely name..." Arthur murmured, catching what she called him but honestly not giving a damn in that moment. He bent down to take her offered hand and press a kiss to its back, only to watch in surprise as she retracted it and pranced around to stand behind him. "S-so then, you're a ballerina? I am certain you dance beautifully," he stuttered out, trying to make conversation and follow her.
Amelia chuckled, tapping Arthur teasingly on the shoulder before spinning about and gracefully dancing a few steps away. "Yes, I've been a ballerina since before I can even remember. I love to dance all night long, but... I've never had a partner to dance with," she admitted a bit sadly as she did a pirouette. She ended in the same pose Arthur had initially found her in, back to him and a flirtatious smile on her face.
Arthur laughed softly himself, something he rarely did. He had to admit he was rather enjoying himself for once, playing around with this flighty ballerina. "Well now I can hardly believe that. The other toys must be blind if they have yet to ask for your hand in mar- a-a dance!" He flushed, biting his tongue and desperately hoping she had not realized what he had nearly let slip. Honestly, mentioning marriage of all things on their first meeting, how unseemly. As he began to hop over to join Amelia, he did not notice the nearby jack-in-the-box edging closer and closer to their small lake.
Francis had had about enough of their little display. That soldier was getting far too close to his ballerine for comfort, and he was going to put a stop to it before it got anymore out of hand. How was he to steal away Amelia and her affections if they were so focused on one disabled soldier?
Lost in their game of surprise, neither Amelia nor Arthur suspected a thing. Arthur slipped past the ballerina, making her blink in confusion when she realized he was no longer behind her. She spun about, only to feel a tap on her shoulder. Whipping around, the soldier was nowhere to be seen, yet there was another tap on her other shoulder to get her spinning again. By the time she came to a stop, Arthur was before her at last, smiling down at her in an almost mischievous manner.
Not caring how unladlylike it would be, Amelia outright laughed, glad when Arthur followed suit. Handsome, gentlemanly, playful- was there anything this soldier was not? Unable to contain her joy, she danced about a bit more, toes fleetingly kissing the glass lake as she spun and twirled until she was perched upon one leg yet again, grinning from ear to ear.
Arthur swore he had never seen anything so graceful in his entire life as he dropped down to one knee, gazing up at Amelia with nothing but love and adoration in his emerald eyes. Seeing her reach down to him, he raised his hand, ready to take hers and perhaps actually place a kiss upon the soft porcelain-
It was about then Francis exploded up out of his box, shocking both ballerina and soldier. A few small balls and jacks flew out with him, objects the boy liked to keep in the box for some reason or other. "Get away from her, you English pig! You are not worthy of the affections of ma belle Amelia!" he exclaimed, glaring furiously down at Arthur.
"Wh-what in the- Amelia, run!" Arthur shouted as he was snatched up by Francis, caught off-guard and rather at a size disadvantage. Arms pinned to his sides, he could do nothing but glare right back at the larger toy. "Get your filthy French hands off of me this instant! You are assaulting a soldier of the Queen; you'll hang for this!"
"Arthur! Hold on!" Amelia called, completely ignoring his advice and looking around for some kind of weapon to use. Spotting a ball nearby, she picked it up and threw it at the jack-in-the-box without a second's hesitation. "Let him go this instant, you big bully!"
Francis outright laughed, in the midst of wagging his finger condescendingly at the soldier. "She is mine. You are so tiny, you really think your threats worry me-" He was cut-off as the ball Amelia had thrown smacked him square in the face, sending him flailing backwards. "Sacre bleu! Mon beau fisage!"
Arthur slipped from his grasp, flying a ways across the table to land a bit painfully on his stomach. "Ooooh, God, that's going to be bloody sore on the morrow..." He gasped as realization struck him. "Amelia!"
Francis was ahead of Arthur, however, reaching over to pick up a nearby glass that lay forgotten on the table. Before Amelia could run, he trapped her beneath it, the glass far too heavy for her to move it by herself. "Now just stay there and be a good beau, ma belle~" he cooed affectionately.
