hunterartemis (keiko_keket) wrote in codfishpub,
hunterartemis
keiko_keket
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[Fanfic]So Close - Part 1 of 2

Title: So Close
Author: keiko_keket
Rating: T
Characters/Pairing: England, Portugal, King Henry the 2nd, mentions of King Afonso 1
Warnings: Extreme sap that involves both teenage angst and teenage romance, mentions of war, blood
Summary:  I'm not picky, but I guess if I HAD to choose two prompts..one would be on the mishap of the Madre De Deus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madre_de_D eus ) or something between the era of 1147 Siege of Lisbon to 1373 right before the Anglo-Portuguese alliance...Kind of lke a, starting to get to know eachother thing..xD teen!romance baww *shot* (YES IT IS FINALLY HERE... at least partially. I have a fair few reasons why this took so long to get out but I'm sure you don't want to hear any of them because IGGYPORT preteen romance is here!)

Ever since England had gone on that fateful Crusade where he met Portugal, the newly declared nation was a near-constant feature of his thoughts. In battles he’d wonder if Portugal was in a battle at the same time. When he spoke with his men, England would remember their first meeting; and every time he would blush, because then he would remember kissing the taller boy on the cheek after the fireworks. When arguing with France, he unconsciously catalogued all the ways that Portugal was, in his opinion, more attractive.

It was driving him to dazy distraction and while he was used to being teased, he wasn’t used to being mocked because of a - dare he say it? - crush on the tanned nation. Certainly, it didn’t help that word spread through the fae and reached his brothers ears; England quickly found himself harassed and teased no matter where he went on his lands. The worst was when he’d taken a turn herding sheep up north and Scotland had shown up to steal them. As he’d run away triumphantly, the older teen had tossed back a “Too bad that little crush of yours is going nowhere! As if anyone would like a little runt like you!” with a laugh.

Which opened up a whole new set of worries. While under normal circumstances he refused to believe anything his older brothers said... what if it was true? He didn’t know Portugal very well and despite the fact that he thought there was something while they were out on that boat together; well, time had passed and Scotland was right insofar as not many nation seemed to like him aside from someone to bully. Did Portugal think of him the way England thought of him? Did Portugal think of him at all?

The sharp changes of day-dreaming happily to worry to depression - for more than once he was entirely convinced that he’d imagined every interested glance Portugal had sent his way - gnawed at him constantly, making him snap at any perceived aggravation. The servants at the palace whispered about his odd moods and more than one of the older matrons could be found both rolling their eyes in exasperation while giggling softly behind a raised hand. England didn’t know why they did that and after one aggravating afternoon trying to embroider with them he gave up the past-time to avoid having to listen to more ‘there must be a young lady out there who is very lucky’’s. To his satisfaction, arms practice took on a whole new level of frustration relief and he spent many days working himself to exhaustion physically to keep his thoughts out of his mind.

The fights between his brothers and himself grew more intensely heated with ever insult thrown towards him. At first throwing himself into battles against them and dealing with civil wars were enough for him to push Portugal a bit further from the center of his thoughts. But when a tentative peace was reached and his new King declared himself to be the King of England and not ‘King of the English’ - which is how it had been since William had conquered him - he suddenly had time again. England had hoped that those odd (and amazing) feelings that he was afraid to fully understand would have gone away with enough time. But it just got worse - a single thought of white teeth smiling in a tanned face and he was trapped in thoughts of curly hair fanning in the breeze, of light green eyes inviting him to get lost in them, of a need for a name that would draw him in to such a want for a kiss... that on more than a few occasions he awoke to find that his own body would have reacted to his thoughts in his dreams. It was embarrassing - no, almost humiliating that he’d lost control of himself.

But he would change nothing other than his desperate wish to find an excuse - any excuse - to leave his own lands and discover that Portugal was suffering the same as he was and that together they could-

They could...?

