conjure_lass: (Garfield Buttsecks)
[personal profile] conjure_lass
Title: Present Tea Time
Author/Artist: [ profile] conjure_lass
Character(s) or Pairing(s): UsxUk, FrancexCanada, Combinations
Rating: PG
Warnings: A few cuss words, switching between nation and human names?
Summary: Five slices of life, brought together by a common theme: Tea.
Author's Note: I challenged myself to write 5 interwoven scenes based on a common theme that were no longer than 500 words a piece. It was a fun challenge!

3pm, Claridge’s of London, London

Incroyable! This flan is actually quite edible! With so many hours spent in your kitchen I’d come to expect the worst of this nation’s cooking, Angleterre.

England sat, posture perfect, in his seat across the table, teeth bared in a way that was more a snarl than a smile. Still maintaining his poise, his foot came out on reflex, smacking into France’s kneecap with a satisfying crunch. Sadly, all he received in return was a muted gasp, France’s eyes narrowing to slits even as he continued to chew the metal of his fork. The flan was long since gone.

“Everything here is of superior quality to what you’re used to,” England said with a haughty sniff, blowing over the top of his cup. Despite the price, Claridge’s was still his favorite place in all of London for a spot of afternoon tea. Even having the Frog along didn’t completely dampen his spirits. Granted, he might have had a more pleasant experience with a Pomeranian sitting across the way but it couldn’t be helped.

France raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow and smiled, bringing his teacup to his lips for a long drink. “I would agree; the tea is an absolute masterpiece. Marco Polo, is it not?”

“It is.”

“Of course it is.” France’s gaze shot around the room, brightening when he saw a young attendant talking with some elderly ladies at a nearby table. He waved her over with a wiggle of his long fingers, making England tense and struggle not to slouch down into his chair in embarrassment. If France laid one dirty finger on the woman they’d both be kicked out! England shot him the most potent warning glare he could muster.

Bonjour Madame.” France laced his fingers together politely on top of the table, gesturing to the cup in front of him with a nod of his head. “This tea is divine…I must have it. By chance, do you know where I might acquire it?”

Pushing a lock of chestnut hair behind her ear, the attendant smiled and bent over at the waist, putting her hands onto the tops of her thighs. “Yes, sir. Once a week Mariage Freres sends us a shipment. I’m not sure of the exact address, but I’m sure someone in Paris could tell you where it is.”

England nearly choked…Paris?!

Oui, merci.” He leered at the girl’s bottom as she walked away, earning himself another swift kick to the shin that he shrugged off with a wince. Finally, France grinned, running his fingertip delicately around the rim of the teacup. “Superior quality, non?”

He toasted England with a smug smile.

Standing stiffly, England walked over to the other side of the table, dumping his entire cup of steaming hot tea straight into France’s Armani-clad lap.

“That’s the only place your nasty French swill belongs!”


7:15pm, Destiny’s, Toronto

It was Friday night and Destiny’s was busy, every table alight with friendly conversation, the clatter of plates and the clinking of glasses. The lights of Toronto blinked and twinkled outside the window, the mid-winter frost sticking to the panes like frozen maple leaves. The nights were growing cold already, and Matthew had barely wanted to take off his coat even after ten minutes of being indoors.

Of course, Francis had insisted, immediately sliding across the semi-circular booth to press his nose against the pulse of Matthew’s neck.

“We’re in public you know,” Matthew half-heartedly protested, pretending to be very interested in the tea menu even though they’d already ordered.

Oui,” Francis answered softly, laying his chin innocently against Matthew’s shoulder. He fluttered his eyelashes in an extravagant way. “Your point?”

Certainly there must have been a point to that, but Matthew didn’t get a chance to voice it as the waiter came up with their order, placing a tray in front of them before scuttling back to his work. Francis looked at the two tall drinks (one strawberry, one almond) with a dubious expression, sitting up from his spot on Matthew’s shoulder to take the wide straw in curious fingers. Swishing the almond tea around a few times, he craned his neck to get a better look at the bottom of the glass.

“Mathieu…there are little round things in the bottom. Perhaps we should send it back?” Francis whispered, cupping his hand to the side of his mouth.

Matthew snickered, shaking his head before gesturing to his own glass of sweet pink tea, swirling the straw around so that Francis could see that his had the same things. Smiling, he leaned in until their noses were almost touching and whispered, “no, no, it’s supposed to be like that. It’s a boba ball…it tastes good!”

