APH PruCan Little Nagas
Matthew's eyes slitted open, the young naga taking a moment to listen to the dark room. The other three were still fast asleep, their slight breathing coming out as soft even hissing noises, for the most part anyway. Though he denied it up one side the burrow and down the other, Alfred could snore loud enough to bother even the owls who roosted high above in their shared tree. Matthew wiggled experimentally, finding much to his delight that he not as tightly wrapped up as he previously thought he had been.
When a family of nagas sleep, they curl up with one another and around each other to form a warm ball of scales and body heat. Being an early riser in such a family was not always a good thing, especially if one were in the middle of a sleeping ball and had to pee quite badly.
With some clever maneuvering and a few well placed tickles to Alfred's sensitive sides, Matthew was able to fully free himself from his still slumbering kin. Stretching kinks and remaining vestiges of sleep out of his lithe joints, the young naga looked on in amusement at his family. Arthur wore a scowl even in his sleep but with good reason at the moment. Even while unconscious, Francis and Alfred fought for ownership over the grumpy emerald tailed naga. Alfred was practically smothering Arthur with his arms while bodily curled the older naga's head, his sky blue tail wrapped around Arthur's slim shoulders in tight coils. On the other side, Francis's arms were wandered up and down Arthur's torso where his pale skin softened and changed into colorful scales just above the hips, his cobalt blue tail wrapped firmly around Arthur's own to keep the other in place. It would have been ideal for Francis expect the end of Alfred's tail kept twitching sharply to slap Francis in the face at regular intervals and at his hands if they traveled too far north. It was enough to detour and annoy Francis but not fully wake him up.
Rolling his eyes, Matthew slithered toward the entrance, casting his magic about him as he went. He didn't have to be quiet or worry about waking up the others as he did so. His natural ability would take care of him in all aspects of dicreet.
Every naga had one power that was theirs and theirs alone. While other spells could be learned and mastered, one life magic was given to every naga at hatching to be called upon whenever they wanted and it could literally be anything. A life magic could be wondrous and powerful or inane and completely absurd. It really was luck of the draw.
Alfred's own was super strength, much to everyone's distress the young naga still uncoordinated and clumsy in his youth. Arthur's gift was that he could speak with fairies of any kind from any of the seven realms and be understood both ways. Francis could make flowers appear from his fingertips, though roses were what he mostly chose to produce. Matthew's own ability was invisibility though he was still learning to control it. His own family tended to overlook him if he was not careful about it. Matthew had scared Arthur more than once on a couple occasions by popping back into existence right before him. It didn't help that the older naga had the bad tendency to forget about him if Matthew stayed invisible for too long.
Reaching the burrow's end, Matthew paused to admire the sunlight that managed to find its way through the moss covered opening. The young naga briefly considered just curling up in the patch of warm light and going back to sleep. The smell of forest, hill, and glen that had seeped through though was even more alluring to him than momentary rest. Matthew peeked back behind him, feeling a touch guilty. He didn't want to worry his family(when they finally figured out that he was gone), and he really wasn't supposed to go out all by himself. He and his twin was still quite young for their kind, just little over a hundred, and Matthew still did not know as many spells as Arthur or love charms as Francis(both of the older nagas had different methods of defending themselves and both thought his way was right).
But…..the forest with all its many interesting distractions of flowers and insects, and huge animals that lived in it were calling to him. Matthew wanted to explore beyond their oak and perhaps even go down to the stream that ran near the great tree and catch some minnows for breakfast or drink the sap from the Maple tree that grew near by.
Taking one last look over his shoulder to make sure he wasn't being tracked down by a concerned parent or followed by an overly curious brother, Matthew peeked out of their burrow in the cautious manner he had been taught, blinking his large violet eyes in the shock of the morning's light. Seeing no threats to himself such a 'not too picky about what it ate' predator or a human, Mathew gave himself a pep talk as he slithered further out.
He was invisible. He would stay near the oak. He was not technically alone with all the other fairies living above them. He would be careful.
Really, what was the worst that could happen?
