Here’s something I made for my boyfriend @h00mb00 Keller and Wales/Dylan Kirkland are my ocs. France belongs to Hetalia
France and England gives off the very unique energy of a divorce couple who got separated because of irreconcilable differences but still are deeply in love which each other and care for one another. So instead of trying to compromise with each other they show they care by fighting and arguing all the time and occasionally sleeping in the same bed. Which ABSOLUTELY means nothing and will NEVER happen again!! Spoiler alert! It does happen again and again and again and again…
I keep thinking about @modernday-jay ‘s post about Beatles maniac Arthur (the one with a different Beatles song for significant moments in his life) and the “Martha My Dear” just lives in my head 24/7, like the thought of Francis noticing Arthur’s had a bad day or after an argument, he just starts playing “Arthur My Dear” and— I’m not saying it’s blessed or anything, but… It was literally the only thing going through my head today while I was taking a Business exam that I didn’t study for… and got a 100.
That is all.
This is for @draw-a-circle-thats-the-foxhole, who has told me that despite my ace inability to identify flirting in real life, I have managed to write some flirting/romance that is very sappy and cute. I’ve also here borrowed her name for the Netherlands (Jan) as well as the character of Matt’s Samoyed dog, Buddy.
This is also for @ego-meliorem-esse, who helped me visualize what it would look like for Alfred to braid Matt’s hair. :)
Soft Bros, silliness, and flirting ahead!
FF.Net | Ao3
It had been a while since Ottawa had hosted a United Nations Summit, and last century Matthew Williams would have been wringing his hands over the itineraries and seating arrangements, but time had taught him there were some things you could never fully prepare for, UN summits being one of them. For the last three months, he'd done all he could do to prepare himself and his government for the influx of foreign visitors and their respective nations, but the time for preparations was past. Last-minute panicking was something he'd endeavored to leave to the humans. All that Matthew had control over now was showing up on time tomorrow morning. Until then, it was enough to slip into a pair of joggers, an old Habs sweatshirt, and rip open a packet of orange gummy edibles while he waited for his fellow nations to arrive.
Well, he wouldn't have to wait on all of them.
"Oh hey, Space Odyssey! What a classic." Matt stopped flipping through channels and glanced up while Alfred stepped clear over the back of the couch and onto the cushions, carrying a Coke Zero in one hand and a box of chinese in the other, chopsticks protruding from one corner. Ignoring the disrespect to his furniture, Matt frowned at the soda. It was nearly nine o'clock.
"A bit late for caffeine, don't you think?" Alfred chuckled.
"I just finished my last slide deck for tomorrow, this is to put me to sleep, man." Matt shook his head. Even knowing Alfred had screwy brain chemistry was not always enough to keep him from questioning his life choices.
"I thought you were on adderall again?"
"Yeah, and it wore off at like, 5, so," Alfred tipped his can and took a slurp. He glanced at the foil packet on the coffee table and nudged Matt's thigh with his foot. "You're one to speak, Mr. Smoke-the-Anxiety-Away."
"I haven't smoked since Spring," Matt grumbled, reaching for his gummies with a foot to nudge them within reach. "The office staff complained about the smell and my dry cleaning bill got too high."
"Gummies are better anyway," Alfred said, rifling through his takeout with the chopsticks. "Ugh, why is there always so much damn broccoli in these things? You want any?" Matt closed his eyes in an exasperated expression he'd absorbed under the tutelage of Arthur Kirkland.
"Please eat your vegetables, Alfred, God knows your arteries will thank you."
"Shut up, I'm eating all of the other vegetables, but broccoli contaminates everything it touches. If you don't want it, I'll give it to the dog." Matt glanced at his Samoyed, Buddy, a melted pool of white fur lying on the floor, black nose twitching with interest towards Alfred's dinner.
"The sauce will make him sick," Matt said. "You're so damn picky. Give it here," he held out his hand, but instead Alfred lifted a piece of broccoli directly to his mouth. He bit it and swatted the chopsticks away. "You're hopeless," he munched.
"I know what I like, so sue me."
They both munched in silence while Keir Dullea navigated the stark black-and-white spaceship amid ethereal string music. Alfred was more accustomed to hosting international summits than his Northern twin, but for whatever reason, Matt had never made a habit of showing up more than a day or two early whenever the UN convened in New York or DC. However, whenever Ottowa was hosting, Alfred travelled up weeks in advance, using the summit as an excuse to visit with Matthew.
