I flinched back.

The sensation of fear spread through my veins in a blind rush of ice, chilling me to the bone. It terrified me how familiar that feeling was becoming. Alfred's breath came in deep heaves through his nose and mouth, almost near enough to taste. The side of his fist remained rammed solidly against the wall, just inches from my ear. Once-upon-a-time, I might have been gazing giddily into the happy, carefree face of my wonderful husband, the King. Now, however, that perfect image had been shattered - consumed by the look of absolute fury he now expressed, pinning me to the cool cobblestone wall of our shared royal bedroom.

Then, his gaze suddenly softened, and, just for a moment, I could almost fool myself into imagining the Alfred I had fallen so deeply in love with staring back at me with all the affection of a newly wedded couple. "At the meeting earlier…" Then, as quick as wetted fingers extinguishing a flame (or perhaps igniting one), the easy look was gone, instantly replaced with what I had come to recognise as an established typical of recent times. "You're supposed to be my Queen! So why aren't you siding with me?"

Oh. My turn. I swallowed.

"Because…" I paused, clenching my fists tightly at my sides, and took a quick, shaky breath. I knew that if I didn't say this now, I would loose my nerve and the words would never make it past my lips. "…Y-You're starting to scare me, Alfred!"

The look of shock that appeared on my husband's face seemed almost comical. An overwhelming impulse to laugh caught me off guard. I squashed it, and then, instead, felt it replaced with the sting of tears dammed behind my eyelids. I refused to cave in, however - at least while Alfred himself was around. I watched him carefully, and slowly began to wonder if the storm was over.

Then that spark of hope was promptly snuffed out like a bulky Clubs boot over a lit match.

Before I could comprehend what was happening, I was down, dimly wondering when the luxuriously embroidered sapphire-and-magenta carpet had gotten so close. The pain took a moment longer to register. My vision blurred, and I numbly realised that the tears I'd been holding back had finally surfaced.

By the time I glanced up from the floor, Alfred was gone; the fine oaken door of our chamber swinging closed heavily behind his thick, royal blue cloak.

Here is the picture on DeviantArt that this was inspired by (remember to remove the spaces!): nechan8. deviantart art/ Cardverse-Power-Hungry- 353545697