Well, he wasn’t too sure what they would do aside from kiss. And he was very certain that he wanted to do that much at least. He would figure out the rest later.

If only.

If only the other felt the same way.

And it was thus that England suffered from a pendulum of emotions that so thoroughly distracted him that when he was forced to remain in London after Henry was declared King of England that even his ever busy Monarch took notice. The first sign that alerted the King that not all was well with his nation was on one of the many hunts Henry arranged in his wish to remain active. On a normal day, England himself would be the only person fully capable of keeping up with the King - the only one who would never miss a target if he were to use his bow.

The fact that England half-heartedly kept at the end of the line of horses instead of remaining at Henry’s side was the first clue. England himself was suffering one of the many days where he was so uncertain and confused that the idea of hunting repulsed him - did Portugal like hunting? Did he hate it? Would he hate him if he found out England enjoyed it? - and it took more prodding to get him on the back of a horse than it would take to get a falcon to willingly remain on an arm. So distracted he was that when a stag darted out of hiding, England’s one shot was far off the mark.

It was much later at night when King Henry requested to visit England in his chambers. The nation thought nothing of it for the two shared a passion for needlework that England insisted on hiding as he wasn’t about to give the world yet another thing to tease. When the King arrive they both took up their usual places - Henry on the only chair in the room with England seated comfortably at his feet - and worked quietly, each to their own thoughts.

“Are you ill, my nation?” he red-headed King questioned finally, wanting to get to the heart of the matter and not willing to wait and longer for England to bring it up himself. Said nation tensed instantly and only shook his head negatively as an afterthought. “Then, are you angered by something I have done? Have I managed to break the oaths I made to y-”

“No!” England interrupted, tossing his needlework down to bury his face in the fabric that covered Henry’s knee. “It... you have done nothing. There is nothing the matter.” he mumbled, face going red as he realized that even his new King had deduced there was something bothering him.

“I find that hard to believe, Arthur.” Henry replied, sounding both amused and worried as he used the name that England had given him to use for himself. “As you are not your usual enthusiastic self this day.” A strong hand reached down and with a softness that would startle his wife and children, ran his fingers through England’s choppy locks. “I wish to hope that you would trust me enough to speak your mind and know that I would do anything in my power to aid you.”

Closing his eyes to the frustrated tears that threatened to choke him, England searched for words that would best explain what he wanted despite the fact that he wasn’t entirely sure what that was aside from finding out how Portugal felt. “I... there is... there is someone that I find myself drawn to, my King and... I am entirely in the dark as to what they think of me.”

He would have continued on if not for the light chuckle that reverberated all the way down from his Kings chest to where England leaned against his knee. Embarrassed and upset that Henry would find his predicament funny of all things got England to his feet and leaving before he consciously thought of it. He was so sick, so tired of having everyone laugh at him! A quick hand managed to grab his arm and pull him back before England could make it to the door and calming fingers ran along the back of his hand.

“Do not be angered, darling nation. I was not laughing at your distress. It relieves me that what ails you in not a sickness.” Gray eyes twinkled, surrounded by the masses of red hair and beard that Henry kept proudly wild.

“But it is a sickness my King. A terrible fever where I can concentrate on nothing but the one in my thoughts and where but one moment I feel as though I could conquer the world with happiness alone and the next that I lost it all, beaten down in the rain.” England answered miserably, sagging back down beside his King and letting his head fall back against his knee.

“Ah, I see. Do I perhaps know this admirable lady that has captured your attentions?” Henry asked, voice deep with curiosity.

England ducked his head awkwardly, suddenly more aware than ever at how unusual his feelings were considered in the world. He hesitated for a long moment, wondering if he should just stop there and leave it. But the promise of potential help was too tempting for him in the end. “It is not a lady who has captured me, Majesty, but a man just the same as I. Except I certainly doubt he carries these doubts in his heart.”

