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04 October 2009 @ 06:07 pm
but that was several lifetimes ago - france/england  
Title; But that was several lifetimes ago
Fandom; Hetalia
Pairing; Francis/Arthur (France/England)
Word Count; 2,554
Status; One-Shot / Complete
Rating; PG-13
Warnings; Slash, Mild language, Sexual implications, Extremely mild violence
Notes; Some of this is very vaguely based upon the Norman Conquest/Early Anglo-French relations. My history isn't completely up to scratch so please be forgiving about any small discrepancies if, indeed, there are any.

Hetalia ( c ) Hidekaz Himaruya

❝but that was several lifetimes ago❞

La mon cher Angleterre,

I wanted to reminisce about earlier days because sometimes time escapes me and some things that happened several lifetimes ago are more vivid in my mind than others. Do you remember one of the first times we drank together? You handled your alcohol even worse when you were younger, if that is even possible. I was patiently trying to get you to try some wine and you rudely spat out the red and wouldn't even touch the white so I ordered a bottle of pink wine to go. You, however, pouted and whined and clutched fervently onto your tankard of ale like it was the next best thing since oxygen. It was funny, I suppose, to see you so drunk for the first time - that is, until you refused to let me carry you home and insisted you were most comfortable walking by yourself. To say the least, it looked extremely painful when you fell to the floor, throwing your face to the curb, nosebleed gushing into the gutter. I shook my head at your drunken stupidity and slung you over my shoulder, pink wine swinging in my free hand. It spilt onto the floor when we crash-landed at your house and it bled into your carpet and I can remember you drunkenly muttering that it looked like a winter sunrise dribbling through trees - rosy, bright and staining. It amazed me that you could be so crass and rude, Arthur, and then say the most poetic things at the strangest times and yet it took you so long to learn the French language. But then, that was several lifetimes ago and that, well, that is a different story.
Nostalgia is a brilliant thing, mon cher, despite how you berate me for bringing these things up.

Vôtre, Francis.


To the imbecile formerly known as France,

I, as you put it, berate you for you idiotic, sentimental nonsense because half of what you say isn't remotely true in the slightest. First-most, I certainly can handle my alcohol, thank you very much and secondly, I did not 'throw my face to the curb' - that nosebleed was caused by my allergies so you should get your bloody facts right before you write to me about 'reminiscing' or whatever drivel you called it. Additionally, I have other issues I'd like to address about this so-called 'memory' of yours. I remember that damned wine stain on my carpet - my new, I might point out, and cream, I might add, carpet. I actually had to replace that carpet, I'll have you know. I should have actually billed you for that, you clumsy git. Regardless, I do not remember comparing the stain to a ridiculous 'winter sunrise' - that sounds like the sort of poncey garbage you'd churn out.
Furthermore, I just have to say - what a completely pointless memory to reminisce about! You should have brought up something more poignant or significant, Francis, but as expected, you talked complete and utter rubbish. Now, I'm extremely busy, so I'm signing off - and you'd better not write to me further about teaching me the stupid French language because those are some lessons I would much rather forget!

Kind regards, Arthur.


Plus cher Arthur,

Forgive me, I was not aware allergies, of all things, could cause such an amount of blood to pour forth from one's nose - nor cause giant bumps on the head, for that matter. I am, perhaps, not at all educated on the matter or maybe you are just, as you would say, mon cher, 'talking absolute bollocks.' Furthermore - pardon my rudeness but I refuse to be billed for that carpet, Arthur. For one thing, it happened several lifetimes ago and for another, it was the ugliest carpet I have ever laid eyes upon and therefore decline from associating my money with it.
If my choice of memories to reminisce are not satisfactory to you then I urge you to come up with a better one.

Jusque-là, Francis.


To the idiot it may concern,

I'm not even going to grace those points you brought up with my acknowledgement!
As for a memory, I shall humour you and bring up a most obvious one. You had just crossed the channel and we were sitting crossed legged on an embankment bathed in sunlight. I know it was summer. Perhaps it was August. You were talking. I was listening. 'Listen to me,' you said with your hands laced behind your neck, 'Listen to me and I'll teach you something worth knowing.'
So that's...what I remembered. That's what I remember. That's all.



