burningdarkfire: (france)
[personal profile] burningdarkfire
Title: Millennium
Series: APH
Pairings: France/England
Rating: PG
Length: 1000 words; oneshot
Note: Halloween AU; for the [livejournal.com profile] what_the_fruk October Lovefest prompt - Remember Halloween 2010 where UK was a vampire and France was a ghost? If you wrote a fic/drew a comic about the two of them, I would love you forever. Would they get along? Would they have paranormal adventures? All I ask for is a happy ending. (I may have messed around a bit with what Francis can/can't do ...)


Tonight, just like every Thursday night, Arthur closes his bookshop early and settles down in the back room with a warm cup of tea. He waits until the old grandfather clock ticking away strikes the hour before grumbling to himself about visitors who couldn't even be bothered to be on time when they were offered hospitality. At ten past, he gets up from his seat and collects a few mysterious items from upstairs, bringing them down to where his tea waits.

By the time he's done fussing with everything needed for the ritual, it's just before the half hour. He realizes he forgot something important behind the counter, and turns around to return to the shop, only to be greeted by a translucent figure hovering in the doorway.

"Bloody hell," Arthur spits out, more out of habit than surprise. "One day, you'll give me a heart attack."

"Your heart's no longer beating," Francis points out, as he always does. The clock announces the half hour and Arthur scoffs, returning to the back room to clean up all the supplies for the ritual.

"You need to stop wasting so much of my time," Arthur complains.

Francis just floats to one of the chairs by the table and sits down. He's gotten much better at phasing in and out of solidity; Arthur can still remember when he would just pass through everything. "I keep on telling you, if I ever intended to avoid you, I would make damn sure a silly little ritual like that couldn't summon me."

"It's not silly," Arthur hisses. "I'll have you know, I've summoned -"

"- a great deal of spirits back in the old days, before the humans took over and we could no longer do what we wished," Francis finishes for him, rolling his eyes with a soft smile.

"You make me sound old," Arthur grumbles, "but you've been around for just as long as I have."

Francis doesn't say anything. Instead, he traces the shape of the table with his finger, occasionally letting his hand sink into the wood. In, out, in, out. When he notices Arthur watching him, he looks up with a soft smile.

"Don't tell me you've come down with the winter blues," Arthur tries to joke, unnerved by Francis's behavior. It's rare that the ghost acts like anything other than human, breathing and alive, and sometimes Arthur almost forgets what he really is.

"We've been here for so long," Francis murmurs, drifting right into the table to float in front of Arthur. "We've had some good times together, haven't we?"

Arthur swallows his cutting reply and says instead, "Some, I suppose."

"Hmm."

"Will you -" Arthur gestures vaguely towards the chair, but Francis only comes closer until he's right in front of Arthur, nose to nose, close enough for them to feel each other's breaths - if either had been breathing. "Francis!"

"Remember when we were waiting for the new millennium - back in 999?"

"No," Arthur grumbles, but they both know he's lying. After a pause, he relents. "Okay, you showed up at my doorstep in some poor man's body and spent the entire night trying to get drunk."

"And you did get drunk," Francis says, not without some amusement. To Arthur's relief, he backs away and seats himself properly again. "Remember when you led your coven to the New World?"

"Yes, of course," Arthur replies irritably. "What's the point of this?"

"Then I showed up on your doorstep a few weeks later," Francis reminisces thoughtfully. "I think I really did startle you, that time."

"If you don't have a point, then shut up." Arthur pointedly takes a sip of his tea and picks up a book lying on the table.

"We'll always be there for each other, hmm?" Francis grins at him and Arthur scowls in return. Francis gets up and walks around the table, coming to his side. He leans down and presses a kiss to his hair, and though Arthur scoffs, he makes no move to stop the action.

"After all, you were the one to kill me," Francis whispers, and Arthur jerks away.

"Francis!" He says warningly, but the ghost just smiles at him.

"Come now, Arthur, you know you couldn't help it. A newly turned vampire and a drunk youth walking alone in the fields - of course I died."

"I thought we agreed to never speak of this," Arthur manages to growl. He's aware that his hands are shaking, and fists them in his lap.

"Oh, but it's our anniversary!" Francis claps his hands together and Arthur glares at him.

"This has never come up before, in past years," he points out.

"Actually, it has. Once, a thousand years ago." Francis smiles at him. "Today is two thousand years together, my dear friend."

"Don't you think it seems a bit gloomy, to bring this up every thousand years?" Arthur grumbles, turning away.

Francis comes forward and presses his lips to his forehead. "You need to forgive yourself, Arthur. I will remind you again in a thousand years, and another thousand beyond that. In the meantime, we will wander together and see what other delights humans come up with."

"We were human once," Arthur says, voice rough. "I took that away from you."

"But if you hadn't," Francis says softly, "we never would have met."

Arthur makes to reply, but Francis connects their lips.

"You need to forgive yourself, Arthur. I have long since forgiven you, and I would not have traded what happened for anything else in the world. Dying was the best part of my existence. It introduced me to you."

"Old age has made you senile," Arthur grumbles, but he smiles slightly nonetheless.
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