Hello, everyone! 25Melissa25 here! This is my first Hetalia fanfic as well as the first part of a collection I'm calling Horrible Bosses. It will be about each country as they deal with terrible rulers they've had at any point in history. This first one is about France, and his first interaction with Louis XVI, who ended up being King during the French Revolution in 1789. This fic takes place before all that in 1774, when Louis ascended the throne. I tried to make this as historically accurate as possible. Tried. So don't kill me if I made a mistake. I'll put history notes at the bottom for anyone that needs it. So, here it is! Part 1 of 3 for France as he meets his horrible boss, Louis XVI.
Some translations for those of you who don't know a lot of French:
le Roi- the King
le nouveau Roi- the new king
Excusez-moi- excuse me
La petite France- the little France
Son Majesté- his majesty
ton Majesté- your majesty
La belle d'autriche- the beauty of austria
Detestait-hated; it's l'imparfait
Bien sûr que non!- of course not!
c'est très Bon vous voir- it's so good to see you! The formal VOUS is used here because they are greeting each other as men of high stature. It is polite, and respective of their titles.
et vous aussi-and you also.
mon Roi- my king
Vous êtes le Roi maintenant- you are the king now
Le Château de Versailles
France paced nervously in front of what was Louis XV's throne, wringing his hands nervously and trying to ignore the gnawing discomfort in his stomach. Power vacuums were always like that. When a monarch died France's chest and lungs hurt for the first month or two as those around the late King, including France himself, scrambled to settle affairs while the people (if they were a good leader) mourned. Even if they weren't a good monarch, a sort of melancholy still spread over the cities and country-sides of France, and cloaked the Nation's heart in heavy lead.
Then came the nausea for the remainder of the time until the new leader settled in. The bourgoisie and the nobility that were lucky enough to be called to Court jumped at the chance to work with (Oh! Excusez-moi, I mean pay off) Parliament and legislation on the sly and implement whatever changes they wanted while they were still King-free. It helped them gain power at Court, and therefore mosey up to le Roi. They created their ideal situations that the King would walk into, and they would be right there at his side when he needed advice: Reform! Debt! Me, me, me! I want this; so let's change France THIS way for le nouveau Roi! No, France 'needs' THIS! I want THIS instead! Blah, blah, blah.
They never asked France for his opinion or his suggestions. Granted, they didn't know of his status as a Nation, only that Louis XV left specific instructions regarding France's consent on all matters. Well those instructions were thrown right out the window to help their own agendas. They ripped France in all different directions, and his body did flip-flops trying to adjust to new orders as it changed his people and his country.
Hence, the nausea. It only got worse since Louis XVI was officially named from Dauphin to successor.
Which meant the people didn't support le nouveau Roi.
Which sent his body into even more turmoil.
France did not attend the coronation. He felt particularly ill that day, and missed out, bedridden with headaches. The worst experience he had on behalf of Louis XVI was when le Dauphin married la belle d'Autriche, Marie Antoinette. The people's hatred for her heritage and their discontent bled into France so badly he developed a fever. One day it rose so high he collapsed, delusional in a feverish rage, and yelled, screamed, fumed at Louis XV and anybody that came near including his personal doctor. They wrestled him into bed, then he spent the rest of the week alternating between calling le Roi a traitor to France for doing that, and throwing up his guts because of the grandeur if the wedding. So NOT a beautiful moment for the beautiful France.
The distant clang of church bells ripped France out of his reverie with a start. 2:00. His crystalline blue eyes locked on the door for any signs of life. Louis should have arrived a half hour ago. After a few good minutes of staring he sighed in frustration, then exhaustion, his pointy-toed shoes making loud, articulated clicks on the immaculate marble floor while he resumed his pacing.
"Sacré-bleu!" he scolded himself. "Calm down, France! Meeting ze nouveau Roi should not be zis stressful! At zis rate, you'll need a powdered wig just to 'ide your grey 'airs," he thought to himself absently.
He adjusted the bottom of his silk, lavender vest, re-fluffed his ruff, and smoothed his skin-tight beige pantaloons, chuckling miserably to himself.
He knew the real reason why he was so nervous, and if he was totally honest with himself, it wasn't the people making him feel as sick as he was. France didn't spend centuries glancing over the shoulders of rulers for nothing. From a first glance he could tell what a ruler's character was, and basically what direction their rule would take.
