Author: Lady Phenyx
Prompt: 10. Spooning with clothes on and realizing they're content with it. Coming to terms with feelings for each other and it being okay.
The meeting had been brutal, coming on top of a particularly bad morning. England had spilled his tea, the Tube had had a malfunction and was running late, and he’d misplaced his notes a dozen times already, and that was just the start of it. Across the table, France had looked ragged around the edges as well, though England was probably the only one to recognize the signals. Not that he cared, of course, it was just hard to know someone for a couple thousand years and not pick up on something like that.
After the meeting, it was just easier to go back to France’s apartment. It was close, and all England wanted to do was sit down in peace for a few minutes before he faced the chaos of the Tube and the people on it.
France had left the meeting right after it finished, but England hadn’t questioned. It meant hopefully he could have those few minutes of quiet, even if it was at France’s house, since France never left a meeting as soon as it was over just to go home. He pulled the spare key from his briefcase and let himself in.
He dropped his briefcase next to the door, deliberately squashing the image of how natural it looked sitting next to France’s, and collapsed on France’s overly large couch. He hadn’t realized he’d closed his eyes until he smelled tea and he opened his eyes to see a cup hovering in front of him. His eyes followed the arm upward to see France holding out the cup, small smile on his face, and England hesitantly took it. England watched France out of the corner of his eye as the other man sat down on the couch next to him, taking a sip of his wine lazily. A sip of tea, and England could feel the tension leaving him…though…when did France figure out how he liked his tea?
France was having a bad day.
It all started when he got up, and his hair was tangled so badly it took him nearly an hour to fix. Forgotten papers, caterers for the meeting having spats in the kitchen, a dozen little details that piled up and buried him, all followed on his bad morning, though of course one had a pretense to maintain so he couldn’t let it show. He’d noticed England across the table from him, noticed the slight telltales of stress on him – true stress, not the mask he put up that France worked so hard to see behind, though only to prevent injury to himself of course – and let that distract him from the meeting.
He headed straight back to his house after the meeting. Yes there had been offers from other nations, but France wasn’t in the mood to continue even pretense. Something prompted him to start tea while he got out his wine, and he smiled down at the teapot he’d fetched. Perhaps Angleterre was beginning to rub off on him.
The door opened, and he peeked out to see England set down his briefcase next to his and slump onto the couch, all masks down. Pouring out the tea, he left his own mask behind as he walked into the room and handed the tea to a suspicious England.
Even as he watched out of the corner of his eye, England visibly relaxed, tenseness flowing out of him, the crease between those impressive eyebrows of his disappearing. In silence the pair drank their respective drinks, slowly relaxing and without realizing it leaning in towards each other, inch by inch.
Sunshine was slanting over the pale wood floors, dust motes dancing in the beam, the air thick and warm. If England kept his eyes on them, then he could ignore the arm across his waist and the warm body pressed to his back. The whole room had a dreamlike feel to it, a soft unreality.
There had been no words. Somehow their drinks had ended up on the table and they had somehow slid to lie on the couch. Suddenly France’s arm had found its way over his waist and England had found himself snuggling against the other country rather than pushing him away and cursing him like he probably should have.
France nuzzled into England’s hair, soft and wild despite all attempts to tame it, much like the nation in his arms, and wondered at how they had come to this. Stubborn, adorable England, with his rain and his angry facade and his freckles (On England’s nose. Twenty three of them, exactly. Not that France had counted, of course. At least, not more than once. Maybe twice. Three times at most.), his little rabbit-lion that he’d loved and hated for centuries…when did that start to change, that burning hatred that seemed so strong fading away under love?
When and how did hate turn into this soft contentment? England wondered as he found himself relaxing into France’s embrace, shifting himself to spoon a little closer to the comforting warmth behind him, unable to place just when their arguments turned from honestly hate-filled spats to hiding behind sharp words, familiar wounds hiding anything else that might have been there, neither willing to make the first move from enemy to friend or possibly more.
Idly he wondered if he really did hate France anymore. He used to, he knew that much, and they’d been at each other’s throats for forever, but…if France wasn’t there, there would be a hole in his world, a giant pervert-shaped hole, and well…he supposed he’s miss the frog. Maybe…maybe that wasn’t so bad, really. The frog got on his nerves, heaven knew, but…they’d always been there for each other. Maybe it was all right to stop pretending to hate each other?
England shifted slightly, and France tensed, waiting for England to storm away…but all he did was nestle a little closer. France felt the words build in this throat, but they tangled together and refused to come out. He buried his face in sandy blond hair, breathing in the scent that was all England, holding him tighter, closer, wishing he knew how to say it. England would never believe the words – he’d accused France of using them too easily before to take them seriously now.
England wound his fingers through France’s, and France felt his breath stop as England brought their entwined hands to his lips, laying a silent kiss on France’s palm. France’s breath rushed out in a sigh and England blushed as he held France’s hand close to his chest, both understanding the other without words needed. Still silent, France pressed a soft kiss to England’s temple as they laid there, content in each other's company.