Hey there people :'D I don't know why I wrote this. Don't be offended! (I found it quite offensive in some parts, especially to the Brits ^^U) Not that I hate English people. I actually love Iggy to bits. As for Tales of Childhood, it's not on hiatus! I'm just... stuck.

Note: This author is not exactly sure on the exact differences between pubs, bars and nightclubs. For the sake of being English, Arthur and Francis are in a pub.


Being the barman of a sleazy, run-down little pub, especially one fringing on London's red light district, one learnt a lot. It did help that the last twenty years of his life had been dedicated to learning the many names of varying liquors, and serving up glass after glass of booze to intoxicated customers.

It was shortly after ten on a Friday night. For the umpteenth time that day, he slid another glass of beer across the wooden countertop. The pub was filled with customers, gathering and dispersing, guzzling beer like there was no tomorrow in a hypnotic wave. Someone had turned on a radio and the sound of a woman's crooning voice permeated through the air, mingling with the heavy smells of cheap cigars, liquor and sweat.

Then, the door swung open and two men strode in. The barman looked up idly. His first thought was that their clothes, or rather, the taller of the duo's clothes would have been more appropriate at some glitzy five-star diner in upscale London. The man in fancy clothes cast a contemptuous look around him as his clear blue eyes surveyed the cramped space. The newcomer's voices, when they spoke, floated clearly across the smoky little pub.

"Angleterre, tell me exactly why we're here again?"

"We're here, my dear uninformed imbecile, because this place serves the best rum in all England." His shorter companion replied smoothly. Weaving through the crowd across the scrubbed wooden floor, he turned to the barman, "Two bottles of rum please."

At this, what the barman had assumed was a French foreigner, wrinkled his nose. "Angleterre please, it is bad enough that the beautiful moi has to spend his evening here. Don't they have wine, at least?"

The barman, who couldn't have helped overhearing the conversation, felt rather irritated. If the man wanted wine so badly, he should have been at some posh, overly-priced restaurant where a man like himself would have been kicked out even if he were on the other side of the street.

Setting two bottles of rum onto the countertop with unnecessary force, he said curtly "order up sirs." Immediately, the Brit popped off the cap and took a large swig. A large, slow grin spread across his scowling face.

"Still as I remember it," he took another long drought. His French companion followed suit with much less enthusiasm.

-x-

Two hours and countless bottles of rum on the Englishman's part later, the barman was beginning to worry. The young Brit, who looked no older than twenty five, and whose name he had discovered was Arthur, had downed bottle after bottle of the stuff in rapid succession, and was now babbling away happily to a frightened waiter.

"I 'ad 'im when 'e was this big, this big, I tell ya," Arthur held his hands about a foot apart, "'bout the size o' a large pumpkin, maybe?" Arthur seemed to be in deep thought as he drained the last drops of rum from the bottle. "'E was so cute too… like… like… whasishname… Fifo? Bilbo? Ya know those ol' 'obbits?" He sighed and took an imaginary swig from his empty bottle, "all I know is… Manchester is gonna win this god-damned season, eh pixie?" And here, he reached out a hand and made several swipes at the air, the same intoxicated grin plastered over his face.

It wasn't that he hadn't met drunken customers before. Heck, it was not possible to not meet drunken customers when you've been working in a bar for the last twenty years of your life! Nevertheless, this Arthur, he decided, was the kind of guy to give you the willies. Probably a drunk gangster or something…

"Sir," the barman turned to Arthur's French companion, whose name he had learned was Francis, "sir, please do me a favor and take your friend home," he gestured at Arthur who was sending a stream of colorful curses at the empty bottle. Unfortunately, luck did not favor the wretched barman.

"You want to follow me home?" Francis was grinning tipsily at him, "As much as I would like to, for I am sure you admire my beautiful body, it simply would not do, mon petit chou. You see, I already have this beautiful young lady here," he flung an arm around Arthur's shoulders, "but maybe tomorrow night? I'm sure I have time for a beautiful young woman like you."

The barman was feeling distinctly nauseated.

"Sir," he snapped, "I sure as hell am not a woman, and I sure as hell do not want to follow you home. All I'm asking is that you take your friend and yourself out of my pub."

"All in good time, mon ami, all in good time." The barman stared helplessly at Arthur who was mumbling something unintelligible under his breath.

The empty bottle of rum filled up immediately. For a moment, the barman stared.

Bottles do not fill themselves up.

The barman shook his head and turned away. He must be very tired. However, his trouble did not stop there. A young woman, skimpily clad in short skirt and tank top had settled herself between the troublesome duo.

"Hello there handsome," she said, her voice sultry, "care to buy this young lady a drink?"

Francis had flung his arm around her shoulders and, much to the barman's amazement, began sobbing noisily.

"Mon petit cheri! You're alive! I knew it! I knew Angleterre was lying when he said you had been burnt at stake! Oh you have suffered, mon cheri, but never fear! Big brother France will protect you!"

"What are you talking about, dear?" The young woman said testily, "Who was burnt at stake?"

"Alas! Angleterre!" He turned dramatically to the Englishman beside him, "I do not remember! What was her name? Julie? Jeannine?"

"Joan, you shtupid frog," Arthur growled, "Joan of Bridges, or whatever you called 'er…"

"Ah, mon petit Jeanne!" Francis sighed, "Such a brave and strong young woman… I wonder where she is now…" At this, the young woman who had grown bored of the exchange, pouted up at Francis.

"Won't you buy me a drink, darling?"

