The bright morning light shown through the guest bedroom window, piercing through the ill nation's eyelids. Instinctively, France rolled over, turning his back to the window. He wasn't quite ready to wake up yet. Perhaps he could drift back to sleep now that the sunlight wasn't directly forcing itself into his tired eyes. Yes, it would be simple enough…he was still more than half asleep anyway.
However, the Frenchman soon realized it wasn't that simple. He inhaled deeply and discovered that was a big mistake as he unwillingly expelled a series of coughs. He jolted up in bed, tears forming in the corners of his eyes as he attempted to fill his lungs with air once more. At last, the coughing subsided and the French nation managed to catch his breath.
He put a hand to his forehead, "Ughh… I feel horrible."
His head was pounding, his throat was raw, and his whole body ached. On closer inspection, however, France noticed that though he still felt quite cold, the warmth of a couple blankets was enough to keep him from shivering, "My fever must have gone down…" he thought to himself.
France smiled lightly, he knew it was only thanks to Britain's efforts that he was doing as well as he was now. He still felt lousy, but he knew he could rely on his little brother, Britain, to take care of him.
If France had to guess, Britain was probably still sleeping. He supposed he could put forth the effort to beat Britain to the kitchen and make something appetizing for breakfast, but he really didn't feel up to the task. Besides, with him poking around in the kitchen, Britain would be bound to wake up. While normally he wouldn't have taken that into consideration, the younger nation had taken care of him so faithfully yesterday that France felt he deserved a little extra sleep.
The Frenchman leaned back against the pillow and closed his eyes. Letting his thoughts drift to a time long since past. "Oh Britain, you were such a cute little nation, no? I could not help but tease you."
Though France knew, it was sometimes far more than simple teasing. True enough, he had tried time and time again to invade the country that Britain…no…Arthur Kirkland represented. They'd fought against each other countless times.
Though in reality, he had never hated the smaller nation. In fact, it made him happy to have a younger brother. Sure, they argued most of the time, but it was all in good sport. Deep down they weren't really enemies, they were friends. In fact, Francis Bonnefoy didn't think he had a friend that was dearer to him.
Indeed, right now without Arthur's help, he might still be lying on the meeting room floor! He certainly hoped Britain understood the depth of his gratitude- not just for the care he was providing him now, but for always being there.
France was roused from his musings by the sound of a pair of shoes creaking on the floor boards, "Good morning, France. You slept well, I trust?" Britain inquired.
France opened his eyes, "Oui... until the sun went and ruined it." he said hoarsely.
Britain laughed lightly, "Right, I probably should have pulled the curtains closed last night. Terribly sorry."
"Non... it is fine." the Frenchman sat up in bed a bit too quickly, making his head spin.
"Easy there, Frog." Britain scolded gently, "How are you feeling today?"
"Horrible! Every inch of my beautiful body hurts!" France thought, but decided against voicing it. Instead, he chose to relieve Britain of some of the worry he'd been causing, "I feel a bit better than I did yesterday Mon Ami." He said with a tired smile.
"Glad to hear it." Britain said with a nod, pulling out the thermometer.
France knew what was coming, and permitted the younger man to slip the thermometer under his tongue.
"You know, Frog," Britain was saying, "How about I bring you breakfast in bed?"
France's eyes went wide.
"I could make some delicious scones and some nice hot tea." Britain continued.
The thermometer chimed and Britain removed it from the Frenchman's mouth.
"39.5°C… Well, you still have a fever, but it's going down." Britain said and glanced at France, "What the bloody hell is that look for?!"
"N-nothing Mon Ami…" France said weakly, "His cooking is going to kill me!" he thought to himself.
"Well alright then." Britain huffed and then smiled, "I'll go start on breakfast."
France watched him go with a look of dread on his face. There was no sugar coating it; Britain was a terrible cook. He probably should have stopped him, but had decided not to for fear of coming across ungrateful. Though he wasn't so sure he'd made the wisest decision.
It was too late to change his mind, however, as it wasn't very long before Britain was reentering the room bearing a breakfast tray.
"For the love of God, please let it be edible." France prayed silently.
"Here you are, France! The finest scones and tea to be found anywhere!" Britain said as he placed the tray in the Frenchman's lap.
"Oui…Merci." France faked a smiled.
Britain watched him intently, waiting for his chance to brag about his scone recipe.
France felt his eyes on him. It hardly seemed fair; France was sick and now Britain was torturing him! Still, he knew the younger nation meant well. The Frenchman picked up a scone and bit into it.
