Characters/Pairings: England, France, and some America, Prussia, Japan and Canada. France/England.
Summary: February is England's least favorite month. And this year, this is how his February goes.
There are twenty-eight days in February.
This is an undeniable fact. Nobody really knows why. Some say that they changed the thirty-day month Sextilis to August to honor the emperor Augustus, and that they took the day away from February because it wouldn't do if August was shorter than Julius Caesar's month. Some historians say that's bullshit and that the person who made the official Roman calendar just decided that February would have twenty-eight days. To England, it would always be because he wanted the winter to go away faster so that March could bring him the spring.
Well, there are twenty-eight days in February except when the leap year comes around and adds a mischievous extra day in. But this is not leap year, although next year will be leap year and Prussia will inevitably take England to a bar to get wasted together. But, as mentioned earlier, this is not leap year and we will save those (pathetic) antics for another day.
On the first day of February, England catches a cold. He knows it's just the fact that he has an inexplicable fear of Valentine's Day, not a real, actual cold. It doesn't stop America and Canada from coming over and trying to feed him Get Well Soon pancakes and cheeseburgers until he feels like he's overstuffed, not a man with a cold. America spends most of his time trying to tell stories England didn't think were funny at all, and showing him video of a Russian singing a song with no lyrics. He didn't get what was so funny about it, but America was almost in tears by the time they finished watching. France doesn't try to rape him and England waits until the third of February because that's when the sickness usually goes away.
It's the fourth day and England still doesn't feel any better. His phone rings and keeps on ringing even though he tries to pretend it doesn't exist, like he does with America sometimes. It doesn't shut up (and neither does America, ever) and England is forced to pick up the phone.
"Angleterre?" England sniffles into the phone, although he wished with every bone in his body that he could just slam it down and ignore it, but France is very persistent on anything that isn't war. "What do you want, Frog?"
"I heard you have a cold, but I do not have time to heal you with my amour. I'm incredibly sorry, please forgive me. I'll schedule a romantic dinner sometime on the fourteenth-" "You're a nutter, France," England mutters. "It's not a romantic dinner, it's a rape attempt. Shut up and tell me why you called."
There's silence at the end of the line. "...It is nothing. I hope that you stay ill until the end of February so that I will not have to endure your presence during this lovely month." England snorts. If he had listened better, then maybe he would have noticed how France's voice did not quite have that dose of venom. But he didn't, and replies with a "this damn awful cold is better than you," before hanging up on France. He decides to leave the loose ends hanging, although he wonders if he should cut them off sometime.
It's the sixth of February and England doesn't want to get out of bed. The cold subsided on the fifth, but still England has no energy to get up. He deals with country matters and Ireland's prank calls, but he says nothing more than he has to and avoids all contact, else he unleashes his fury at them. Everybody asks him what's wrong, and England says that it's 'the time of the year'. It makes him sound like a woman, but it's the truth.
The seventh day is a week away from Valentine's Day. England mourns and tries to celebrate his splendid isolation.
The next day is the eighth, a day closer to Valentine's Day, and England feels terrible. That day, a rose arrives on his doorstep. He puts it in a small glass vase, because even if it was sent to the wrong address or fell from the heavens, England wants to feel that someone cares.
He receives a rose every day, and the only thing he can think of is that the worst case scenario is that France is using his house as a dump for those roses he uses to censor his privates. He has a good laugh, and then he thinks about it and how likely it seems-and decides never to think about his passing thoughts ever again. Still, he puts the roses into a vase and gazes at them longingly, wondering if there really is someone out there who would love a silly old man like him.
It's the eleventh, and he's packed loads and loads of tea and sent them to the East the day before, happily picking out the finest selections, because not many shared his love for tea. He picks up the phone to call the recipient of his gifts. "Honda Kiku, how may I help you?" "Happy birthday, Japan," England says, and he couldn't help but smile. "Thank you, England-san. How are you?" England laughs, a bit nervously. "Fine," he lies. "And you?" "I am fine also." "That's good to hear. I hope you like what I sent you for your birthday, and I'm sorry that I cannot visit you." "That is fine, and I am sure I will like the things you gave me. Thank you, England-san, and I wish you a good year." England lets a little sigh escape him. "You too, Japan," he says. "You too."
