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Out of the Bag [FF.NET]

Disclaimer: I do not own Axis Powers Hetalia.

Prompt: Seasons

Summary: "Good luck," Arthur says, meaning it despite the fact that Gilbert is a potential rival. Gilbert grins back. "You too; don't think either of us will need it, to be honest though."

They first meet at the auditions in April.

Arthur has to dust himself down, having walked through the blustery streets of London. The man next to him, who must have walked in only moments before him gives him a confident grin and plucks something out of his hair. Hands go self-consciously up to rake through blond strands before hurriedly attempting to pat the hair down again. Arthur shifts a little, and the stranger chuckles holding out a stray petal that must have been what he had taken from his hair.

Arthur smiles sheepishly.

It turns out, the man is called Gilbert and is also auditioning to voice act for the same show that Arthur is. He'd actually managed to get there too early, thinking that the underground would have been busier and had ended up exploring the area to kill time; he'd almost been late anyway as he'd lost track of time and had to dash back to the studios.

Something about the man, whether it's the reckless abandon in those crimson eyes or the way that he speaks, instantly calm any nerves Arthur had felt before walking into the building. They don't have the chance for any more conversation though as both of their names are called out by the lady at the front desk.

"Good luck," Arthur says, meaning it despite the fact that Gilbert is a potential rival.

Gilbert grins back. "You too; don't think either of us will need it, to be honest though." He winks before he's led away, and Arthur considers this as he is taken through another door.

They meet for a second time only a few hours later; the auditions have finished, the applicants dismissed until further notice as the bigwigs make their decisions. It's been a rather long morning, and although Gilbert still has energy to spare, he can't deny that he could go for some lunch. His grumbling stomach can attest to as much.

He happens upon a small pub fairly close to the studios and notices a few familiar faces milling about from the auditions. In typically British fashion, the earlier breeze and slight sunshine has been replaced by chilly rain – April showers indeed, he thinks – and the sight of shelter is a welcome one. He strolls in, peering around curiously. It doesn't take him long to spot the mop of blond hair he'd been looking for, and he goes over and taps the man on the shoulder.

"Looks like we both made it out alive, eh?"

Arthur grins at him with a nod. He has a table to himself, though he indicates that Gilbert sit down as well; he wouldn't mind the company, he says. Arthur goes back to browsing the menu, but Gilbert takes another look at the slightly shorter man sat across from him. The blond seems far more at ease now, the slight tension in his shoulders having melted away with the loss of the nerves that accompanied the prospect of interviewing.

The food is as good as the conversation is easy; Gilbert's voice is expressive as he waves his arms around describing the world of child actors. He'd been selected while out shopping with his mother and had had one big hit show; after that his father had insisted he concentrate on his studies and his exploits as a child have now largely been forgotten. Arthur listens attentively, revelling in Gilbert's seemingly boundless enthusiasm and chuckling every now and again at his amusing anecdotes.

Arthur is soon returning the favour with his tales of drama school and the shenanigans that took place there. Gilbert thinks for a moment that Arthur's almost prim and proper image doesn't suit the vein of some of the stories but there's a gleam in those green eyes that convince him that Arthur had actually been in the thick of it all. Neither of them have held a main role (or not recently, in Gilbert's case), but now, as they finish their meals with smiles they can't help but feel that their days as extras are over.

For once, they're both right.

x X x

Arthur tugs at the collar of his shirt, the fabric sticking uncomfortably to his skin in the unexpected burst of summery heat. It's mid-May, and the air conditioning isn't doing enough to cool the cast down as they gather with the producer and director. They are there for preliminary readings; Arthur can't help but shift a little uneasily in his seat from the direct gaze he can sense from one corner of the room. He's been told that the two lurking there with their heads bowed in heated debate, both pairs of eyes locked onto him, are the show's animators. He feels strangely like a caged animal being gawked at in a zoo, which is more than a little ironic seeing as the character he is portraying is a cat.

The gaze soon transfers to Gilbert, who is leaning against a wall next to him, though the scrutiny doesn't seem to bother him at all; if anything, he leers at his observers. He snickers when they turn back to their papers, scribbling furiously as they make their final character designs.

