Title: Fireflies 4/18
Warnings: sex later on
Summary: In Arthur’s closet, tucked away in the back, next to his stash of cigarettes and whiskey, there are two things. One is an album of pictures he wished was empty and the other was of a leather jacket he swore to never keep. usuk/frukAU
Note: In which Arthur considers himself to be somewhat of a genius and somewhat of an idiot.
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing. -Oscar Wilde
When Arthur got into a design project, he didn't leave his apartment until he was finished. Tea and called-in Chinese food became his main meal and he barely left the drawing room, often passing out on the board, surrounded by crumpled up drafts and scribbles. He enjoyed this time more than anything else, as all he had to do was allow his mind to drift and not have to listen to others for days on end.
He tried to keep up with Roderich's request to keep writing and managed to write a fair bit every day while he was waiting for his tea to brew or while he was eating his ginger beef and fried rice. The entries wouldn't be deep insights into his soul but mostly just harmless entries about vague feelings and whatever else piqued his interest that day.
Roderich could wait for the deeper moments when Arthur wasn't busy trying to design an aquarium for a turtle.
It was a good four days of solid work and poor sleep before Arthur had a design that he loved. He had really thought that envisioning an aquarium was going to be impossible for a house he hand never entered and only had vague blueprints for would be easy, but here in front of him was a work of art.
Immediately needing to get it approved by the Frenchman, he seized his phone -which had lay nearby for the entirety of the four days on silent- and dialled his number, then took the time to glance at the clock.
He hoped that the Frenchman was a morning person.
The phone clicked open and Arthur listened to the shuffling of sheets, quiet mumblings of Spanish, a light chuckled from Francis as the bedsprings whined again, as if he had been pulled back onto the bed. Feeling his cheeks heat up slightly, Arthur tried to not feel like a voyeur and quietly cleared his throat.
Finally, there was an answer. "Bonjour?" came Francis' mumbled and grumbled tone.
"It's Arthur." The Brit said quickly, "I'm sorry for calling so early but-"
There was a small noise of delight from the other side of the line and Arthur stared. "It is finished then!" Francis' smile could be heard in every word, "I-I will be over within the hour! Adieu Arthur!"
Line going dead, Arthur stared at the phone, carefully hanging up and getting ready. True to his word, within the hour, his doorbell rang and Francis was there, absolutely beaming, though his hair was a little messy and he had slight rings under his eyes, but beside the Englishman's rumpled hair and hooded eyes.
Leading Francis into his workplace, Arthur showed him the sketch. It was simple and uninked for now with rough shadows and proportions but it definitely more than got the point across. Francis' couch and chairs were positioned around a glass table on the oak hardwood floors. Light filtered in from large windows whose sills were filled with indistinguishable knickknacks (the Frenchman seemed like a curio person to Arthur).
Behind the ashen chairs and couch were two pieces of flat glass supported by two metal polls descending from the roof, inside of them were fish, rocks and that plastic kelp people tended to stick in there. They would act as partitions while also allowing a stunning amount of light into the room. Arthur had reworked it so that the tanks were thicker and would allow the turtle more room.
Eagerly, Arthur watched as Francis looked over the design carefully, silent for the first minute or so, chewing on his lip, a long finger tracing along the couches, then windows and then the aquariums themselves. Sitting back in the stool, he slowly, nodded, giving Arthur a warm and approving smile.
"It is very good," he said, "but there is one problem."
Arthur blinked. "What! It's bloody perfect! Are you dense or something? Look at that detail-" The Brit's finger stabbed at the drawing, "-did you even look at the effin' thing!? This is stunning! Brilliance! Pure design mastery!"
His chest was heaving by the time he was finished. And that damned bloody Frenchman was just smirking at him as if nothing at all was wrong with his outburst. His tall finger brushed along Arthur's, resting on the sill of the window.
"I was merely going to say that my sills are quite bare, I do not 'ave very much on them." he prodded the Brit's cheek, laughing at him. When was the last time Arthur had been laughed at? "You are very cute when you are angry."
Feeling his cheeks heat up, Arthur quickly rubbed at them still grumbling. When the soft laughter had died down, Francis shifted his chair closer to the centre of the table (closer to Arthur) so he could get a better look. The Brit allowed this, but at the same time picked up an eraser, starting to scrub at the knick-knacks.
The Frenchman watched him, as if each angry and almost violent pass of the rubber was fascinating. "There are many inaccuracies 'ere…" he said, placing a hand on Arthur's shoulder as he leaned forward, fingers pointing at things (the pillow on the couch, the half-full coffee cups on the glass table, the paintings on the wall) "This will simply not do at all."
Arthur stared at him and considered how hard it would be to stick the small eraser up the pointy nose. Surely not that hard. "Well I will just have to start all-bloody-over again," he managed through grit teeth, the eraser instead getting thrown to a side-table as an alternative to getting lodged in the nostril.
Then, there was that laugh again. "I 'ave a much better solution."
"Oh?" Arthur practically snorted. Maybe he wanted the thing on the moon now, or maybe there were two turtles or maybe, knowing the Frenchman, this was all just some huge prank and Arthur had wasted four days of his precious life on an aquarium for a turtle that didn't exist.
"You will just 'ave to come to my house for coffee and draw everything from there." Feeling the fingers press into his shoulder before letting go, Arthur turned very slowly to blink at the photographer.
He appeared serious, but as always there was a smile at his lips and those eyes were anything but joking, filled with a quiet joy and Arthur suddenly realised that the delight had stemmed from his work. He had made the Frenchman look so pleased and content. All at once he wanted to keep drawing and crumple up the design and run-away until he couldn't remember anything.