Though he looked unconvinced, Francis nevertheless moved in and wrapped his lips around the top of the straw, slowly drawing a bit of the liquid into his mouth. When a ball of tapioca came up he pulled back, startled, blinking wide indigo eyes as though he wasn’t quite sure what to do next.

Reaching out, Matthew took Francis’ jaw in his fingers and made exaggerated chewing motions, trying his best not to laugh hysterically. “Cheeewww,” he drawled, biting his bottom lip. “Come on, you’re good with your mouth.”

The uncertain look turned to pleasure as Francis finished the boba ball, nodding his approval before drawing Matthew into the circle of his arms. And, despite his misgivings about being in public where anyone could see, Matthew returned the embrace, rolling his eyes when he found himself being leered at.

Merci for your instruction sweet Mathieu…I look forward to you teaching me to use these!" He held up a pair of chopsticks with a flourish, eyebrows wiggling suggestively.

Only Francis could turn eating with chopsticks into sexual innuendo.


11:45am, Ching Ching Cha, Georgetown

“I’m just saying we’d be more comfortable over at the tables with actual chairs,” America complained for what seemed like the hundredth time, shifting uncomfortably in the big pile of red, floral-printed pillows. “My back is killing me already! I’m too tall to sit on the floor!”

“Will you shut up?” England hissed, smiling sheepishly at a pair of Chinese women who were giving him what could only amount to the “look of death” from across the teahouse. “You’re embarrassing me! Not to mention this is your town so you’re embarrassing yourself!”

Waving dismissively, America sniffed at the air, wrinkling his nose in distaste. Apparently, the overwhelming smell of tea did not settle well with him. “Please…no one can make you feel embarrassed without your consent.”

England rubbed and pinched the bridge of his nose, already feeling a headache coming on despite his having taken aspirin beforehand. “Alfred,” he sighed, wishing the tea were there so he had some decent company. “The quote is ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent’ and she was your bloody First Lady, so why am I the one correcting you?”

Beaming, America leaned across the short table and kissed the tip of England’s nose. “Because you’re a perfectionist like that. Why should I remember all that when you’ll always be around to correct me like a walking encyclopedia?”

“Your lackadaisical attitude knows no bounds.” England forced down his blush and pushed America away, crossing his arms defensively in front of him. Damn America and his lack of respect for personal space! Damn America and his lack of tact involving public displays of affection! Wasn’t it enough to have private displays of affection?

“There you go using words I don’t know again,” America laughed, face falling when a large ceramic yellow pot was placed between the two of them, small handleless cups set to the side. “Oh goody…the tea is here. I can’t believe they didn’t have coffee. The things I do for you.”

“Oh yes,” England deadpanned, breathing in the scent of the organic green tea. “You treat me like a veritable prince.”

“Change it to princess and I might agree with you.”

Not bothering to indulge America with a response, England turned his attention out the open front door to the busy street beyond. They weren’t far from the Potomac, not far from the capital buildings and the never-ending chaos of politics and diplomacy. But away from the commotion, he could actually appreciate the atmosphere, the vitality of the young nation he’d come to appreciate as much for his faults as for his accomplishments.

Suddenly a warm hand enveloped his own, their fingers twining together wordlessly. England, surprised, looked over at his partner.

America’s gaze had followed his own, blue eyes bemused, his tiny smile far away and soft as he watched the passing cars. England squeezed his hand and didn’t move away.


4:45pm, Georgetown, Washington D.C.

“Come on Mattie! It’s croquet, not brain surgery!”

America had been attempting to clean out his storage room (again) when he’d happened upon his old croquet mallets, barely remembering how to play as he pulled them from the tattered and dirty box. They’d been pretty beat up at first, but after he’d taken them inside and washed them up a bit they’d actually looked pretty sharp. True, it wasn’t exactly the manliest game in the entire world, but he had good memories of playing together with England before the First World War. All’s well that end’s well, right? Even if England had won the vast majority of their matches.

So, after setting up the yard and playing a few games by himself in the dark where no one could see, he’d finally decided to invite Matthew down for barbeque and croquet. After all…Mattie liked curling…and curling was just about the most embarrassing sport in the whole damn world.