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The giant ancient oak, covered so thickly in jealous ivy, velvety moss and soft fern it looked like it was wearing an overcoat of sorts, was home to many families, the nagas just one of the many occupants who lived beneath his wide leafy bowers. The family of nagas was composed of Matthew, his twin brother Alfred, and their adoptive fathers Arthur and Francis. The older nagas had found the twins when they were both still in the egg, the two the only remaining survivors of a destroyed clutch. Taking reasonability, the pair of old enemies called a truce between them to hatch the eggs, though Arthur claimed he had done most of the egg sitting, thank you very much, because Francis was an incompetent bastard with the patience and attention span of a drunken gnat. If should be noted that Francis never once tried to dispute this. Instead the bearded naga insisted on being called 'papa' and Arthur 'mama' by the twins, something that made the other naga's thick eyebrows twitch in impending doom to anyone who dared to make that mistake. Not even Alfred, who wasn't always the brightest glowworm in the forest, took him up on it.
The little family lived under the gnarled roots of the oak in a warm, soft burrow of earth. The serpent fairies kept him free of vermin who would have gnawed upon his roots. Their closest kin were Arthur's brothers who lived nearby in roots of a towering ash, much to the green tailed nagas's distress. The brothers made it a habit to send him curses and other nasty spells, when they weren't dropping by unannounced to drink all of Arthur's tea and eat all of cooking(Francis didn't mind this at all, seeing only benefits and even more so *cough* options *cough*). Such visits did get quite noisy but the oak rather liked the oldest brother, a red headed naga with emerald eyes and a dark evergreen tail who went by the name of Scot. For the most part and raucous family reunions aside , the nagas got on well with their neighbors which was a good thing considering they had a lot of them.
At the base of the trunk, there was a natural enclave that was formed by ivy that wove itself thick and tight with the sprigs of ferns there. Inside this luminous room of green lived a family of fox spirits who used their strange magic to make it bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. There were six in all, a reynand with his five kits, the ancient spirit moving his family all the way from Asia to the safety of this quiet forest. Though definitely the oldest of all the beings who lived there in the oak, Yao looked younger than even some of his children. Kiku was his oldest, the serious fox spirit good friends with both Alfred and Arthur though he tended to ignore Francis who thought he was stuffy and couldn't of care less. Mei was the only girl among all the boys. She was quite pretty and quiet, coming off as shy to those who did not know her well, her demeanor hiding an adventurous warrior's spirit something that served her well while fending off Francis. Im was the loudest of all the kits, the little trouble maker often accompanied by the youngest brother Kaoru who happened to be the quietest unless given a packet of firecrackers. The pair made it an event of torturing Arthur with them whenever the naga was trying to take a nap. Arthur's view on the noise makers was only soured further by Alfred who adored the fireworks and egged the brothers on. For all his repeated sins, Kaoru now sported a pair of thick eyebrows, courtesy of Arthur's magic. The older naga much preferred Thai who preferred to read and would lend Arthur and Matthew interesting books and scrolls. Thai was also often mistaken for being the oldest among the fox spirits, something that irked Yao to no end. With their unique foreign magic, the Asian fairies kept the tree healthy and free of pests and disease so that the oak thrived under their care.
In a high hollow of the oak's trunk up near the top just were the branches began to thicken, there lived the Mediterranean tomato fairies. Antonio, Feliciano, and Romano protected the tree from any human who would have sought to do the oak harm. Many a woodmen or would be lumberjack learned to stay clear of that particular oak lest they fall prey to sudden injury at worst or have their lunches mysteriously disappear at least. All three could be found sleeping in a shared siesta around midday among the oak's cool foliage if one knew where to look and was quiet about it. A clever person who knew to bring a fresh tomato or some pasta with them might even get to stroke their gossamer wings or have Feliciano sing to them. The oak enjoyed the youngest fairy's singing almost as much as he enjoyed the other two fairies arguments, Romano and Antonio making it practically an art form of Italian and Spanish swears.
In the other hollow on the other side of his trunk lived an Asrais named Lili and a Urisk named Vash, both of whom the oak watched with great amusement. Going against his solitary nature, Vash had adopted the delicate Lili a while ago after she was caught outside just after dawn. If viewed in sunlight, her fairy kind melted away into water. Lili had been quite close to death when Vash had found her, the Asrais having collapsed right outside his door when her wings had turned to mist. She had no fear of that now though, Vash making himself her protector and his spacious hollow her home. As was the way of his own kind, the Urish was extremely territorial and would shoot 'intruders' on sight with magically hardened nuts or acorns with his slingshot if they wandered too close to the tree's perimeter. The oak felt bad for Vash's behavior sometime, but it least it kept the deer from eating off his bark and deterred more than a few beaver with extreme prejudice.