He'd arrived two weeks ago, his old Bronco packed to the gills with fresh citrus, old video games, sporting equipment, home-made whiskey, and other eclectic offerings that he thought Matt might have a use for. The first time he'd showed up unannounced back in the 80s, Matthew had exploded on him for making him host company while also planning an impending UN summit. The same afternoon, however, Matt had come home to find his dog walked, his kitchen sink repaired, his fridge restocked, and dinner simmering on the stove.
Loathe though he was to admit it, it was useful having Alfred around sometimes. Even if he never ate enough vegetables.
Matt hadn't meant to settle in to watch Space Odyssey, and it turned out to be an existentially tiring movie to watch while high, but the music and the visuals mixed with Alfred's intermittent commentary of "Did you know that in order to shoot these scenes," this and "the technical execution of this shot is magnificent" that, he found himself melting into an liminal space of bright tv lights and cozy couch cushions. His vision jolted sometime around the beginning of the third act and he realized belatedly that Alfred had left for the kitchen. He returned shortly with a neat (and full) glass of whiskey to replace his soda, and if Matt weren't so high he would've scolded him soundly for mixing uppers and downers, but Alfred's had always responded to substances differently. Alfred laughed at something Matt didn't register himself saying, and offered his brother a small bowl of popcorn, which he did register taking with an appreciative hum.
Matt zoned out for an undetermined amount of time and came back to Earth when the credits were rolling. At some point, he'd navigated himself to sit on the floor, back propped up by Alfred's leg, lap now full of a sleepy, furry dog.
"What do you want to watch?" Alfred asked above him, voice pleasantly tipsy while he clicked through the channels. "Ooh, Star Trek reruns. Want to keep with the space theme?"
"You and your fucken space race. No. Keep going."
They eventually settled on, of all things, late night reruns of How It's Made. While Alfred slurred out overly enthusiastic explanations of how every machine worked and which ones he'd helped build before, Matt stared at the assembly lines and let them massage his brain through his optic nerve, feeling pleasantly like a noodle. He munched on his second gummy and asked Alfred to put the rest away so Buddy wouldn't get into them.
A sip or two past the halfway point of his whiskey, Alfred entered the cuddly phase of drunk, and began idly playing with Matt's hair. Matt groaned appreciatively and with uncharacteristic eagerness pressed the back of his head toward his brother's hand, knocking hard into his knuckles in the process.
"Ow," Matt complained. Alfred chuckled. The couch behind him shifted and Alfred sipped his whiskey before setting it on the coffee table by Matt's extended leg. Alfred's legs appeared on either side of Matt's shoulders and he poked Matt in the side with a toe.
"Don't elbow me, you menace." Matt didn't answer, too mesmerized by the balloon-making process to make words.
Alfred began combing his hands through Matt's hair, and the heavenly scritch and tug against his scalp was more addictive than the bottle-filling machine on screen. Alfred spoke softly above him, about the show and about his hair and surely about other things, but Matt was absorbed in the bliss of his gummies and the feeling of someone else playing with his hair.
"…haven't seen you in braids in a while," Alfred said, and though Matt knew he must've been speaking already, he hadn't been listening. "You look great like this, why don't you wear them more often?"
"Hmm?" Matt reached up and brushed fingers over his hair, letting out a noise of surprise—higher pitched than he liked—when he felt the thick cords of a braid trailing from his temple. "Oh wow," was all he could think to say. "Didn't know you remembered how to braid. Your hair was always matted so badly, Arthur always told me you must've forgotten how to plait before you'd ever learned."
"Hardy har," Alfred jeered, taking the braid from Matt's finger tips and gently prising it back apart. "You were the one who liked your hair long. I only let mine mat up so they'd let me shave it off. Then all my bosses kept having baby girls and somehow I was babysitter. You know how much celebrity you get in the kindergarten crowd when you know how to do special braids? The Roosevelt girls thought I was hot shit." Matt snorted.
"Mmhmm, 'specially Alice…" he smirked, eyes closed. Alfred kicked him.
"Shut up." Matt elbowed him back. A small war of knees and elbows ensued, but stopped when Alfred leaned over Matt's shoulder to retrieve his whiskey glass.
"What kind of braids you want? I'll show Arthur who forgot how to braid."
"Mmm," Matt hummed, feeling his high tapering off but leaving him at a pleasantly hazy, sleepy place. "Surprise me." This response seemed to take Alfred off guard, and he chuckled as he continued brushing out Matt's blond locks with surprisingly gentle fingers.