“Oh, ciboire,” Matthew mumbled under his breath, huffing as he walked away from the hoop that he hadn’t managed to get the red ball through. “This isn’t as easy as I remember. England must have been letting me win.”

“Probably. He always liked you best.”

Matthew looked over his shoulder as Alfred positioned himself at the black ball, pursing his lips and giving him a disbelieving snort. “Oh come on,” he scoffed, dipping his finger into the barbeque sauce to suck it off before reaching for his glass of iced tea. “I’m not the one warming his bed every weekend Al. I would think that you’ve won in the ‘favorite’ division.”

“That’s different.” Alfred crouched down, tongue coming out in concentration as he lined up his shot. “You were always the nice one…I’ve never been good in the manners department.”

“You can be.” Matthew pulled the mint leaf from his tea to chew on it. “You just don’t try very hard. People would probably have a heart attack if you started.”

“Well, then I’m saving lives. That’s what heroes do best! Okay, look Mattie, I’m going to peg the black ball.”

Standing up, Alfred rolled his shoulders and positioned his mallet, looking quickly between the peg and the black ball. Reaching back to swing, he barely heard Matthew shout at him to be careful before he smacked the wooden ball so hard that it sailed through the yard, past his neighbor’s red Mazda, down the street and smashed securely into the window of a parked car two blocks away.

You could have heard a pin drop if not for the distance screeching of a car alarm going off.

“Oh sweet mother of Jesus,” Matt whispered in an astonished voice, hand moving to his mouth to cover his growing laughter. “That is a 2010 Tiburon…you are so screwed Al.”

“You think if we throw away the croquet set and burn the evidence that they’ll find out it was me?”

“I think from the look on that man’s face,” Matthew said thoughtfully, pointing to a large, enraged man stalking towards them. “That we may as well just finish the game.”

“Ah, shit…don’t you dare tell England about this Matt!”

“My lips are sealed.”


12:15pm, Mariage Freres, Paris

Mariage Freres was more of an apothecary than a teashop, its glittering shelves lined with countless tins of perfect tealeaves, so many varieties that one could have a different flavor every day for two months straight without a repeat. Granted, France tended to only buy the Marco Polo flavor (despite the second degree burns he’d sustained from England) but he could have had any flavor he wanted…and really wasn’t that the spice of life?

As he perused the shelves of teapots, determined to replace the one that he’d so carelessly broken while lifting Mathieu up onto the kitchen counter, he tried his best to avoid the increasingly distracting presence of his companion.

Amérique was nothing if not self-indulgent from time to time, noisily tapping his foot as he stood in the corner, trying his best to make their shopping as quick as possible. Well, it wasn’t going to work. France had spent centuries learning the fine art of taking one’s time, and he certainly wasn’t going to let one impatient young nation change his behavior now.

Mon ange,” he purred, waving America over. Alfred narrowed his eyes at the endearment but said nothing. “Would you like to pick something out? Come, you could use it for coffee. ”

The younger nation brightened at the mention of presents and coffee, coming to stand beside France and look around the shelves of sparkling teacups and saucers. Francis was struck, upon looking at this grown man, how much things had changed since the days when he had been called upon to help him during his revolution. Gone was the gangly, brazen teenager, to be replaced with the tall and confident (if not still a bit brazen, though Francis considered that to be a good thing) adult beside him, who seemed to enjoy nothing more than taking the entire world by the balls.

My my, how time does fly…

“What?” America looked at him, cocking his head to the side curiously. “That’s not your usual leer. Do I have something on my face?”

“Non, non,” Francis laughed, patting America on the cheek with a nostalgic sigh. “Just thinking about the past; pay me no mind. Have you found something?”

America seemed ready to press the issue further but changed his mind, nodding as he held up a perfect glass teacup, blue as the waters of Marseille. Smiling, France carried both that and his tin of Marco Polo to the counter to pay for them, watching America from the corner of his eye with interest. The younger nation had accidentally knocked into a tall stand full of teapots and was nervously trying to right it before they all fell onto the floor. He flashed a relieved thumbs-up when he managed the task.

Shaking his head fondly, France laid his hand on the small of America’s back and led him from the shop, not stopping until they were out onto the sidewalk where he gave the taller blond a bright smile.

“Coffee?” he suggested, walking towards the heart of Paris.


I'm actually very, very pleased with this piece. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)


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