By the thirteenth day England has the sniffles and is coughing after every three words. America brings him hot coffee and Belgium sends him chocolate, but the coffee goes cold on the table and the chocolates freeze into rocks in the refrigerator. His phone rings, and rings, and rings, and England sleeps through most of them. But in the middle of the day, the phone basically screamed for him to pick it up, in a very obnoxious kind of ringing voice (although it might just be his imagination).
"What do you want, Frog?" he growls into the receiver. "Fff, England, I didn't know you think that I'm France. Way too awesome for that, man." England raises his eyebrow and seriously toys with the idea of hanging up, calling back, and talking to him in rapid Portuguese. "What do you want, Prussia?" he asks with gritted teeth. "Drinking. Tonight. No seriously. We can pick up some chicks and fuck them senseless too. Come on, man, it's February! That's when you get dirty and kinky and-" "I'm going to stop you there," England says with teeth pressed so tightly together the words can barely push themselves out.
"Well, if you're not coming, I'm just gonna steal Austria's underwear or maybe drink with Denmark. He can hold his alcohol way better." England can tell he's pleading. "No. Go do whatever you want with Austria's underwear or Denmark," he says and hangs up. That night, England wishes he took up Prussia's offer, and he receives another rose. There is a note this time.
I'm incredibly sorry, please forgive me that this one is late.
He smiles a little and puts it in the vase. England realizes that he either has a secret admirer, a stalker or is being targeted by a serial killer. Preferably the first one. The second would be strange. The third... well, England's pretty sure he can't die, but serial killers seem awfully fond of torturing their victims. The phone rings again. He picks it up, sighing. "What is it?" "Hello, Arthur." "Yes, yes, what do you want, France?" He is impatient. It's probably not important, anyway.
"Tomorrow is Valentine's Day." Spot on. England snarls involuntarily. "Fuck you, Frog," he says and hangs up again. He thinks France may have been in the middle of saying something, but it doesn't matter. He probably just wants to rile England up, anyway.
The next day, it rains. England takes a walk outside and tries to forget the date. He sits on a wet bench, he buries his head in his hands, unable to cry. Unlike the stories around the internet, no random child comes up and asks him why he's crying, holds his hand, then tells him something hopeful (and this, he reminds himself, is why he is a cynic). He slumps in the chair with a depressed air around him, and not a single person walking by even glances at the twenty-three year old in a black trench coat sitting in the rain without an umbrella. The phone rings and he shields it with his wet trench coat. "Arthur Kirkland."
"Hey, Artie!" So America decides to call. "I don't have the bloody energy to deal with you today, America," England says, expecting America to talk about his exciting Valentine's Day plans that involve taking Canada, England, Lithuania and Japan to McDonalds and an arcade the day after Valentine's day. "You're always saying that, but it's a good thing, I guess, 'cause I have some other things I gotta do. My boss wants me to come to this dinner and tomorrow we have this ummm..." "I don't need to know," England says flatly, although he wants to scream that it's just dreadful to be alone on Valentine's Day, even if the other option is America. "Uh, okay. Bye, Artie. Don't catch a cold, and have a great Valentine's Day." This time America hangs up, but England couldn't care less. He is already cursing the bench and the phone to hell.
Another rose arrives, and in his bad mood, England contemplates calling the police. He stays up all night thinking about it.
The next day, while he is drinking his tea and eating his breakfast, the phone rings again. England throws it at the wall, but it merely falls down and keeps ringing, just like France. No matter how many times he's punched the idiot, he's still out to make England's life miserable. England walks over and picks it up. "Good morning, Angleterre!"