"Hmm," the southern twin hummed, more to himself than to his brother, "your beau will be there tomorrow, maybe you ought to impress him."
"Give 'im something to untangle when we get home…" Matt mused.
"First of all, ew," Alfred said, tugging his hair, "second of all, no way I'm making it easy for him." Matt no longer cared what Alfred was saying, happy to surrender to the lullaby of nails on his scalp, tugs on his hair, and the warmth of Alfred's hands repositioning his head as he nodded off.
"You falling asleep on me, bro?" Alfred asked.
"No," Matt said. He woke up a while later to a quiet, dark house and Alfred's broad shoulders under one of his arms.
"I've set your alarm for 5:30, looks like your suit is already set out, Mr. Prepared." Matt realized Alfred had taken him to his bedroom.
"Right," Matt said, falling into bed still in his socks and sweats. "Thanks." Something unfamiliar and firm was pressing into the nape of his neck but he was too tired to investigate. The mattress shifted as his dog leaped up to join him on the bed and he let his eyes drift shut.
"See you in the morning, Mattie."
At 5:30 am, Matt's alarm went off and both he and his dog groaned about it. After the human hit snooze a few times, the dog relented to the day with a high-pitched yawn and began nosing Matt in the neck until he, too, was forced awake. It was still dark out, but the Canadian had centuries of experience rising and dressing in the dark.
He pulled on his socks and slacks before the dog insisted on breakfast, which Matt found and distributed in an equally-dark kitchen. He returned to his dark room and fished a freshly pressed shirt out of his dark closet before tying the tie he'd selected last week—in the dark, of course.
And so, when he finally entered the washroom and flipped on the lights, it was a shock to see his own reflection.
"Oh wow," he muttered to the mirror, which of course gave no comment beyond Matt's own stunned expression. Tentatively, he reached up and touched his styled hair, which was astonishingly clean and flat despite the fact that he'd just woken up. He stood back and surveyed it again, turning this way and that to see it from the side, feeling up the nape to see what his brother had accomplished while whiskey-drunk and watching manufacturing process videos.
"Damn, Alfred," Matt muttered quietly to the air, mouth falling slightly open as he traced the eerily-perfect braids. The grain of his hair was pulled back into a tidy bun he'd begun sporting occasionally in the last decade or so, but he'd never styled it like this, with two small dutch braids coming up from the nape of his neck and one large French braid woven all down his crown. It was immaculately done. Lacking glasses, Matt leaned right up to the mirror to admire the details, having to press down errant strands only here and there in places where his pillow should've rubbed the plaits raw. Still, they held their shape.
"Well shit," Matt muttered. "No wonder Alice wanted you to fuck her."
"Yo Mattie!" Alfred's voice called from elsewhere in the house. "You still sleepin' in there, or are you just getting dressed in the dark again?"
"I'll be out in a minute," Matt said, casting a last look at his reflection before he continued straightening his tie and tucking his shirttails. "Don't drink my coffee!"
When Matt emerged from his room, the lights had been turned on and there was a pair of clean coffee mugs waiting beside the percolator burbling on the stove, but Alfred was nowhere to be found. Matt had only just got the waffle batter into the iron when the front door opened and Alfred came inside, a panting and happy samoyed smiling beside him. Of course Alfred would go for a run at 6am before an international summit.
"Aha!" Alfred beamed even as he bent over to let Buddy off his leash. The dog shook himself and went to go sniff Matt's pant legs. "So you liked the braids, huh?" Matt glared at his brother before turning back to the waffle iron, adjusting the gas range underneath before carefully flipping it over.
"Don't let it get to your head," he grumbled, and Alfred continued to smile, unfazed. "I didn't have time to redo it." Alfred said nothing, happily busying himself with plates, flatware, and fetching the syrup. They danced around each other in companionable silence to prepare breakfast, and neither said a word until they were sat across from each other at the table and Matt was waiting for him to finish drenching his waffles in syrup. "French and Dutch," he said, and shook his head when Alfred looked up. "A little on the nose, don't you think?"
Alfred grinned, dimples shaping his face in that mischievous way that made some nations nervous but made Matt's stomach warm with thoughts of home.
"You're welcome," Alfred said, pleased with himself. Matt frowned at him.
"Alfred, you don't need an entire maple tree for two waffles."