The owls, strange large birds who had migrated from the far off Nordic countries, stood sentry over their home at night and would attack any who posed a threat to them and the oak fiercely with talon, claw, and old magic(Spells that owls only seem to know and would never share with other birds though the crows had tried many times before to steal them). The largest of the five was a monstrous grey owl with stunning blue green eyes that had the bad tendency to glare without really meaning to, the creature terribly short sighted for his kind. His name was Berwald and he could be often seen looming over Tino, a tiny spotted owl whose feathers were the color of caramel and whose eyes were bright shards of amethyst. Tino tended to be appear nervous about his constant company(though Francis claimed it was true l'amour), the much larger owl often referring to him as 'ma w'fe.' The group's self proclaimed leader was an eagle owl named Dany, the crazed looking bird sporting striking blue eyes the color of cerulean and wild plumage that stuck out at odd angles from his head. His orders, boasts, and rants were dutifully ignored by a pair of brothers, Ice and Norge, the two snowy white barn owls similar in nature and total lack of expression in their dull sapphire and lilac tinted orbs. Despite their inattentiveness to Dany, the pair were always seen near him, even snuggling up on either side with the eagle owl during the day when they slept(though both would deny it with cold stares).
The owls shared their branches with a brother and two sisters-Ivan, Katyusha, and Natalia- ice elves who came from the steppes of what is now known as Russia. They tended to hibernate most of the year, but were quite active in winter or on any night that frost coated the forest floor. The elves sheltered the tree through the worst parts of the cold season, the trio never letting the oak's limbs become too heavy and overloaded with burdens of ice and snow. It was the oak's observation that Ivan and Alfred did not care for each other's company, it becoming quite obvious whenever the two would meet. Thankfully fights were kept down to a minimum, the nagas sleeping through most of winter being the cold blooded creatures that they were.
In a way he was their world and they were all his children, the old oak growing around and up for them all to protect, nurture, and serve. As they took care of him, he tending to them, serving as their homes and as their sentinel from the prying eyes of the outside world as they slumbered.
The oak watched even now as one of the youngest nagas left the safety of its burrow. The tree was very amused by what happened next.
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The day was warming up nicely though the forest's leaf strewed floor was cool and still moist with early morning dew that made Matthew's belly glisten with moisture and his purple scales glitter. If Alfred had been with him, he would have already been complaining about such things, the azure eyed naga very sensitive to changes in the weather especially cold. As for Matthew, he actually quite enjoyed it and was the last of his family to go into hibernation during the winter. That alone put him on friendlier terms with Ivan and his sisters….well, Katyusha at least. Natalia had the bad habit of cursing anyone she felt was getting too close to her older brother. She had declared long ago(and quite publicly) that she intended to marry Ivan, something the older fairy lived in constant fear of. Ivan often hid and hibernating in Yao's den, the ice elf quite enamored with the ancient fox spirit with his peculiar ways and his yummy cooking.
Lost in thought and zoning out, Matthew was almost to the stream when he heard it.
It was a faint sound but one that Matthew had never heard before. It made the naga pause long enough to look around him. He didn't hear it again so he continued on his way, hungry for fresh minnow.
Coming up short, Matthew looked sharply about him, his soft violet eyes darting from side to side in an effort to find the source of that strange noise. He even went so far as to check himself, confirming that he was still invisible. His control over the power was still faulty and if Matthew wasn't careful he could fade back into view. Confident that he was still un-seeable and not hearing the noise anymore, Matthew chocked it up as to just being the sound of the wind rushing through dry leaves.
That was most certainly not the wind! Matthew dove for the tree's root, the gnarled submerging toes of the oak creating convenient recesses to hide in that were further camouflaged with moss and fern. He had been taught well by his fathers to hid within these hidey holes if he ever felt threatened.
The noise was back again and even worse, it sounded like it was coming closer. Matthew curled up tight in his space, wishing he had told someone where he was going. Knowing his family, they were probably all still asleep or just now getting up. If they even did noticed that he was gone, Arthur and Francis wouldn't start to worry about him, much less begin looking for him, until midday when he missed lunch which was hours away. Matthew squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to panic. Hopefully Alfred would notice or feel especially heroic today and come to his rescue. Giving it further thought though, Matthew reasoned it would be more likely that his twin would find alien life rather than come looking for him. Matthew sighed heavily as he fell into the depths of despair over his lot in life and to whom he was related to.