Arthur is too far away to be able to see the sketches from where he stands; instead he turns his attention back to the script in his hands, perking up a tad when he hears a cue and prepares to say his lines. They are presently at the end of the first episode, and Arthur can already tell that modifications are being made to the script in line with their performances. The director has an overly satisfied look about him, like a cat that's got the cream. It's actually a little off putting so Arthur stares at the papers in his hands and affects a rather snarky tone that is not unlike the one he uses around his family.

Gilbert responds with nonchalant comic timing that is absolutely perfect and has the two animators in fits of giggles that only grow when Arthur growls his answer back.  The whole room is in stitches by the time they are finished, and if Arthur had thought that the director's expression had been terrifying before he now finds that it's nothing in comparison to having that same look directed towards him from the entire cast and crew gathered there.

"Have you two worked together before?"

Arthur looks up in surprise from where he's slipping his script back into his bag at the question absently asked by a co-actor. When he replies with a negative and an inquisitive look, the explanation for the question is, "Well, it all just seemed so effortless for the two of you."

Arthur is about to reply when he is cut off by Gilbert suddenly slinging an arm around his shoulders and grinning at the enquirer. "What can I say? We're just that awesome!" His tone is just light enough to not seem arrogant, and the others chuckle along with him.

The arm is still firmly in place when Gilbert leans towards his ear, voice lowered. "We can't tell them all of our trade secrets now, can we?" Arthur tucks away a small smile, knowing by now that there's probably no use in arguing with the paler man. Instead, he checks the time on his mobile and picks up the conversation they had started about David Mitchell the day before via text message.
x X x

Dry leaves crunch underfoot as Gilbert backtracks when he realises that he's walked straight past the moss green door he's been looking for.  It's the first time he's been in this area for a while, and his first time making a call at Arthur's flat; from what Arthur has told him it's a one-bed flat and the perfect bachelor's pad with the conveniently placed off licence which is below, if a little old.

He takes the slightly rumpled post-it note to confirm that the door is indeed numbered as nineteen, before shoving it back in his pocket and lifting a fist to knock on the door. It is a few moments before he receives a response, and it's not from where he expects.

A mixture of apologetic and mildly irritated, Arthur taps his shoulder from behind. Gilbert shifts slightly to let the other by when he notices that Arthur hasn't arrived alone; if not for the sea blue eyes, greatly reduced height and noticeably tamer hair, Gilbert would be convinced he's looking at Arthur's twin.

As they climb the stairs up to the apartment itself, Arthur recounts the frenzied call he'd received from his brother's school only ten minutes earlier.

"The Brat," Arthur says, tilting his head to indicate his scowling miniature, "was supposed to be picked up from school by a minder; when she didn't turn up and they couldn't contact our mother, I got called up instead."

"I have a name you know, Gitface!"

Gilbert snorts at the insult, amused, and the shortest of the three turns his chagrined gaze upon him instead. "So what is your name then?" he asks, attempting to placate him. He just about manages to keep himself from adding 'squirt' to the end of the question – which is probably a good thing.

By now, Arthur has led the way into the lounge, and Gilbert lets his eyes roam the expanse of the room. It is tidy, for the most part, and the only things that seem to be out of place is the odd book left forgotten on the coffee table or an empty mug overlooked in the morning rush.

"It's Peter," the boy says as he sprawls across a sofa. Arthur smacks him with a rolled up newspaper, and Gilbert only catches the muttered words 'hogging' and 'guest'.  Either way, Peter curls up so that he's now only taking up one of the three seats on the couch but makes sure to take the remote control hostage as revenge.

Gilbert thinks of similar situations when he had been the one to grumpily monopolise the television while his younger brother grumbled and picked up his trail of mess the way Arthur is.

By the time Arthur returns to the sofa, taking his place on one end and passing out their drinks (hot, spiced cider for himself and Gilbert, and a hot chocolate for Peter), Gilbert has managed to coax Peter into a conversation about television programmes and seems to be getting along with the brat much better than Arthur ever has.

It gets closer and closer to four o'clock, and Gilbert wonders if he should try and convince Peter to hand over the remote; he's surprised that Arthur hasn't taken it off his younger brother yet in all honesty, and when he glances over, his friend gives an almost imperceptible shake of the head and a small knowing smile.

Gilbert frowns a little, though it turns out that he's worried needlessly when Peter changes the channel to the one he'd wanted of his own accord.

The next twenty minutes are spent in relative silence, the only sound coming from the TV and the small bursts of laughter that Peter can't contain. Arthur is grinning slightly, one eye on the screen and the other on his brother, obviously pleased with the younger Kirkland's reaction to what's on the screen.