"I know what I'm about, Canuck," Alfred paid him no mind, eyes on the stream of syrup onto his plate. Matt looked alternately between the waffles and his brother. Eventually, he said,
"Seriously, Alfred, that stuff isn't cheap, could you please—"
"Cheaper than it is in my place!," Alfred smacked Matt's hand when he tried to reach across the table to the glass carafe. "You have a whole personal forest of this shit back in Quebec, don't think I don't know about that—"
"Oh my god you're going to make yourself sick,"
"And if I do, it will have been worth it!"
"I'm never making you waffles again."
"I'm never braiding your hair again!"
"Jesus you're such a child, give it here—"
"I wasn't done!"
Miraculously, Alfred had managed to budget enough time in their morning to complete a full course of bickering and still have enough time to brush their teeth, clean up breakfast, tidy each others' ties, and set up Buddy in the backyard before their scheduled government car arrived.
"I hate to disappoint you,"Matthew muttered to Alfred when they were seated side by side in the back, "but your offer of a 1985 Ford Bronco chauffeur service didn't quite meet the expectations from Rideau Hall." Alfred only scoffed.
"Their loss," he said.
They arrived early, and only the greenest of Canadian officials were surprised to see Alfred strolling in on his brother's heels, nearly an hour earlier than his American compatriots. One intern visibly blanched upon seeing the USA flag pin on Alfred's lapel, and when he glanced at her paper badge, he realized she was one of the ones who'd been tasked with helping the Americans navigate the conference spaces.
"Don't worry about it," he gave her a wink, "I cause enough trouble they make this guy boss me around himself," he jutted a thumb at Matt, who Alfred was not entirely sure she would've known personally. Matt noticed him and called him over.
"Stop scaring the interns," he hissed. "The president is supposed to be arriving in fifteen. Don't you have places to be?"
"Yes, mom," Alfred rolled his eyes. He strolled back by the intern, who was not so pale now, but still flustered. He smiled and tipped his chin at her. "Nice braid," he said, prompting her to run a self-conscious hand over her hair. "Dutch, right?" She blushed.
"The President, Alfred," Matt reminded.
Not a soul had commented on Matt's hair all morning, and Alfred was beginning to feel offended. As the other nations began arriving with their entourages, Alfred floated closeby to eavesdrop in the hopes that someone would notice his handiwork. Arthur was first to comment, but it was a quick and ambiguous,
"Ah, there you are, my boy, I hardly recognized you with your hair pulled back like that. It's a clean look. How've you been?" Clean was not exactly the kind of compliment Alfred had been hoping for from the man who'd said he couldn't braid, so he continued eavesdropping in the hopes of juicer feedback.
Jan had been next to comment, but Alfred had no idea what the Dutchman thought of Alfred's braidwork, partially because Alfred's Dutch comprehension was rusty at best, and partially because whatever Jan had said had made Matt get that look on his face that made Alfred want to gag, so he'd turned away in a hurry. Sure, he liked Jan, and yeah, he was glad that Jan and Matt had found each other, but seriously? In front of allies?
"Shall I give you a strand of pearls so you might clutch them?" Asked an accented voice, and Alfred looked over to see Francis approaching, daintily holding a cup of conference room coffee in one hand.
"He's my brother," Alfred said, "I'm allowed." Francis laughed and reached out his free hand to place it on Alfred's shoulder. The American endured la bise with practiced indifference but must've looked grumpy when Francis pulled away.
"Puritanism has never been a fashionable look, mon cher, not even when you were young." He glanced past Alfred to where Matthew was being inundated with fresh arrivals, moving on from his beloved Jan to Emma, Antonio, and the Nordics, who seemed to have arrived together. "Oh my, speaking of fashion… I have not seen Matthieu in braids since he was a child. Who knew he could elevate the style so much as a grown man?" The older nation hummed thoughtfully. "I wonder what prompted him."
"Me, actually," Alfred allowed himself to puff out his chest slightly. "I braided it for him last night." Unexpectedly, this made Francis laugh, suddenly and loudly. He quieted himself in short order, but the smile remained on his lips.
"Oh, I've missed you and your sense of humor, mon ami," Francis gave Alfred's chest a pat and began to move past him. "I'll have to pry Matthew for his stylist's name."
"We will meet for lunch before I go, yes?"
"Okay but I really did-"
"Angleterre," Francis called ahead, "tu marches trop vite, wait a moment."
