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De-anoning. Fill for [livejournal.com profile] hetaliasunshine . I don't know why I bothered going anon. It's so obvious this was me. My first FrUK fic. 

TITLE: and there were flowers
RECIPIENT: [livejournal.com profile] tea_for_you 
PAIRING: England × France
RATING: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: Hetalia is not mine.
SUMMARY: Prompt was “trying at doing romance the right way.” Somehow it translated to England sending flowers to France and vice versa as a means of showing their affection/facilitating their romance. Because they aren’t good at actual verbal communication. I hope this is OK.


July 14, 2004

England had sent France flowers.

Of course the uncouth idiot didn’t call to say so or even wrote it down on a card with them, nor did he turn up at France’s doorstep, all stormy eyed and scowling and clutching the poor things in a knuckle-white grip just to shove them into France’s face (and, it seems, down into France’s throat) and then running off like a coward, but France knew England well enough to deduce it was him who sent the bouquet of exquisite fresh flowers he now held in his hand, the one he found lying innocently on his table when he went down to the kitchen after he woke up this morning. Only England would send him such a thing. The other Nations would be too unaware of such subtleties (and for a moment France felt a little ill: Did he just concede that the brute was capable of subtlety? Mon Dieu. The world must be coming to an end.).

The exquisite flowers were arranged with startling elegance and subdued grace, such a contrast to the meaning and sentiments behind them. Hyacinths, France thinks, staring at the blooms of the richest hues of blue with bemusement, on this day of all days he sends me hyacinths. Most of the time, they stood for constancy, an appropriate enough meaning for today, but in French, hyacinths tells the receiver, “You love me and destroy me.”

France need not to be a genius to know which meaning England intended for. He lets out a quiet chuckle at that, and then his lips curve into a bittersweet smile. “How...melodramatic, Angleterre, and how so very like you,” he murmurs to himself.

He briefly wonders what prompted this particular choice of flowers. England had only sent him hyacinths once in their long life before this. Perhaps this was brought about by an attack of self-doubt, of insecurity? England was much prone to those. They had been quarrelling of late, mostly because of the two wars England had gotten himself into.

Then France snorted, dismissing his earlier thoughts. More likely the idiot was feeling somewhat sentimental. It has been a century since their Entente Cordial. Arthur had always been fond of grand gestures, after all.

It was May 30, on a beautiful clear day just like this. Francis woke up at dawn to find two bouquets on his table, left there by stealth (really, how does England get into his house without him knowing? He had become quite an adept housebreaker, the infuriating idiot): one was of various flowers with petals of the purest white—lilies and carnation edged with lilies of the valley—and the other purple hyacinths, each stalk tall and strong and fat and bursting with blooms and heavy with scent. He knew at once that one of them was meant for him, the other, for her.

It was the only time England ever sent flowers on that day, an act of restraint France never thought he’d see him do. Back then, it touched him that he could do so. Today, it amuses him to think that England could still surprise him, even after all this years.

Merde. It was far too early to be thinking of such things. He presses the flowers against his cheek, the dew-moist petals cool and smooth against his skin, his eyes closed as he imagines England, dressed in his frumpy but somehow adorable (hand)knitted jumper, garden shears in one hand, basket on the other, carefully picking out the perfect flowers in his garden to send him, his golden caterpillar brows scrunched up in concentration as he gathers them for the bouquet now in France’s hands, no doubt grumbling why on earth should he be exerting so much care and sacrificing his little darlings for a stupid frog, his lips curling into a pout.

France’s smiles widens to a grin at the thought. England does make the cutest faces when he’s inconvenienced, especially when this inconvenience’s caused by France. His meeting with England later this morning will surely be interesting. He wonders if he should tease the man on how flattered he was for the flowers, that despite England’s resentment of France’s culture, he knew this little bit of French nuance, just to see the man blush and stammer and yell.

He also wonders, what would England do, should he make his own grand gesture today?

