conjure_lass: (Hetalia: UkxUs)
[personal profile] conjure_lass
Title: Gloriana
Genre: General/Romance
Pairing(s): USxUK, Mentions of UKxElizabeth I
Rating/Warnings: PG rating: mentions of historical figures if that's not your cup
Summary: A chess game, the Battle of Brandywine, and an unusual question all set to the backdrop of Handel's Water Music.
Author's Notes: I read a story a few days ago that had mentions of Elizabeth I and found myself intrigued. This is sort of a tribute to that.



Rain pattered quietly against the glass of England’s sitting room, the dim glow of the waterlogged clouds the only light other than a small, somewhat gaudy crystal lamp that he’d acquired somewhere around 1850 and had converted to electricity around 1965. He couldn’t bear to part with it, no matter how many times Alfred called it prissy, girly, ugly, or my-god-what-a-hideous-monstrosity. It had been a gift from Queen Victoria! And no matter how…ornate the thing was, you didn’t just throw away gifts from your royals.

They’d been sitting on opposite sides of a plain mahogany table for at least two hours now, both staring intently at the battle taking place before them. It had been somewhat astonishing to learn that America was as adept at chess as he was, but after the initial shock had worn off England had found he rather enjoyed the competition. Granted, he could have asked Hong Kong to play with him, but truth be told…he hated to lose that often. Nothing flattened his ego quite so quickly as being thrashed in six moves.

True to form, America had brought his own pieces, delicate porcelain figurines painted up in little revolutionary uniforms. England had spit out his tea the first time he’d seen them, and had quickly gone out to have an entire set of redcoats made in retaliation. Now they took turns picking which revolutionary battle they were waging on any given day.

Today was the Battle of Brandywine. England’s choice.

“You took your hand off the piece, so your turn is over!”

“England, I had to sneeze.”

“You should have thought of that before you did it!”

America gave him a pointedly raised eyebrow; England relented with a sigh. Smiling, Alfred’s eyes went back to the board, brow scrunching up thoughtfully. Waiting for his opponent’s next move, Arthur rubbed his shoulder blades into the plush back of his chair and gazed out the window. The rain was getting harder, obscuring the view of his garden through the glass, now only barely able to make out the branches of the trees bending low under the downpour. The delicate strains of Handle’s Water Music were nearly drowned out by the sound of water rushing onto the grass from the gutter spouts outside.

A decisive click drew England’s attention back to the matter at hand, Alfred nodding smugly before picking up his mug of coffee and blowing at the top.

“Rook takes bishop,” he said with a pleased grin, waving the stolen redcoat triumphantly and placing it in the pile he’d already nicked. “Looks like I’ll be winning the battle of Brandywine this time round.”

“Don’t get cheeky, boy.” Arthur sipped at his tea absently, drawing his bottom lip between his teeth. Alfred had him pretty boxed in; the only thing between him and defeat was a castle he’d put up at the beginning of the match. But England still had a few pieces left, still had a few strategies up his sleeve…

“Hey, Arthur?”

His train of thought momentarily derailed, Arthur looked up in annoyance. Alfred was wearing a thoughtful expression, leaning forward with his cheek in his hand, coffee pushed to the side, forgotten. It wasn’t a look he wore very often, though when he did Arthur couldn’t help but find it vaguely intriguing, not to mention begrudgingly captivating. “What is it? I don’t disturb you when you’re trying to make a move.”

“Don’t I know it.” America grinned, poking his tongue into the side of his cheek and snickering at Arthur’s instant embarrassment.

“Alfred!”

“Seriously, though.” Alfred sat straighter, splaying his fingers on the tabletop. He rolled a redcoated pawn on the table in a wide semi-circle. “What would you have named me if I were a girl?”

“What?” England sat back, bemused. “What kind of question is that?”

“Well, you told me once that I was named after…who was it? Some king of yours.”

“Alfred the Great?” England said flatly, his face a complete deadpan.

“Yeah! Him!” Alfred snapped his fingers as though he’d thought of it himself. “So, what would you have named me if I’d been a girl? I mean, you couldn’t have named me Alfred.”

It took Arthur a moment to fully process the query. He’d never really given much thought to what he might have named Alfred had he been a little girl rather than a little boy. It had never come up. But now that he’d been posed with the question, he couldn’t help but wonder at it. There were a wealth of names he might have chosen at the time, hundreds of lovely names he could have drawn from. Isabel? Katherine? Anne? Alice?

He glanced over at Alfred who was giving him an expectant look, deciding that none of those names would have suited the brash young nation he held company with now. The name would have had to be more assertive, more powerful, more commanding. It was then that England’s eyes fell on an old painting hanging across the room…

She had been all that and more, even in her moments of greatest indecision; she had never ceased being his most beloved. Arthur felt his cheeks grow hot in remembrance, shifting in his seat with a tiny smile. The smell of talcum on her skin, the cascading locks of her hair like autumn leaves on his shoulders, the soft sounds of her voice, a purring contralto in his ear. The Virgin Queen indeed! But what her subjects didn’t know hadn’t hurt them, and she had warmed his bed almost exclusively until the day she died. And he had been a very jealous lover. In the end he’d permitted no other to interfere with their relationship, no other to take her sweet attentions from him for long…one way or another he’d always gotten his way. In fact, he’d gotten his way quite enthusiastically and as often as possible.

“Elizabeth,” Arthur said suddenly, snapping from his reverie to stare into Alfred‘s surprised face. “I would have named you Bess.”

America blinked a few times then looked over his shoulder towards the painting that Arthur’s eyes had settled on. When he turned back around it was with an almost proud expression.

“I think I’ve heard enough to know that’s a compliment,” he said with a grin, reaching across the table to run his fingertip down the top of Arthur’s nose. England pulled back with an affronted snort, focusing his attention back down to the Battle of Brandywine. He waved his hand dismissively.

“She was a short-tempered, bull-headed women who could never decide what she wanted…it would have suited you perfectly.”

“I read,” Alfred said, lifting up Arthur’s stolen queen to dangle it precariously between his thumb and forefinger. His words were teasing. “I read that you were basically her favorite lover. Since she never married anyone.”

“Yes, well,” England cleared his throat and raised an amused eyebrow. “That would have suited you as well.”

And England decided then, while sipping cool tea and chuckling under his breath, that America’s blushing cheeks really were rather fetching…



I wrote this in...an hour. I never write over a thousand words in an hour, so i'm a little nervous as to this piece's quality. It's un-betaed, so all mistakes are my own. Please enjoy anyway!

XOXOXOXOXOXXOXOXOXOX

Cherry!
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