There was silence above him, making England tense quickly and regret the fact that he’d said anything at all. So when Henry’s hand landed back on top of his head, he flinched away, expecting the hand to hurt. The King sighed and followed England’s head with his hand, going back to petting him like he had before. “I suppose I should have guessed as much if I had known it was another nation that caught your eye. I do believe,” Henry’s voice filled to the brim with amusement, “that I have yet to meet one of your kind who is female Though I also must admit I am unsure as to what France is.”

That startled a laugh out of England, who hadn’t heard his King insult the country he was born in before. “He’s a frog, Majesty. That about sums it up.”

England couldn’t help the relieved smile that grew on his lips - even if it was very shaky - as Henry burst out laughing at his weak joke. His King was famous for being as quick to anger as he was to laughter; if Henry was laughing, it meant there were no hard feelings at finding out about his nations highly different preferences.

Clearing his dry throat, England closed his eyes and relaxed against that strong knee. “I do not know if you have met him before.” he mumbled once his King’s laughter had quieted.

“There is much truth in that - I haven’t met many nations.” Henry mused, fingers massaging England’s head soothingly. “In fact, other than France and yourself, my only experience is with your brothers - an experience I could certainly do without.”

“And it certainly isn’t any of them.” England replied, face scrunched up with distaste. “His name is Portugal.” Even just saying the others name brought a bright blush to his cheeks.

“Hmm - the very same Portugal I believe Stephen mentioning you were off helping while mother and I were trying to depose him that first time?” Henry sounded faintly amused.

“The very same.” England answered, before shooting a panicked look to his King. “But do not misunderstand me - it wasn’t my intention to help him at first. I was on my way to the Holy Lands when-”

“When a storm that didn’t actually exist blew in, forcing you to stop and help?” Henry laughed. “Don’t bother trying to fool me, Arthur. Though I would like to know why you wanted to help another nation when you didn’t even know him at the time. Take no offense to this, but that doesn’t exactly sound like you.”

Silenced momentarily with surprise, a strange expression came over England’s face - an odd combination of anger, sadness and wistfulness. “None taken, Majesty. It is... I was once in the same predicament he was in. Except none would help me. Not even my own siblings.” he snorted and bitterness flavored his next words. “Especially not my siblings.” He sighed, tangling his fingers into King Henry’s robe, breathing in the earthy scents of his new King and trying his best to not remember his conquerors. “If I could help save someone from going through what I did... it was well worth missing you and Matilda falling flat on your faces.”

Henry laughed lightly, tugging England’s blond locks playfully. “I keep forgetting that you aren’t as young as you appear, my little valiant.” With one final pat to his head, Henry’s arm reached down to wrap around England’s shoulders, hugging him against the side of the chair. “If you wish it, I would be more than amenable to having Portugal come for a visit. We could even call it ‘fostering a potential ally’ if you wish to be circumspect about your feelings.”

England was on his feet even before Henry finished speaking, arms wrapped tight around his Kings neck and an amazingly light feeling that he’d only felt when he’d been at the celebrations with Portugal coursing through him. This was better than he’d dared hope! “That - I...” he stumbled over his thanks, trying to find the best words but failing.

“You don’t have to say anything.” Henry laughed. “I promised when you accepted me as your King that I would take good care of you.” the red haired man leaned forward, pressing the faintest of kisses to England’s forehead. “Besides which, I think of you as a friend and I wish you happiness. Go write an invitation to my next hunt - I am sure that you will figure out if you both wish the same thing.”

----

For the next few weeks, England was even more a bundle of nerves that he was before. He’d done as King Henry suggested and invited Portugal to come on a hunt with them. But just hours after he’d sent off the message he was wishing he’d invited the other to something better. What if Portugal felt he was too busy to stop and go hunting? Or if he just plain didn’t like hunting? England spent a lot of time loitering at the ports of London, waiting to see if a message had arrive. The rest of his time was spent locked in his room with the belief that he’d embarrassed himself in front of the other and that was why he wasn’t getting a reply.

