Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s): (in this chapter) Prussia, Austria, Spain, Germany, France ;; Austria/Hungary, Germany/Italy, Spain/Romano
Genre: Friendship, Romance, Slice-of-Life, Angst
Warning(s): Kissing, Swearing, Homosexual Relationships, Original Character, YMMV Characterizations, Angst
Summary: A lot has happened in the past ten years, and for some it was impossible to keep promises that were once so central and vital. As their high school reunion captures them all by surprise, the Bad Touch Trio will have to re-learn the meaning of friendship and love.
x-posted @ hetalia and inthreesome
Part I Chapter I - Part I Chapter II - Part I Chapter III - Part I Chapter IV - Part I Chapter V - Part I Chapter VI - Part I Final - Part II Chapter I - Part II Chapter II - Part II Chapter III - Part II Chapter IV - Part II Chapter VI - Part II Final
Scarred Heart in Hand, Part II Chapter V
When they re-entered the gymnasium, Antonio pulled his hand away from Francis’, running up the back where Lovino was still sitting with Elizaveta and Feliciano and leaning into his husband. Francis smiled, but it vanished quickly when he found that he had to give Gilbert a push in the right direction with Matthew (quite literally; Gilbert almost fell over, which is what caught Matthew’s attention). Gilbert had turned around to curse at Francis, who simply wiggled his fingers and called out a fond “Bonjour!” to Matthew before making his way to the corner table, where Ludwig was still seated, joined by Roderich and a sleeping Bella.
“Hello,” he started, pulling up a seat and sitting with them. Both men instantly dropped their conversation and turned to him.
He nodded, before pointing over to the couple of Lovino and Antonio, “I could not help but notice that more people are starting to head for the dance floor. Perhaps Feliciano and Elizaveta would like to dance as well?”
Roderich coughed, “I don’t think that is a very good idea, all things considered.”
“Why not? You mean, because Elizaveta is pregnant?”
“Well, yes, actually.”
Francis shook his head, “You are babying her, Roderich. If there is anything that Elizaveta is, it is capable enough to handle herself. I am not asking you to do anything wild, just treat her to a short waltz to make her happy.”
“T-This is hardly the right music for a waltz.”
“Then you will just have to lead her with your own.”
Roderich hesitated, looking up at his wife, who met his gaze and smiled, waving at him. He cleared his throat and looked away.
“Francis is right,” Ludwig spoke suddenly, “it would make her happy.”
Sighing, the brunet stood up and made his way over to her. From the short distance, Francis could see clearly how Elizaveta’s face lit up as she led Roderich to the floor. He turned to Ludwig with a smile, holding his hands out for Bella.
“You too,” he instructed, and Ludwig bit a very small sliver of his lip.
“I have to hold the baby.”
“I’ll hold Bella, Ludwig; you need to go make your boyfriend happy.”
“But…” Francis could see that Ludwig’s cheeks were flushed as he trailed off, scrambling for an excuse. “If she wakes up and finds herself with a stranger, she’ll scream.”
“And I will deal with it, rest assured. Now, then, are you planning on leaving Feliciano standing there alone for the rest of the evening?”
Francis gestured past himself, to where the small brunet was standing, bobbing his head gently along to the music as he watched the dancers take to the floor; apparently others had followed Antonio and Lovino’s example, and now the gym was full of couples. Even the DJ had noticed, apparently, as the next song to begin was slower than the ones before it, and much more romantic.
Ludwig was still looking at Feliciano when Francis turned back to him, and it did not take long for him to heave a sigh and nod, standing slowly and gently passing the infant over to Francis’ waiting arms.
“Be sure to enjoy yourself,” Francis smiled at him, shifting Bella in his arms to hold her more comfortably. Ludwig watched as she sighed, relaxing into Francis’ chest, before nodding tersely (probably because of his nerves, Francis decided) and striding in precise steps over to his lover.
Francis stopped watching them after Feliciano squealed, jumped up, and drug Ludwig away to the dance floor with a bounce in his step, turning his attentions to the sleeping baby in his hands. She really did resemble Lovino, with the light tan of her skin and chocolately color of her hair, and especially with the way she had her fist balled up in Francis’ shirt, giving him the sense that regardless of how she felt about him she was not about to let go.
“Hello, little Bella,” he murmured softly, a long pale finger tracing over her lips; when she puckered them up, he chuckled. “I am your uncle, Francis. Your father Antonio is the closest thing to a brother, to a family, that I have ever had, and so I have been waiting a long, long time to meet you. He talks about you so much; he and Lovino love you to pieces. You are very lucky to have such loving men as your fathers.”
Francis paused for a moment, brushing a short lock of hair away from her forehead, and then he added, “And they are very lucky to have you, too.”
He looked back up at the crowd of couples, making out the forms of his friends in the throng. Elizaveta and Roderich were easy to spot, swaying in their own little world off to the side; Francis guessed that Roderich had insisted they avoid the throng of dancers so that Elizaveta not be knocked over, and the thought made him chuckle softly. A short way away, Lovino had his head lain in Antonio’s chest, his eyes shut and his body relaxed against his husband’s, Antonio’s own body holding the other up close to him.
It took him a little longer to spot Gilbert and Matthew; his gaze passed over the couple of Berwald and Tino (’Are they married’? Francis hoped so), over Alfred dancing with Chelles (he noted the lightness of their gait, the lack of intimacy that told him they were dancing as friends, not lovers), over Gupta in Sadiq’s arms and Kiku in Heracles’, until finally he spotted the head of snowy white hair.
