|If you read the description, it'll explain why/how I did this. Traditional art, like always!! took me 5 days!|
February 22, 1787
Le Château de Versailles, Corridors
France messed up. He messed up big time.
"You and Louis handle the deputies and attendants since you already seem to have that figured out," he remembered telling Calonne. On that day. On that perfect, triumphant day.
His angry, stomping footfalls echoed blaringly through the halls and rooms. He tore around corners and furniture so forcefully he rocketed into guests, nearly knocking people over. His National aura mixed dangerously with his anger, creating a nearly tangible, red ocean of violent, volatile, vehement vexation, constantly rolling off of him in waves and hitting the palace's visitors and staff. When they saw him coming they startled and moved out of his way desperately, gasping at his frequent verbal interjections of absolute fury: mixes ranging from exasperated Zut!'s to full-blown Merde!'s. In his balked hike he looked randomly through the entire palace, growing more and more angry at the constant dead ends and circles he spun and the fact that he was lost and had NO IDEA WHERE HE WAS IN THE FREAKING PALACE while he tried to pinpoint this one SINGLE man amidst the groups and the laughing and the wine and CRAP!
People had been pouring in since the early morning - attendees of the Assembly. Versailles had already been entertaining for hours, now. No way was he going to find some stupid man in the middle of this raucous. He bothered to check one of the timepieces when he stormed past and saw that it was close to 14:30. About 6 minutes til. This damned thing was supposed to start at 15:00. Diable. MERDE MERDE MERDE! In a burst of furor he grabbed the small brass clock off the fire place and slammed it to the ground, shattering it. Leaving it there to perish dejectedly, he stepped over the pieces and left that room for the next. Another dead end. He took a moment of rationality for a deep breath.
"Ok, France, focus," he breathed, rubbing his entire face hard. "Find him. . . Find him." He mentally scoured the entire palace, ghosting his consciousness through every room on the floor, searching for the room he felt Calonne would be. Probably with the highest concentration of people, seeing as how he organized everything. That bastard. As far as he could tell, he received the best feeling from somewhere in the collection of antechambers in King Louis' apartments. Fine. At least his search was narrowed.
He barreled back through the rooms, just as angry but with better control, gently nudging people out of the way versus roughly shoving them to the side if they didn't move. He found the largest room on the floor and scanned faces intently, searching for that attitude, that essence, that younger, yet wise-looking chubby face of Charles Alexandre de Calonne. He found him in the comfort of mustard-yellow garments, chatting with some courtiers. Well. He'd have to talk to them later. France's fists clenched around the paper in his hands, crushing the source of his horrible wrath, and his anger reawakened like a sleeping dragon startled awake in his heart. His blue eyes flared, his red energy pulsed again, his teeth ground and his voice rolled out of his throat in a low growl. He pushed through the crowd towards Calonne, and when the man met eyes with him, obviously in good cheer, he failed to grasp the weight of France's anger. He smiled amiably in France's face.
For a moment.
"Ah! Monsieur Fra-"
France grabbed the bow on his cravat and twisted, jerking Calonne forward. The people around them gasped and backed away in fear as France spun on his heels and started walking to the next room, hauling him along like a captured prisoner. He choked and struggled, tottering after him awkwardly and off-balanced, but France did not stop. Not until they were in the less-crowded room over. As soon as they cleared the threshold France hurled his arm around and tossed Calonne into the wall before grabbing his cravat again to pull his face inches from his own. He waved the paper in question in Calonne's face: the guest list of people who were to be attending the Assembly.
"What the HELL is this?!" he screamed, the paper cackling in spite of him while he shook it. "Huh? What. the HELL. is THIS? THIS is your representation? They're ALL noblemen!"
"N-no, France," he said, leaning as far away from the Nation as the wall would allow. "We are expecting some from the Third Estate-"
"It's less than a 10th of the list! And Louis actually signed off on this?"
"Well, w-we thought that since this was a consultative body, then we could present them with ideas Louis already approved of and it wouldn't matter if-"
"Diable," France hissed, backing off of Calonne. "I TOLD you fair representation! When you told me you knew who to choose for this I assumed it was from each Estate!" He messed up. Badly. Very badly. This was a FREAKING DISASTER! Oh God, oh God, oh God! What did they hope to do for the Third Estate with all the nobility here? "And this is how you show me? I've been asking to see this list for a week now, and you SLIDE IT under my door the DAY OF?! I can't believe this! I should've made you get my approval. I should've known something was going to go wrong with this!"
"What's gone wrong?" he asked, gingerly rubbing his throat where France pulled at his cravat. "We have a plan, mon ami. You know my ideas. You know what I'm going to bring up. Well it was actually Louis' idea that we present it in the form of an ultimatum: either let us present tax reform or they pay the same taxes the Third Estate pays now. Then we intend to hear from the Third Estate directly, to discuss how the reforms would benefit them. I'm told this Robespierre we invited is extremely smart, with many helpful ideas."
"That was Louis' idea?" France asked, raising an eyebrow skeptically at Calonne.
France could feel his cheeks heating in embarrassment from his slight overreaction. He took heir lack of consideration of the Third Estate as forced exclusion rather than an attempt to simply target the people they wanted to change the most. He searched Calonne's face for any sign of worry, any trace of fear or any inclination that their plan wouldn't work, but to France he looked fully and completely confident in their ideas, like they were foolproof.
