The Taste Of Tea & Tears
Day One; Earl Grey
Disclaimer; I do not own Hetalia, if I did I could never decide what was cannon.
He sat quietly enjoying his tea in peace in the isolated corner of the coffee shoppe. It was his corner and his alone. No one but the Brit ever sat there for the corner was far too sunny for the screens of technology and reading light for most was preferred to be softer and sweeter by the light of a bulb.
The set up was simple and minimal, something Arthur enjoyed. The large chair was made of soft black leather, broken in long ago by others; it warmed nicely in every season from the large window of which overlooked a bright flower bed. It was where his fairy friends lived. It was part of the reason he chose this spot. There were many reasons, too many to recall at such a relaxing moment in the quiet shop.
Arthur's eyes had slid closed during his spout of thinking and reflection. The sweet sage green of his eyes fluttering in and out of view as he nursed his tea, it was Tuesday and that meant it was Earl Grey with two scoops of sugar and most likely Sherlock Holmes, a battered and beaten paperback copy from his personal collection. It wasn't a surprise that he hadn't yet touched the book though; he was a little too busy enjoying the tea and relaxing.
He opened his eyes and choked a little on his tea, it wasn't his fault though, that an ass was provocatively wiggling in front of him like it was something of a second nature. Fragments of a foreign language whispered in his ears. He was sure they were curses by the edge to the delicate tongue. He then took notice of the broken china littering the dark wooden floor. It was varying shades of pastels and gold and silver detailing. Arthur concluded that it was very expensive and this obviously poor waiter couldn't afford to replace such a thing. Nonetheless the man rose gracefully with the broken china collected in a busser bin and walked over to the counter already profusely apologizing to the man behind the counter and though he attempted to keep his voice down slightly it didn't work very well.
"Damn it François! It's coming out of your pay this time. Drop another of my dishes and your ass will be out on the street again…"
His voice dropped down and the other man's head, François, hung with shame and something slightly shimmery fell slowly to the ground with a small plop. Arthur knew he was the only one left staring, the other's had quickly lost interest in the small spat, he on the other hand was far too interested in this, far more than he should be, this was just asking for trouble.
He tore his eyes away to look out the window. He'd lost his appetite for Sherlock as well as the cooling tea sitting beside him on the small table. He let out a soft sigh his eyes ghosting around the garden before coming to the sky. It was cloudy, but then clear days were a bit of a rare thing in London. This little garden could actually fool you for a while, make you feel like you're out in the country; it was like a slice of heaven amidst a sea of fog and demands. That was probably why Arthur liked it so much, because it reminded him of the sprawling countryside that were a vivid part of his childhood summers. A soft smile graced his features brightening them happily for a few moments, but a soft, shy tap cause him to jump and hiss out a curse.
"Bloody hell!" He snapped around his sage eyes glittering with annoyance of which disappeared upon seeing glittering blue eyes that were apologetic and fearful alike. He swallowed softly.
"You scared me." He said softly hoping to smooth over the frayed nerves of the young man before. The other man nodded softly.
"Je suis désole." He said softly before speaking up a bit. "Excuse me, but I was just wondering if you were done with your tea?" He asked.
Arthur blinked and noticed his boss eyeing them. It was a very warm and welcoming look, if he was any good judging such a thing. He looked back to the waiter in front of him. He drew in a breath before trying it.
"François?" He played with the name on his tongue. The other man's eyes widened and began to fill with glimmering tears. Instantaneously Arthur felt horrible and had a sense of doom twisting about in his stomach.
"I-I'm sorry?" He said taken aback by the reaction. That definitively wasn't what he had expected. At all, but he also didn't expect the sudden and warm hug. It was all too friendly for the short-tempered British man and he knew he should be more upset with the sudden unwarranted contact, but somehow the soft pattering of tears onto his simple shirt made him grasp the other man back rubbing his back softly. His boss was fastly approaching red in the face from both anger and possibly disgust or embarrassment.
Arthur rose quickly and pushed the taller man behind him facing his boss for him. The man was fat and tall, his eyes were hooded, and his face wrinkled with pre-mature age. He was out of breath and sweating from such an effort, it was a bit warm in the café and it was rather large with lots of obstacles. His eyes were narrowed and his fat lips opened already hissing at the man behind him.
"François!" Arthur instead stepped forward.
"I think that's enough sir." The man looked down on him his eyes glinting with amusement.
"'Nd jus' what do you think you're doin'?" He questioned his English bad and horribly contracted. Arthur shuddered mentally at the slaughter of their language.
"Just standing up for someone who could use it." He stated simply challenging the other man to do something.
"People like you ain't got no kind 'o place 'ere. Scram." Arthur shook his head.
"No. You can't treat him like this." The other man laughed disturbing a few coffee goers and workers, but they quickly returned to their work sensing the tension pliable in the air.
"'E's my worker'll treat 'em how I please. 'E's jus' a 'hore 'n' ways." The man shrugged it off like those things somehow made it okay to do the things he was to the man hovering warily behind us sniffling softly.
Arthur shook his head disgusted with the man. He turned to face the man behind him and handed him a handkerchief with a soft smile. It was one of his favorites, a soft blue with small ducks adorning it; his mother had given it to him, certainly one of the best things he ever got from the fickle woman. He then turned back to the man before him. He eyed him with disgust.
"I don't care if he's your worker or not. He's a human being and deserves to be treated with respect." He snapped at the fat man of who laughed, a bit of his spittle getting onto Arthur. He wiped it off of his face.
"Well that's certainly unsanitary..." He muttered before turning back around and grabbing his book, it was the only thing he'd brought and one of the two things he planned on bringing back to his flat. He looked up at the other man.
"François, would you like to get away from here?" The man nodded, but the voice behind them sounded off again.
"If you walk out that door you can't come back." This made the waiter look weary.
He'd only just met this man, could he really trust him so easily and readily just because he was nice? After all this was out in the open, just because you're nice here doesn't mean you will be behind closed doors. It could all just be an act…
Arthur saw how troubled the man looked. Uncertainty written all over his elegant features. Their eyes met and Arthur smiled softly wanting to assure him it would be better without actually saying anything. Arthur held his hand out as an offering. François slowly reached out and took the hand allowing himself to be led away by the stranger. He knew this was reckless, but there was just something about the man that he felt comfortable and familiar with, something he was hoping they could explore together. He swallowed tasting the salt of his tears and feeling the distinct pain of leaving everything behind, but he somehow he felt like he wouldn't regret it.