"Hey dummkopf!", a strange voice called from above Matthew's hiding place. The little naga ignored it as he pressed low in an effort to hide himself better. Odds were that the voice wasn't even talking to him.
"Hallo, I'm talking to you. I know that you are in there. You can not hide from the awesome me.", the voice said again, this time darting an arm in to poke rudely at Matthew's quivering hunched form. The offending arm was paler than Matthew's own, the skin of it white with pale silver scales glinting in places along its length and while unfamiliar, Matthew recognized it as definitely belonging to one of his own kind.
Uncurling slowly from his defensive position, Matthew peeked out through the ferns to be met with a bright scarlet gaze. It belonged to a naga who languished on his side beside the hole with his head propped up on a bended arm, looking vaguely bored. Matthew blinked in wide eyed surprise at the appearance of the other strange naga, having never seen him before. The rest of the ruby eyed naga's skin matched that of his arm, the tone of it so pale it could have been winter's own. His hair matched his torso's scales, the short spiky locks glinting bright silver in the sunlight. His most unique coloration though was the naga's tail which was a light shade of aqua. That was unusual for one of their kind, naga's tails usually matching the color of their gem like eyes.
"H-hello?", Matthew stammered, slithering more fully out so that his tail could gain some purchase on the side as he propped himself up on his forearms. "Was that you making that strange noise earlier?"
"Kesesese! What strange noise?", the silver haired naga snickered, inadvertently answering Matthew's question without really meaning to.
"Never mind.", Matthew muttered, feeling slightly annoyed for being laughed at and frightened by the other, "Why were you following me, eh?".
"You ask too many questions.", the other naga sneezed in growing boredom, "I thought you would be more interesting than this.",
Matthew puffed out his cheeks in a huff as he glared back at the silverette. "Hmph. How rude! I don't have to talk to you and it's not like you are an amazing conversationalist either!", Matthew sniffed as he turned away, ready to slide back down the roots. He found his path blocked by the other naga though who looked oddly flustered by his threat to leave. Matthew wondered if that was because he didn't expect it as the silverette moving to curl around him.
"Don't be like that! I was just kidding! I wouldn't be talking to you if I didn't think you were awesome or you know, had the potential for awesome! What's your name? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.", the ruby eyed naga offered quickly with a wide grin. Matthew moved back into a more comfortable sitting position while trying to the ignore the pretty blue tail that encircled him. The scales on it glittered like river stones and Matthew found himself wanting to touch them.
"My name is Matthew and I live here with my family under the oak.", Matthew introduced himself politely, remembering his manners out of old habit. Arthur had been quite strict about teaching them to Alfred and him, though it seemed Matthew was the only one who seemed to retain the information.
"I am Gilbert and I have just moved here with my younger brother Ludwig and our cousin Roderich and his mate Elizabeta. We're about two trees over from you in the thorn tree.", Gilbert said, gesturing behind him toward the stream where the sharp tree resided.
"Oh…um…welcome then.", Matthew said shyly, feeling suddenly very self conscious. He and Gilbert were going to be neighbors which meant they would definitely be seeing more of each other. Especially when his family, immediate and extended, found out that more nagas had moved to the area. Like most fairies, nagas tended to be terrible gossips and any new outlet for news was welcomed with open arms and wagging chins.
Matthew nibbled his bottom lip, trying to think of a topic of conversation or a polite way of leaving. Gilbert was no help in that area, the other naga seeming content to just stare at Matthew with an odd grin on his face and a peculiar look in his ruby eyes .
"S-so….H-how can you see me?", Matthew stammered, his hand twisting knots into their fingers in his nervousness. Most beings paid very little attention to him especially when Alfred was around, his brother loud and popular with all the other fairies. Coupled with his invisibility, Matthew tended to be overshadowed and sometimes even totally ignored. Despite this, Matthew could not bring himself to feel angry or bitter with the others. They were not doing it intentionally or with any sort of malice toward him. It was simply his lot in life and his burden to bear.