"Don't panic yet," he continued. "Once they agree to our terms w can work to restore you to your former glory."
Ok. Good. He could roll with this. He could stay calm.
France watched him rub his neck more and he looked around at all the shocked and scared glares. He laughed awkwardly in embarrassment and gently brushed off Calonne's shoulders in a gesture of peace. "D-désolé, mon ami," he said, offering an awkward and forced smile.
"Pas de problème," he said, though it was rather strained.
Eh, whatever. Now he had bigger problems. He still had to tackle this Assembly. Briefly he tried to conjure up a mental image of success - Calonne standing above the others in the center of the room with Louis seated behind him. He tried to imagine everyone's faces as they faced the implications of Calonne's ultimatum - full monetary work-up, or a slight increase for the sake of France as a whole. Them taking it calmly.
What he imagined, however, was a series of shouts, angry protest, people standing up, arms waving in disgust, Calonne backing away, failure.
Momentarily lost in the fervor and panic, he unconsciously reached for his ponytail, curling the end around his finger in a nervous tic. He missed Calonne's gaze quietly observe the action. France shook away the vision, but continued to twirl the hair around his finger, unaware that he was doing it. "Quelle heure est-il?"
"14:50, roughly. Are you ready?"
"Oui, bien sûr!" he said. But his chest wasn't. Since he let go of Calonne it tightened, harder and harder around his heart. It started straining, faster, rougher, pulsing nearly out of his ribcage.
"You are nervous," he told France. Not a question. A statement.
France's stomach flipped sickeningly and he nodded away the nausea. "The last time this Assembly met it was . . . let me think . . . 1626 . . . underrrr . . . Louis XIII."
"Were things much different?" he questioned, joking. France chuckled, but wanted to answer.
"Oui, et non," he said. "Struggles waged, as they do now, but they're different struggles. Back then I was fighting Hapsburg Spain and the Huguenots. These struggles are internalized. And our finances were certainly in better condition. We didn't necessarily need the Assembly back then. We need it now."
Calonne smiled sympathetically. But in his eyes was awe at France's recollection of history so far beyond what any of them could remember. The fact that he lived through all of that, and would continue to live to see what was beyond today. If France didn't completely collapse. France wished he wouldn't. Wouldn't look at him like that.
He clapped France on the shoulder. "Ça ira! I promise. Wasn't it you who said that if this failed we would be no worse off than we are now? Come on. Fix yourself up, hold your chin high, and we will go in together. Ok? I have full confidence that this will go according to plan."
France re-tucked his shirt and rubbed his face, and when he was ready he nodded.
France walked into the room, walked head-long into the faces, the voices, the stares, the questions. His ears picked up on every sound of disapproval across the entire room, even on the balconies. And though he knew he was't being attacked directly, as soon as a pair of eyes met his he hastily lowered his gaze. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was going to be ripped apart like they were dogs and he, Calonne, and Louis were wounded rabbits. He cursed his shaky legs, he chided at his cold, shaking hands, he reprimanded his stomach and lungs, quaking as they interrupted the fluidity and depths of his breath. He sighed in complete relief when he saw his chair to Louis' right, but in a split-second decision he sat in the front row of benches, facing Louis.
The King threw him a questioning glance and made to gesture to the seat but France quickly shook his head and gave Louis a hard glare. He brushed a finger across his lips in a gesture of silence and covered it up by resting his elbow on the arm rest and cupping this chin, opening his pointer finger to stretch across his mouth. Louis sent him another look of absolute terror, of absolute abandonment, and France's heart hurt with regret. Why did he decide to sit here?
Maybe he was detaching from Louis, he absently offered to himself. It was just a suggestion, but the implications of that single sentence made so much sense to him, explained so much that even though he tried to let it go it left a crack in his mind. It left a slight hole, and the reason beyond, the awareness and question-answering closure and analysis beckoned to him with its sense of self, so enticing and beguiling that he suddenly found himself peering in without realizing he moved towards it at all.
When Louis had to choose between his literal country, which included his Nation, or the opulence of Versailles, the fortune, the luxuries, the affluence, he didn't choose France, if he remembered correctly. In fact, rather than just NOT choose France, he removed the losing party as far away from himself as he could. Knowing he made the selfish choice, and unwilling to face it. Too cowardly. Oh, how the tables have turned. Well, not officially. Yet. He was not ready to admit to himself yet that a time was coming where he would have to make his own choice. No, he was just enjoying the potential irony. Yeah. That's it.
So. Who would he rather side with? If he had to choose between that man or the people, if he had to decide between Louis, the monarchy, the symbolic and emblematic representation of France's splendor, France's history, France's grandeur, pomp, luster, the French crown, the longest standing monarchy in history. . .
Or . . .
The French people, the epitome of him, his essence, his desires and wants, his grit, his heart . . .
If he had to choose between the ONE person who controlled and stepped on his Nation, or the people who would stand beside his human, he would choose the people.
He was done sacrificing himself or the people that didn't care. He decided right then and there. Why should he? Louis didn't give him that courtesy, so he didn't deserve it in return.
And no, he wasn't going to discuss the hypocrisy of his continued presence at Versailles. He had a right to be mad every once in a while.
