Sooooo Sorry for not updating sooner! But well, long story short, phone lines were cut so no internet and then a rather hectic week.
Oh and I'm running out of ideas and don't worry, RusChu (RussiaxChina) will be included eventually. I'd appreciate it if you could leave me some ideas in a review or PM and I'll see if it flows. pleaseeeee?
Anyways, Enjoy the story. Enough of my babbling. :)
"What do you mean you have to go to Paris?!" was his son's enraged...well ,whisper-yell.
Arthur groaned inwardly. Trust Alfred to react like this. Thank God they had sent Ari to bed earlier.
"It's two weeks away, Alfred and I won't be gone for long." Hopefully. That Frog of a boss had neglected to tell him exactly how long they would be staying. Eight to fourteen days he'd been told, as the man hurried to leave.
At Arthur's hesitance, Alfred's shoulders straightened and he repeated his question.
Needless to say, his son hated when he was away for any extended period of time.
"Well...he didn't give me an exact timeline...around eight to fourteen days."
The yells of surprise and outrage he'd expected didn't come. Instead, Arthur was met with silence. Then:
Arthur blinked. "Pardon?" No tantrums then?
"I said fine. Just give me some spending money or something, I dunno. I doubt our groceries are going to last that long."
Still mostly in shock, Arthur murmured an "I'll see what I can do."
After awhile, both blonds decided it was time to catch some sleep and headed up to their respective rooms.
Unlike Alfred, who fell asleep almost immediately, Arthur stayed up a little longer, pondering on his upcoming trip to Paris.
As...unhappy as they had been in the village, he could have at least left Alfred home for awhile without having to worry quite so much (he had done this rather often as Alfred got older, to contribute to the household's income) or even overnight (less often, this), confidant that Alfred's knowledge of the area would enable him to get to safety should the need occur.
But this was a new place, complete with a new layout and new dangers for him. So Arthur figured he couldn't be blamed for feeling apprehensive when it came to both Alfred's and Ari's safety. Even if the police were a phone call away.
He was beginning to regret not taking the time to get to know his neighbours better.
Groaning, Arthur decided he'd be better off tackling the problem after a good night's sleep.
With that decision in mind, he settled down in the bed and soon drifted off to sleep.
"Mon Cher, are you not feeling well? You are being rather quiet today."
Actually, Francis had been worrying ever since Arthur had told him 'Good Morning' upon his arrival instead of the usual yelling and complaining (both about his 'wandering hands' and his utter failure to stifle the propaganda the Fangirl Squad spewed out- Francis' defence was that he had never been one to stifle artistic talent.)
His mind was brought back to the present when Arthur let out a sigh.
"It's nothing, Frog. Just...Would it be possible for you to find someone else to accompany you to Paris?"
From what Arthur had gathered, he would be going as little more than a taste tester.
Francis tilted his head in bewilderment. "You do not wish to go? Why?"
"...My son. And granddaughter. I'm just...There's no one to stay with them. I don't even know my neighbours well enough to ask. I really would rather not leave them alone."
"Oh?" Francis forced himself not to smile as an idea began to blossom in his mind. "So if someone were to stay with them, you would be willing to accompany me?"
Francis suspected his efforts to not smile had been in vain as Arthur was now looking at him rather suspiciously.
"I suppose." Was the Englishman's response.
Francis' next grin made the Englishman squirm in his seat.
"A minute, please?" and with that, the Frenchman disappeared to his office.
The sudden blaring of 'Canadian, Please' made Matthew look up from his summer homework.
Quickly locating his phone, the American-Canadian discovered it to be a call from his father.
How odd. Wasn't he supposed to be working?
"Oui, Matthieu. I have a favour to ask!" exclaimed Francis, sounding quite..well, jovial.
This made Matthew frown. "I'm listening, Papa."
As Francis explained the situation, Matthew found himself becoming more and more bewildered.
It was rather unusual for the Frenchman to care quite so much about what one of his employees did and where they went unless it adversely affected the business.
Deciding to enquire about it later, Matthew humoured his father's will and agreed to the request. At least now he knew that old bachelor pad had been put to good use. Personally, Matthew never saw any reason for him to utilize it. A hotel room usually did the trick.
Besides, he didn't really have much to do before college restarted anyway.
" You did what now?"
Arthur's eye twitched. He knew this wouldn't be easy but...one still hoped.
"I did nothing. Bonnefoy agreed to have his son keep you and Ariana company for the duration of my absence. Just as a precautionary measure. I sincerely doubt you know these 'streets' as well as the ones back at Maria. And you have Ariana with you now, as well." he answered, leaning against the side of the couch.
It was the first time he'd used the actual name of their old village in a long time. The name had always felt a bit odd on his tongue.
Alfred mentally growled.
He could follow his father's logic well enough. But that didn't stop his wounded pride.
Folding his arms and repositioning himself from his spot against the wall, he replied-
"All I have to do is pick up the phone and dial 911 if anything happens, dad. I'm not helpless."
The last sentence had almost been hissed out.
