Placing a hand over his heart and shutting his eyes, he let out a shaky sigh of relief and muttered something in French to himself.
"Never mind, she's here now," he said before hanging the phone up. Then, he walked over, kneeling down and putting his hands on your shoulders.
"Why didn't you wait for Eliza to pick you up, (y/n)?" he questioned, staring into your (e/c) orbs with a stern, intense gaze.
Seeing his beautiful blue eyes, hearing the concern and kindness in his tone...You cracked. Throwing your arms around his neck, you buried your face in his shoulder, sobbing loudly. A brief look of confusion flashed across his face before he picked you up, cradling you against his chest. He hummed a song softly in French, stroking your hair and rocking you back and forth. Eventually, the sniffles and the sobs died down, leaving you wiping your red stained cheeks and puffy pink eyes.
He sighed, smiling and carrying you to the bathroom, where he set you down on the counter and grabbed a washcloth, running the warm water over it.
"Now, what happened?" He asked, speaking in his native tongue, which never failed to calm you, even in the worst situations. You'd grown up hearing French and speaking it, so it always made you feel warm and fuzzy inside to come home and hear your Papa speak in the language of love. You weren't quite sure what the appeal and hype was about English. Just because it was popular, didn't mean it was beautiful. But, you were biased. You had been raised by France, after all.
You waited a long while, your head tilted down, your (h/c) bangs falling over your face and covering your eyes, which remained firmly fixed on the tiled floor of the bathroom. As you thought about the things they'd said, you felt the sobs welling up in your chest again. Why couldn't they just leave him alone? It was cruel to say things like that about someone behind their backs. They hadn't even met him...only heard about him from their parents.
You heard him sigh, and turn the water off. His warm hand was placed under your cheek, gently pushing your head up, so that you were had to look into his clear crystal blue eyes, that shone like sapphires in any light.
"Ah, ah, ah~" he chimed when you tried to tear your head from his grip. "Don't. Tell me, little one, what's wrong? We both know that I can't read your mind, and if you don't tell me anything, we will get no where." He then began to run the warm cloth across your face, wiping away the tear tracks that had dried on your face.
"The kids...at school...They're saying really mean things - " you began, your words coming out slowly and awkwardly, since you weren't comfortable being the bearer of bad news.
"I thought I told you to ignore the little idiots. If they laugh and say mean things to you, just ignore them. A person truly lives a pathetic life if the benefit from the suffering and pain of others," France said, almost curling his lip in disgust. He had never been one to tolerate bullies. True, his nation, at some points in history, could've been considered a bully, but that's a different matter. It wasn't usually up to France on what happened in his nation. He only took orders from his Boss and lived as happy a life as he could.
"But...these bullies are different. They don't laugh at me and mock me because I'm chubby, or look different, or that I'm not as big a country as they are..." Your (e/c) eyes darted around the room uncomfortably, the words of all the other little countries playing in your head. "They ask me...questions, about you. Inappropriate questions...and when I tell them that they're wrong and that you're really kind and caring and sweet to me, they say I'm a liar, because their parents told them about things you've done and that...you like little kids."
France froze, his expression going stone cold. He knew that he wasn't exactly the most well liked nation in the UN, he was well aware of this, but these rumors going around had reached an all-time low. Was it his fault that the others took his harmless statements and gestures as something much more than they were meant to be? Could he help it if certain nations spread rumors about who he was? How was he to stop all the offensive comments that they'd make, or conclusions they jump to when they hear about him?
They flag him as a rapist, but they don't even try to get to know him. He'd met victims of rape and there was no way that he would -- or could -- put any being through that kind of pain, suffering and humiliation. A rapist, Francis thought, was the most deprived, heartless, soulless, cruel being to ever walk the earth, and they were not capable of loving, nor could they ever properly receive love, and bask in its true, full beauty.
They've called him every derogatory name in the book: slut, pervert, man-whore, and many, many more. He could put up with these names. Francis, in completely honesty, didn't give a damn that they called him perverted for being passionate, slutty for being open, and a man-whore for wanting to spread his love. He was fine with that.
But this title was one of the lowest of the low. It was one thing to tell it to his face. It was, however, a whole other thing to tell it to your children, and then having it reach the ears of his little girl, and to have her bullied because she stood up for him. This was an outrageous, outlandish, highly offensive remark that, as it appeared, would be the straw to break the camel's back.
After taking a deep breath and closing his eyes for a moment, he opened them to stare into your (e/c) orbs, which were already brimming with tears.
"Now, my heart, please tell me you don't believe them?"
You shook your head violently, casting off even the slightest doubt in Francis' mind.
"Listen to me, my little one, I would never, ever even think of doing something to you. I have raised two children before you, yes? And they both turned out just fine and are leading happy, healthy lives as nations. Something like...that is a thing that leaves a person scarred for life. They would not function as most people would because they would constantly be in fear. You've met Josephine, correct?"
You nodded again. She was a girl who Francis had taken in last year, just to get her out of the orphanage she'd been put in, as a foster parent. But, there was always something...off about fifteen year old Josephine. She'd always been scared of Francis, never getting too close, until her last few months in your house. She went to therapy five out of seven days a week, and often came home crying and shaking, and would barricade herself in her room for a while afterward. You'd never found out why she'd been like that, seeing as she'd been adopted by a loving lesbian couple, who couldn't have their own children naturally, about a month ago. During Josephine's last few months, she'd started to show a bit of recovery. Sitting closer to Francis, talking with him here and there, not glancing over her shoulder every time someone walked by.
"Her Papa had been an awful man, who had done the kinds of things that your friends accuse me of. You've seen what it does to someone. Now, tell me, do Canada or Seychelles look as if I did anything to them?"
You shook your head, the tears dripping down your cheeks yet again. He brushed them away with his hands, wiping your cheek afterwards. Then, he kissed your forehead.
"I promise you, (y/n), I am not that kind of man."
You nodded and smiled weakly, reaching up and hugging him tightly.
"I love you, Papa."
"I love you too, (y/n)."