On a side note, would Louis even see a potential to start interpreting the signs? Would he see the cues, the subtleties? If France had to guess, he'd say no.
He reemerged from his thoughts to realize that he and Louis were still holding resolute eye contact in their own way. Louis' eyes were just as glossy as France's so he wondered what the man was thinking about. He doubted it had anything in common with France's inner monologue. Why should it? He lived the life of the privileged. The class system would never seem like a problem to the powerful the same way a mouse shortage wouldn't seem like a problem to a dog.
France crossed his legs and raised an eyebrow to confidently say, "Yes?" to him.
His eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly back at him, but France's heightened sight picked up on the subtle change. France was about to match and raise him when one of the deputies stood up. Despite the level of clamor in the room, the whole crowd energized in an instant. 144 pairs of eyes snapped to the disturbance and they all grew silent, trailing lamely off mid-sentence in the midst of this new and exciting happening.
"His Royal Majesty, King Louis XVI of the House of Bourbon, calls this Assembly of Notables to order on this day, the 22nd of February, in the year of our Lord 1787. First to take the floor will be His Majesty King Louis XVI's chief finance minister, Charles Alexandre de Calonne."
Calonne lifted his chin and stood from his seat of honor to Louis' left. He took a moment to sweep his gaze across the assembly and clear his throat before launching into his piece:
Abuses in tax payment are defended by self-interest, influence, wealth, and ancient prejudices which seem to be hallowed by time; but what are all these together compared with the common good and the necessity of the state?"
Wow. That was a bold start. France made sure to try and relax his shoulders as they tensed up and crept towards his ears over and over.
"These abuses oppress the wealth-producing, laboring class: the abuses of pecuniary privilege; unjust exceptions to the general rule; and exemptions which only relieve one section of taxpayers by aggravating the conditions of the others . . . "
His words were drowned out by the restlessness of the crowd, punctuated by "Hear!"s and other assents from the minuscule number of Third Estate representatives. Oh, boy. Already they weren't taking kindly to Calonne's summary. Unexpected, hot, angry tears of despondency rose so quickly to his eyes he struggled to blink them back as his heart sank. This was exactly what he was afraid of. Louis waved to one of the deputies and they stood, calling attention to he Assembly.
"Order! Order, here!"
As soon as they were silent, Calonne continued. "The projects which the King intends to impart to you are neither doctrine nor novelties. They represent a summary of the plans for the public good long contemplated by experienced statesmen and by the government itself. Some have been attempted in part and all seem to have the backing of the nation . . . " Here he added a pointed glance to France. His strong face momentarily collapsed in worry at the sight of France's terror-filled eyes, so he quickly plastered a (hopefully) convincing smile and nodded his approval. " . . . but up until now their complete implementation appeared impracticable because of the difficulty of reconciling a host of local customs, claims, privileges, and collecting interest."
"That is fancy talk for Parliament," France thought, re-alloting Calonne's direct gaze towards the Assembly members.
"To this end, His Majesty has first of all considered the various forms of administration which occur in those provinces without local Estates. In order that the distribution of taxation may cease to be unequal and arbitrary, he has decided to confide the task to the landowners. He has derived from the principles of the monarchy the general plan of a graduated series of deliberative assemblies, whereby the expression of the taxpayers' wishes and observations on everything which concerns them will be transmitted from public to district assemblies, thence to provincial assemblies, and through them to the throne.
Obviously he was trying to use weighted and confusing words for the sake of confusion so people couldn't ask questions. But if France understood right . . . His mouth dropped open before he could keep it shut. So his plan wasn't to bypass the parliaments as he hoped. He was just going to make the peoples' assemblies (of which there were countless numbers per area) report to the major parliaments again? He just expected them to report directly to him? After being screened through TWO, both Paris and Versailles?! What was different?! France KNEW he would find some way to back out of full-fledged change, and that was it. That was the move he made to try and keep a desperate hold of his failing support. Why was France unaware of any of this? He hissed out his discontent through his teeth, and when Louis' gaze rolled to his France shook his head, disappointed. He swore the man sunk lower his seat.
"Next, His Majesty brought all personal attention to bear on establishing the same principle of uniformity in the distribution of the land tax . . . "
A cacophony of voices erupted in the hall, echoing deafeningly against the short-lasting re-established silence that came before. All over people started shouting their disapprovals and censure.
"So you're saying you want to impose a tax on the land we own? That's preposterous!"
"When you have the floor, you may-" the deputy tried to input.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," Calonne countered.
"How is that 'uniform'?" he asked. "I know for a fact that I own more land than Monsieur de la Fournier. Are you saying that you're going to tax me more than him?"
"It will be even," attempted Louis, but Calonne persevered against the crowd while Louis faded out.
"I have already mentioned that. King Louis recognized that the one-twentieth, instead of being assessed on all the land in his kingdom in true proportion to the value of the crop as they should be, suffer an infinity of exceptions which are tolerated rather than regarded as legitimate. The revenue of this general tax . . . " He trailed off and glared tiredly at the Assembly, waiting for the residual whispers and voices to die down. "The revenue of this general tax, instead of providing the government with vital information about the produce of the kingdom and the relative wealth of each province, serve only to demonstrate the offending inequality between their various contributions.