If only it had been bland, perhaps it would have been tolerable. However this, this, was absolutely awful. France didn't know anything rancid enough to compare it to! He forced himself to swallow the disgusting lump, chasing it quickly with a long drink of tea.
Clearly oblivious to his suffering, Britain inquired, "So, how is it?"
"It has a…unique… flavor, Mon Ami." France said weakly, trying desperately not to criticize.
"What do you mean by that?" Britain asked.
France picked up the scone again, "The taste is so terrible; surely I will be sick to my stomach now as well!" France thought helplessly, "Ugh… there is no way I am eating this crap."
"What the bloody hell did you just say, Frog?!" Britain snapped, anger flashing in his eyes.
France realized all too late that he'd voiced the last part aloud. He couldn't take it back now, "Britain, your cooking has definite room for improvement…In fact, I've never tasted anything worse." France averted his gaze.
"I'll have you know that my scones are the most delicious in the entire United bloody Kingdom!" Britain growled.
"Unfortunately, Mon Ami, that's not saying much." France replied dryly.
"Bloody hell! I don't believe you, Frog! I take care of you out of the goodness of my heart, and all you can do is criticize my cooking!" Britain felt the anger rising within him. "Brother indeed, if you ask me you're no brother of mine! You're a bother!" and with that Britain stormed out of the room.
France inhaled deeply and sighed. He'd known Britain was always sensitive about his cooking, but it couldn't be helped. He couldn't eat that stuff! It was probably borderline toxic...
Then again, perhaps he could have stuck it out. Britain was being awfully kind to him; he'd done so much for him already. Surely, he could have allowed Britain to believe his cooking was satisfactory, if even for a little while.
They had been getting along surprisingly well, after all. Granted, France was sick and he wasn't up for much, but it felt nice to not be at odds with Britain for a little while. His thoughts were only interrupted by a wave of coughing that overtook him.
Britain found himself in the laundry room, fuming as he yanked each piece of clothing out of the dryer and folded it. Who did France think he was?! Britain didn't have to allow France to sleep in the guest bedroom; he hadn't been required to tend to the Frenchman's every need!
Indeed, he had done everything out of the goodness of his heart, out of the friendship he shared with France. And what had the older nation done? He'd had the gull to complain about the meal that had been caringly prepared for him! France was just a bloody git who wanted every little thing his way! Well fine then, he could have it his way, but Britain didn't plan to stick around and play maid.
The Englishman paused as his hands closed around the brilliant blue fabric of the Frenchman's attire. His first instinct was to toss it aside, but his eyes softened. France hadn't really been out to get him, had he? The poor frog was sick and he'd only been speaking his mind. A feeling of guilt swept over Britain as he realized the truth. Even though France hated his cooking and had probably disliked it for a long time, he had still tried to handle it. He had tried so very hard not to offend Britain. The Englishman felt horrible, France probably felt as though he was trying to torture him!
"Bloody hell, I've been so stupid." Britain muttered to himself as he neatly folded the Frenchman's garments. As Britain finished folding the clean laundry, he grabbed the Frenchman's clothing and headed for the guest bedroom… He had to make things right.
France glanced up from his own musings as Britain entered the room.
"I've brought your garments. They've been cleaned and folded." Britain said a bit stiffly, as if he needed an excuse to enter any room in his own house.
"Britain…" France began hoarsely.
"You have every right to be angry with me, you know." Britain said, his back turned as he placed the clean clothes on a small chair that rested in the corner of the room.
This surprised France "I…do?"
"Yes, actually. I overreacted when you criticized my cooking… I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. After all, Frog, you are sick and I should take that into consideration." Britain's back was still turned, as if he didn't have the courage to look France in the eyes.
"Mon Ami... you are wrong." France said sadly.
"Bloody hell, Frog. I'm trying to apologize, what more do you want?" Britain said, turning to face the older man.
"Mon Cher… you had every right to react the way you did towards me. You have done nothing but show me kindness. You took me into your home…and have exhausted yourself tending to my every need… I have no room to complain." France said, his voice hoarse, but meaningful.
Britain shook his head, "That's no excuse. Please forgive me for behaving in such a horrid and childish fashion."
France smiled tiredly, "Oui, I forgive you."
"So…" Britain cleared his throat, "Anything you'd like me to bring you?"
"Do you have any Play B-" France trailed off as Britain shot him a glare.
"Bloody Pervert." Britain huffed.
"Just kidding, Mon Ami… do you have anything else to eat?" France asked weakly.
"Actually yes, I made some beef stew last night. I could warm some up for you…" Britain said.
France seemed hesitant.
"It's my very best dish." Britain continued "…And if you don't like it, don't feel obligated to finish it."