The naga was startled out of his morose thoughts when Gilbert flicked him painfully in the forehead, reminding Matthew that he was being seen now even if the attention lacked all the appeal he thought it should have. "You seem real enough to me. Why wouldn't I be able to see you?", Gilbert smirked.
Rubbing the spot of aching skin, Matthew glared at the silverette. "Maple, that hurt!", Matthew snapped as he began to lose his patience. He hadn't even had breakfast yet. "I'm asking because I'm invisible.". Matthew hissed as his forehead was flicked again.
"Nein you're not.", Gilbert pointed out with a bark of coarse laughter. His voice was roughened by a guttural accent that made the naga's words come out all rough and blocky on the ear. Matthew wasn't sure if he liked it or not yet. He was used to different ways of speaking due to his parents and multitude of wayward neighbors from all over the globe. He had never heard Gilbert's accent before though.
"Stop doing that, you hoser! I am quite aware, thank you very much. I want to know why!", Matthew huffed, covering his aching head with both hands now to properly glower, the naga feeling rand coming on as his violet tail curled up about him to form a tight ball.
"Kesesese. Oh that. That's because of me.", Gilbert chuckled, pointing to his ruby toned eyes. "I can see through any enchantment and negate it. That's my power.".
"Of course it is.", Matthew sighed, moving his hands away from his reddened spot of flesh to rub circles into his temples gingerly. He was starting to get a headache from all this and his belly was still echoing empty from missing breakfast. It made a noisy protest about this fact.
"Are you hungry?", said the cause of missed meals and self thought potential psychic. Matthew eyed him cautiously in return, the question sounding too good to be true.
"Maybe….", Matthew said, taking the path of noncommittal answers.
"Well if you were, I would have to tell you I am awesome at catching fish but if you aren't hungry….", Gilbert trailed off with a careless shrug though his twinkling garnet eyes never wavered from Matthew's face and his grin never faltered. With those crimson eyes holding tanzanite captive, Matthew found himself entranced. In some strange ways, Gilbert's endless confidence and brusque mannerisms, though abrupt, were actually quite charming. Matthew ducked his head to hide the blush he just knew was starting to blossom on his cheeks.
"I could eat.", Matthew relented, giving the other naga a small smile of his own, "But you are catching all of them for me.". Matthew yelped as his hand was suddenly grabbed and pulled forward down the tree's root. Unbalanced, the nagas slipped and slid down the velvety moss, their smooth scales finding no purchase on it, to land in a twisted pile of embarrassment on one's part and extreme amusement of the others.
"No problem!", Gilbert grinned as he disentangled himself from Matthew, though not a quickly as he normally would have with any other naga, his azure scales lingering over violet ones. "And after that I'll introduce you to mein bruder, the pompous ass, and the wild woman. I'll even show you my glowworm Gilbug".
"Gilbug?", Matthew's mind boggled a bit from that and not in a good way.
"I know awesome name, right?! He's great at night! He usually rides around on my head.", Gilbert continued on, not noticing the minor judgment call on his naming abilities from his company. He didn't give Matthew any time to dwell on it though, the excited naga already grabbing the blonde's hand again and grinning at Matthew's answering blush. Gilbert would have enjoyed it longer but he found himself suddenly tackled and pinned down from an unknown assailant, one with a stubborn cowlick and a pension for justice.
"The hero has arrived!", Alfred announced himself, striking a pose while still on top of Gilbert.
"Who is this and where is his village? They seem to be missing their idiot.", Gilbert glared up at the triumphant naga who grinned back down at him but made no effort to move off of Gilbert. Instead of answering, Matthew face palmed and tried to hide behind it. Under that false impression, he imagined that his twin had not just assaulted the first naga who had actually seen him and wanted to talk to Matthew…in like ever.
"The question here Villain….
(Matthew looked up in surprise at the use of a capital letter in that, not just the title itself. Gilbert tried to remember what he had done recently to label him a villain and wondered how this freak of a naga knew about it).
… is not who I am but who you are!", yelled the destroyer of tender moments and budding love.
"Do you know who this fat ass is?", Gilbert directed his question to Matthew, feeling it was a waste of time to do so with the other, the blonde naga clearly insane.
"Hey…I'm not fat.", Alfred whined, wilting a little as he dropped his posturing. It wasn't his fault that he was growing so fast and that food was so damn tasty.