Amelia released a frustrated cry, pounding on the glass with her fists. It produced nothing but a dull clinking sound, and whatever she was shouting at Francis was muted by the thick glass. She could only watch worriedly as the toy closed in on Arthur, who was still recovering from the rough landing. "Arthur! Run!"
Arthur could not hear her, but knew he had to close the size gap between Francis and himself or he was doomed to failure. Seeing he had landed beside a rather tall stack of blocks, he quickly scaled them, coming to a stop at the top and putting himself at eye level with his opponent. "I shall give you one last chance to surrender, French bastard! If you refuse I shall be forced to take extreme measures!"
Francis outright laughed again, clearly unintimidated. "'Extreme measures'? What are you going to do, poke me with that little stick of yours? Ha!" He made a grab for Arthur again, but this time the soldier was ready and dodged the attempt.
"Very well then! Do not say I failed to warn you, frog!" Arthur snapped, bashing the butt of his tin musket against Francis's nose.
Seeing as it was only screwed into his face, it spun about wildly, making the jack-in-the-box rather dizzy. When it came to a stop it was horribly crooked, only serving to infuriate Francis more. "You fiend! Look what you have done to my beautiful nose! Take that!" he yelled, knocking away the top block Arthur stood upon and sending both it and the tin soldier flying. The block crashed into the burning embers of the open stove used to keep the bedroom warm and instantly caught flame, sparks shooting up dangerously.
"Arthur! I swear if Francis hurts him, I do not care how small I am, he will regret it!" Amelia gasped, relieved when she spotted Arthur on the nearby window ledge. The soldier had just barely saved himself from a two-story fall into the street below by using the bayonet attached to his musket.
Grunting as he removed his weapon from the wooden frame of the window, Arthur turned to face Francis with a determined stubbornness. "Is that your best, wine bastard? Most likely it is, seeing as you are French! Just as weak as the man who carved you, I am certain!" he taunted, tone dripping superiority.
Francis had fixed his nose by that point and growled at the insults, unable to reach Arthur now since the table and window were not connected. Luckily, the remaining blocks were small and light enough for him to pick up and throw, and he began immediately tossing the makeshift projectiles at his foe. "I'll show you my best, you pompous, English annoyance!"
Arthur, a trained soldier, dodged the blocks with relative ease even on only one leg. They soared past him out of the still partially open window, crashing to the rain-soaked ground one after the other. "Ha! You throw about as well as an old blind woman!" Getting an idea, he gripped his musket tightly in both hands and swung it at the next block, successfully hitting it back to Francis. The first one merely bounced harmlessly off the lid of his box, but the second clipped the top of his head, knocking off both his jester hat and wig.
Francis gasped as his head suddenly felt a lot lighter and colder, reaching up only to feel smooth wood instead of cloth. "Mon dieu! What have you done, you fiend?" He must have looked absolutely hideous, and in front of Amelia!
Indeed, Amelia had begun to laugh at the spectacle; she had no idea Francis's hair was a carved wig. He looked ridiculous without it and probably would be unable to ever live it down. Though she knew he could not hear her, she could not resist tossing out a jab of her own. "Nice hair, Francis! That is a very good look for you!"
Arthur smirked triumphantly, expertly spinning about his musket before standing rigid-backed and proud on the windowsill. "And that, my good lady, is how the Royal Army deals with the French!"
Furious and humiliated, Francis desperately looked about for something to get rid of the pesky soldier once and for all. He was out of blocks, but after a few moments of searching he discovered a small, wooden boot laying nearby. It was a bit difficult to lift, being nearly as large as his body, but he managed it and his throw was fueled with all of the anger he felt. "Dodge this, you English pig dog!"
Arthur's eyes went wide in shock, and before he could even consider dodging such a large object, it hit its target dead on. Both the boat and himself flew out of the window, falling to the street below to join the blocks. "No, Amelia!" he called out, more worried for her safety than his own. Now she would be left alone with that jack-in-the-box, defenseless and vulnerable without his protection.