"Alright, Mon Ami." France finally agreed.
Britain nodded and walked out to the kitchen to heat up some stew. He decided to heat up a bowl for each of them, so he might have a casual talk with France as they ate. In practically no time at all, Britain was carrying two steaming hot bowls of stew to the guest bedroom. He took note that France had leaned back against the pillows yet again, his eyes were closed. He had a feeling the Frenchman was still awake, however.
"I come bearing food." Britain said lightly as he walked over.
France opened his eyes, "Oui, I can see that."
"Well then," Britain said, holding a bowl out in front of the sick nation, "Eat up."
France took the bowl of stew offered him and took in a small mouthful, truthfully a bit afraid that it would taste as terrible as Britain's scones. As the flavor filled his mouth, France's eyes widened in shock.
It tasted good. The Frenchman spooned a slightly larger mouthful to his lips. No, it wasn't just good… it was delicious! "Mon Ami…This is amazing." He said.
Britain laughed, "Well I'm glad to hear it's not the 'worst thing you've ever tasted.'" he said lightly as he sat at the foot of France's bed with his own bowl of stew.
"Really… I would never have expected you to be capable of making such a dish." France continued, taking in another mouthful.
"Watch it, Frog." Britain warned lightly.
"I hope you do know, Britain… I am truly grateful to you." France said, voice still hoarse.
"For what, Frog? The stew? Taking care of you?" Britain asked.
France shook his head lightly, trying to avoid aggravating his already pounding head.
"Non…not just that. I am thankful to have you in my life, to have you as a younger brother. I was not always the nicest to you growing up, but still you have stood by me."
"Oh Frog, don't you get sappy on me now." Britain said softly.
"Really, Mon Ami… We still fight often, and I don't think I will ever share on all of your views…" France continued, but Britain cut him off.
"It's okay for brothers to fight. All over the world there is not a moment that passes by that brothers don't fight. In fact, if siblings didn't fight, it would be bit unnatural." Britain said.
"Oui… I am just glad that no matter how much we may fight, at the end of the day I still have a brother that cares for me." France said as a cough escaping him; the talking had been agitating his throat.
"You stupid frog," Britain smiled sympathetically, "You're making your throat worse." he sighed, shaking his head in amusement.
"Britain…" France spoke up.
"But I know what you mean." Britain went on, "And I hope you know… even if you weren't my 'big brother' I would still be by your side. Not for selfish gain, to be sure, but for the sake of our friendship."
After several days, France had largely recovered. The Frenchman, on this particular morning, was hovering over Britain's shoulder as he read the morning paper.
"What is this stupid article you are reading?"
"None of your business… Go home already, bloody Frog." Britain grumbled.
"Maybe I will live here with you, no?" France suggested lightly.
"No." Britain said firmly, adjusting the paper in front of him… He was tired, and had a pulsing headache this morning that France only seemed to aggravate further.
"Aw Mon Ami, can you not take a joke?" France teased.
"I can take a bloody joke; it's you I can't stand." Britain huffed and rubbed his temples.
"Aw that hurts, Mon Cher, you are so rude to me!" France complained, though he knew Britain wasn't entirely serious.
"Bloody hell, do you ever shut up Frog?!" Britain finally snapped, whirling around to face the Frenchman. He wasn't in the mood for this.
France blinked and took note of a pair of dark circles beneath Englishman's eyes. Come to think of it… Britain did look a bit pale.
"Mon Ami… are you feeling alright?" the Frenchman asked.
Britain sighed, "I've had a bloody headache all morning and it won't go away… I'm sorry for taking it out on you, but will you please be quiet if you insist on sticking around?"
The Frenchman bit his lip, quickly realizing what was going on. Should he tell Britain? No, he'd allow him to keep his dignity for as long as possible. True enough, the younger nation had taken good care of him, and in doing so he had caught his illness. He knew it was only a matter of time before the fever would set in. France couldn't help but feel just a little guilty. "Though not too guilty." he mused as he took a seat on the British man's sofa. After all, he'd be the one taking care of him.
Author's Note: Well, I hope you all have enjoyed my first Hetalia Fanfic, I know I enjoyed writing it. I get the nagging feeling that this chapter sucks, but then I've always been a harsh critic of my own work. Please, let me know what you thought of it! Reviews make me happy! =D
P.S. I haven't mentioned this throughout the story, because I thought it unnecessary. I mean, this is FANFICTION, why would the creator need to write FANFICTION when whatever they write can and will become CANON. But just so we're covered, Hetalia belongs to Hidekaz Himaruya.
39.5 Degrees Celsius= Approx. 103 Degrees Fahrenheit.