Oh Arthur,

You're not playing fair. That can't be all you remember.
I wanted to reminisce about the times we didn't understand each other. I was trying to teach you my language and you were so obstinate. At first you couldn't wrap your tongue around the change in vowels nor grasp the concept of the accent in any way. The art of learning was lost on you because you were young, I think - or you were characteristically impatient and proud. Maybe I was too - but that was several lifetimes ago and I think some things are supposed to change. Except some things do not.
I mean, remember when your French was abysmally bad and every time I'd say 'je t'aime' you would get cross and tell me to 'go fuck myself' because you thought I was actually insulting you? That is the way it would be. You'd spit and hiss and argue and I would just say 'je t'aime' over and over and you'd reply so coldly because you didn't understand. Anyway, like I said, some things do not change and you are still saying 'fuck you' and throwing it in my face. But I know you, Arthur, or I'd at least like to think I do.
Je t'aime.



To Francis,

I don't think it was 'go fuck yourself'. I was more in the habit of calling you a worthless, lousy bastard, I think - or worse than that, of course. But like you've been saying, that was several stupid lifetimes ago and it exhausts me to think about it but since you're pressing the matter...
I remember. We'd sit by the channel. Mornings and afternoons and evenings. They were all the same. The sun would be low and white and reflected in the water like the chinks of a kaleidoscope. You'd be talking endlessly about your culture and reciting poetry and making me repeat you. You'd casually brush my cheek or my arm as you tried to teach me. I would mutter curses but you would sit there and smile like I wasn't treating you like the worst person in the world. You'd just flip your head to that sea and smile. Sometimes I think I should have thought about what was actually more illuminating - your smile which now I realise came about because at the time you probably thought my petty insults meant 'I love you' or the halos of light scattered on the horizon. Only, it was so long ago and I didn't think in romantic terms and I'm fairly certain neither of them had a lasting effect on me at the time. In fact, even in my memory, they're a little bit hazy.
At the time, I only remember the dust and pebbles in my shoes and the foreign words on my tongue and the sunburn at my cheeks. It was the height of annoyance. I couldn't smile for days.

With warm regards, Arthur.


Pour la mon cher Angleterre,

Well. At least you are being honest, now.
Despite the language problems, we'd communicate in other ways. Sometimes after you'd been bathing and your hair turned dirty blond-brown, you'd let me tend to it. I remember brushing your hair - it was pretty and delicate and golden and I felt like I was doing your ridiculous, farcical embroidery. You would sit there. I would always watch your face in the mirror with amusement. You were right - your cheeks were rather...sun-kissed, for want of a better word. You would more often than not be pouting. Your eyes downcast to some imaginary presence to your left. Your ear plugged with water. You could have swatted me away, oui? But you did not - and I think that said more to me than words could.

Avec amour, Francis.


Dear Francis,

And we'd fight. Don't forget the fighting, Francis. Sometimes it would last all day - with sticks or stones or swords or fists. I remember when I probably went a little too far and lashed out effusively at you, trying to push you back across the sea. It didn't work, but still, you sat, shocked at the shore of the channel. I've never admitted this before but I'd always liked the way your blood looked in the water - the thick red swirling softly among the blue. It floated like smoke or like oxygen and I felt dizzy from the adrenaline, fists balled at my side, knuckles laced with your blood. There was a deep cut at your temple. 'Merde' - you would curse and complain bitterly about the salt in your wounds and then you would wipe the gash on the back of fine silk, wincing at the touch.
But that - that was several lifetimes ago, you know. I mean, when I punched you in the jaw last week because you tried to feel me up at the supermarket - something I am still terribly upset about, by the way - I dabbed the blood away afterwards, stupidly worrying when it gushed and spilled as if it hasn't been me who caused it. It's funny the way things change, right?

Yours, Arthur.

P.S. If you ever insult my embroidery again, I'll stab you in the eye with a needle. Then we'll see who is truly ridiculous.