Amelia gasped, shocked, and dropped to her knees beneath the glass imprisoning her. Just like that, Arthur was gone, and she would probably never see him again. If he survived the fall, someone would probably spot him right away and take him home with them before the boy realized one of his toy soldiers was even missing. Though she was unable to cry, her voice wept for her, silenced by the thick glass. "Oh, Arthur, please be all right... I can never see you again, just so long as you do not die..."
Francis was oblivious to his love's dismay, far too busy celebrating his victory over Arthur at last. He laughed, face full of mirth and arrogance as he dusted himself off. "Ha! That will make him think twice about insulting the French! Now Amelia shall be mine and mine alone, with no nuisance of a toy soldier to get in my way..."
Meanwhile, outside in the pouring rain both the boat and Arthur bounced along the lower roof of the house until meeting the stone below. It hurt, but Arthur ignored the pain in favor of doing his best to reach the boat. It was his only chance at that point, and if he hit just right on his next bounce... there! He just managed to land on the bow of the wooden boat, drenched and beaten but with all his parts still attached.
"Well, this is not so bad..." he muttered. The boat was sailing along a small stream of water as it raced downhill, rocking to and fro in the current. "At least matters cannot possibly get any worse- oh bollocks, why on Earth did I say thaaaaaaaaaaa-" Arthur's shout echoed as the boat abruptly slipped down through a sewer grate, taking the soldier with it. Luckily it was not a straight drop down, simply a smooth decline deeper and deeper into the sewers beneath the town's streets.
As Arthur sailed further down on his little boat, the moonlight shining through the grate gradually became non-existent. He found himself swallowed up by darkness and fidgeted nervously, though he stubbornly stood tall and proud on the boat as he kept a sharp eye out for any enemies. "Easy, old chap. Nothing to worry about. The place looks abandoned so there should be no cause for alarm... Oh, what am I saying? It is Amelia I am most worried for. I swear, if that frog lays one filthy hand on her- what in blazes?"
It seemed fate just loved to surprise Arthur at the moment, for the water made an abrupt drop and his boat ride suddenly became wild and erratic. He was unsure how he managed to stay on the vessel as it twisted this way and turned that, practically capsizing as it even went so far as to perform a loop due to the water's raging course. He was thankful for being unable to eat, for he surely would have been forced to double over and lose whatever was in his stomach after such ridiculousness.
Arthur found himself shooting out of a pipe, hitting calm water again with a sigh of relief. It was also no longer pitch black, moonlight shining into the cavernous sewer from some unknown source. Shaking some water from his tin form, he gazed about curiously, wondering what could possibly be in store for him next.
"Wait, is that... oh, now that is just absolutely vile..." Arthur muttered, grimacing and making a disgusted noise in the back of his throat as he drifted into a tunnel. At first the walls had seemed to be moving and shifting of their own accord, but after a few seconds he realized they were simply covered in hundreds of cockroaches. A sudden thought sent a trill of fear through him; did cockroaches eat tin? He had heard they ate almost anything, so it was not completely out of the question...
Luckily they seemed to ignore him for the most part and he sighed in relief. Danger no longer in sight, his thoughts immediately retreated to Amelia once more and he frowned. It was hard to tell how long he had been gone, but Francis may have his hands all over the ballerina already. He was just thinking of ways to bring that lewd jack-in-the-box to justice when he glanced up and caught sight of a silhouette in the moonlight. His jaw promptly fell, and his musket nearly dropped with it.
"A-Amelia! Amelia, what are you doing down here?" he exclaimed, shocked. There was no doubt, that was her posed silhouette perfectly against the brick wall. He smiled, hope filling him as the boat sailed on towards the source of the shadow; if he was going to die in that sewer, at least he would be with her. "Amelia, I-"
Arthur's hopes were abruptly crushed as he spotted the cause of the silhouette, just a twig caught on some trash in the water. Scowling at its trickery, whether intentional or not, he huffed and batted at the thing with his musket as he drifted past. "Bugger all, of course she would not be down here, how foolish of me..." To make matters worse, he suddenly found himself drenched as the boat traveled beneath some pipes higher up. He coughed and spluttered, grimacing in disgust and doing his best not to think about what had just fallen on him.