But before he could enact this delightful plan, France must put the flowers into a suitable vase with water—more of an ingrained habit than an actual necessity, really; England’s flowers do not wilt easily (some enchantment, France thinks privately, that makes them last for weeks)—and then breakfast, a shower, and then getting dressed for today’s festivities and the parade early today. It was not something he would like to miss.

----

Of course England would send him flowers.

England did use to give him other things than flowers: chocolate, handmade garments, certain unspeakable things, and even, France shudders to remember, his own cooking. But their tastes so differed that they were more often sources of quarrels than affection between the two of them. Flowers, however, proved to be much more effective and acceptable. And less embarrassing when done right.

And why should it not be? It was the way of England, of them, even from long before, when they were but little, before they were quite aware (well, France was a little bit more aware then than England, but that was because he was older and wiser and England was younger and stupider) of the meaning behind the strange fluttering in their hearts and stomachs, the burning hate in their blood.

When they were young, in peaceful times, England would sometimes shyly offer him a bunch of periwinkles or heather or some wildflower. In return, France made them wreaths of daises or asters, worn ‘round their necks or crowned atop their head.

Flowers were long the language of romance, of feelings left unspoken, of things that can not be said, even before France and England came into consciousness, before it became all the rage in Victorian England, with their codebooks and their secret messages in posies, tussie-mussies, and nosegays.

Nobody knew the twists and turns and nuances of this language better than France, who was, of course, the country of love, and England, who was, after all, so deeply repressed and reluctant to speak of his feelings than he had to use something other than words and actions to convey them.

They both wielded this knowledge with great deft and skill. Over the years, they have given and received flowers from the other, their secret little code from the rest of the world: from sharp rebukes and insults with a bunch of petunias, or anemones or bird’s tree trefoil, or a single stalk of amaryllis, sly, amorous intents with exotic orchids or ripe pomegranates, to sincere sympathy with irises and chrysanthemums.

An odd thing, though: in all those years, they never gave each other roses. France may sometimes frolic wearing nothing but a rose covering his privates (England has no idea how France manages to keep the rose from falling off, and frankly he doesn’t want to know how), England may have a garden full of them, but it was their one, unspoken rule: they could give any flower, but never roses. Especially red roses. It seems that they could never say that feeling out loud, even through flowers, even after all these years

They could be such silly men.

------

Once, sometime during World War Two, when the Nazis were slowly encroaching into France, England found himself more than a little overwhelmed and shaken when France casually strode into his office and dropped a bunch of camellias on his desk, a grim little smile on his face. “For you,” he tells him, rather unnecessarily, and then walked out of England’s office without another glance or word, leaving a stunned England behind.

------

After the parade, France gives England a single red rose boutonnière. France thought it was time; after all, it has been a hundred years of Entente Cordiale. England wears on his lapel, and says nothing to France. He knows he doesn’t have to.


Historical and flower notes:

On Bastille Day in France, July 14, 2004, “to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, British troops (the band of the Royal Marines, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Grenadier Guards and King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery) led the Bastille Day parade in Paris, with the Red Arrows flying overhead.” This was the first time a foreign troop led the parade.

May 30 is Jeanne d’Arc’s Feast Day, and the date of her death.

White carnations and lilies are for innocence. Lilies of the valley stand for “return to happiness.” Purple hyacinths mean “I am sorry” and “Forgive me.” I will leave to you to judge which of the bouquets is meant for France.

Daisies are for innocence, asters are “tiny beginnings from which great things proceed.” Periwinkles are “to know someone a long time and know them well.” Bird’s tree trefoil is for revenge and betrayal.

Camellias stand for “My destiny is in your hands.”

A single rose in bloom mean “I love you still.” A red rose, of course, is the universal declaration of love. If you put a rose given to you on your lapel, over your heart, it means you return the sentiments of the person who gave it to you.

/hides forever

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