Alfred's shoulders slumped, mouth hanging open in affronted silence while Francis teased Arthur in French down the hall.
No one else mentioned Matt's braids for the rest of the day, and Alfred sulked about it at every available opportunity between conference sessions, so much so that Matt himself came to ask him what was wrong.
"Nothing," Alfred insisted. "You're doing a great job, by the way." Unexpectedly, Matt actually flushed at such praise, shoulders relaxing minutely. Alfred forgot how tightly wound Matt could become around these events. "Sorry if I made you worry."
And so, for the sake of his brother's nerves, Alfred was willing to take his wounded pride and bottle it up for future indulgence where it wouldn't upset the conduct of international affairs. Still, when he spotted Francis gossiping with Ludwig and Lux from across the hall, he couldn't help but squint his eyes, wondering if they were talking about his "sense of humor."
That night, after Matt quietly left the nations-only dinner with Jan's hand down his back pocket, Alfred let his wounded ego out for a breather at the hotel bar, where he grumbled about their whiskey selection under his breath and began squinting at the vodka options.
"The drafts here are surprisingly good, if you're having trouble," crowed a feminine voice, and Alfred turned in his stool to find a cute, buxom blonde licking beer foam off her red lipstick. He watched the movement before meeting her eyes; the left one had a dark freckle interrupting the green, and he'd always found it enchanting.
"High praise coming from you, O Mistress of the Brauhaus," he smiled at her, and Emma made a show of preening under such praise. He chuckled. "Whatcha drinking?"
"I can't remember what it's called," she admitted, and pointed at a colorful tap pull down the bar. "That one in the middle, there."
"Oh?" He leaned into her space, grinning goofily as she hopped up to the barstool next to him. "That's one of mine, you know."
"Oh ho," Emma watched the bubbles in her beer before looking playfully over at him. "Tastes like you've been copying someone's homework, Mr. Jones." He grinned, dimples playful.
"I learn from the best." She held his gaze for an intense moment, and asked:
"So whose homework did you copy to make those stunning braids?" She teased. "I didn't know Matthew had a sister hiding about."
"Oh, come on," Alfred moaned, flirtatious efforts shattering as Emma dissolved into laughter. "Who told you?"
"Francis has been gossiping about it all day," she told him, still giggling, cheeks rosy with alcohol and humor. "Saying you're trying to take credit for a masterpiece when you yourself were a… how did he put it? Enfant sauvage? Who… I really can't say it like him. Who "would've have only learned to braid if it were taught in the Navy, and he grows so sick at sea he surely never stayed long enough to find out,"" Emma could barely get through the quote before giggling some more, wiping at her eyes while Alfred glared into space.
"I can't believe him," Alfred complained, watching the bartender deposit a pint on his coaster. He dragged it closer to himself with a sigh.
"Oh, don't pout, mon râleur," Emma put a hand on his arm, "it's un peu drôle."
"It's not funny," Alfred insisted, taking a sip of his beer and having to suck the foam off his lip—he missed how Emma watched him do it—"I'm not that hopeless."
"You're really upset about this, aren't you?"
"I take credit for something I did, and get called a liar? Yeah, I'm a little pissed about it." He sucked back several large gulps while Emma watched him with new skepticism.
"You know, I really can't tell if you're bluffing or not," she said.
"I'm not," he insisted.
"Hmm," Emma sat up a little straighter in her seat, and ran a hand through her shoulder-short strawberry blonde hair. "Alright, then, prove it."
"Braid my hair."
"Oh, come on, you can't just take me at my word?"
"You know better than I the exchange rate for that kind of currency is tanking, Mr. Jones," she teased, and shook her head to make her hair fan out toward him. "Go on." He glared at her.
"And what do I get if I can prove I'm not lying?" He asked.
"Hmm," she glanced back over at the taps. "Another pint." He met her eyes and raised an eyebrow.
"Fine," He said, and downed half his pint before perching on the edge of his barstool and setting to work. She watched him work out of the corner of her eye as he wove a small, clean braid down the side of her temple, arching over the curve of her ear in a tasteful line. She threw her head back to finish off her beer, but he continued to work, undeterred. When he was finished, he had no tie to secure it, so he gently tucked the end at the base of her ear and gave it a stroke with his finger to put it in place.
"Done," he said, and crossed his arms in a self-righteous way. Emma sat up and took out her phone, using the front camera to inspect his handiwork.