Arthur, mon cher,

Of course I remember the fighting. To be completely truthful, I think we fight each other better than we actually love each other. I tried to be romantic, Arthur. Do you remember the notes? Countless scribbled French notes that you probably could not read anyway. I remember you drunkenly admitting that you spent days looking at them all the same.
They were letters, Arthur. Surely you are aware. I am nothing but an excellent letter-writer. You should find them. You will deny it passionately but I am well aware that you probably kept them. Read them from the beginning.
I tried to be romantic. I think I tried a little too hard. Remember the night when you finally tried wine and although you pulled a face, it stole the hearts of your aristocrats? I do not really want to go into that but we have already meandered too far down memory lane and that particular memory has the ugliest house there. So gaudy and noticeable - I will not be able to ignore it for long, non?




Don't be so dramatic. It is not that ugly a memory. Quite the contrary, I even remember some beautiful things about it.
For one, the starlight was hurled at us - spinning and thrown magnificently from some unseen force. With hindsight, perhaps it wasn't an unseen force but just the wine playing tricks with outer space. I can remember the taste of the wine - and I can remember it made my teeth numb and my limbs slippery. Then we get to the part that hurts, I suppose. So you took me. I let you do that. Then you looked down and saw the blood on the floor even though we were panting through clenched teeth and my fingernails were tight on your shoulder. So you said 'I hurt you,' and I distinctively remember saying 'It's okay-' even though I wasn't sure it it was okay or not. Then you said 'Non - it is not okay. I hurt you. I was not supposed to hurt you.'
So the starlight was hurled at us through open windows and in that moment, despite all the rivalry and bitterness between us, you cared. You cared, alright? It was a pretty cold night, I think. Your breath suddenly turned to chalk-dust and I'm not sure if it was the wine or the caring but you threw up and covered up the blood on the floor, anyway. Then you melted against me and apologised and that in itself covered up any painful spots, for me, anyway.
So we didn't do anything like that for a while. But that was bloody several lifetimes ago, Francis and now I think it's sometimes appreciated - a little pain.

Yours always, Arthur.



I always cared. Though it pains me to admit this, from the moment I crossed the channel and saw you standing defiantly on the other side, I knew you would make my world come undone and I can admit this now without irony or shame but with unfettered and bizarre acceptance.
I think you hated me on a level you could never understand but I also think we were always in love - in a way that will probably forever tug at my heart. I can even feel it now - swelling up gloriously by a glittering channel of ever-blue and I truly think that was the subtle brilliance of our love. Slowly learning and churning out foreign tongues and brushing your golden hair under a sky-crossed sun. The way you would slowly yet begrudgingly give me chaste kisses and the way you would scream insults at me until you were red in the face or bludgeon me spitefully with whatever you could use as a weapon. Even now, when we have countless lifetimes to go and you stab me with embroidery needles or indulge my sentimentality by writing me letters about years long past, I know that all of that was - and always will be - the subtle brilliance of our love.

With love always, Francis.


"Did I not promise my letters were the height of excellence?"
Arthur all but leapt from his seat, his mouth half-open and half-crooked, letter crumpled in balled fists just in case the whisper of intrusion was anybody but Francis and red-orange heartbeat scratching anxiously away at his chest.
"You almost gave me a bloody heart attack you complete and utter moron." he scathed through clenched teeth.
"Why, Angleterre, is that a tear I see sparkling so wonderfully in your eye? Was my recent letter that touching? Honestly, it's okay to be moved by the beauty of my very presence, but by my words as well?" Francis sat down casually on Arthur's recently vacated chair.
"More like sickeningly pretentious twaddle, Francis. Honestly, I knew you enjoyed poncey, romantic nonsense but this really takes the-" Arthur was contemplating ripping the damn thing into a hundred tiny pieces.
"I meant it, you know," Francis announced sincerely, all the while raising his eyebrow at Arthur's clenched fists "So you should really relax your grip on the precious thing. It took several tries to perfect and I know its' deep emotional contents probably flew right over your thick head, mon cher, but-"
Arthur tossed the paper ball at Francis' head with frightening velocity and stormed out of the room.
"Oh! You want me to frame it for you?" Francis called after him. "You need only have asked!"
bittergreenteabittergreentea on October 4th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Absolutely loved this. Underneath all the history, Francis and Arthur really do act like a married couple. <3
pillow-biting cindy •°: if my heart was a house  ↙evokers on October 4th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
lmao they totally do ♥ thanks so much! :]
Natalie: little frukmad_bomber75 on October 4th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful <3