"His Majesty has decided to remedy these defects by applying the rules of a strictly distributive justice, by restoring the original intention behind the tax, and by raising it to its true value without increasing anyone's contribution, indeed granting some relief to the people. Also, and finally, by making every kind of privilege incompatible. The one-twentieth will be replaced by a general land tax covering the whole area of the kingdom on a proportion of all produce, payable in kind where feasible otherwise in money, and admitting of no exception - even the crown lands, other than those resulting from the varying fertility of the soil and the varying harvests."
"So Louis promised to pay this tax as well? Incroyable," France thought, stroking his ponytail. One minute Louis was unwilling to give up nobles' support, and the next he's ready to help France by paying himself.
"The lands of the Roman Catholic Church would necessarily be included in this general assessment which, to be fair, must include all land as does the protection for which it is the price-"
"What is with this change, Monsieur? Not a month ago you had the crown borrow close to 300,000 livres! Now you presume too much to make up for it! Are you saying you're going to tax the clergy now? You're mad! Laying taxes on houses and servants of God!"
"And who is the sole sovereign of the Church?" Louis yelled, quieting the room instantly. France was glad he was finally getting heated. It may help him put his foot down and keep it there. "I am. I am granted sovereignty. And all those who are Catholic here should all be servants of God!" Louis called up memories of France's desperate sprint to Notre Dame, and he quickly tried to block them out.
"What is your goal for all of these new implementations? To eat away at OUR pockets, Votre Majestée?!" Hands were thrown in the air, dismissing them, waving off both him and Calonne.
He held up a finger and waited for silence, or as close to silence as he was going to get. "But in order that these lands should not be overburdened by continuing to pay the taxes collected to fund the debt of the clergy, the King, sovereign protector," he emphasized, gesturing wildly to Louis behind him, "has decided to provide for the repayment of this debt by granting the clergy the necessary authorization to make repayment by selling off feudal rights, and other church grants.
"What's more: he wishes to implement complete freedom of the grain trade, with the one exception of deferring to the wishes of the provinces where any of them think it necessary temporarily to suspend export abroad-"
"So you'll give exemptions to merchants and NOT to us-"
"If you would LISTEN," Louis said, rubbing his face exasperatedly. "The exemptions," he called, "refer to the state as a whole, and NOT to individuals, and ONLY! ONLY IF they promise to cease exportation abroad! Continue," he gestured to Calonne.
"The King also proposes the abolition of forced labor on public highways, and the conservation of this excess: harsh exaction to a monetary contribution distributed more justly and spent in such a way that it can never be diverted to other purposes. Internal free trade, customs houses removed to the frontiers, the establishment of a uniform tariff taking the needs of commerce into consideration, the suppression of several taxes which are harmful to industry or lead too easily to harassment, and the alleviation of the burden of the obligation to purchase salt from the state - which I have never mentioned to His Majesty without his being deeply grieved that he cannot rid his subjects of it altogether. These, gentlemen," he said passionately, spinning to drink the whole room in with his eyes, "are so many salutary measures which enter into the plan upon which His Majesty will enlarge, and which all can conform to the principles of, under which, are its basis."
He stepped away from the center and retreated, almost hastily, to his seat next to Louis.
Before anyone could raise a hand to protest Louis stood. "We have collaborated deeply on these ideas. I bestow them upon you with my fullest confidence in them. I also endow you with this: if we cannot agree to this or at least some variation of this, then, to be swift and frank, and in the name of political action, I will force ALL of the burdens of the Third Estate's taxes upon you, so that you may all do SOME part to ease France's struggle."
"It is your choice, gentlemen," Calonne said. "I will now relinquish the floor."
France's breath caught in his lungs and he held it, shutting is eyes. Too afraid to look at peoples' faces to see if their wheels were turning, if their mental cogs were pounding as they worked through it in their heads. Dreading the moment someone jumped up, ran to take the floor to launch into some violent and passionate opposition. He half-flinched away, expecting the room to erupt.
Someone stood up.
"I have one question," came the voice from the back of the room. France jumped in spite of himself.
"Here it comes," he whispered to himself. He wasn't ready. No, no, no. He contemplated running out of the room. He was too late.
"Have these been run through the parliaments?"
March 15, 1787
Le Château de Versailles, Antechamber
"His Royal Majesty, King Louis XVI of the House of Bourbon, calls this Assembly of Notables to order on this day, the 15th of March, in the year of our Lord 1787. First to take the floor will be a Monsieur Jean-Baptiste de Grasse, on the subject of legislative bodies in France."
March 30, 1787
Le Château de Versailles, France's Chambers
France stopped going.
He couldn't stand it. Not after the last two Assemblies. Couldn't stand watching them ridicule the only man who restored his confidence, the only man who wasn't helping him to help his own agenda, the only man who genuinely CARED about France. Who mended his heart, who made the pain go away - not completely, but the man who at least blanketed it, swaddling him with belief and ambition, faith and aspiration. He couldn't watch them laugh him off the floor. He couldn't handle them sneering and jeering and smirking and shouting "Monsieur Défécit! Monsieur Défécit!". Like children on the playground. He couldn't stand to see the usually so confident Calonne - his backbone - 's cheeks blush and redden like Spain's tomatoes in mortification while they didn't listen and chatted and joked through his points and discussion and debated amongst themselves over him.