However, Arthur had bigger problems on his tiny hands. He swore he was catching glimpses of red in the darkness, beady eyes watching his journey carefully, hungrily. His thoughts about the cockroaches returned and he gulped, searching about frantically to see what exactly was watching him so intently. All he could hear was scurrying and squeaking along either side of the stream of water, but it was enough: rats. Oh, cockroaches may have found him unappetizing but rats would surely gnaw on his tin body until there was nothing left!
"Well, I shall not be eaten without one bloody Hell of a fight! You hear me, you vile rodents? I dare you to attack an trained soldier of her Majesty's army!" he shouted, voice bouncing off the stone walls and echoing about the sewer. As if accepting his challenge, one of the rats made a bold swipe for the soldier, claws catching on the wooden boat and sending it into a wild tailspin. Arthur cursed under his breath as he was nearly dislodged from his position on its bow, but managed to regain his balance as the ship straightened out once more.
"Ha! Is that the best... you've... got... Good lord..." Arthur whispered, previously confident tone trailing off into a voice tinged with fear as his emerald eyes locked onto what lay ahead of him. The exit of the sewer was partially blocked by a grate, and all of the rats had gathered around the spot, waiting for him. They all blended together into one giant black mass of sharp claws, yellow teeth and blood red eyes. That was it, that was going to be where Arthur died, beaten by a French jack-in-the-box of all things and eaten by lowly sewer rats.
Yet as the rodents closed in and one made a bold jump for the boat, all he could think of was his beloved Amelia. He only wished he could have kept her safe from Francis before he died, but now it seemed that task would fall to someone else. He squeezed his eyes shut as the rat flew at him, waiting for the sharp pain of teeth stabbing into his tin chest, only to abruptly feel nothing beneath his feet and the air whipping about him.
Arthur's eyes snapped open, and seeing his chance, he did his best to remain still as the rats made futile grabs for his small form. In the end they only served to give him entry to the other side of the grate, and he could not help but grin triumphantly even as he was swept towards the pipe's broad opening by the water. "You must be French rats, the lot of you! Absolutely bleeding useless, haha! Return to Paris, I am certain its citizens shall be overjoyed to have their friends back!"
Chuckling at his joke, Arthur did not see the waterfall until he was already plummeting over its edge. He gasped unsupported yet again as he tumbled head-over-heels down into the cold water below. At least he could not drown, seeing as he did not require any oxygen. Looking about sadly as the water closed around him and the darkness blanketed everything, he was sure he would spend the rest of his days at the bottom until he disintegrated completely. Lost in his thoughts as he sank, he did not sense the shadow looming behind him. Undeterred, the giant fish mistook the soldier for a tasty meal and swallowed him whole.
While all of this was occurring, Francis had been getting his hair back in order within the warm confines of the house. Making certain he looked absolutely perfect in the mirror, he smirked, positive Amelia would find him irresistible now. Reaching over, he lifted her glass prison and set it off to the side on the table. "Ah, mon petit belle, you can come out now. That nasty soldier is gone and we can focus on each other, non?" he cooed affectionately.
Amelia had been curled up on her knees, still crying in her tearless way for the loss of Arthur. It took her a moment to realize the walls surrounding her were gone, and she did not even hear a word of what Francis said. Scowling but cautious, she slowly stood and turned to look up at him. Running away was pointless; she had nowhere to go, and with the soldier gone there was no one to protect her. "What do you want, Francis? Have you not done enough damage?" she questioned bitterly, voice quivering.
Francis pouted, mock hurt in his tone as he gestured to an entire pot of the roses that normally surrounded Amelia's lake in his hand. "Aw, beau, do not be that way. We were just fine before that soldier came along, and we shall be quite fine now, oui? I know I hurt you a little, but that is why I am trying to make amends by offering you these lovely roses. I saw how much you liked the one he gave you~" He grinned a bit lecherously and held the flowers out to her, making her pull back a bit.