I don't think I could ever stop loving these two. They're just so...perfect. Thank you for writing and sharing this! :D
pillow-biting cindy •°: rainbow veins  ↙evokers on October 4th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
eee ♥ i know. i totally fell for them pretty much the second i got into hetalia.

thanks so much for reading! :D
unestelunestel on October 4th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, so beautiful, definitely one of my favourite France/England fics!
pillow-biting cindy •°: ten million fireflies  ↙evokers on October 4th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
fff, thanks so much! ♥ i'm so happy you think so.
melodrama queen: kittyinsomniel on October 4th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
So lovely and romantic, with just the right amount of arguing. I love the letter format, too, it just fits them. Thanks for sharing~
pillow-biting cindy •°: ten million fireflies  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
thank you! :D ♥ i actually didn't plan it as a letter-format fic but it. wrote itself like that anyway. \o/ haha
-: Fruk: like an old married couplek3llyb3an on October 4th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)

My heart melted! This is adorable with just the perfect amount of snarkiness~

Lovely job!
pillow-biting cindy •°: the technicolour phase  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
thanks so much! ♥ i'm glad you think so!
Nutmegmeg_inatree on October 5th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
Dear god I love this, so hard.

Wonderful work ♥
pillow-biting cindy •°: hot air balloon  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
mission accomplished \o/

thanks so much :D ♥
rocketsciences: FrUK proximityrocketsciences on October 5th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
Ahh, Francis with his romantics and Arthur in deep denial is lovely ♥

I don't think Francis will ever learn to not insulting Arthur's embroidery (nor to inappropriately touch the latter, for that matter)

And reminiscing is always wonderful c:
pillow-biting cindy •°: if my heart was a house  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
they are both just...so lovely i don't even. ♥

lmao. embroidery jokes are always necessary. :D

of course it is o/ ♥
winnnner1234winnnner1234 on October 5th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
This story is beautiful! <3333
pillow-biting cindy •°: rainbow veins  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
thank you *A* ♥ i'm glad you think so!
(Deleted comment)
pillow-biting cindy •°: if my heart was a house  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
thank you ♥♥♥ *A*

fff i love this ship so hard, too. i just. can't get enough of it, to be honest. \o/

azultigress: fruktiger_azul on October 5th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Oh Arthur doth protest too much, methinks! :)
Some lovely, tender moments in those letters, like the hairbrushing and the failed attempts at teaching French, and some great descriptive lines; I particularly like how you describe the sun glittering on the channel like a kaleidoscope.
pillow-biting cindy •°: rainbow veins  ↙evokers on October 5th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
thank you :] ♥ i basically had a whole bunch of moments i wanted to write about so i decided to bundle them all together in one fic. a-and i'm so happy you like my decription. *A*
materia_indigo on October 5th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
Squee!! I have a fondness for this pairing, and I loved this!
pillow-biting cindy •°evokers on October 5th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
eee ♥ i honestly don't see how anyone could resist them! thank you! :D
mary margrave •°: °•aph : en francaisyoubrokemydog on October 6th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)

sorry it took me so long to get around to read D8
i have no idea what you're going on about when you say its rubbish. its not. not at all :)

pillow-biting cindy •°: if my heart was a house  ↙evokers on October 6th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)

's okay ily. :)
eeeeh. i do like some parts of it. i just. don't like it as much as i liked my last francis/arthur fic. :I

mary margrave •°: °•aph : iggyyoubrokemydog on October 6th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)

that last fic was epic. like. amazingly epic. i may have to think of another prompt for you 8D
Kira: APH - you and merainy_fantasy on October 10th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
This was such a cute idea!! &hearts I love the tone change from letter to letter, clearly showing each character's emotions and personality through the words. The last few letters were so sweet and I "awwwed" when Arthur began to end it with "Yours, Arthur." Adorable ending as well, tehe.
Fantastic job! I love this so much.
pillow-biting cindy •°: take me above your light  ↙evokers on October 13th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
thanks so much ♥ i...tried to balance the structure like that so i'm glad it came across! o/
tupelo_thief on January 3rd, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
wow, this is the most perfect FrUk i've ever read =D
pillow-biting cindy •°evokers on January 4th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
*A* thank you ♥ that's so nice of you to say. ;n;