Not including the conditions they were walking into, of course. Any good leader can have a failed reign because of circumstances beyond their control.
So a 19 year old young man, who already made France uneasy, who was walking into the backlash of the Seven Years' War loss, the loss of countless French territories and foreign footholds, the War of Austrian Succession that Louis XV so carelessly joined, the entire country on the brink of debt, and general public discontent didn't hold France's vote of confidence.
Not that the Nation couldn't be proved wrong- he certainly had before: his first impression of Charlemagne upon his birth as a Nation was that he was a battle-obsessed nimrod, fighting for the sake of fighting just so that he wouldn't have to play with la petite France. Of course, he was a child back then, with a child's view of a 'meanie' like Charlemagne. He learned later, naturally, that it was for expansion and unification purposes, and not war for the sake of war, or for spiting him.
Sure, he was wrong before, and he was sure to be wrong again. But something stubborn that was jabbing him in the pit of his stomach that he was SURE wasn't his constricting waistband left him feeling unconvinced that he would be wrong about this.
France sighed, glaring tiredly up at the ceiling. Luckily for him, the gilt frames around the beautiful stillness of captured people and tamed nature grabbed his attention. He stared from painting to painting, making out what details he could with the ceiling being so high. Even his sharpened senses as a Nation couldn't make out some of the finer details of the art. It was pointless, then, to build the palace like this, he thought, absently stroking the purple ribbon in his hair and twirling the end of his ponytail around his finger. Yes, ponytail. He detestait those powdered wigs. They were itchy, they smelled after a while, they looked ridiculous-even to him! And if a fashion statement upset France, well, then it really HAD to be bad.
He guessed that by the time he was done staring another half hour passed. A whole hour late! This young man was not scoring very high marks already.
France's stomach did a little flip.
"Oh la-la," he breathed, massaging his temples against the sudden onslaught of a headache. He hoped Louis, whatever he was like, settled in quickly, if only for France's sake. Then the council and the people at court and Parliament would settle in. They'd be forced to send things to le Roi one issue at a time. Then it would become France's job, or, Monsieur Bonnefoy, to step in as chief advisor and help him take the proper course of action to ensure the country's well-being and prosperity. It was his job to lead le Roi through the merde of court and machinations of both his friends and enemies, help him block out who needed blocked out, keep his head clear so he could see the CORE of the issues and make smart political decisions.
France could advise him on what to do to solve issues, but because he was a Nation, and because his government was an absolute monarchy, he couldn't force his King to do anything. The King had ultimate power, and all final decisions rested with him. He could listen to France if he wanted to, or he could not. And if he did not, well, France was out of luck. Louis XV didn't listen to France about the War of Austrian Succession. He didn't listen to France about proper taxation. He didn't listen to France when he told him to walk with more guards, did he? Non! Non, bien sûr que non! He left France in lost-war-caused debt, social uprising, and he luckily survived that assassination attempt! The country was slowly plummeting down the chamber pots because the king didn't HAVE to listen to their own National Personification.
And then there was also that other little quirk that the Nations had to deal with: there was some genetically-encoded...compulsion in the Nations. Anytime their leaders gave them a direct, concise order, they were forced to follow it. They couldn't help it. Something wouldn't allow them to disobey a direct command, anything ranging from, "Francis, dance the Zouk!" to "Kill my Parliament members, Francis." It just wasn't in their National power to disobey for some reason. So if one day Louis said, "Francis, leave the Palace and never come back..."
France was overreacting. "You haven't even met him, stupide!"
That wasn't entirely true. Louis had been born in Versailles. France interacted with him as a baby and small child on a few short occasions. If France recalled correctly, he had an odd obsession with locks. He liked taking them apart and putting them back together, tinkering with them, discovering how they work. And he rarely talked. France hardly saw the boy at all, spending a majority of his time in Louis XV's office. And then the boy was whisked away for tutoring, and the other menial aspects of a royal upbringing.
France supposed it was a bad time to bring back his nickname for Louis from back then, 'mon petit Prince.'
France's heels and shoe buckle resumed their cadence, a click with a slight undertone of articulated clack as he slowly paraded back and forth like a puppy that lost its master in a thick crowd.
