Arthur straddles Francis’ hips, his fingers at his throat. “No one takes you seriously anymore,” he says. “What happened to the proud son of Charlemagne?”

“He became a wine-soaked cheese-eating pacifist Frenchman, or so I hear,” Francis answers, his smile unwavering. “You’ve been talking with Alfred again. The middle ages were a long time ago, you know.”

“It shouldn’t matter. The revolution wasn’t.” Arthur’s grip tightens. “Doesn’t it make you angry?”

Francis laughs and lays a palm against Arthur’s cheek. “Do you remember? Do you remember the smell of blood and gun smoke across the water and the cries of liberté, égalité, fraternité?”

Arthur frowns and grips Francis’ wrist. “I remember you making a host of poor decisions.”

“Tomato, tomato,” Francis says, pronouncing them both in the same heavy accent, “or however it is that goes. If you remember it then that’s enough, isn’t it? I don’t care what he says about me.”

Arthur’s hand moves from Francis’ throat to his chest. “Everyone should know,” he says. “What was the point of everything if nobody knows anymore?”

Francis’ fingers are at Arthur’s throat, then to the back of his neck, pulling him closer. “I remember,” he says, “You remember.”

There is a warm knot in the pit of Arthur’s stomach, and what he remembers is looking across the channel and seeing Francis standing at the shore in shining armor, the pride of Europe, the son of Charlemagne. Francis kisses him now. Arthur can’t remember a time when he didn’t want to swallow him whole.

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