Looking at the roses, Amelia was reminded of Arthur, stuttering and nervous as he offered her one single bloom. She glanced over at the box of what should have been five soldiers, but only held four and felt something within her ache painfully. The roses were pushed towards her again, insistently, and in a rush of anger she shoved them away. "I was 'just fine' with that soldier, Francis! You will never compare to him, so do not even bother trying! Stay away from me, you monster!" she snapped, storming away across the glass lake.
Francis was stunned and confused for a moment, but then felt his own figurative blood boil. How dare she refuse him after all he had done to make certain they were alone? That soldier had abused him far more, even if in the end he had sent the toy tumbling out of the room entirely. She no longer had any excuse to deny him, yet there she was, walking away without even so much as a "thank you" for the flowers. "You ungrateful thing! Do not walk away from me! I am tired of your stubbornness. I will take you by force if I must!" he exclaimed, lunging at the ballerina.
Amelia, hearing those words, glanced over her shoulder and gasped when she saw the jack-in-the-box flying towards her. She instinctively ducked, watching as he crashed face-first into the glistening white castle that stood as a backdrop to her lake. "Touch me and I will make you lose far more than just your wig, Francis!" she snapped.
Francis bounced back due to his spring, landing on the edge of the lake where he had started and swaying dizzily. His wig and hat had also been knocked askew, and he would definitely think twice before lunging so rashly at Amelia again.
Hours passed, and as dawn crept over the horizon fishing boats made their way out onto the open water. The fishermen cast their nets into the deep, dragging up their catch of jumping, writhing sea life. The best ones were packed away in crates to be delivered to markets around the town or even shipped to others nearby. As one of the delivery men began carting away a crate, a woman leaned out of her window and called down to him. "Excuse me, sir! I would like to purchase a fish."
She went downstairs to meet with the man and they haggled for a short time before he finally handed over a decent-sized fish. The woman thanked the him and retreated into her home, taking her purchase to the kitchen so she could prepare it for the day's meals. Humming softly to herself, she picked up a nearby knife and grasped the fish with her free hand, lifting it up and out of the basket it was laying in. She gasped as something fell from its gaping mouth, bouncing along the floor with a slight patter.
"Oh, good Heavens! What on Earth is that?" she exclaimed, stunned.
"Mum! My missing soldier! How did you find him?" The young boy from the toy room asked, quickly moving across the kitchen to pick up the damp toy. He looked it over, relieved to see it was undamaged from its mysterious journey. "He's been missing since this morning. How did he get out here?"
The boy's mother decided it was best not to fill her son's head with fantastical tales and simply smiled as she began to gut the fish. "Oh, well dear, maybe you took them out to play with and left one behind. Just don't let it happen again. Run along now, I have work to do."
"Okay, mum." The boy really did not believe his mother's explanation, but arguing with her about it would be pointless. He supposed it would just be a mystery, but he did not mind too much, just glad to have all of his tin soldiers once more. When he reached his bedroom he placed the soldier carefully back in its place within the box, then ran off to play outside with some friends.
The day passed swiftly, and yet again as the town slept, the small toy clock struck midnight and the toys upon the table came to life. Amelia, as always, was first and dropped down from her daily pose to stretch a bit. Yet she had barely moved at all when Francis suddenly grasped her hand, a smile on his face as he looked her up and down. "My, mon cher, you look as lovely as ever tonight~" he whispered, leaning in to plant a kiss on the back of her hand.
Amelia scoffed, glaring at him as she made to pull away like she had every night for ages. "Let go of me, Francis. I do not even want to see you right now, not after what you did last night."
However, Francis was not letting her go so easily that time, grip tightening on her small hand as he yanked her back and made a tsking sound. "Now, now. You shall not be going anywhere, beau. Tonight you are mine, whether you like it or not. I can be just as interesting as that idiotic soldier, I assure you. See? We can also dance together~" He used his greater strength to spin Amelia about, watching in amusement as she twirled with his slightest movement.
Amelia winced. The action was very uncomfortable and even a bit painful; Francis would surely snap her delicate porcelain limb if he used an ounce more of his strength. "St-stop it! I hate you, just leave me alone already!"