So when the messenger came back with a highly positive reply, England could only stare in shock. Much to the castles populations amusement, he spent the rest of that day as well as the next checking and re-checking the reply, as if he was unable to believe that he’d read it properly.

Then shortly after that, he realized that Portugal was on his way. To visit England. In Westminster palace. And everywhere he looked, he swore he saw dirt. The servants willing - and thankfully - put up with him asking for them to do extra cleaning. To them, it wasn’t because one of Henry’s young nobles was demanding they do more work. Someone foreign was coming to visit and that was a rare and interesting opportunity and none of them wished to appear as if they were slacking in keeping the palace beautiful.

The days passed with an agonizing slowness. England found himself constantly checking the time - either by the sun or by candle mark - and he could never find enough tasks in the day to keep him occupied. He tried to help with the cooking and the cleaning, but was politely sent on his way as he knocked things about with his nerves. In the end, he took to locking himself in his room again, working on his embroidery and only taking breaks when someone brought him food. By the time the date Portugal had written he would arrive appeared, England’s room was swimming in stitched fabric.

But finally, on a day that managed to dawn clear and beautiful - and something England could be proud to show off - a ship appeared in the distance, waving the pennants that spoke of the important dignitaries on board. By the time the ship managed to dock, a nervous British nation managed to go back and change outfits twice and bemoan his hairs inability to remain straight for longer than it took to comb out.

Antsy with nerves, England tried his best to remain still beside King Henry as they waited with nearly all of England’s nobility for the people on the ship to disembark. Every few dragging minutes, the young nation would shift around, or try to stand taller as if to be able to see onto the ship better. And every time he did so, Henry would hush him and still him with a calming hand on top of his head.

With all the pomp and circumstance that came with royalty arriving in a foreign nation a herald declared each person that came off the ship starting from, what England assumed, was the least importance. To him, it just meant that much longer until he would finally see the portuguese nation again.

So when Portugal himself appeared in front of him unannounced, England froze, completely shocked by the others weary and injured face. There was, to his horror, a rather large scar running down the left side of his face, right over his eye. The wound looked terribly raw and fresh, still a bright livid red that looked incredibly painful.

“P-portugal.” he managed to splutter as the bright and happy smile the Iberian nation was sending him slowly turned to something self-conscious under England’s stare. The smile returned as England said his name, nervous fingers that had teased the ends of his pony tail releasing the strands. “What happened? Are you okay?” England couldn’t help asking, curious fingers rising towards the side of Portugal’s face before he realized what he was doing and snapped his hand back down.

“Don’t worry England. I’m fine - it doesn’t even hurt anymore.” Portugal smiled softly, rather touched at the concerned look on England’s face. To be true to his word, the throbbing pain of his scar was lessening with every battle he won and he’d had the scar for years now. In fact, it was shortly after the battle for Lisbon was won that Al-Andalus had appeared in the middle of a fight unexpectedly and slashed him across the face. Portugal supposed such an injury was supposed to make him want to quit - to lay down his arms and return to being part of the Moorish Empire once more. But if anything, fighting through the pain and the months of stumbling around with limited vision - fighting blind was, he thought with irony, exactly what he had been doing - strengthened his resolve and in return his King continued to fight, to push back his opposers.

He wasn’t free yet, but in Portugal’s eyes, it would be an inevitability.

“Alright then.” England spoke, snapping Portugal out of his thoughts. Shyly offering his hand, England continued, “Come on - I’ll show you to your room so you can get settled in.” Neither glanced back at their Kings - who were both watching the young nations interacting, one with a hidden smile, the other with a curious expression - or waited as they were suppose to, to leave with the procession that was slowly building itself up. Instead, Portugal took the offered hand with a happy smile and both left, hand in hand, heading towards the Palace.