He sighed again and finally decided to take a seat- not on Son Majesté's throne, that would be treasonous no matter HOW elegant and stylish it looked. Plus, he had yet to discover the nature of this new King's temperament. He instead opted for a posh gold couch placed dejectedly off to one side of the literal seat of power. The gold clashed pleasingly with the soft, quiet lavender of his vest and coat, and matched the gold embroidered trim on both. He flicked the back of his long coat out from under him before sitting.
No sooner had he touched the cushion that the heavy mahogany door opened and an entourage strolled in. France jumped up, expecting to come face-to-face with Son Majesté himself. Instead, the group was headed by Phillipe Fontagne, an upstanding member of the King's court and long time ami of Monsieur Bonnefoy.
He greeted France with a low bow. "Monsieur Bonnefoy! C'est très bon vous voir!"
"Et vous aussi, Phillipe," France said, using the formal greeting. He also bowed in reply. When all formalities were aside France held out his hand and grabbed Phillipe's forearm, pulling him in close to touch cheeks on both sides, as friends do.
"Mon ami, sorry we are so late," Phillipe said into France's ear. "Le nouveau Roi was a little nervous to meet you. 'e is very very shy."
France heard the rumors when he still stood next to Louis XV. He heard about the awkward couple that were too shy to consummate their ill-favored union. He knew the things that were whispered about the talented locksmith Louis who was too timid and embarrassed to "find the keyhole," if you caught France's drift. He just ignored them, strategically avoiding the realization that he may soon have a coward on his hands, and no heir.
Phillipe pulled away from France and turned towards a young man, tall in stature and well-proportioned, if a TINY bit on the plump side. But he lost a few inches because he kept his head down. His powdered wig held two white curls on either side of his full face, hiding a lightly brown natural color. He had small lips and eyes which added to his meek appearance. They flicked up to France momentarily and greyish-blue connected with vibrant, crystalline blue. And for a second France saw the true colors of Louis-Auguste: observant, quiet, and indeed timid. He didn't hide it as well as he tried to, though, attempting instead to opt for a dead, vacant, and unreadable expression. A blush colored Louis' face and ruined the effect. His eyes flicked elsewhere and he played at the lace trailing from his sleeves, a nervous tic.
"I wonder who ze idiot was zat taught 'im Court etiquette. 'e'll be eaten alive if 'e is not assertive, or at least confident," France thought miserably.
The ruff around Louis' neck and royal cloak almost hastily concealed the rest of him, like he subconsciously wanted to bury his discomfort and just be swallowed up. The cloak itself was thick blue velvet with a fur collar, embroidered with white fur trim. On the velvet was gold and blue patterns woven so intricately it left France dizzy after staring for too long. The colors were beautiful, and pleasing to France's eye. Obviously a fashionable man that cared about his appearance. But what about political matters?
France swallowed the uncertainty that rose in his throat like bile and stepped up to the man, drawing a bit below eye level. To his dismay, Louis' eyes slid away from him to the floor, the wall, anywhere but his face. France still laid his best charm on thick and flashed his most dazzling smile, offering his hand to Louis XVI delicately.
"Mon Roi," he purred smoothly, bowing his head. "I don't know if you remember me, but I was your grand-pére's chief advisor."
France could sense Louis' red faced hesitation, and he raised only his eyes to see the King's body turn slightly. He glanced almost pleadingly at who France could only guess was a governor or tutor. The man nodded and Louis finally pressed his soft hand in France's. The Nation dropped to a knee before him and kissed the crest of Bourbon House on his ring before releasing his hand.
He wasn't supposed to get up, not until His Majesty told him to, so he respectfully stayed in his position, head bowed low, kneeling in front of the uncertain man before him.
"I 'ope 'e's not shy enough to feel 'e needs approval for everyzing. Zis does not bode well."
Waiting, waiting, waiting awkwardly in the silence for someone to say something.
A soft, deeper-than-expected voice squeezed itself from between Louis XVI's tiny lips, "...rryosmmbr..." He trailed off at the end.
"U-um, excusez-moi?" France asked.
"Speak up, Louis. Vous êtes le Roi maintenant," a Court member instructed him.
"Are you someone who still attends Court?" he asked France a little louder.
France looked up into Louis' face and tried to read Louis' expression or figure out why he would ask that right away. There was a different glow to his diverted eyes that hadn't been there before, but the rest of his face was still forcibly cold. France realized he was TRYING to think nothing. He was TRYING to seem hard to read. Why, France had to figure out.