"Well?" He asked. She put down her phone and sighed. She nodded her chin to get the bartender's attention. "He'll have another pint on me," she said.
"Ha!" Alfred beamed, and downed the remainder of his first pint before sliding the glass aside to make room.
"And you, ma'am?" Asked the bartender, fetching two glasses.
"Hmm," Alfred wasn't paying attention while Emma side-eyed him, and was taken completely off guard when she grabbed his face in one hand and pulled him down for a wet kiss. After a few seconds she pulled away, still holding his bewildered face in a hand, and tasted her own lips. "What is it that he just had?" she asked.
"That was the New England IPA, ma'am," said the bartender, audibly trying not to laugh.
"I'll have a pint of that, then," she finally let him go but he stayed right where she'd left him, wide-eyed and pink. She leaned forward, nose almost touching his.
"Color me surprised, he can braid," she said. "But I bet you can't do a proper French plait."
"Hmm," a smile grew on Alfred's face, a bashful shade of confidence that Emma had been chasing for years. "And… what, exactly do I get if I prove you wrong?" The bartender came by with their pints.
"Last call is in five minutes, folks, can I get you anything else?" he asked.
"No, thank you," Emma answered for them both. Alfred frowned at her, but she only smiled at him, eyes playful. "I have an early morning tomorrow," she said, and handed him his pint. "But I'm sure I can think of something if you prove me wrong tonight." His eyebrows shot skyward, but she didn't drop eye contact as she sipped her IPA. He bit his lip in an effort not to laugh even as his face blushed bright.
"Alright," he smiled. When he grabbed her pint and set it aside, she let him. "Turn around, then," he said, and she giggled when he swiveled her around by her knee. His hands buried in her hair. "Saying I can't braid," he teased, smile audible in his voice. "honestly, the nerve." Emma chuckled, swinging her legs as he worked.
"Don't waste time, then, I've got plenty else I plan to say about you before the night is over."
The following morning, as the crowds returned for day two of the summit, Matt arrived with barely-noticeable dark circles under his eyes and heavenly blonde waves that framed his face in patterns made by plaits that had been lovingly untangled the night before.
"Alfred," he found his brother at breakfast, startling the American to attention just as he bit into a bagel. "Where have you been? I was worried, you didn't come home last night."
"Go home?" Alfred asked around a mouthful, pausing to swallow. "And listen to you and Jan reunite all night? Absolutely not."
"Okay," Matt rolled eyes eyes, "we are not that ba-"
"Yes you are," Alfred pointed the remainder of his bagel up at his twin. "You know you are. I swung by this morning for my suit, your fucking tie was on a rafter. I'm just glad I didn't get an eyeful of you two. Honestly." Matt sighed and plopped down in the chair next to him, cheeks pink.
"Did you at least find some place to sleep?" he asked, sounding a little guilty.
"Yeah, not like there's any shortage of couches to surf on here. Sides, the bartender felt bad for me and gave me a pint on the house."
"He what? Oh my God, Al, you could've just asked, they would've given you a room, you don't have to go complaining about me to everyone who-"
"Mattie, I'm joking."
"Don't worry about me, seriously. I was fine." He sipped his coffee, and handed Matt a piece of bacon, which his brother took and munched without comment. "Though if it's all the same to you, I might swing by and get my suitcase at lunch today. You know. Just. relocate for a few days while Jan is in town."
"That's… probably for the best."
They chewed in silence as more people filtered into the breakfast hall.
"Oh wow, Emma looks great today," Matt commented. Alfred looked up and nearly choked on his coffee when he saw that she was still wearing the proper French plait he'd given her the night before—it must've taken her an hour just to clean up from how he'd last seen it. He blushed furiously behind his mug.
Clueless, Matt continued, "I'm not sure I've ever seen her wear a braid. It suits her."
"Sure does," Alfred said, sipping quietly. "Apparently all those Europeans are suckers for a good braid."
The final chapter
I’ve finally finished it! This was really fun to write (:
How Does He Know You Love Him?
In a matter of days, I was right as rain again. Although it was nice for Ludwig to come to visit me in bed, I was excited to get out of that room and back near the sea. Also, knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about Ludwig drying up was another benefit of our regular spot. I still couldn’t shake the sounds of his gasps from my mind. Unfortunately, there was more than that to worry about. Ever since that night with Ludwig in the tub, ignoring my feelings for him had become difficult and there was no more hiding of the fact that I had fallen in love.