If Arthur had been more attune with his feelings, or perhaps if Francis hadn't been standing up or maybe even if he hadn't been so lost within his own self, he would've taken note that these feelings, stupid and wretched as they were, were the beginning of something he had only shared with one other person.
Instead, his mouth opened, closed, something akin to a fish out of water while Francis merely turned his gaze to the wall of designs, to Arthur's life on paper. The thin eyebrows contracted and he reached out a hand, as if to touched one of the drawing (this one of a young man, with messy hair, curled on a couch, a blanket draped over him, glasses askew and face peaceful).
Arthur's hand moved so fast that Francis heard the slap before he felt the stinging whip on his wrist. The Brit watched as the blue eyes looked at the reddening skin, then to his own face, confusion in almost every line of the angled face. Arthur's breathing was slightly laboured.
"Désolé." Came the somewhat meek reply.
Arthur cleared his throat. "I-It's… quite alright." He managed, rubbing his face, "Sorry, I'm a bit buggered at the moment, I-I really didn't mean to, it's just the drawings and you were going to touch that one-"
Smiling, Francis shook his head, rubbing his wrist absently, still looking at the drawing and ignoring Arthur's ramblings. "Who is 'e?"
"Who is… he?"
Francis nodded. "Ze boy in the picture. 'E is quite handsome."
There was a moment where Arthur had to think. Who was that boy there, curled up on his couch after a long day at work, so exhausted that he was still and Arthur actually had the time to sketch every detail of him, to preserve in that one moment everything that was and would be of-
"Alfred. Alfred F. Jones." Arthur said quietly, "An old mate of mine, well, more than that… But he went back to America and, well, he never came back. Off with some slag in a trailer-park."
Francis nodded. "Zat is a shame, 'e looks like quite ze charming young man."
The Brit slowly started to stand, looking at the drawing as if seeing it for the first time. "Charming is a good word."
What was this feeling boiling inside of him? He must've seen this drawing a thousand times in the last few years. What suddenly was making it feel fresh and raw? Yet, it much too early to work through feelings and Arthur was much too busy with leading Francis out of his drawing room, down the stairs to the bottom landing and opening the door while the Frenchman slipped on expensive leather boots.
"I will see you at my 'ome then?" The Frenchman asked as he passed over the threshold of the Brit's home and into the cool street outside. "Ze address in on ze blueprints but I am sure that you would find me if you really needed to."
Arthur leaned on the door's frame, watching Francis until he slunk around a corner and was gone. After that, he decided that some laundry wouldn't hurt, indeed wearing the same t-shirt, jeans and sweater for four days in a row did nothing for one's smell or appearance.
Opening the small cupboard within his design room that held a rundown old washer and dryer, Arthur stripped down to nothing, pulling on pyjama bottoms. As the washer rumbled and tumbled away, plastering the clothes to it's round sides, he cleaned up his room, picking up all the unused sketches and designs and placing them in the bin.
Finally he sat down on his chair, slowly picking away at all the details that Francis had deemed inaccurate. By the time this was gone, the wash was done and now all that filled his apartment was the wheezing and breathing of the dryer.
Lazily, Arthur reached over, picking up his journal and flipping to an empty page, fingers picking up his pen. He glanced at the drawing one last time then immediately started to write, slowly and cautiously at first before losing himself in the words.
I didn't actually meet Alfred first; I met his brother, Matthew Williams at my job. We got to talking, he was looking for someone to design something, I was able and we got to talking over the phone more often than not. Finally, I finished the designs and I invited Matthew to come stay over, but he said no.
Matthew was afraid of flying. Go figure, but he was a rather demure kind of bloke, and I was more amused than shocked. In his place, he was going to send his brother, Alfred, whom he had mentioned once or twice.
Picking up Alfred at the airport was, again, one of those moments I can mark in my life that absolutely changed everything. Not like, mind-shatter change where I suddenly decided to go find God and become a priest, but the kind that makes your spine tingle and your fingers itch. Where you can just feel the world shift.
There he was, nothing like the other people coming off the plane. Bright would be the best word I could find. I had been sitting, waiting there, merely doodling as I usually did while people watching, and then saw Alfred and within a moment, he was on my page.
Now, Alfred was loud, annoying, a terrible flatmate, an absolute slob and because of that, because he wasn't anything like me, or people I knew and had associated with, I found myself drawn to him.
Arthur paused for a moment -his mind catching somewhat of a pun- and looked up at the drawings on the wall. He frowned, standing and starting to shift them aside. And there it was, buried under a few other sketches of exhausted-looking pilots and stewardesses running for their planes, was Alfred.
That cowlick, the jacket, the cocky walk and the even more swaggering grin. The Brit traced a finger down the line of his body. "I hope you're happy with her," he mumbled, "I bet she's got a great smile, and a better ass… not much of a brain. Bet she's an idiot… For falling in love with you."
He sighed. "Only idiots fall in love."
WHERE HAVE I BEEN!? Well, life has been busy~ I have a job which I need to use to pay for textbooks, I joined a fantastic rpcomm called lolocracy where I am the fabulous Alfred F. Jones (journal is waitforsuperman ) so that's been fun and keeping me busy, but I'm also getting ready to move! Finally university is just around the corner and Victoria awaits for me! Just two more weeks and I'm there, ready to start four years of studying!
Hopefully, I'll be able to update once I'm there and don't have a job, but we'll see~
Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3