"Oui, I attend Court, but zat is not my position 'ere-"
"Parliament?" he asked suddenly.
France, confused, shook his head. "Non-"
"Non, Ton Maj-"
"Zen where is your wig, Monsieur?"
"Your wig, sir. It is ze style now. Everybody wears one. I didn't zink you were part of ze upper class because ozerwise you would wear one," he said quietly.
Shy, but not uncandid. And EXTREMELY observant, France noted, a bit surprised. The dull expression was an act. He' was smarter than he allowed people to believe. But why? Why the act? If he was shy, then seeming SMART and uneasy to fool should have been his wisest and most valuable career move. "I am of ze upper class, Ton Majesté, but I neither PARTICIPATE at Court, nor am I a member of Parliament. I am to be your chief adviser also. Zere's still much to explain, but it's somezing we must discuss alone. Francis Bonnefoy, at your service." From his kneeling position on the floor he let his arm elegantly curl a few times in front of him in a cordial motion of a bow.
Awkward silence ensued again and France lowered his hand. He cleared his throat and shifted on the floor, in a sign of obvious discomfort.
"Ton Majesté, per'aps you should allow Monsieur Bonnefoy to stand. 'e's paid 'is proper respects," Phillipe offered.
Louis just grunted and France rise gratefully, nodding his thanks to Phillipe.
"I want to go 'unting," Louis announced softly, spinning on his heels. France again noticed that his eyes never ventured above anyone's vest buttons. He started walking out of the room to escape all the attention.
France started and followed after him, protesting loudly, "Ah, wait! I was 'oping to discuss what I mentioned earlier wiz you now-"
"Son Majesté is très fatigue. I'm sure after after a nice relaxing 'unt to recharge, 'e'll be ready to discuss whatever you need, Monsieur Bonnefoy," a Court member said, already trying to get on le Roi's good side, lightly pulling his arm. Louis offered no resistance.
France followed hastily and ran around the group, stopping directly in front of le Roi. "Ton Majesté, zis isn't somezing zat should wait. I'd like to explain ze...nuances of my position, and-"
Louis waved him aside annoyingly. "Oui, oui, we will talk later. Jean," he said, turning to another of his group, "fetch Marie. Tell 'er where I am 'eaded."
He left without another word to France.
Phillipe cast back one last glance before following Louis out the doors.
France's first impression: timid, as they said. But he was quietly observant, sharp, and he possessed the ability to analyze, based on the wig comment. And yet he purposefully hid it. He kept up with fashion like a true French nobleman, and respected popular culture and couture. But he was too shy for his own good. He was viable to be led around blindly until he learned to trust Francis. Even then he didn't seem like he would listen very well.
The kind of man France needed in a time like this? Absolutely not.
France ran a nervous hand through his sunlight colored locks, messing up the ribbon and pulling out the ponytail.
It was going to be a bumpy ride. And France wasn't sure if his stomach could handle it.
History: Louis XV was of exceptional popularity with the people...until he actually started making decisions as a ruler. Lol. When the minister died, he ruled very very successfully because he seemed to take charge of the situation and actuLly TRY to fix things. But then he entered the Seven Years' War with Britain and lost that one. As a result, almost ALL of France's North American territory was lost to Britain (damn you, Arthur!). After that, he and Frederick II of Prussia thought it'd be cool to team up and fight Austria just to spite them, claiming that BAVARIA's ruler was the rightful ruler of Austria. The queen of Austria, Maria Theresa, was like "Oh HELL NAW!" and called on Britain for help. Britain agreed so that he could rub ANOTHER victory in France's face (I'm not kidding. Historically that's literally what happened.). Because Louis XV spent WAAAAY too much money on both lost wars, ontop of the fact that he was a man-whore and had a lot of mistresses, and basically RUINED France's economy and finances, people ended up HATING him when he died in 1774. ENTER LOUIS XVI! He basically walked into a shitty situation. But his shy personality and frivolous gambling and spending of national money didn't help. You'll see what else he did to piss people off in part two of this three-shot. He was poorly instructed in how to conduct himself as King, which ALSO didn't help. Marie Antoinette was Austrian. France hated austria at this point in history and hat's why people hated her. I hope you enjoyed this, and LEMME know what you think! It's my first hetalia fanfic. Any feedback is so greatly appreciated! Merci Boucoup!