“Have you ever been in love?” I asked Francis carefully over breakfast. Francis was the last person I wanted to be talking to about this, but it wasn’t like I knew anyone else around. Though, the sight of him almost choking on his water made it a bit more bearable.
“What has brought this on?”
“Fine…” I gulped not wanting to say what I was about to. “You were right,” I whispered.
“Quoi? I didn’t hear you.”
I groaned, burying my face into my hands. “You were right. I think I love Ludwig.”
“Ah! C’est bon,” Francis exclaimed, practically bouncing in his seat. Maybe I should have just suffered in silence. Now the frog could brag and tease me to his heart's content, knowing he was right and possibly.
“Yeah, Yeah. Now about your love life. Do you have a partner?”
Francis’ smile faltered slightly, his eyes becoming somewhat sad. “Oh..oui. Two to be exact. We’re all engaged actually. Hopefully, they’ll keep their damn promise and sit down with me to plan the wedding once they get home from their fishing trip.”
“You miss them?” I asked without really thinking. It wasn’t like I cared for Francis, it was only a natural question. Seeing him sad definitely didn’t make me feel bad. Not at all.
“Yes. Very much. But that’s what it's like when you’re in love.”
I tried to push back a smile, but I still felt the corners of my mouth twitch. Who knew he could be so...sentimental...dare I say sweet. But this talk about missing people was bringing up some unpleasant feelings of my own so I figured it was best to move on. “I guess. So...How exactly did you guys end up together?”
“Oh, it's such a romantic story!”
So the first of the two he met was his childhood friend Antonio. They apparently had shared their first kiss, but didn’t actually start dating until after their schooling. Shortly after that, they moved in together as Francis had inherited the inn from his parents and Antonio had started a fishing business. While out on one of his fishing excursions, Antonio came across their other partner, Gilbert, who was shipwrecked. But there seemed to be more to it. When Francis talked about this part of the story, he seemed hesitant, almost like he had to think about what he had to say. It felt off to me, but I didn’t say anything. I just needed to see that he wasn’t just all talk when it came to love. Francis went on, explaining how Antonio and Gilbert got close during that trip and they fell in love. Antonio brought Gilbert home to introduce him to Francis and the three became instant friends. Soon enough Francis also started to fall for Gilbert and he eventually confided in Antonio about it. Antonio who had also started with feelings proposed they try and court Gilbert together.
“One thing led to another,” Francis sighed dreamily, “and we started dating and got engaged about a year and a half later.”
“That’s...quite the story.”
“Yes. They come home in about two weeks.” Francis suddenly sprung up. “Oh Arthur, you’ll be able to meet them. We could even have a double date with you and Ludwig.”
I rolled my eyes. “Ludwig and I aren’t even dating so don’t get ahead of yourself.”
“Ah, right,” Francis said, taking a seat once more. “Well if you want my advice-”
“I don’t.” I did. And he knew it.
“Just be honest with him Arthur. I’m pretty sure he likes you too.”
My cheeks went warm at the comment. It's not like I hadn’t considered Ludwig returning my feelings, but it couldn’t be that easy. Could it? Francis must have picked up on my hesitation as he went on to add, “All you can do is try.”
The salty sea air filled my lungs as I took a deep breath. ‘All you can do is try,’ echoed through my mind as I cautiously made my way across the rocky path. Ludwig turned towards me, practically glowing in the sunlight, stopping me in my tracks. I probably stared for a bit too long.
“Guten Abend,” he greeted with a small smile.
“Ah...y-yes good evening,” I stuttered out.
“Are you going to sit?” Ludwig asked after a moment.
Mentally kicking myself for being so awkward, I sat down next to him, but I was unable to meet his gaze.
“Okay…” He didn’t seem to believe me, but at the same time, he didn’t ask further. “So...any questions for today?”
Thank goodness, something normal. I had welcomed the distraction until I realized I had nothing to ask except for one topic. That topic was part of what had me so on edge in the first place. Then again, asking about mating rituals of his kind would be educational, normal, and possibly give me the confidence I needed.
“Y-Yes...we’ve covered almost everything b-but...there is one more thing...we talked about it a little bit a few nights ago-”
“Just spit it out Arthur,” Ludwig interjected sharply.
“Mating Rituals. Does your kind have any mating rituals?”
His cheeks flushed and shoulders stiffened. “M-Mating rituals?” he sputtered.