Meanwhile, across the table, the soldiers were getting up for their nightly rounds. They hardly paid Arthur any mind as he sat up and immediately looked around, stunned by the fact he was back in the boy's bedroom. Last he remembered, he had been swallowed up by an immense fish, probably doomed to live out the rest of his days in the beast's stomach. Yet there he was, sitting in the wooden box on the table without even a single scratch.
"I must be the luckiest bloody toy in the world..." he muttered, lost in his relief until he heard the faint sounds a nearby struggle. Curious, he swiveled his gaze to focus on the source and gasped at what he saw, the previous night's events returning to him in a flash. "Amelia!" Said ballerina was busy struggling in the grip of a certain jack-in-the-box that had nearly been the death of him.
Arthur's emerald eyes narrowed into slits that nearly glowed with rage as he leaped from the box, jumping onto a nearby rocking horse with a half-baked plan forming in his mind. It would have taken him forever to hop over to the clock, but the horse could give him some momentum and a nice boost to get right up close and personal with Francis. "I'm coming, Amelia! Tally-ho!" he shouted, flying off of the wooden toy.
Francis had not been paying the soldiers the least bit of attention, figuring the main cause of his grief was long gone and would never return. He was proven wrong when said cause suddenly latched onto his hat, tugging it down over his eyes. "Mon Dieu! What is the meaning of this? What scoundrel dares to insult Francis Bonnefoy?" he exclaimed, furious.
Arthur let go of the hat, dropping down to stand protectively in front of Amelia, musket poised and at the ready to defend. "Amelia, that bastard didn't harm you, did he? I will chop him to pieces myself if he did!"
Amelia gasped, blue eyes wide as she stared in shock at Arthur, whom she thought for sure she would never see again. Were she real, she probably would have begun crying as she released a shaky breath. "A-Arthur, you... you're alive... You're really here..." she breathed, hardly able to believe it.
Arthur felt his heart melt at those words, sending a tender glance back at the ballerina over his shoulder. Oh, how he had missed her. Throughout the night she had never once left his thoughts, and now that he had her again his only wish was to hold her securely in his arms and never let go. Unfortunately, he had an irate jack-in-the-box to deal with before they could even consider relaxing. "Yes, Amelia. I'm sorry I left you with this frog, but I shall not abandon you again. This time I shall be the victor. Now just stand back! I would not want you to get hurt," he replied, turning back to face Francis.
"Arthur, let me help you! Just because I am porcelain, that does not mean I am weak! I will not have him take you away from me again! I... I can't even stand the thought..." Amelia begged, moving forward to wrap her arms around him. "Please..."
Arthur was certain his heart would have been lodged into his throat, had he one, and he placed a comforting hand on Amelia's arm. "I shall be fine, Amelia. I promise, I shall not leave you again. As a gentleman and an officer, I cannot allow a lady such as yourself to fight this battle. I trust you are not weak, but it simply goes against my principle. Now go, find somewhere to take cover. That's an order." His tone became a bit stern at the end, but his smile was soft and reassuring.
Amelia opened her mouth to protest further, but sighed and seemed to think better of it. "You're a stubborn fool, Arthur Kirkland." Leaning in, she placed a fleeting kiss upon the cool tin of his cheek. "But that is why you have managed to steal this porcelain heart of mine. Do not break your promise to me... please..." With that said she pulled away from him, dancing back and away from the inevitable conflict between toys.
Arthur swallowed, grip tightening on his musket. Amelia had kissed him... kissed him. The reject toy soldier with the missing leg. It was the happiest moment of his life up until that point, and he was not about to let some great wooden Frenchie ruin it for him. "Miss me, you wine-drinking piece of driftwood?"
Francis finally managed to tug his hat back up onto his head, looking about in a rage for whomever had the audacity to humiliate him in such a way. However, he realized who it was before his blue eyes even landed on the soldier, for he would never forget that pompous, British accent. "Quoi... you? You have returned? How?" he gasped, half-horrified by the toy's return. "Non, it does not matter how you have survived, for I shall get rid of you once and for all this time! En garde!"