"The fuck? I'm not dealing with you at this hour, France!" "I know, I know." England doesn't want for France to say anything else. He hangs up. A couple of minutes later, he realizes that he regrets it. He throws the phone at the wall again, and it rings. "Angleterre, since I did not manage to get you to come with me on that romantic dinner on the fourteenth, what about the twenty-eighth? Or maybe I can just come over and cook for you." "Sod off," England says, snorting. "Stop trying to get into my pants."
He goes outside to retrieve the newspaper, and he finds another rose. He holds it up to his nose and breathes in, and for a moment, he feels loved.
The twenty-first of February makes England want to bash his head against the Great Wall. It's just a week away from the end of February and already he is drained. He basically lives on tea now, and his cooking comes out awful (even for his cooking, is what anyone else would say). England can say he's lost some weight, and he's pale as the sheets in his bedroom. He wakes up for nation matters and the roses. Oh, and to yell at Ireland for all the stupid prank calls. As for the roses, nobody's killed him yet, so England assumes that it's a secret admirer. It's a good thought to keep in his head, a little shine of optimism he knows he could do with.
England spends the week rejecting most phone calls, only using his work phone. But France gets ahold of that number too and harasses him on an hourly basis, and although England will never admit it, it makes him feel not as lonely as he did. In fact, he feels a little... loved when France calls. He's being delusional, of course. He must be some kind of screwed up if he thinks that getting phone calls from France is good. He counts the roses, and by the twenty-seventh, he has nineteen. He wonders why.
It's the last day of February, and the phone rings, and England answers it immediately, glad that the month is over. "Bonjour, Arthur dear!" "Hullo, France," he greets back, and it is a change from the usual 'what do you want go the fuck away'. "Is this really you?" He sounds pleased, and England is tempted to say his automated response, which is 'what do you want go the fuck away', but he answers with a simple "yes." "If you are lying, I will force feed you England's cooking." England rolls his eyes. "For fuck's sake, France, it's me! What do you want? ...And my cooking is delicious, you git."
"...I sent you the roses." "You what?"
Suddenly, England doesn't feel loved anymore. He feels as if he's just part of a stupid prank crafted by France to humiliate him and torment him with about how lonely and unloveable he is. Or it was all true and he was just some dump for the roses unfortunate enough to be stuck on France's privates. England scowls. "This isn't funny, Frog," he says, voice breaking, and he moves to smash the damned vase. "It's not supposed to be, Arthur." "Whatever you're planning-"
"Don't smash the vase. Why don't you go outside."
England is surely losing it, because he does open the door and step outside. And France is there, with another rose in his hands. "Twenty," France whispers. "Twenty roses, Arthur." England steps back. He tries to stop the blood from rising to his cheeks, but it's not something he can control. France steps forward and takes his hand, and England is speechless. Part of him feels like he died and went to heaven. The other part is denying it madly. He splutters. "What the hell, France? You sleep around with everyone but me!"
France blinks. "Isn't that the point?" England shakes his head. "What the fuck?" France huffs impatiently.
"I don't understand what makes it bad. I thought we get along much better now. I have to admit that spending time with you has become something I quite look forward to," he says. It's England's turn to blink. "Are you surprised because somebody is in love with you, or are you surprised that it is me?" England can't tell which, although he's sure it's both, and he blinks again.
France kisses him, but before he gets the chance to kiss back, he pulls away, and England is once again confused. "Angleterre? Are you alive?"
England pulls France closer and kisses him as if his life depended on it, and he proves to France that yes, he is very much alive, very surprised, but actually quite pleased. No, more than that. If he's not incredibly happy, he doesn't know what he's feeling. Maybe it's ecstasy, but at this point England doesn't care anymore, because holy shit, this is actually happening.
It's not very conventional, but England doesn't care. It's not the fourteenth, but England doesn't fucking care. This is his Valentine's Day.
A revision of an old fic because I couldn't find the time to write for Valentine's Day. Posted today because I can't be on the computer tomorrow. So yes, happy Valentine's Day.
Also I think I could've done this better but I'm fine with this so you'll have to settle for it as well.