"Gilbert, this is Alfred my brother. Alfred, that is Gilbert. He just moved here so could you please get off of him, eh?", Matthew made quick introductions as he waved Alfred off of Gilbert. Matthew helped the silver haired naga up, brushing some dirt off of his scaled shoulders(and admired how they caught the light and glinted so prettily from it). "I'm sorey aboot him. Alfred gets a little carried away.", Matthew muttered, feeing embarrassed for his twin. His blush renewed in full force for entirely different reasons though upon realizing that he was very close to Gilbert and he was still touching his pale skin even though it was now free of any debris.
"There's one in every family. I'll deal.", Gilbert grinned, thoroughly enjoying the attention and the sight of the flushed naga nearly embracing him. Before he could press his advantage home, a strange noise interrupted Gilbert.
"Hon, hon, hon!"
Both nagas looked over to find Francis hovering so close to the couple that he was practically in between them. Matthew wondered about which diety he had pissed off this morning to make them inflict his most embarrassing family members upon him in this sort of situation. Thankfully, there was one to whom he was related to who had some semblance of common sense.
"That is quite enough of that, you daft old bugger.", Arthur snapped, using his tail as a whip to slap Francis away from Gilbert and Matthew, sending the bearded naga scrawling in a spray of rose petals. "Leave off the lads and mind your own business for once.".
Not quite done yet, Arthur turned on Alfred who tried to make himself as small as possible, a difficult task considering he now stood taller than Alfred or Francis. "And you! What have I told you about assaulting complete strangers in the name of justice and your heroic rubbish!?"
"But Artie!", Alfred whined in self defense, trying to use puppy dog eyes to their fullest advantage. The look worked to an extent, Arthur's harsh scowl softening around the edges.
"Shut it! I'll have none of your whinging, lad. I would give you a jolly good hiding for this if you weren't so bloody big and old enough to know better", Arthur admonished, chewing out the blonde's cerulean tail with an acid tongue and furrowed bushy brow. The expression smoothed itself to more neutral tones as Arthur left off Alfred, turning fluidly to face Gilbert and Matthew. The older naga took a moment to appraise the silverette, arching one bushy eyebrow as he did so. "Ah yes, you must be Gilbert then. Your brother came looking for you not too long ago. That was when we noticed our Matthew was missing as well.", Arthur said after a moment to look pointedly at Matthew, "They are a right state. It would seem that you went off without telling them where you were going. That was a bit daft of you, with you all being new to the area and such. You are not familiar with all the dangers here and there are dangers here. More than you may even realize."
Matthew looked down and away at that, trying not to look too guilty as the lecture was directed as much at him as it was toward Gilbert. He was surprise to find the expression mirrored in Gilbert's face, the ruby eyed naga actually looking uncomfortable.
Snorting in amusement as the awkward, rebuked group of nagas, Arthur considered his work done here. "Now come along and hurry yourself up. We best not keep your family waiting.", Arthur announced as he clapped his hands together, "I'll put a fresh pot on and then we can all sit down and properly introduce ourselves to each like civil beings.".
"Is he always so bossy?", Gilbert whispered to Matthew who risked a nod, the group following the emerald tailed naga as he led the way home.
Of course, Alfred was not so discreet in his answer. "Is he ever! Yesterday he made me sweep out the entire burrow! The whole thing! Just because I came in covering in a little dust he totally freaked out!"
"Al….you came in from playing with the foxes covering in enough mud to spawn in and half the forest stuck all over you for good measure.", Matthew corrected his twin on the reality of his folly. "I am surprised new intelligent life didn't crawl out from the amount of muck under your scales."
"It was just a little mud!", Alfred argued, "Not enough to get all cranky about!".
"Naughty nagas do not get biscuits with their tea.", Arthur called out over his shoulder in a sing song voice of damnation causing Alfred to cringe into silence.
"Zhat could be a good thing zo I suggest you be az naughty az possible.", Francis sniggered, winking as Gilbert, "Especially if you value your taste budz, mon ami.".
"Are they bad or something?", Gilbert ventured, the question causing Arthur's shoulders to stiffen with noticeable tension.
"Or zomething. Poisonous would be far more accurate, oui.", Francis wickedly grinned, watching as Arthur's hands curled into fists and the end of his emerald tail twitch.
"They can be an acquired taste.", Matthew explained far more tactfully.
