berseker: (fruk_family)
[personal profile] berseker
TITLE: The Frog Princess and the Awesome Hero
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: France/England, America, Canada
RATING: G
SUMMARY: Fr/Uk Family AU. Arthur tells a story.

My Hetalia Sunshine fic.







The Frog Princess and the Awesome Hero





1.


The first time Arthur tells the Best Story In The World, it starts with a prince being stolen from his palace. Then it cuts to the point where he leaves the village (village, Francis says, what village? , and Arthur says, a random village, that’s not the point, now shut up) and meets a poor but beautiful young lady, with a dirty face and golden locks and a tattered robe and a green beret and-

A green beret.

“Yes,” Arthur says, “Because she’s French, you see.”

“She wears a green beret because she’s French.”

His suspension of disbelief just broke. This is just plain wrong. Arthur frowns, and tells him she’s not that beautiful, actually, she kinda looks like a frog, so the beret fits.

This makes Francis smile.

They are alone in a small restaurant, and Francis is paying because Arthur is broke, the poor thing, and because- well, because. Francis would pay anyway. His smile is slow and sensual and, fine, maybe it's more a leer than an actual smile, and it makes Arthur lowers his eyes - the greenest Francis has ever seen, even if they're mostly hidden under those bushy eyebrows.

Francis will buy his book, that much he already decided. Arthur has something in there, something that makes that silly plot jumps out of the page – or out of his voice, considering. He's just keeping his decision for himself. For now. Let this moody young writer work a little harder to impress him, let his eyes light up with another twist in his story.

“Forgive me, chéri. Please, go on. What happens then?”

Arthur hesitates, torn between sulking and carrying on with his narrative, and then he decides the story is more important.

So, the girl. She befriends the prince and they decide to fight together, of course, and Francis says, just as a passing thought, how amazing it is that in a vaguely medieval setting, you can still find a… how old was she again? A twelve, thirteen years old girl wandering by herself, and honestly, is remarkable enough that she’s still alive, let alone still a virgin, especially considering how inept she seems to be at defending herself. I know it’s all fantasy, he says, but it's still a little odd, don't you think?

To his surprise, Arthur doesn’t take offense. His eyes are suddenly mysterious, his voice lower when he answers:

“Inept, you say. I wonder what gave you this idea...”

“Well,” Francis says, a little surprised, “Well, then. Who’s this girl? How did she make it?”

When he comes back to his senses, he spent half the dinner enthralled in a fairytale, watching Arthur build his castle right in front of his eyes. He reaches out, then, covers Arthur’s hand with his own. Arthur’s face is awash with red, and Francis allows himself an honest smile – not the flirtatious one from up to now, not his trademark leer, an honest to god smile full of almost wonder, and says:

“I see you are a wizard, chér.”

“Don’t be daft,” Arthur says, but there’s a touch of pride in his voice, “It’s just a story. Just- something I do.”

“If you say so.”

Other dinners follow this one, many others. And walks around the river and long conversations by phone and letter and emails and face to face too, and after a long campaign – longer than it took the little prince to conquer back his lost crown, almost - Francis takes Arthur to his bed.

They lay together the morning after, and Francis touches his eyebrows- tick and golden and soft, like caterpillars, he think, and smiles to himself because he’s being silly, and in love, and he’s not used to either one.

He doesn’t ask Arthur to marry him, not exactly, but he mentions that maybe they should consider living together, you know, since everything is so expensive and sharing would make it easier, maybe, of course, not that he needs the money or anything, it's not that, is just that- he’s babbling, he, Francis Bonnefoy is babbling and suddenly Arthur leans over and kisses his lips, and his face is beet red but he’s smiling. Francis smiles too and yes, he’s pretty sure his eyes are not wet, thank you very much, and he doesn’t say a thing because this is not a moment for words.

Arthur doesn’t want to move to his apartment, and doesn’t want Francis to go to his either. If they are doing this, he says, we’ll have to buy another one. He doesn’t say ‘so it will be ours, because his way with words can only go so far, but Francis hears it anyway.

They find the apartment. They move together. And Francis waits a few days before buying the rings.



2.


The second time Arthur tells the Best Story In The World, he’s sitting on the bed and Alfred is finally, finally under the covers, after what can only be described as a battle, because the boy still had energy to spare after a whole day running around and creating havoc all through the house. Francis doesn't know he manages it.