They were just bitter. He tried to tell himself that. That they were bitter, and the plan was going to work, they were just ensuring that Calonne and Louis knew that if this was going to pass, it wasn't going to pass without a fight. They were just dragging it out.
But they didn't understand HOW BADLY this had to work. They didn't understand that France's world was going to stop if it didn't. That he was effectively going to have to watch his own decent into the deepest abyss of rock bottom. That he was doomed to lose himself so completely . . . he had no idea how this would change him. He knew it would, he just wasn't ready. He wasn't ready to go crazy, wasn't ready to face absolute, raw, naked, melancholic depression. It was HIS LIFE in the balance. This had to work. Had had had to work. "Please, dear Lord, let this work . . . "
Calonne tried to tell him over and over and over that it would, to not worry, to relax. But every time he thought about it, he got a specific burning pain across his shoulder blades, searing every time he moved his arms or tried to roll his shoulders or even contemplate the Assembly. His gut, his impulse was telling him something was going to go wrong. And when those kind of National alarm bells rang . . . think of Paris. . .
France had to prepare for it. And he was prepared to prepare for that. To hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
No matter what the worst meant for the future. Have you ever had so much to do that you weren't sure where to start and did none of it?
April 3, 1787
Le Château de Versailles, France's Study
France's world froze.
He thought he prepared. Hah. Prepared. Preparation blanched in the face of the monster that was the unannounced and abrupt. All he did was sit around Versailles, strategically avoiding and procrastinating, unwilling to face the fact that a storm was coming.
This was it. This was the first crack of thunder.
His world froze. Not for the first time, and he'd be damned if it was the last. "What?" he asked. Not because he didn't hear, no. He heard it fine. He was just hoping, PRAYING with all of him that he misinterpreted. That there was a different angle, a different speech pattern, pitch, emphasis, that would change the meaning.
"They've refused both options," Calonne said miserably, looking down at his shoes.
A moment to hear again, reinterpret, try his original meaning again, then attempt every combination and permutation of the meaning. None of them worked. Except the one he didn't want to make sense. "How?!" he breathed as he fought the onset of the inevitable pain in his back. "HOW?" he shouted, trying to force himself into anger rather than absolute anguish. He pounded his fist on the desk. He squeezed the glass of water in his hand so hard he crushed it. Glass, water, and his blood spattered and Calonne jumped back in shock. "We PLANNED it out! It was FOOL PROOF! This . . . " he whined, voice cracking, "This was supposed to work! HOW? HOW can they refuse?" he roared. "You gave them the ultimatum! Louis' ultimatum! Louis . . . It's over. It's all over. . . I'm finished. Louis is finished. All hope of legislation, of France's salvation, of my salvation, is lost. Oh, God . . . " He fell to the floor, just about swallowing his heart thrice over. And his bile. "You know . . . you know what this means, right? It means we're finished. ABSOLUTELY FINISHED!"
"What do they WANT?! Haven't they been given ENOUGH? Simply because they put themselves to the trouble of being born they have been showered with fortune their entire lives! What more do they WANT?"
"They presented an ultimatum to me," he said, rubbing his face tiredly. For once looking disillusioned. Defeated. Pathetic. Exhausted. "They vowed to throw all of them out - ALL of them! - Over and over and over again until either the parliaments approve them, local or national, or if Louis and I call the États-Général. And we let them do it." He chuckled dejectedly. "My reputation is ruined as well. They're SLANDERING my name in the papers, the streets . . . Monsieur Défécit. Ha! HA! Monsieur Défécit, meant to take up my place next to my Madame Défécit, Marie Antoinette. Ruined. I am ruined." His voice cracked; he was fighting back tears.
France didn't really care about Calonne's reputation. A country was going to fall apart. "I said do you know what this means? Louis'll NEVER accomplish anything without the Parliaments because he'll NEVER call the États-Général. He'll NEVER accomplish anything with them because they'll NEVER support him again. Or you! You've done it. We've done it. We took my last chance of . . . Ruined . . . Ruined it." He couldn't find it in him to cry. Not yet. He wanted to, but his heart hurt too badly. Simply crying wouldn't do his pain justice. It ached into his spine, his shoulders, a deep-set, feverish ache. It deadened his limbs and his head and brain until all he could do was sit and stare and pray that it wasn't real, it wasn't happening. That his pain would heal on its own, all go away, the instant he woke up. "The Estates-Gen . . . " France said weakly.
"It's a political body made up of-"
"I KNOW WHAT IT IS!"
"France, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I sincerely believed . . . If I had any idea . . . "
"You'll never understand. You'll never understand what it feels like when you're forced to let people PLAY around with your pain. You'll never know what it means to literally be ripped apart from the inside out by your own MIND AND your BODY. You'll never . . . But . . .but you promised me . . ." He had no idea what to say anymore. His final hope, his last chance of reconciliation from crown to country had failed. He played his hand, he went all in, and they called his bluff, showing a Royal Flush, a hand that hoodwinked the King and Ace in his Straight. He had no money left for the blind, no poker face left to use, no more emotional strength to bluff with. Time for him to leave the table.
"Je sais. Je suis très désolé."