Francis reached into his box and pulled out a golden scimitar, its wicked blade flashing dangerously in the firelight. He began swinging the weapon wildly at Arthur, eager to cut the tin soldier limb from limb and then some. "Hold still, you annoying little knick-knack!"
"Haha! Is that the best you've got? Your swordsmanship is about as good as your aim!" Arthur taunted, dodging and leaping over every swipe and lunge. He hopped further away, hoping to lure Francis so Amelia would be safe.
"Stop running away and face me like a man!" Francis countered, throwing all of his strength into his next swipe. He missed yet again, but left a large crack in the glass lake from the force of his swing. Jerking his sword out of it, he followed after Arthur, leering triumphantly as the soldier reached the edge of the table and teetered haphazardly for a moment. "Nowhere left to flee, little soldier..."
Arthur grimaced, looking at the stove sitting innocently behind him nervously. Even his tin would melt in such a blaze; there would be no returning from such a fall. Yet he stood his ground, tightening his hold on the musket and squaring his shoulders as he faced off with his advancing adversary. If he backed down there, then he would not deserve Amelia's precious devotion. She was depending on him. "You don't have the bollocks, cheese-eater."
"We shall see! I shall end your miserable existence here and now!" Francis exclaimed, diving at Arthur with everything he had. He would force the soldier off the table with his greater size and strength, and then laugh as the pitiful thing melted in the fireplace. His sword moved in a graceful arc downwards, clashing with Arthur's bayonet. For a moment Francis seemed to have the upper hand, until he realized the soldier was using his momentum to continue pushing him forward and over the edge of the table. "W-wait-!"
"I shall not be defeated by the likes of you!" Arthur snapped, mustering up every drop of power he had to send the jack-in-the-box flying over his head.
Amelia ran to the edge of her lake, desperately trying to see what was happening on the other side of the table. At first she was worried Arthur might be falling again, this time to his death, but instead watched as Francis flew headlong into the stove's roaring flames.
The jack-in-the-box could only scream in terror as he fell, the fire engulfing his wood and cloth in seconds. The embers glowed, sparks flew, and the blaze hissed and popped hungrily as it ate away at its burst of delicious fuel.
Arthur watched the scene in horror for a few long moments, having caught himself on the table ledge when he tipped over its side. Swinging a bit, he managed to jump back onto its surface, right as rain and victor of the war. He was still a bit shell-shocked from the whole ordeal, but the moment he laid eyes upon Amelia, it all settled into place. All that mattered was that he had defended the woman he loved, and that she returned his affections to the fullest.
"Arthur! Oh, Arthur, you did it! You were so strong and brave, my handsome hero, my gentleman!" Amelia cheered, so happy she danced about as he came hopping back to her. She twirled and leaped, circling her straight-backed love as he stood at attention in the center of her beautiful lake.
"It was my duty, and an honor, as an officer of the Queen's army, my lady. I would gladly lay my life on the line for yours in a heartbeat," Arthur replied, smiling and holding out his hand to her. She took it, allowing the soldier to pull her lithe form to his in a tender embrace. "Amelia, if I may be so bold as to say this... I love you."
Amelia's eyes shone in the firelight as she gripped his shoulders, rosy lips upturned in a smile of her own. "You may be as bold as you like, my perfect gentleman. For I love you as well, with all my heart."
Pushing herself onto tiptoe, leg raised expertly in her favorite pose, the ballerina reached up to meet the bowing soldier in a kiss of tin and porcelain, love and devotion. As they would forevermore.
Link to my fanart: http: / i-live-2-rp. deviantart. com/art /ART-Steadfast-Tin-Soldier-APH-Crossover-UKfem-US-290945052
Link to Rocket's fanart: http: / rockets. tumblr. com/post /17366315524
Link to The Steadfast Tin Soldier scene from Fantasia 2000: http: / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=_TjKAENb85o
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia, its characters, Fantasia 2000, its characters, nor do I own Rocket's beautiful work or her brilliance in making the connection. I just own what I drew and what I wrote.