But now Arthur is near, ready to grab him in case he tries for a last escapade and Francis is ready to pass out on his bed. As soon as story time is over.

Not that he's complaining. Before this, before Alfred, he had some doubts. He had never seen himself as parent, but Arthur loved children so much that he relented. That, or maybe being a parent was something contagious, because he was honestly surprised to see how easy had been to love Alfred.

Then again, Alfred was special. So much that, after a week, it was hard to imagine how they had lived so long without him. From his bubbling laugh to his eagerness to please, from his blue eyes to the hair that refused to settle down, from each wet sloppy kiss to the hugs tight around the neck, Alfred was all joy and sunshine and love wrapped up in a heart big as the world.

And now he’s sitting – and Francis holds back a moan, because he was supposed to be laying down – his face on his hands, listening to Arthur in nothing short of rapture, not even blinking so he won’t miss a detail.

Arthur tells him about the kidnapping, and the dirty-faced girl (he drops the beret this time) and the first meeting with bandits in the Dark Forest, but when the prince is fighting and the girl in being attacked by the Great Crow, and Francis knows she’s about to use her magic sword, Alfred interrupts:

“And then, then the prince saw everything, and he jumped in front of her because he’s a hero, and he had his sword, and he killed the Crow, right?”

Arthur doesn’t miss a bit:

“He tried,” he says, leaning forward, voice low for effect, “But when he thrust his sword, it turned red, and so hot he had to drop it! And then, do you know what happened? The crow vanished in a cloud of feathers and dark smoke! And then-”

Francis almost interrupts. But he waits until Alfred is sleeping, head full of battles and heroic stunts, to whisper:

“I liked it better when she was a fighter.”

Arthur smiles as he closes Alfred’s door. He’s smiling more, ever since that day with the ring.

“Oh, and I couldn’t help but notice,” Francis adds, “that now the lady has green eyes.”

Arthur’s only answer is an uncommitted grunt. It’s what Francis expected. Arthur never bothered to explain his art, as he puts it.

“Is she still a frog, my love?”

“Sure she is,” Arthur says, “It’s something about the French accent. You wouldn’t know.”

“Oh, I would. It takes a frog princess to marry a golden caterpillar, oui?”

Arthur snorts.

In the end, Francis gets used to it. Now the story belongs to Alfred, and the boy is furious when the dirty-faced girl is captured, a little more than Francis expected him to be, and he is overjoyed with every battle the prince wins – all of them, because that’s when he takes charge and Arthur is content to just toss some ideas here and there to keep the story flowing.

When both characters are having their very meaningful conversation, and she tells the prince she’s an orphan, Alfred’s blue eyes fill up. Arthur pulls him to his chest:

“Oh, angel, sometimes people die. But that doesn’t mean the love is gone. The girl’s parent loved her so, so much that their love was like a shield around her, protecting her from all evil, and it shined like a beacon, attracting the fairies to save her and teach her all the magic in the world.”

Alfred presses his face against Arthur’s chest, listening carefully. Then he asks, in a whisper so frail that Francis has to strain to pick it up, if the fairies will die one day. Arthur says they won’t.

“Now that’s quite the promise,” Francis says, hours later, and Arthur simply nods.

Next morning, Alfred is back to his joyful hyper former self. The prince saves the girl and the day and the kingdom, and then Arthur pauses, expecting Alfred to take over the celebrations, but the boy looks up at him with such a hopeful look on his face that Arthur goes on a eulogy that would take at least five pages..

Alfred falls asleep with a smile.

Francis kisses Arthur’s lips, later, and says:

“You’re a great father, my dear caterpillar,” and Arthur flushes and says, well, so are you, frog.



3.


The third time Arthur tells the Best Story in the World, Matthew looks first at Alfred, then Arthur, and then at Francis, and something in his eyes makes Francis stretch out his arms.

It's new, this, to see the blue eyes – a little darker than Alfred's, maybe a light shade of purple – fill with relief when Matthew makes himself comfortable on his lap. Because Francis loves Alfred, of course, but he never managed to read his thoughts and, with Mattie, this feels natural.

Arthur tells his tale, and by now Francis heard it enough to know it changes all the time. He's waiting to see what this new version will bring, when Mattie stiffens.

“What's wrong, petit?” he whispers, “Don't you like the prince?”

Arthur stops middle sentence, an encouraging smile on his lips. Mattie looks down:

“He was angry, because she lost the fight...”