He didn't want to hear that man's voice anymore. All he wanted was to be alone with his sadness. He pathetically inched his way to his desk and peeled himself off the floor, angrily throwing his arm across to scatter his belongings for purchase. Calonne startled, then quickly went to France's aid.
"Don't touch me," he hissed, throwing his arm off as he stood himself up. He pointed to the door. "Get out."
"If it's any consolation," his voice set France's teeth on edge, piercing his ears and shooting straight into his head, blocking gand interrupting his sad thoughts.
"It's not!" France said. "Just get out. Casse-toi!"
He chose to ignore France's choice words. " . . . I-I'll be fired within the month. They're goading Louis against me, and-"
France just wanted him to stop. TALKING. He angrily kicked a candlestick across the floor at him. "I said get out! Haven't you done enough? HAD? HAD enough?" Ah, there were the tears. They burned his eyes, hot and furious, and he turned away and weakly waved his hand. He could tell he was about to analyze, remind himself whose fault it was, but he needed someone to blame. Now, right now, before he emotionally collapsed. "You IDIOT! WHY didn't the two of you think this THROUGH?! Why didn't you talk to ME? WHY did you let them do that? To me? To France? Why is EVERYONE so incompetent here? Why, why, why can't anyone make a BREAKTHROUGH on ANY front? Why can't I just get RELIEF? Get out. Get out of my sight RIGHT NOW! I'll make sure you NEVER set foot in Versailles AGAIN!"
"France, I'm sorry."
"Allez-vous en," he whispered. "Or I'll kill you."
France didn't turn around but he heard the footsteps grow softer until the door softly snicked shut. He collapsed again, finally alone with his grief. He lowered himself to the floor again and hugged his knees, trying to curl up inside of himself and disappear. He cried, ugly, heaving sobs, until his head throbbed and until his nose burned and until he had no tears left to cry. He unrolled, shaking and weak, under his desk like a child, wishing it all away.
France had a visitor. He guessed. The courier. When he woke up there were letters on his desk. He couldn't remember how they got there, though. He didn't really care. The first thing he noticed before the letters was that his back still ached. The rest of him was cold; since he drifted off right there on the floor the cold had seeped into his skin and muscles, leaving him totally chilled. The skin on his back was hot, ridiculously hot, sweaty. Where his shirt touched it burned like an open wound, like air on a tender, open scrape. He hesitantly went to stretch his arms above his head, grinding his teeth as the individual fibers of his shirt brushed his skin, when a pop in the top of his right shoulder shot uncomfortably warm needles down a line across his whole back, ending at his opposite hip. "Ow!" he yelled, more surprised than injured. He carefully peeled himself off the floor, out from under his desk, cradling his arm to his chest and reaching behind him down the neck of his shirt, holding it away from him in case it aggravated those pins and needles. "What the hell?"
As soon as he was able to stand he pulled his shirt off over his head and tried to peer at his back, but all he could see was the beginnings of a nasty purple bruise starting at the top of his shoulder. Reaching around he tried to touch the bruise, to trace it along its path as far as he could, but gently ghosting his fingers over it made it pulse and hurt like a huge bee sting. He tried the other end, the start at his hip, but all he could feel was to the start of the swelling. It felt like it just wanted to tear itself open. He grabbed the envelopes off the table and gingerly crossed the room to one of the walls with a sectioned, decorative mirror on it. When he tried to see his back, though, he couldn't get the right angle, or a clean enough picture before the breaks in the mirror corrupted the image. From what he could tell, he had a long, angry scratch that crossed his back. Bruising, like someone took their nail across his back.
Probably from the rift that this Assembly caused. Oh well. Nothing to do but nurse it and wait until it healed. He didn't feel like dealing with his shirt and this scrape so he left it there on the floor and left for his room, hoping to quickly get to his bed and get under his toasty covers to try and warm the rest of him up. And damn propriety. If he wanted to walk around shirtless so what? He'd do everyone a favor.
Well, ok, his face wouldn't. His eyes were still red and puffy, as was his nose. His lashes were clumping together, too, making him look even worse. There was no hiding the face that he'd been crying. Oh, well. He'd spend the whole day alone in his room anyway so no one had to see his face.
On the way over he checked the envelopes for the sender. The top was from Arthur Kirkland. Britain. The second letter he received from him since Paris.
I'm going to just pretend that Canada's letter simply didn't reach you rather than believe that you're ignoring him. I'm going to just pretend that my letter and everyone's letters have missed you rather than believe what I honestly think is happening over there.
Have you thrown up yet? Has your body started to ache yet? Have you noticed the changes yet? The subtle changes in thought and mannerism, the slow and steady onset of perpetual irritability and headaches and dark circles that won't go away? Constantly tired, wrought with fever? Violent thoughts you never had before that you can't shoo away? As much as we fight, as much as we hate each other, I'd never wish that upon you.
Because honestly anything, anything in this entire world is better for a Nation than a civil war.
I can't think of the proper words, the words strong enough to describe exactly what I remember, but I remember. I do. I remember the War of the Roses. I remember what it did to me. What it does to us. I remember every single ache and pain I had. I remember how emotionally crippled I was. Forced to physically and mentally take sides and then unexpectedly switch on the dime, neither one ever in sync. Forced to deal with the symptoms of being literally ripped in half. Sometimes supporting one side in thought but physically dying to approach the other. Losing your balance between your Nation and your human.