"I don't know whatcha all are bitching about. I think they taste great.", Alfred said, looking around at the others somewhat confused but liking how Arthur smiled sweetly at him, the younger naga completely forgiven for his early antics. Matthew rolled his eyes at the pair. If Alfred was smarter and more devious, he could have Arthur completely wrapped around his little finger with just a few compliments about his cooking and wide eyed smiles.
"Is he brain damaged or just really stupid? Help me out here. I can't decide.", Gilbert asked, earning him a glare from Alfred and Arthur.
"Shut up. Artie says I'm special.", Alfred stuck his tongue out at the silverette.
"Kesesese. I don't think he meant that in a good way.", Gilbert snickered, causing Arthur's tail to twitch again.
"Huh?", was Alfred's brilliant comeback, the blonde looking lost.
"My point proven.", Gilbert said, turning his attention back to Matthew who really wishing that his invisibility was working or could find a convenient rock to hide under. "So…wanna hang out after all this meet and greet BS?".
Matthew blinked in surprise at the other, having been certain that Gilbert was never going to associate with him again after this social travesty. "You really want to? With me? Seriously?", Matthew babbled out questions.
"Ja, why not?", Gilbert shrugged, looking a bit miffed from the onslaught of questions.
"Well….you know…..my family…", Matthew said softly, tilting his head toward his kin. Arthur and Francis were too busy arguing again to notice and Alfred was still trying to decipher if Gilbert's last comment had been an insult or not.
To his surprise, Gilbert burst out laughing. "Oh them! Kesesese! This is nothing!", Gilbert shook with laughter, "Wait until you meet the hot mess that's related to me. They make yours look practically sane.".
"I beg your pardon…."
"Of all ze nerve…."
"I told you he sucked…"
Despite everything and ignoring his family's reactions, Matthew found himself relaxing as he smiled back at the grinning naga with ruby eyes, silver hair, and pretty blue tail that glittered like stones in the river. Reaching out, Matthew's hand found Gilbert's own with a shy touch that grew into a firm grip.
The pair stayed like this all the way back to the burrow and many time after that as well, one naga rarely seen without the other.
And everyone lived happily ever after…or at very least, the best they could…..
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Total bonus story!
"When I find him…."
Ludwig wasn't sure what exactly he was going to do to his older brother but he did know it would involve a lot of yelling. They had just moved to this strange new wood so of course the first thing that Gilbert did was slither off without given notice to anyone about his intentions or whereabouts. They didn't know how safe this forest was, if humans visited this place often, or even if the other fairies who resided here were friendly toward strangers.
"He never thinks ahead….", Ludwig griped to some convenient mushrooms, the fungus lending a sympathetic audience for the wandering naga. Ludwig's rant of complaints about his kin were interrupted by a noise though, a song to be exact.
"Marukaite chikyuu! Jitto mite chikyuu! Hyotto shite chikyuu! Boku Hetalia!"
"What the hell?", Ludwig muttered, following the sound of cheerful singing. The words of it were sung light, high, and sweet as a bell, and wavering along its edges as the singer was moving about as they sang.
This impression turned out to be accurate as Ludwig slithered out of some tall grass and into a glen where a giant oak tree grew to find a fairy dancing upon some nearby flower petals. Ludwig stared up at the unaware fae, the tiny dancer continuing to twirl and sing on his dance floor of daisies.
"Aa hitofude de! Mieru subarashii sekai! Nagagutsu de kanpai da! Hetalia!"
Feeling awkward and somewhat bad for interrupting, Ludwig politely cleared his throat to get the fairy's attention. The reaction on the other's part was immediate and very confusing to the naga.
At the noise, the fairy screamed and promptly fell off of its daisy. Ludwig moved forward to help the startled creature though he couldn't help but wonder why the fairy hadn't flown off if it had felt so threatened, considering it had wings.
"Ve~Please don't hurt me! I have relatives from wherever you are from!", the fairy pleaded, cringing away from Ludwig's touch as its golden eyes started to well up with tears.
"Um…I truly doubt that.", Ludwig paused, letting his hands drop back to his sides as he indicated his obvious light blue tail and scaled muscular torso. The fairy stared back at him in confusion, the fact that they were entirely different species of fae lost on him. "Please calm down. I am not going to hurt you. I am simply looking for mein bruder and was wondering you have seen him. I apologize if I frightened you.", Ludwig sighed.