Gilbert and Matthew were holding each other shyly, standing an arm’s length apart, as if they were truly at a high school affair. It frustrated Francis to see them act so hesitantly, because he had hoped that they would realize they wasted so much time being shy in the past, lost so many opportunities.
He was especially disappointed in Matthew, who had emailed him a few days in advance of the reunion to ask for advance on how to rekindle their relationship. Francis had instructed him to take the most direct approach, to simply ask Gilbert if he would like to dance, or share a drink, or even just talk (after all, he was sure to point out, Gilbert loved to talk about himself). And yet, when he had arrived at the reunion they were both on opposite sides of the gym, and Matthew refused to meet his gaze.
The song ended, and Francis watched as Gilbert started to pull away as the next, much slower song started up. But, to his and Gilbert’s surprise, Matthew grabbed the albino’s arm just as he was about to turn away and pulled him a little closer. Even Francis could see that Matthew’s reddened cheeks, and a moment later a smattering of pink was visible on Gilbert’s as he accepted, the two of them falling into the slow dance along with the other couples.
“Ah, isn’t love beautiful, Bella?” he murmured, smiling back down at the baby in his arms. “I only hope that someday you will be able to experience that kind of love for yourself, for it is truly worth all the hurt and heartache that comes along with it...”
“…F-Francis?” A new voice suddenly murmured from behind him; no, not a new voice. A very, very familiar old voice, one that had called his names countless times, one that had driven his crazy with hate and love and passion at its sound. One that he had not expected to hear, possibly ever again, and certainly not on that night…
And yet, when Francis turned around, painfully slowly, there was no mistaking the figure standing behind him.
It was Arthur Kirkland.
Arthur’s day had been, to say the least, quite hectic. There was last minute packing to do when he woke up, because his housemates had insisted that he go out and party with them, dragging him out of the house almost against his will the previous night. After he had been sure that he had all his belongings packed up, while simultaneously fighting the pounding ache in his skull, Arthur had to find something to eat quickly as he hailed a cab to take him to the airport. Then there was the hassle at the airport, and a turbulent flight that he was hell bent on keeping him from getting any sleep, and delays at the arriving airport that forced them to spend an extra hour in the air before they could land.
It had been so tempting, when he arrived at his father’s home, to flop onto his bed after he had dropped off his suitcases and sleep for two days. But the reunion envelope in his pocket kept him from it. Instead he freshened up, spent quite a lot longer than he perhaps should have trying to decide what he should wear, and left the house nearly two hours after the three and a half hour reunion began, wondering if he was making a mistake.
When he had arrived at his high school, he was immediately assaulted by all the things that were the same; the school’s entrance was still just as imposing, the giant tree, though bare of leaves, felt almost exactly as large, though Arthur realize it probably had grown quite a bit. Even the smell that had filled his nose when he first walked in tugged at his heartstrings, and somehow being in these familiar halls felt more like being at home than actually being in his father’s home had.
Of course, it was also far more nerve-wracking for him to be here at school than it had been for him to be at home. He knew that his father held no opinions of him, positive or negative, for him to live up to, but certainly his old classmates all had their impressions of him and ideas about what he was going to become. Honestly, Arthur had no idea what to expect, and that was probably what scared him the most.
That, and reuniting with Francis Bonnefoy. Arthur had fallen out of touch with Francis years and years ago, and he had no clue what became of his old friend. His old boyfriend, even, which probably made it all the worst.
Taking a deep breath, Arthur shook all of these thoughts from his mind, making a mental note to locate some alcohol when the opportunity presented itself because he was in desperate need of anything that would shut his mind off. Then he pushed open the double doors to the gymnasium, took another deep breath, and walked it.
The middle of the gym floor had been turned into a dance floor, and from Arthur could tell most of the people in the gym were coupled up, swaying to the soft romantic music playing. Judging by the fact that Arthur could recognize the song that was playing, he gathered that the DJ was playing music that was popular ten years before to fit in with the reunion mood. Around the makeshift dance floor were several round tables and chairs, arranged in a manner reminiscent of prom, or a wedding. These were, for the most part, unoccupied, though there were handbags and drink glasses (Arthur could not tell what sort of beverage was in them) scattered all over the tabletops.
Arthur glanced briefly at the dance floor, able to make out a few faces and even fewer names from among the throng of people. Alfred was one of the more easily identifiable people, dancing with Chelles with moves much too fast and loose to match the beat of the music. The sight brought a smile to Arthur’s face; it was nice to know that Alfred still marched to the beat of his own drum.
There was one face that Arthur had not been able to spot in the crowd of dancers, and it was the face that he had been most anxious to see.
And then Arthur spotted him; Francis Bonneyfoy was, surprisingly, not dancing. Even more surprisingly (was it really, though?), there was an infant in his arms.
Arthur bit his lip, walking around the gymnasium to approach the other, and he was close enough he could hear the other talking to the child;
“Ah, isn’t love beautiful, Bella? I only hope that someday you will be able to experience that kind of love for yourself, for it is truly worth all the hurt and heartache that comes along with it...”
There was a pang of hurt that suddenly struck Arthur chest, but he forced himself to stand perfectly straight, so that he would not submit to the sudden desire to run away, and when he found himself about to speak again he started,
The other man’s shoulder visibly stiffened, and then Francis was turned around and their eyes met.
to be continued
A/N: DUN DUN DUUUUUN. Don't you love misunderstandings?