Oh, right. There's that. Lately the girl has been trying a little too hard- and failing a little too often. Francis thinks the trend started when Alfred found out he was going to get a little brother. A little brother who is very quiet, who keeps his voice so low he can barely be heard. Who breaks more glasses than Alfred ever did and stumbles on everything.

“That's because she can't fight,” Alfred snaps, “Because she's a stupid frog.”

Matthew's lips quiver, and Francis holds him tight and Arthur is about to mediate when Matthew whispers:

“But everything looks weird, and blurry, and she can't see the branches, she can't... she didn't mean to.”

It's the first time Arthur is taken aback. He recovers fast, though, enough to give Alfred a very pointed look, and the boy frowns:

“Well, then, if she can't see, then- then I dunno, it's ok, because- but she can't stay like this, she has to- she has to see, or-”

He stops. Francis can almost see the little wheels turning inside his head, as Alfred stares at Matthew, and he can feel Mattie's heart beating faster, and then Alfred brightens up:

“I know, the fairies will help her! They'll grant her a wish, or something, and then she'll be a great fighter, like the prince, and then I- he will take care of her. Because he's a hero.”

Matthew blinks.

He smiles back, a little shy, and Alfred beams at him.

Next day, Alfred lends him his glasses, and both boys decide this is not a good idea and Francis explains them the fairies are already working on it, don't worry, but even so Alfred keeps close to Matthew and holds his hand, and points out to him where everything is and Mathew happily follows him like a little blond puppy. Francis wants to laugh, and Arthur just shakes his head.

A few days later, Matthew's glasses are ready. He walks down the street with wide eyes, and when he gets home he and Alfred go exploring the house.

The story changes again. Sometimes the prince saves the girl, sometimes she saves herself, and once, when Alfred was sick and his throat was hurting, Matthew took his chance and the girl saved the prince.

Francis asks who's going to marry whom. Arthur throws him a very nasty look, but the boys grimace and tell him no one is getting married, duh, because girls are disgusting – except for the girl in the story, of course, but she won't marry a boy either, because she'll be the queen, the fairy queen, that is, the frog fairy, and he will be the caterpillar king, and Francis thinks this is a little unfair.

Arthur just laughs at him.




4.


The fourth time, they get home late at night and Elizavetha, the girl watching over the boys, gives them a very stern look and says it was hard to make them go to bed. Francis pays her a little extra and drives her back home.

When he is back, he goes to the boys' room, and finds Arthur at the door. Arthur presses a finger against his lips, a clear request for silence, and Francis leans over his shoulder to see what's going on.

What he sees is Alfred and Mattie in the same bed, and Alfred is talking in excited whispers – so, he got his sword, right, but when he tried to kill the Crow, do you know what happened?- and Mattie is listening and every now and then he frowns and says, no, it wasn't like that, she didn't stumble, and Francis smiles and takes Arthur by the hand.

“I was wondering,” he says when they enter their room, and stops to clear his throat, “Not that I'm not happy with our babies, I am, but, you know. I was wondering. Maybe we should have another one.”

Arthur's smile is sweet, when he answers:

“I'll need a new character, then.”

“Someone who knows more than fairies and swords,” Francis says, and his voice is raspy and thick with emotion, and Arthur frowns – his lovely, adorable eyebrows, Francis thinks, shading the greenest eyes he's ever seen, even after all this time.

“There's nothing wrong with fairies.”

“Of course. Nothing wrong, my little caterpillar.”

“Oh, shut it, frog.”

He laughs, and kisses Arthur's fingers, and he's pleased to see Arthur still flushes like before.




Back in the boy's room, Alfred pauses a few seconds to breathe and Matthew takes his chance:

“You said the fairies were her parents.”

“Yes. Because her real parents died, you see, but the fairies will never, ever die, so-”

“And the prince, he’s their son too?”

Alfred considers it carefully. Then his eyes light up:

“Yes! That's why he was kidnapped, the fairies stole him because the king had stolen him first, so he's their son too! We should tell daddy and papa, I bet they don't know, and-”

“So they're brothers,” Matthew says, pleased, and Alfred corrects him, no, he's her brother, she's his sister, and Matthew says, that's what I said, and Alfred says no, it isn't, and they speak softly, very close to each other, and Matthew is the first to relent. Ok, fine, go on, he says, and Alfred does and they talk the night away, building together the best story in the world.





~end

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