"I know that, Alfred. But I'd feel better about leaving knowing you have someone with you who knows the area,"
And can handle more than a pistol and a bat. Matthew having a black belt in karate was also a nice bonus.
(Not to imply that his son couldn't fight, because he had given more than a few black eyes to some poor souls who managed to get on his bad side. But, Arthur was still his father and thus, had every right to worry.)
"So, please. Humour your old man." Arthur sighed as he finished, resting his fingers on the bridge of his nose.
"You owe me." Was all that left the young man's lips.
"Agreed." Arthur spoke without hesitation.
The morning of Arthur's departure saw said Brit (never mind his years in America – he was still a proud English citizen, damn it!) scrambling around the house, in search of god-only-knows-what before the Frenchman came to pick him up.
It also saw said Brit's son calmly standing in the kitchen's doorway, sipping a cup of piping hot coffee while watching his father run practically in circles.
"Training for the Olympics?" Alfred enquired, as his father dashed past him for the third time, this time rushing up the stairs.
"Looking for my passport, you git!" the Brit hissed back, careful not to rouse Ariana. She had been sent back to bed after saying her goodbyes to her granddad, as Arthur was leaving rather early in the morning.
"That damn Frenchman will be here any minute! I could have sworn I put it on the table, near my bags!"
Patiently waiting for his father to rush back down the stairs, Alfred pulled his father's passport out of his pocket. The words 'EUROPEAN UNION' followed by 'UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND' along with the logo and 'Passport' gleamed brightly in the hallway's artificial lighting as the sun had not properly risen yet.
Francis was kind enough to help Arthur renew both his passports (well exchange his old British one anyways) and acquire some for both Alfred and Ariana with only the necessary questions asked (upon Arthur's insistence as he didn't want to risk alerting Sullivan should an investigation be launched into why a 20 year old citizen had never gotten a passport – not that he let Francis know that).
"Where the hell is this damn-"
Arthur was cut off by his passport being shoved into his face as he came back down the stairs.
"It was on the kitchen table. So Ari can start school next year, right?"
Looking suspiciously at his son's impassive face, he replied "Yes. Provided she is somewhat up-to-date on the topics being taught. If not, that's perfectly ok. We discussed this last night, Alfred."
After placing the passport securely in his shoulder-bag, he spoke, "I expect the both of you to be on your best behaviours. Spare the boy his sanity." He felt sympathy for the poor boy that would be watching them. First he was born to a Frog now he was babysitting these two. Alfred was a pleasant and polite boy until you put him with a stranger (Arthur was still rather uneasy about that) for an extended period of time. He hoped the boy had outgrown his pranking/sulking stage.
The sound of the doorbell interrupted whatever response Alfred might have come up with. Pulling up and locking the handle of his trolley bag, Arthur made his way to the door and, after checking to see if it was, indeed, the Frenchman, he opened.
"Good Morning, Cher! And how are you this fine morning?" a way-too-cheerful Frenchman enquired, successfully managing to take Arthur's trolley bag from his hands.
Had his son not been standing behind him, Arthur might- no, he would- have started yelling at him. But that raised eyebrow and cheeky grin that Alfred would undoubtedly give him, successfully held his tongue.
"As good as any normal person can be so damn early in the morning" Arthur grumbled.
Francis just gave him an infuriating smirk.
"As you requested, I have brought Matthieu to keep the rest of your family company in your absence and you have my word that he will behave...to the best of his ability."
The frog's smirk widened but Arthur found himself unperturbed by this.
"I'd be more worried about your son as it relates to that actually. Now, I'd much like to meet this young man before we depart."
An elegantly raised eyebrow accompanied Arthur's words but that smug smile had still not departed.
"Of course. Matthieu, come meet Arthur et son fils, s'il vous plaît ?"
Arthur huffed at the man's use of French even though he was quite sure everyone understood what was being said .
Even though he had done it before Francis came in, he found himself again fixing his hair and smoothing out his jacket, when a voice responded "Oui Qui, Papa. J'arrive. "
As an Englishman, he would never allow himself to be caught with a hair out of place when expecting anyone over.
Oh, how he hoped this boy was better behaved than his father. However unlikely that was.
Nevertheless, when the pale skinned, platinum blond stepped through the doorway, he greeted him as politely as ever.
Matthew yawned as his father marched up to the doorway of his would-have-been 'bachelor pad'.
He was not exactly miffed at having to keep his father's assistant's family (God that was a mouthful) 'company', but did he have to wake up so early?
Francis' voice broke him out of his musings, moments later.
"Oui Qui, Papa. J'arrive. " He called back, stretching slightly. Smoothing his hair so he didn't look like he had just tumbled out of bed, the blond marched into the house.
As Arthur introduced himself, Matthew responded in kind, smiling. Upon seeing who was standing the Brit, however, he instinctively found himself standing that bit straighter and holding his head that bit higher.
Gazing into the surprised face of the (cute) man he met in the park, Matthew suddenly found himself looking forward to the two weeks.
And after he had gone back home as well, he realised – now that he knew where the blond lived, he could make excuses to come around and, hopefully, eventually woo him.
He'd be so disappointed if this boy was straight.