I understand. I can't tell you what to do to fix your situation. I don't know Louis XVI, and I don't know Marie Antoinette. I don't know what state of disarray France is in since you haven't been in touch with any of us. I don't even know if you would even try to listen to me or just brush me off out of spite. But here's what I suggest: a National conference will convene in a week. At Spain's. Please, please find it within yourself to attend, no matter how tired you are. Bring all of your stories, all of your information, all of your pains. Let all of us talk it out, let all of us help you. I promise we will. I will even sail across the Channel and come and get you myself on my way to Spain's if you think you'll need help getting there, you lazy bastard.
Because I do not, do not want to see you reduced to a miserable mess of a Nation. I don't want to sit idly by and watch while your body decays when the entirety of Europe could help. I don't want to see you crumble, or worse, disappear like Rome. You're too strong for that, France. Do you hear me, Francis Bonnefoy? I refuse to watch you disappear.
I'd miss our fighting.
Arthur Kirkland; The Kingdom of Great Britain'
Holy Rome is writing this letter for me since I can't. Why are you ignoring us, Fratello? Why are you so sad, so quiet? You used to stop over all the time but you don't anymore! Don't you like us anymore? And why is it making Mister Austria so upset with you? I can tell he is; he won't stop grumbling about you and every time I ask why he won't tell me and just gives me more chores to do and that makes me really sad because Miss Hungary doesn't know why either so she can't tell me and I'm really scared that something's wrong but I don't know and I'm scared!
-Italy told me to write everything exactly as she says it, so sorry if this gets confusing ~ H.R.E
Do you need some cheering up? Know what I try to do if I'm really sad? Make food for Holy Rome, if Mister Austria lets me! Usually he doesn't because he thinks I make a mess but the other day Holy Rome brought home some pasta noodles just for me! Spain and Romano sent me some tomatoes that they grew themselves, and I found some garlic and basil and parsley in Mister Austria's kitchen (which is weird because they're so expensive!) so I mashed up the tomatoes and made a really thick pasta sauce to go with the noodles and shredded cheese over it...
Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! So you should make some good French food! It might make you feel better! OR you can come over here and I'll cook for you! Si, then we can have some fun together and you can forget that you're sad! I like that idea the best!
-Austria sent Italia away for some more chores, so I promised her I'd finish for her.
I'm not sure what's going on with you. Are you sick? Injured? Upset with us? Is this some kind of jest, some kind of foolishness? I don't particularly care, whatever it is. What I do care about is Italia.
She cares so much about you, and you're really upsetting her with whatever this is. There's a lot of confusion, a lot of crying. And it's upsetting me. So if this is meant to be funny, knock it off right now. If this is a genuine problem, you better confess it and at least placate us before you make Italy more sad. Before I take action and do something you're going to regret. Because I refuse to allow you to do this to her. As I write this, Austria and I are planning on meeting with Spain and Prussia to discuss how to get to the bottom of this little situation. Just so you know.
I expect a response soon, or prepare yourself for whatever actions we deem necessary.
Holy Roman Empire'
'France, mi amigo,
I'm sending Austria over. If you don't come to the National conference we're having in a week at my house, I'm sending him. I've already discussed it with Prussia, Britain, Austria, Holy Rome, and Hungary. I know we're neighbors and it would be really easy for me to just hop over, but I don't want to leave right after a conference. Usually there's a lot to run by Carlos III and Maria Luisa.
I've come to terms with the fact that whatever you're dealing with, you just don't want to talk about it. At least, not over a letter. But one thing still bothers me. You know what's odd about all this, Francia? Here's what's odd: I wonder why Louis XVI hasn't written to Carlos III, or why Marie Antoinette never wrote to Maria Therese or Austria. They've been just as secretive as you. I hope it's not because they're . . . ignoring anything, if you get what I mean. That's why I'm still bothered, and that's why I'm sending Austria.
Whether you want help or not.
You can ignore me, ignore this letter all you want. Whether you answer or not Austria is still going over. It's up to you to warn your King of his visit.
And if worst honestly, truly comes to worst, I'll tell my King that this is more than a National problem. And you know what that means. We'll come investigating. Potentially with an army. I'm not afraid to threaten you anymore. I care too much about you. I spent all my niceties on you when I just thought you were a little stressed. I know that whatever this is it's serious. I'm too worried anymore for niceties.
Antonio Fernandez Carriedo; El Reino de España'
|Heeeeeey! So I finally decided to update this fic on DA!!!!!!!!!!|
Horrible Bosses: Louis XVI of France Part VIIIApril 4, 1787Horrible Bosses: Louis XVI of France Part VIII by brynhildr13
Le Château de Versailles, France's Chambers
"Monsieur Bonnefoy? Sa Majesté requires your presence in his office."