As they walked along the streets of London, England excitedly pointed out landmarks, so proud of his city and accomplishments that Portugal couldn’t help but smile at the enthusiasm. From eateries he enjoyed, to traffic on the Thames, the blond nation chattered happily, covering his nervousness with words. Thought there was an odd moment as they passed a building with a tall white tower where all the happiness slip from England’s face and he merely mentioned the building as “The Tower of London.” with a scowl before continuing on.

Westminster Palace sprawled before them rich, luxuriant and shining. As England dragged his fellow nation through the front gates, Portugal couldn’t help but gape at the palace so different from his own. The guards saluted the teenagers as they wandered through the gates, chatting so casually that England couldn’t help but rejoice internally. This was a part of the dream he’d had; being able to talk to the other, to get to know him and find out that they had things in common.

“We were thinking of holding a feast tomorrow in your honor instead of today.” England managed to finally stutter out as they climbed the steps to the westernmost highest room - the one England had claimed for his own when Henry invited him to live there. “I - I mean, you and your people just got here and you must be tired...” unlatching the door, he winced as him embroidery filled, messy room was revealed, “a-and we would go hunting tomorrow to add to it.” He finished quietly. England wasn’t sure Portugal was even paying attention to what he was saying anymore as the other had stepped into his room, probably disgusted by all the mess from the way he was staring.

“Hunting?” Portugal turned to look at him curiously, his fingers tracing over one of the embroidered crosses England had made the night before.

“Um... yes?” he couldn’t help how much more nervous his voice came out. This was it - the moment where the Portugal from his every nightmare stormed out, offended beyond belief that England would waste his time with a sport as disgusting as hunting. He cringed, waiting for the axe to fall. “I-is there a problem?”

What he didn’t expect was for the Iberian nation to look him straight in the eyes- and good Lord, they were the bright green of new leaves in spring, why had he not noticed that before? - and smiled so happily that it took England’s breath away.

“None what-so-ever.” Portugal replied, fingers trailing up his face to absently rub at his scar. “I used to go hunting all the time with my mother when I was small. It’s been...” his eyes took on the odd faraway look of someone remembering something painful, “ages since I’ve given it any thought, let alone gone.”

England, who had been struck speechless by just a smile, barely managed to smile in return. But he didn’t need to say anything - Portugal stepped closer, like England had only ever dreamed he would, and the faint, ticklish feeling of lips on his cheek was enough to make his face burn brightly. “Thank you.” the tanned nation leaned back, giving the shorter England enough space to catch his breath. “N-now...” and Portugal blushed, scratching his cheek and England would be damned if he didn’t fall all the more in love with every move the other made, “Where exactly is this room you mentioned?”

Jaw dropping open slowly, a red-faced England nodded, clearing his throat to try and find the ability to be coherent. “A-ah - this way!” he managed to squeak out - to his complete and utter embarrassment - and one abrupt turn later was heading out of his room, the only reason he knew Portugal was following was from the sound of his own door being shut behind them and the steady click of boot heels on stone.

It wasn’t long until they got to the door that was to lead into Portugal’s room - in fact, it was only a few steps down the hall before a blushing England opened the door. “It’s r-right here. The room next to mine...” and that wonderful floaty feeling kept growing as Portugal went red in the face as well. So much so that England wasn’t sure how his feet were still attached to the ground.

“Ah - thank you!” the other managed to stutter out, stepping through the door to look at the room identical to England’s, minus the mess of embroidery.

“See... see you soon?” England managed to control his voice enough to not crack on the question. Portugal opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by a yawn. “Of course.” he managed to get out as he rubbed his scar tiredly. “I would be delighted to.”

Both stood there for a long moment, just looking at each other. Almost as one, they both realized they were staring, not talking and in one final embarrassed motion the door was shut and England was rushing back to his room, elated and yet mortified. He had hope - and if he could believe what he’d seen by the way Portugal reacted (he’d kissed England! On the cheek!) to him... maybe his dreams were a reality.

He could only hope tomorrow would be as amazing as today.


[Part 2]
Tags: fanfic, secret santa 2010
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