"So you are not going to hit me or make me eat horrible food?", the fairy asked with a sniffle as he wiped away his tears.
"Nein and nein.", Ludwig answered, wondering to himself who the hell the fairy associated with and who else might live in this forest. The last part of the question was especially worrisome to him, more for the fact that it needed to be asked at all in the first place.
"Ve~ Hurray! Let's be friends then!", the fairy jumped up, all smiles now in a stunning and very abrupt turn of events. Ludwig was starting to get emotional whiplash from the fairy's change in moods.
"Ja, ok…..ur…so have you seen him?", Ludwig asked, feeling uncomfortable but not sure why.
"Seen who?", the fairy hummed under its…no, his breathe. Now that the fae was standing up(and not curled up in a pathetic ball of shaking, waving a small white flag of all things), Ludwig could see that he was a male, long limbed and slender with delicate features. His wings were mounted between his slender shoulders and were very similar to that of a dragonfly's but looked made of gold filigree that shed a fine reddish gold dust with every slight movement. His hair was a pretty shade of auburn, the reddish locks glinting brightly in stray shafts of sunlight, and his eyes are like two gold coins set in a tanned angelic face. The fairy wore very little in ways of clothing, nothing more than a cleverly fashioned leaf that was worn in the style of a toga and held in place with a long blade of grass.
Ludwig blushed when he realized that he had been staring the entire time without saying a word. Thankfully the fairy didn't seem to notice or care. "Mein bruder. He has silver hair, red eyes, and a big mouth.", Ludwig muttered, helpfully described his kin.
"Is your fratello a naga too?", the fairy asked seriously.
The absurdity of the question made Ludwig face palm, the naga dragging his hand down his face. "Ja, of course he is.", Ludwig managed out through clenched teeth, his opinion about the fairy's intelligence dropping considerable.
"Ve~", the fairy answered with a soft dreamy smile.
"What the hell? What kind of answer is that?", Ludwig sighed, wondering how he always seemed to attract strange fairies or even worse, be related to them.
"What's your name?", the fairy chirped, leaning up on the tips of his bare toes to bring his face very close to Ludwig's own, making the naga blink in surprise as his personal space was invaded.
"Ludwig", the naga grunted, frowning as he felt his cheeks start to redden.
"My name is Feliciano Veneziano Vargas! I live here with mio fratello Romano and our boss Antonio!", the fairy said, using far too many exclamation points in Ludwig's opinion. "Oh I know! You should come with me!"
"Why?", Ludwig mused, his curiosity getting the better of him against his better judgement. He had no intention of following this dippy fairy anywhere if he could help it.
"Ve~ Because there are nagas who live here and they might know where your fratello is.", Feliciano explained with a wide smile, looking very proud of himself.
"Why would you want to help me?", Ludwig asked, regarding the fairy with an inquisitive look. He knew from experience that he wasn't easiest or most likeable naga to be around, others tending to find him too strict about following the rules or his manner too gruff for them to handle.
"Silly. Because we are friends!", Feliciano shook his head as if Ludwig was the mentally deficient fae here.
"Oh….", Ludwig looked away, feeling ashamed of himself for being so judgmental of the smaller fairy who still smiled sweetly up at him. Mentally floundered to right this situation, Ludwig tried to remember anything helpful he might have read in one of his manuals. "Your singing was very pretty.", Ludwig offered a compliment in a wobbly voice. He could only assume it was the right thing to say, Feliciano jumping up, aided by his wings, to give the naga am excited hug.
"Ve~ Isn't it so pretty! My friend Kiku taught me to sing it in his native language.", Feliciano said in sweet tones that were saturated with a happiness that made Ludwig feel warm and content, like he was curled up beside a fire or in the middle of a sleeping ball. The fairy hung off the naga and Ludwig couldn't bring himself to care.
Following Feliciano's directions to the naga's burrow, Ludwig listened as Feliciano began to tell him all about the great oak tree and all the inhabitants who lived within it. Carrying the fairy on his broad shoulders, Ludwig couldn't help but feel oddly pleased as he listened to the fairy who smelling like tomato plants start to sing again.
"Aa sekaijuu ni! Nemuru shiawase no resipi! Nagagutsu de tanken da