"Allow me," Arthur grunted, "What sorta gentleman would I be if I refused a nice young lady a drink?" Turning to the barman, he said, "rum! Good fellow! Rum!"

"Sir," the barman felt a distinct headache coming on. Customers at pubs often got drunk, that was true, and he had seen customers far drunker than these two, but customers were not often as vociferous as they were, no. Not even the ones which turned violent. "I am not serving you anymore. Drink anymore and you'll have alcohol poisoning."

"Bloody hell!" Arthur growled, staggering to his feet, "You think I can't 'old my locker, do you young man? I'll tell you, in my youth, we drank rum by the kegs! You think I can't 'andle a few bottles, eh?"

"Sir…" the barman began to protest. Firstly, he was obviously at least thirty years Arthur's senior and in no way a young man, and secondly, he was certain only pirates drank rum by the kegs. But Arthur cut across him.

"I'll tell ya, when we sailed those seas, those 'orrid frozen nights out alone, where it's only you and yer crew, you wouldn't know wha it's like! When there's nothing but you and all the rum ya need! Why, we drink, tha's what! We drink in the kegs! The kegs! Thou villainous traitor! Off with 'is 'ead!" Arthur had begun swinging his arms in wild circles, "Where is my spell book?" He snapped at no one in particular, "Where are my servants? Off with the foul traitor's head! Off I say!"

"That's it!" The barman strode from around his counter and began hustling Francis and Arthur towards the door, "Out!"

"You can't hustle me out!" Arthur shouted, "I'm the bloody United Kingdom! You hear me? The United Kingdom o' Great Ireland and Northern Britain!"

"Yeah?" The barman snapped as he pushed them out onto the pavement, "Well if you're the United Kingdom, then I must be the Queen." At this, the barman was absolutely stunned when Arthur threw himself at his feet and began kissing his tattered shoes.

"Your majesty! Forgive my rudeness! I did not recognize you!" He cried, flinging his arms around the barman's legs.

"Wow, Angleterre, I never knew your Queen was male." Francis was staring at the barman, a sort of grudging reverence apparent on his face. The barman would have gladly traded in all the gold he had in the world to wake up and find out everything was just a nightmare, even if the only gold he had was a little over five-hundred pounds, stashed under his bed. Sadly, waking up from a living nightmare happened only in movies.

"Sir," the previous thoughts about retiring looked ridiculously tempting now, "sir, please get off me." It didn't help that Francis had slung his arm over the barman's shoulder, the majority of his weight bearing down heavily on the barman's hip. He gasped as he felt a soft kiss pressed against his ear.

"G-g-geroff!" He yelped, forcefully attempting to remove the Frenchman's arm around his shoulder and almost collapsing on top of the Brit in the process. "Geroff me! Pervert!" Francis pouted.

"Oh come now, mademoiselle, don't be like that. Surely-,"

"Sir," the barman had had his patience thoroughly washed, rinsed and now strung up on a thin wire which was impatient to snap, "for the last time - I. Am. Not. A. Woman. Now will you please get your friend off my leg and back to whichever wretched place has the misfortune to hold the both of you?"

"It does not matter whether or not you are female darling." The look the barman was now being receiving would have made any rational person run down the road screaming like their pants were on fire. Unfortunately, our dear barman was currently trapped between a sobbing Brit and a very lewd Frenchman, and so could barely move at all. "I do not discriminate between men and women, mon amour,-." They were interrupted by a series of rather noisy sobs.

"Oh Alfred, you've finally returned! Silly child! Did you think you could live alone, all by yourself? How would you know to clean your wounds when you got hurt in bull toss? And what if that wretched Frenchman had gotten to you? Why, you would have turned out to be quite as irrepressible… with horrible taste buds too." Arthur added as an afterthought.

These men, the barman had decided long ago, were highly delusional.

Then, a flash of light, and an impossibly oversized, and incredibly noisy Hummer came tearing down the road. The barman let out a girlish shriek and began struggling against the duo clinging to him. The Hummer swerved violently, only narrowly avoiding a street lamp and came screeching to a halt in front of the stunted barman. The door flew open, and a young man, about twenty two, bounced out, laughing maniacally.

"The hero has arrived!" He cried breathlessly. He was closely followed by another, a nervous, ruffled looking young man who looked like he wanted to throw up.

"Alfred F Jones," the second man gasped, clutching a stitch in his side, "I am never letting you near a car again. Not when I have to be in it at least." Alfred snorted.

"'You just can't take my awesome driving Mattie." Matthew rolled his eyes.

"We're here to get Papa and Dad, Alfred."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Alfred waved a hand dismissively. "Where are they anyway?"

"If you were paying more attention," said Matthew dryly, "you would have noticed that you almost ran them over." He pointed to where the barman stood. Suicide, the barman had decided a while ago, was not exactly a feasible option.

Alfred sighed. Bending over, he quite literally lifted a sniffling Arthur over his shoulder and slung Francis over the other. The barman however, was not surprised. He had given up on being surprised. Alfred could have grown another head for all he cared, and he would still not be surprised. Alfred then proceeded to dump Arthur and Francis in the back seat of the Hummer, as if they were nothing but large bags of sand and dirt. There was a tap on his elbow and the barman turned to find Matthew smiling apologetically.

"I'm sorry for the trouble they caused," he gestured towards the back seat where the barman could see the faint outline of a shoe, "I'll pay you compensation if you want." The barman shook his head.

"Just get them out of my sight."

And away the group went, roaring down the road in a massive cavalcade of red steel and exhaust smoke.

The very next day, the barman handed in his resignation.