berseker: (fruk)
[personal profile] berseker
... I’m afraid to post this orz

Title: Their Finest Hour [1/?]
Characters: France, England, Germany, America, Canada.
Pairing(s): Fr/Ger, Fr/UK that can also be read as friendship, but still.
Rating/Warnings: R, I guess? This was written for the kink-meme a few months ago, and the prompt was WW2 captiveFrance/Germany, with England forced to watch, so. There’s no graphic porn, but there’s abuse both implied and on-screen and lots of angst. And whipping. And very cruel Germany. And did I mention angst?
Summary: Germany takes over France. Francis tries to survive, and Arthur does what he can.








1. Paris triumf marsch


Francis listens to the song.

It’s – uplifting, really, a pleasant little tune he would never associate with Ludwig. Francis thinks that maybe in a different time, a different place, he might’ve even enjoyed it – he might’ve smiled and tilted his head to think, secretly, that it was nothing like his own compositions but still had its merits. Especially considering the author.

“Do you like it?” a German voice whispers in his ear.

Now. Now Ludwig holds him in front of the radio, his gloved fingers circling Francis’ arms, not that it’s needed, Francis won’t go anywhere. He won’t fight. Ludwig told him to stand and listen, so that’s what he will do. He’ll stand and listen.

Still. Still. Ludwig holds him too tight, his fingers will leave a mark and Francis doesn’t care, he doesn’t care, now, about how weak his legs are or the even more alarming fact that his back is against Ludwig’s broad shoulder and he can’t quite support himself. He should – he never cared much for Ludwig anyway, and he knows he has many reasons to resent him, and he knows Ludwig is not quite the same person he used to be. Something happened, something they all missed, something that took over him and made him like this. Cold. Francis doesn’t think about it now.

He listens to the song.

Paris triumf marsch. Made especially for this moment, to play here, for him, to celebrate the invasion.

So Francis listens to the song, and he sees German tanks and flags in red and black. He sees his people crying as the German army takes over his Paris. And he listens to the song.

Ludwig asks again. Tell me you liked it. .

Francis flinches:

“I did,” he says “I liked it. I-”

“Tomorrow,” Ludwig says “You will show me your city. . My city.”

Tomorrow, Francis thinks. Tomorrow so many things will happen, Ludwig has tem years of humiliation to get even from, tomorrow, he’ll get him back for every little aggravation tomorrow. Tomorrow Francis will regret ever having the arrogance to assume he could defy him, tomorrow he’ll lay in the floor or the bed or under his Arc de Triomphe or whatever the hell Ludwig decides and he’ll spread his legs and degrade himself and tomorrow he won’t think of Arthur, he won’t, so he won’t taint everything that’s still beautiful and pure and precious, tomorrow, tomorrow.

Tomorrow he’ll take Ludwig for a walk so they can eat croissants. Tomorrow they’ll have wine and drink to the fallen city.

Tomorrow.

Today he listens to the song.





2. Darkest Hour

a few days ago


Arthur is always serious, always brimming with furious energy and he walks from one wall to the other in his office, touching something here, moving something there, and he almost reminds Francis of Alfred.

Francis doesn’t move much. He feels Germany’s advance on his lands, he feels the invasion in his bones and he is tired. He sees no reason to waste a perfectly comfortable chair pacing around.

He follows his friend’s steps with his eyes. Friend. Now who could have seen this one coming? Arthur fighting by his side, the same fear, same blind rage, same surprise to see how much Ludwig’s grown, how damm menacing and frightening he suddenly become. The same frustration over Alfred’s stubborn reticence and the same proud fatherly love when they see Matthew. Francis even manages to care about the others too, Australia and New Zealand and India and South Africa, because Arthur’s eyes shine brighter when they’re around.

In the beginning both of them were suspicious, and embarrassed, and awkward because you can’t erase centuries of enmity just like that. But as the war progressed, getting increasingly worse, as the blood and sweat mixed in the battlefields, they stopped the insults and barbs and their dialogues revolved around war and strategy and war again, war, war and more war, until Francis couldn’t remember when was the last time they talked of anything else.

He’s tired.

“I don’t know,” he says, answering a question Arthur didn’t make “But I won’t give up. Not now, and not like this.”

His new boss wants a truce with Germany, and the idea makes Francis queasy. The fact Arthur is not even considering this for himself is at the same a comfort and a punch in the face.

“I won’t surrender,” he says “I won’t… I won’t accept anything that dishonoring for me, for my people. I won’t. I-”

Oh but he will, won’t he? He’ll have to, if his boss says so. And if Ludwig agrees. The choice’s not his anymore and his words are empty, but he says it anyway, a note of despair tinging his voice.

“I won’t accept this. Between my life and my honor, there’s no possible choice.”

Arthur stops pacing, stares at him and Francis raises his chin, almost challenging him to make a joke about it, to use his oh-so-witty British acidic humor. Both of them know Dunkirk would have been a fucking disaster without his help and Arthur pretty much owes him.

Still, he braces himself, because – well, it was a disaster, wasn’t it? Too many mistakes, they should have left Belgium, he should have made so many things and he waits, almost wishing Arthur will accuse him, so he can defend his actions and maybe convince himself.