After the episode of 'Out of the Bag' has finished airing, Peter attempts not to gush at the new show, chattering about how the scrappy Fritz was an awesome main character, and how could Will be so funny when he was obviously so uptight? Fritz had really managed to put his foot in it, and although Will had managed to get the other out of trouble Peter highly doubted that they'd get along for more than five minutes.

The doorbell rings, cutting the younger Kirkland's musings short as he scrambles to his feet, almost forgetting his school bag in his rush to get downstairs. Arthur rolls his eyes, setting down his empty cup as he climbs lazily to his feet. "Won't be a minute," he says, apologetic for the disruption to their plans and for his momentary abandonment before following his brother down the stairs to the door.

Gilbert can hear Arthur scolding Peter for something or another from where he sits in the living room, and can't help but wonder how Peter had missed the parallels between Arthur and Will, and indeed himself and Fritz. Granted, the two of them pitch their voices a tad higher and thicken their accents while in role, but he'd thought that the dark patches of fur Will sports above the eyes would have been a dead giveaway reference to his voice actor… Apparently not. Arthur hadn't been particularly amused about the addition but had been vetoed by the production staff; out of the two head animators only Kiku had seemed at all guilty. It's the only time Gilbert has ever managed to get Arthur to agree that Elizaveta is the Incarnate of Evil though he supposes her resolutely unrepentant attitude and mirth have worked against her. Not that Gilbert can really complain; the scar that Fritz has been given over the eye is a feature he has grown rather fond of.

When Arthur trundles back up the stairs, Gilbert has retrieved a bottle of beer each for them. Arthur takes it gratefully and sinks back into the sofa with a sigh, snuggling into the hoodie he's wearing a little as he does. It's been a slightly odd experience for them both, watching their first performances as the lead of a show air on national television for the world to see. Still, they had managed to witness a live reaction from the targeted demographic right in front of them, and the verdict had seemed like a favourable one.

Their conversation is as seamless as the animation they'd seen, and soon Gilbert's talking about the interview he'd been to that morning. He's been approached by a company for advertising and he's torn as to whether he should go for it or not; while more experience would certainly help his career, he'd much rather be actually acting. Arthur looks at him speculatively for a moment, before humming quietly to himself. "I actually think you should go for it; people may get curious enough to look you up after the advert and look at your other work as a result. Then you could get even more opportunity to actually act." Then its Arthur's turn, detailing his new job as the narrator of a historical programme based on the Battle of Waterloo and his trials and tribulations trying not to let laughter into his voice at some of the wording in the script.

When Arthur looks over during the credits of the film that Gilbert had brought over ("Fuck yeah; fast cars!") it is to find Gilbert's head lolling to one side, his third empty beer bottle held loosely in hand with the other curled up in a cushion. Arthur hasn't the heart to wake him up and kick him out to fend for himself in the winds that he can hear howling away from indoors.

When Gilbert awakes the next morning, it is to find himself nestled into a blanket and the smell of tea in the air.
x X x

Arthur has to stifle a rather undignified snort while Gilbert flails, trying to regain his balance. The wind nips at his exposed fingers, neck and face and the white slush beneath his feet is slippery in an almost unforgiving way. It's only just gone midday and they're already stepping out of the studios to head home after only three hours of work; powdery snow continues to fall steadily around them, clinging to every available surface, and it does not seem as though it will let up any time soon.

The reason for their early departure is apparently for travelling purposes – it would be better for staff to return home while the public transport systems were still able to operate, or so they've been told. Personally Arthur thinks it may have more to do with how the director's son's school has announced itself to be shutting early as well.

Not that he's complaining.

Recording for a continuation of the original twenty six part series has commenced, and with viewing figures plateauing close to the peak, things are looking good for 'Out of the Bag'.

Still, everyone appreciates the chance for a break and a slight change of pace.

Instead of walking to the station and splitting up from there, Gilbert and Arthur decide to walk through the park nearby to catch one of the other trains back; it may be cold but the sight of fresh snow piling high is enough to make the two men want to stretch their legs a bit and appreciate the 'white winter' they have been bestowed with.

It starts off as planned – a peaceful stroll between the trees as they argue the actual practicality of Jeremy Clarkson becoming the Prime Minister of the country and why the resulting mess would be a complete disaster yet still completely hysterical.