As if France's arms throttling his pillow in pain didn't give away his answer. As if the butler couldn't see his set jaw, or his furrowed eyebrows, or his squinted eyes, or hear his strained vocal chords laboring to unleash the screams and moans he choked off and suppressed since the night before. As if the huge, black and blue and red and puffy and hypersensitive scratch - that didn't even break his skin but still caused this much pain - on his bare back that he tried to air out, cool off, wasn't a big enough hint, or the fact that he deliberately ignored the call for breakfast and lunch from the same butler, obviously pretending to be asleep, or the fact that he was in the same position, on his stomach on the bed, as he was those other two times, or his utter lack of
Horrible Bosses: Louis XVI of France Part VIIFebruary 22, 1787Horrible Bosses: Louis XVI of France Part VII by brynhildr13
Le Château de Versailles, Corridors
France messed up. He messed up big time.
"You and Louis handle the deputies and attendants since you already seem to have that figured out," he remembered telling Calonne. On that day. On that perfect, triumphant day.
His angry, stomping footfalls echoed blaringly through the halls and rooms. He tore around corners and furniture so forcefully he rocketed into guests, nearly knocking people over. His National aura mixed dangerously with his anger, creating a nearly tangible, red ocean of violent, volatile, vehement vexation, constantly rolling off of him in waves and hitting the palace's visitors and staff. When they saw him coming they startled and moved out of his way desperately, gasping at his frequent verbal interjections of absolute fury: mixes ranging from exasperated Zut!'s to full-blown Merde!'s. In his balked hike he looked randomly through the entire palace, growin
|Please Please Please Enjoy my Gallery!!|
I figure it is time to update my profile!|
Hey, everyone! My name's Shannon!
As of right now, I am a fan artist!
I love making fanart! It's pretty much the only thing I've done!
I like to work with colored pencils and pastels.
I also enjoy painting!
I've been taking painting lessons for 8 years. For drawing I'm self-taught.
My current fandoms include Visual Kei, Kuroshitsuji, Final Fantasy, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
I haven't decided if I wanna pursue art as a career yet.
I hope you enjoy my gallery!!
And, the fanfiction in my gallery belongs to my twin sister. Make sure you check those out too!! They're amazing!!
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Balthier stared down the barrel of his gun at Fran. But she wasn't Fran anymore. Her eyes were no longer the soft auburn. They'd turned blood red; her snout and fangs dripped with the others' blood; her patches of fur were stained with her wound. The room was a mess from her rage, and Balthier was the last one standing.
He pulled the safety and her head snapped up, her teeth ripping from Basch's stomach. Balthier winced as she stared at him, and he steadied his trembling hand, willing himself to see the beast in the features and not Fran.
"My dear," he said. She turned to face him fully, a snarl escaping her lips. "You'll just have to forgive me for this."
She charged, and he pulled the trigger.
* * *
All the Wrong ReasonsThis was a commission asked of me by :iconx89FlamingHearts:. This is not only my first commission, but it is also my first attempt at a reader insert, and my first attempt at a darker themed story. You're a strong-willed kid with geostigma, fighting your disease every day but determined to not let it get the best of you. You were recruited by Kadaj and were brought to the Forgotten City, but you have a few reservations about joining Kadaj. Will you bend? I'm a little nervous about it, but I hope this caters to what you want, Emily! Lemme know what you all think!!
"That's why," Kadaj yells, "it's wracking our bodies with pain, and filling our hearts with doubt!" You look up sharply, raising your eyes for the first time since you were brought here to the Forgotten City.
It's apparent you're the worst case there. There're kids who just have maybe a spot of the stigma on their arms, or a trail along th
Sleeping Easier A small one-shot featuring the thoughts of Ezio Auditore a few years after his family's death. ENJOY!!
I see them there, up on the gallows. Il meo Padre stands tall; dignified, undaunted, steeled even in the face of despair and terrible circumstance. Federico glares accusingly at the crowd against their slings and jeers and insults like he could retaliate with his gaze, the fire of vengeance burning passionately in his eyes; also standing tall. It's Petruccio that gets to me. It's always Petruccio. No pretense of bravery, hunched over, his pale face even paler when faced with the realization of what is to happen. Pidgeon-toed, whole body sweating, knees trembling. Poor, sickly Petruccio, about to die for no reason. My own knees feel weak and then I see who's announcing their execution. I choke down my horrified cry and break for the stage, but my legs feel heavy. I'm trying to ru
Respect, I Suppose.This is just a little one-shot starring the thoughts of the horribly sarcastic and British Haytham Kenway.
How did it come to this?
No, wait, I know how. That stupid boy just couldn't wait. Don't they teach patience to those Assassins? I suppose not.
I look back over my shoulder and he's still got his ax locked with a rapier, and they're struggling for the upper hand. I rip my own sword from the guard I just struck down and slide the hidden blade from my sleeve. I take a running start and leap from the ground, planting my feet firmly on the British man's shoulders. My weight carries the two of us to the ground, and we clip Connor's shoulders as I drive the blade into his throat. A good, clean kill.
Connor recovers and glares at me. I straighten up and retract the blade. "Oh! Terribly sorry!" I say sarcastically.
Horrible Bosses: Louis XVI of FranceHello, 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 one is about France, and his interactions with Louis XVI, who ended up being King during the French Revolution in 1789. This fic is going to lead up to the Revolution, but THIS part, part 1, takes place 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. So, here it is! Part 1 of 7 for France as he meets his horrible boss, Louis XVI.
When there's a lot of dialogue, I'll be using a lot of simple French to make it seem a little more authentic. I won't be putting in translations, unless you readers want them in which case leave it in a comment or a message! Thanks so much!