Sep. 5th, 2013 11:52 pm
rheintochter: Switzerland and Liechtenstein standing next to each other (fanart) (Alliance)
[personal profile] rheintochter
Following this thread.

One of the yearly traditions that Switzerland and Liechtenstein have instituted for their national days is to treat each other to dinner. Knowing Switzerland and his preferences for quiet, private celebrations, Liechtenstein almost always cooks the meal that they share at his house around the first of August. However, she also knows that afterwards, while they are doing the washing-up together, he will offer her a choice of two or three fine restaurants to eat at for her celebration a fortnight later.

(She'd be just as happy to eat her celebratory dinner at home, too, but the treat itself is part of Switzerland's gift to her.)

Her selection this year is a small osteria just over the Swiss border in Italy, high up on the mountainside, with a beautiful panoramic window that looks out across the villages of the Valtelline Valley. Between the delicious meal and the excellent view, it's enough to make her linger over her tea and apricot tart at the end of the meal, while Switzerland sips his own coffee and they sit together in calm silence. The past few days have been so busy that she hasn't had much time to think of anything but work. Now that the holiday is over, though, one or two questions from earlier in the month have resurfaced in her mind, and so she takes advantage of the peaceful moment to say, 'Do you remember that Frenchman you were telling me about the other day? From the other place?'

As the other place is one of their private codes for the bar at the end of the universe, Switzerland darts a quick precautionary glance around the room before he replies, 'Which one?'

'The one who was wearing the rosette. Who you said was....' She can't finish the sentence easily, but he will understand what she leaves unsaid.

'Yes, I remember him.' Switzerland sets his coffee cup down. 'What about him?'

Now that she has brought up the matter, she will have to think of a way to phrase her concerns with equal delicacy. 'What do people do there, when they can't leave?'

'Engage themselves as best they can, I would think,' Switzerland says, with a slight frown of contemplation. 'Reading or writing, or developing a skill or hobby. Presumably becoming better acquainted with others who frequent the place. He seems the studious sort; after our conversation, I expect he would be interested in learning more about French history.'

'I wonder if he would know where to begin, though.' It is Liechtenstein's turn to frown in thought. 'It was the eighteen-thirties for him, you said?'

'Yes, it was.' Switzerland gives her a quizzical look. 'What did you have in mind?'

'I was thinking of asking him what he likes to read, and recommending something that he might enjoy. It's more fun to read a book if you have someone to discuss it with after you finish, isn't it?' She smiles then, and though her smile seems a little tired at the edges from all of the excitement of the week, there is satisfaction in it as well. 'I'll have a little more free time now that the holiday is over, so I'll have time to read or re-read it, too.'

'Unless you are interested in picking up a volume a political philosophy, you might have a difficult time holding his interest for any length of discussion.' Switzerland shakes his head as he picks up his coffee again and takes a sip. 'Even by our standards, he has a single-minded devotion to politics. I will have to refresh my memory on one or two particulars if I am to have any hope of holding my own in future conversations with him.'

'But he doesn't know anything after his own time, does he? Maybe I should ask him about the last book he read.' Before he died, though that is not something that Liechtenstein wants to think about unless she has to. 'What were you reading then, brother?'

'I cannot remember that I had much time for reading, in those days,' Switzerland replies, rather flatly, though he softens his tone as he continues. 'It was more expensive to maintain a library then, for that matter, so I doubt that anything from that time would be in my personal collection unless I had picked it up second hand and had not sold it afterwards. But I will look into it, if you like, and check a few possibilities.' It is by no means an unreasonable request, and there is almost nothing that he would refuse her if she asked.

'I'll ask him about it as well, if I see him when I'm there next and have a chance to introduce myself.' A thought strikes her, and an anxious look crosses her face. 'You don't think he'd dislike me, do you? Because of my boss? You did say that he was a republican, after all.'

Switzerland's eyes narrow. 'Regardless of his political opinions, I would hope that he has the good sense and proper manners to avoid insulting you or your boss,' he declares, a definite undercurrent of menace darkening his words. 'If he does not, then he is not a man with whom I would wish to have further acquaintance, and I would not hesitate to inform him with words to that effect.'

'Oh, I'm sure he wouldn't insult me. And I know he might not think it proper to talk about politics with women, but I wouldn't mind trying.' Liechtenstein stares down at her plate, with its mostly eaten dessert. 'I just hate the thought of him sitting there by himself, with nothing much to do and no one who really understands him. It would be terribly lonely.'

'Mm.' Switzerland knows well enough that she isn't speaking entirely of the deceased young Frenchman, with that description. He cannot imagine how he would cope to be stuck in the bar without hope of returning; even his suggestion that Enjolras would have to entertain himself as best he can only glosses over the cold horror that any nation might feel at such a prospect. His schedule is not so busy that he cannot spare the time to find a few books that might make the long hours more bearable for a young patriot, cut down before his time.

Liechtenstein, of course, knows all this as well -- and is far less shy about admitting it aloud. She is also more than eager to put her thoughts into words and deeds. But that can wait until tomorrow: tonight is her night, her celebration, and there is no one else she would rather share it with than the nation sitting across from her.

'Thank you for dinner, brother,' she says, smiling, as she picks up her fork again to finish the last of her tart.

Switzerland relaxes back into his seat, and gives her one of his small, all-too-rare smiles in return. 'I will look forward to next year.'

(If someone had told him, in Enjolras' time, where and with whom he would be sitting and eating dinner almost two centuries in the future, he would have dismissed the whole idea as delusional. If this is a delusion, though, is it by no means an unpleasant one.)
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rheintochter: Liechtenstein with a small smile (canon art) (Default)

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