Gilbert is just recounting the episode of Top Gear when the man himself commented on the issue, saying that if he were to take power the boy racers would be in the city while the OAPs are banished to the country roads, when something cold, wet and compact explodes across the back of his neck. His shock, and the giggling that follows fills the silence when the albino's words stop and Arthur can see a slight tremble in Gilbert's limbs; he's not sure whether it's from the sudden chill or rage.

There's a low murmur of "Okay, that's it!" before Gilbert whirls around. Arthur, alarmed, is about to stop him until he sees what the other is doing. The children in question look towards the man in question half-curious and half-terrified.

"Now it's on."

There is a collective squeal from the kids and they race away from Gilbert as he tosses a couple of snowballs at the three of them, grinning and cackling like a madman. Arthur smirks at the way Gilbert has essentially turned into a child himself, taking his eyes off of them for half a second. It turns out to be a grave mistake, of course, and he ends up blinking and spitting snow out of his face courtesy of his colleague.

Arthur sputters for a moment, and is then caught off guard by another snowball hitting his leg – this time thrown by a little girl, grinning up at him from behind knitted mittens.

He hasn't any choice, really, though he's certainly not as reluctant to join in as he makes out to be, and is certainly no push over once he gets started.
x X x

It's just another normal day at work.

Arthur rushes through the doors after sleeping through his alarm and still manages to get there early, and Gilbert strolls in only minutes later looking as calm and composed as ever. The albino smirks as he leans over, plucking a petal out of his hair and messing up the blond's hair as he's at it, chuckling at Arthur's indignant squawks as he tries to right his appearance frantically.

Elizaveta decides to pass through at that moment to remind them to come out of drinks tonight, cooing at the two of them in a way that Arthur had never thought he'd actually get used to. He's pulling his script out of his bag for a last read-through and ignoring the banter when Gilbert's arm snakes around his waist, tugging him away from the table. Arthur gives an internal role of the eyes before letting himself fall against Gilbert with a sigh and a flutter of the eyes.

The resulting screech rattles around the room long after Elizaveta has scarpered (presumably to gush to Kiku about it all), leaving Arthur holding his head and Gilbert holding his stomach from laughing too much.

The new intern looks scared – rightly so, Arthur thinks sympathetically as other members of the cast trickle into the studios having heard the racket. They're a rather odd group even including the director and producer, though it's one of the things that make the job so much fun every day.

It also makes going out for drinks in the evening extremely entertaining, and halfway through his second pint of Bulmers Arthur can admit to himself that he hadn't actually minded Gilbert's arm around him that much. Kiku sees them to a cab with a soft smile and they pass out on Gilbert's sofa a few hours later. They wake up curled around each other in the morning though it doesn't feel awkward at all; Gilbert just burrows further into Arthur's arm and tells him he can make his damn tea himself if he wants it so badly. He knows where everything in the kitchen is already anyway, and Arthur stifles a grin at that.

Perhaps his tea can wait a while.

Arthur's pretty sure he'll have a dead arm for the rest of the day with Gilbert using it as an impromptu teddy bear, but as he shifts slightly, already fast asleep again, Arthur can't help but smile.

Yeah. The tea can wait.

-Hollyrose-

A/N: Phew, finally done! I really didn't think this would take so long considering I started writing it ages ago, but Tiger&Bunny kind of ended up distracting me >.< A LOT. Oops!

This is my entry for the themed contest on KnightAndPirate on deviantArt~

Anyway, the structure of this as you may guess was:
Spring>Summer>Autumn>Winter>Spring
And so takes place over one year =3 I'm not entirely happy with it, but considering I've still got the two fics for fluffathon to get done for next week I figure it's not too bad >.< I'm also struggling to think of a title so I think this'll be one I come back and name afterwards properly...

Out of the Bag is supposed to be a children's cartoon shown after school about the spunky cat Fritz (played by Gilbert) who always manages to get into trouble because of his lack of tact and such, and his more straight-laced friend Will (played by Arthur) and the adventures that they have together. Ftitz is of course, from Frederick the Great and Will is from William Shakespeare as you may have guessed.
(And here is a picture I put together for funsies XD This is the extent of my photo-shop abilities! XDD)


Uh, I think that's it at the moment? I'll come back and add more notes later =3


Hope everyone enjoys reading~! ^^b
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