“Yes...You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to. I just…”
“It's okay.” His voice was too high-pitched for me to believe that, but I let him continue. “Well...There’s..um...Sorry...I’m not the most experienced with this stuff.”
“Don’t worry. Just do what you can.”
With a breath, Ludwig went on. “Well...I better start at the beginning. Usually the more...I guess...masc-...wait no...dominant ones of our species will start building nests with all kinds of plants and coral they can find. Some go for comfort, some make it more decorative, or a mix in between. It's all to attract a mate. It used to be used as...y-you know…” His gaze shifted awkwardly down to his lap, his blush creeping down his neck. “To have babies. But it's not like that anymore. At least not solely...for childbearing I mean but-”
“I get the picture,” I coughed awkwardly. Not that the idea of having sexual relations with Ludwig never crossed my mind (if anything it crossed my mind a little too much), but to talk so openly about it gave me anything but confidence. “Anything else?”
“There is a calling in our language. It is a certain pattern of chirps and clicks that also attract potential mates. Once we find someone, we further engage in conversation and go from there.”
“Do you mind showing me?” I asked, “the call I mean.”
“Oh...uh...s-sure.” Ludwig looked a bit unsure, but proceeded anyway. He sounded almost like a dolphin, but it was still distinct enough. I found my cheeks heating up, my mind thinking what it would be like if he was calling to me like that. I shook my head, patting my cheeks to get rid of their colour. I didn’t need him getting suspicious.
“What about you?” Ludwig questioned.
“What kind of rituals does your kind have?”
I was surprised that he was asking now too. He never asked for prior questions. For a moment I allowed myself to hope, to think that this meant he liked me too. And I answered: “Hmm...there are a few though not everyone uses the same ones. But basic ones? There is the ritual of giving gifts like flowers, chocolates, jewelry…”
“Like my bracelet?” Ludwig’s eyes met mine. I felt like I just backed myself into a corner and more words got trapped in my throat. My gaze fell to the water.
“Arthur?” His hand found my shoulder, constricting my throat further. This was my chance, I had narrowed a confession down to one word.
“N-No,” I said instead. “Gifts can be for a variety of reasons. This one was out of guilt and...friendship.” At least it wasn’t a complete lie.
“Oh…” His face fell, looking almost disappointed. “Anything else?”
“Well, then we go on a date which means we go to a restaurant or some other venue and get to know each other. Then there is the first kiss.”
“First kiss?” Ludwig asked with a quirked brow.
“Uh...Yes...Like, when you press your lips together and…”
“I think you need to show me.”
I swore I almost broke my neck when I turned back to him.“What?”
“Show me.” There was this intense fire in his eyes as he bore into me. My heartbeat quickened and my breath became short. That sly bugger.
“I-I guess it can’t be helped,” I squeaked. I cautiously leaned forward, eyes closed, too scared to look. Ludwig ended up meeting me halfway just as I was about to give into my nerves. My eyes snapped open as his lips softly pressed against mine. They were cold, wet, but made me feel warm inside and out. It was like I was on fire, just like that moment from a few nights ago. As the kiss continued, I let my eyes slip closed and pulled him closer by his neck. Oh God, it was better than I could ever imagine.
Unfortunately, we had to pull away, both of us gasping for breath. I didn’t move far, however, letting our breaths mingle. “I thought you didn’t know what a kiss was,” I joked, pressing my forehead against Ludwig’s.
“Maybe that was a lie,” he laughed sheepishly.
“So...are you going to make me a nest?”
“Shut up,” He hissed before going in for another kiss.
Author’s Note: I’m so sorry this chapter took so long. I had bad writer’s block for it, then I got caught up in ship events here on Tumblr and then university started which is taking up a lot of my time. That being said, updates won’t be as consistent as they once were, but don’t worry, I would never discontinue this story.
Hey so in the April fool's episode. How did France wear the tail. There's no string. Did he... Was the tail a-
Tada! Rusfra sisters!
I remembered that both Russia and France had flowers that they were associated with, so I rolled with it. I feel like they’d hang out with their aunts a lot, or at least Ukraine. Roze has the personality of France, while Tournesol is more like how Russia was when he was a kid.
Listen I just love the idea of Necromancer Francis smelling a bit like rotting flowers; death hanging on him like an old perfume.
What an asshole even his wine glass is empty...
...Damn French people ❤❤❤
[ Data collected on September 21, 2021 ]
Deutschland Frankreich und EU _(:з」∠)_