Arthur words, however, are nothing like what he expects:

“We should work together.”

Francis manages a weak smile:

“Aren’t we doing it already, mon ami?’

Is just him or Arthur is blushing?

“Yes. I know. But we’ll need more than this.”

“Be more together than together? I’m not sure I follow.”

“Yes, you do.” Arthur glares at him and yes, his face is beet red “I- my parliament discussed this, and I propose… I was authorized to propose a complete union between France and Britain.”

Francis forgets how to breathe.

Yes, he does understand. He understand it too well and something breaks inside him, something in his heart hurts so much he takes a few seconds do find his voice again:

“Why,” he says, stammering a little, his voice almost a whisper “Why do I feel I’d be the weak link in this… relationship?”

“Francis-“

‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” He flashes a smile that feels more like a grimace “Don’t mind me, cheri, I’m just being-”

“I meant an alliance between equals,” Arthur interrupts, frowning.

“I know, I know. I’ll mention this to my boss, and I thank you, most sincerely. Really. I appreciate it.”

There’s a moment of silence when they face each other, tension in both their eyes. Arthur’s the one who breaks it:

“What the bloody hell are you talking about?”

‘Nothing, cheri. I didn’t mean anything.”

“Don’t be dafter than you have to be, Francis. Since when you can’t speak your mind? I want to know!”

Francis shakes his head, the evasive excuses and empty speech on the tip of his tongue, and-

-and then he’s talking too fast, not even knowing if the feeling behind each word is anger or just plain old despair:

“My people are fighting, I’m fighting for myself, for my land, for my flag, but Arthur, I know I won’t last much longer. You know that too, we both do. I feel- I can feel them in my lands, I feel every step they take and I don’t- I don’t want to be under your protection, I’m not- like I was before, am I? No, you don’t have to deny it, I know, I can see it, you’re so- I’d just be another burden, wouldn’t I? And you, for you to offer something like this, I don’t understand it, I don’t know what we’re doing anymore, but I don’t, I don’t want you to see me like this but that’s who I am, right? France will fall, I can tell, and there’s nothing I can do to prevent it, nothing you can do either, and then what? You’ll have enough on your plate without worrying about me and I won’t have anything to offer you, and I, I want to know, why now? Why now, when I’d only disappear on your shadow? Why didn’t you do this before, when it would have counted, when it would have been useful? When it made sense?

Arthur grabs his hand, and only then Francis realizes how cold his own fingers are.

“That’s not true,” Arthur says “So shut up.”

Francis closes his mouth. His eyes are burning, and this surprises him more than anything, because Arthur’s the one who cries easily, Arthur’s the one who can’t show any emotion without tearing up, not him. Not him.

Arthur squeezes his hands:

“Don’t be stupid. Not more than you have to be, anyway.”

Francis wants to answer, something, anything, but he doesn’t know what to say. What to think. He’s used to this, multiple voices screaming inside his head, all the diverging opinions and different points of view, everything that comes with being a free nation, but is still overwhelming, the wounded pride and courage and the will to fight until there’s nothing left. The ever growing respect toward this precious enemy holding his hand. The shame of losing to an upstart like Ludwig, someone he could have crushed under his boot in his glorious days, and the paralyzing fear of what Ludwig will do to him for daring to think this and shame for leaving Arthur to fight alone and everything at the same time, mixing and twisting inside him.

“Do you think I’m a coward?”

And maybe, just maybe, this is what he really wants to know. Because Ludwig’s in France, and Francis should leave his soldiers in Paris to defend the city but he doesn’t want to fight there, he doesn’t want to sacrifice his place, his heart, because now it’s only a matter of days before he falls under Germany’s rule and then, then what’s Arthur going to do?

But the word tears his throat and burn his lips, and he wants to sob but that would be unthinkable, not in front of Arthur, he won’t do it even if it kills him, he won’t cry in front of Arthur.

“No,” Arthur says, his voice hoarse and harsh and yes, his green eyes are wet and Francis feels vaguely relieved “I don’t. Just- just think about what I said, will you?”

He doesn’t have the time to answer.

It is with broken heart that I tell you today that fighting must cease, he says on the radio, of course he’s the one who has to do this and why should the universe give him a break anyway? He hopes, against all reason, that his voice’s not trembling, that Arthur’s not listening to this. And he thinks- between life and honor there’s no possible choice. Right. Right. That wasn’t how he meant it, but everything’s fine, right? It’s a choice. He reads the words his boss wrote as if his voice belonged to someone else, as if he were hearing this straight from his boss mouth. May all French people keep their anguish to themselves and obey nothing but their faith in the destiny of their country.

When he’s done and they turn off the radio, Francis laughs.

He can’t help it. He bursts in laughter a little too loud and a little too strident, like shrieks, really, he laughs until someone comes to fetch him because now he has to prepare himself to discuss with Ludwig – I mean, to hear with attention and nod politely and mind everything he says, please, don’t cross him and don’t say anything stupid – the details of his surrender, sorry, armistice, and he can’t take this anymore, he just keeps laughing until he’s out of breath.



Part 2

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