Francis smiled back and lifted the child into his arms. Francis nuzzled into Arthur's hair as Arthur gave a yawn.
"Bedtime," Francis said.
Arthur mumbled an opposition in return, the effect ruined by another yawn.
Francis chuckled. He rocked Arthur slightly as he took him over to his bed. He pulled the covers back and placed Arthur on the bed and tucked him in.
Arthur looked up at him with bleary eyes. Francis bent over and kissed him on the forehead, Arthur squirmed slightly in response.
It was a mark of how tired he was that as soon as France left the room his eye fluttered shut and he fell asleep.
Francis walked down the stairs and back into his living room where he flopped onto the sofa. He sighed and closed he eyes. He dragged himself off the sofa and into the study to prepare for his meeting the following day.
An hour or so later Francis sat rubbing his eyes staring at the piece of paper in front of him. As he stared at the page the lines blurred together, he blinked and rubbed his eyes trying to get them to focus.
He gave up and pushed the paper across the desk and leant back in his chair. He stretched his arms in front of then yawned widely.
He pushed away from the desk and up the stairs and back into his room. He looked at the sleeping form of Arthur still tucked under the quilt. Francis smiled; Arthur had not moved an inch.
He pulled off his clothes and pulled on some baggy clothes for sleeping, deciding he did not want to get yelled at in the morning by Arthur for not wearing anything.
He slipped into bed next to Arthur and pulled the quilt back over them. He watched Arthur sleeping, he face peaceful when he slept, and slowly fell asleep himself.
Arthur woke in the morning to find a heavy weight pressing down on him. He wriggled trying to escape it, only to find it was Francis' arm pulling him close to his chest. Arthur sighed and snuggled into the heat Francis was producing, although he would not admit to it in the morning. He fell back asleep.
Francis woke up and felt Arthur's small body curled into his own. He smiled down at the sleeping face, still amazed that, that cute face could make the scowls he knew Arthur could give.
Francis cautiously drew his arm back and slipped out of bed trying not to wake the sleeping child.
He walked across the room and opened the wardrobe.
Arthur slowly blinked himself awake to see Francis finish doing the buttons up on his shirt.
Francis looked and saw Arthur looking back at him.
"Morning," Francis said, walking over and sitting on the bed next to Arthur.
"Morning," Arthur mumbled groggily.
Francis ruffled Arthur's hair. He picked up off the bed and carried him over to the wardrobe. He sat him down on the floor.
"I'm going to go cook us some breakfast, you get dressed and I'll come get you when I'm done"
"I can walk down the stairs on my own," Arthur pouted.
"Sure you can, but I don't want you getting hurt,"
"Whatever," Arthur shrugged.
Francis walked down to the kitchen and began to make breakfast. Once the toast was in and the sausages and bacon were cooking he quickly checked on Arthur.
He stuck his head round the door. Arthur had just finished pulling a red shirt over his head, already wearing green trousers.
"Arthur, shirt off, now," Francis commanded
Arthur turned to Francis surprised that he had entered.
"Take your shirt off, that outfit clashes,"
Arthur raised an eyebrow in a 'so what' face.
Francis sighed and suddenly remembered the food, he rushed out the room saying, "if you come down with those clothes on I forcibly changed them.
Arthur turned back to the wardrobe and pulled out the black shirt, "Francis cannot moan at me now, black goes with everything."
Francis hummed as he finished the breakfast turning of the hob and putting the food onto plates. He suddenly heard a series of bangs then a sob. He ran out of the room toward the direction of the noise.
He ran into the hallway to see Arthur sprawled face first on the floor trying to hold back sobs. He scooped Arthur up into his arms and pulled him close to his body. Arthur's small fists clenched at Francis' shirt as he cried. Francis saw that there was a nasty cut on Arthurs face. Francis rocked him back and forth, muttering soothing words, trying to get the boy to calm down.
Once Arthur's crying had subsided Francis stood up and carried him to the kitchen where the food had cooled down. He sat Arthur down in his high chair, thankfully not getting any resistance this time. He put the almost cold food in front of Arthur and gave him his cutlery. Arthur looked and he food and began to pick at it. Francis meanwhile brought the first aid kit out. While Arthur ate Francis checked his head for bumps. Arthur swatted at his hand when he found a bump on his forehead. Francis ate his food quickly while he waited for Arthur to finish.
Once Arthur placed his cutlery down Francis took him and swung him onto the counter. Arthur sat on the edge with his legs dangling and his hands in his lap.
Francis went to the freezer and pulled out an ice pack which he then wrapped in a towel and passed to Arthur who held it up to his head.
Rummaging through the first aid kit Francis found plasters and antiseptic cream which he placed on the side. As he was placing all the other items back in the kit the door bell rang.
"Coming, coming," he called as he quickly shoved everything back in the bag.
"Will you be okay for two minutes?" Francis asked.
Arthur nodded and Francis rushed from the room to answer the door. Whoever was outside kept pressing the bell impatiently. Francis hoped it was Alfred as he did not think he could handle someone needing him right now. Sure enough when he opened the door a tall, blonde-haired man was standing in the doorway.
Francis stood back to let the man in and closed the door.
"Make yourself at home," he spoke over his shoulder as he hurried back to the kitchen.
Alfred stood in the hallway confused by the welcome. He saw the shoes to the side and took off his own and placed them next to the others. He walked farther down the hall and placed his bag at the bottom of the stairs.
He heard slight whimpering from a room nearby. He walked toward to the noise, he walked into the kitchen and saw Francis gently dabbing a cut across a small boys face. The boy was squirming a lot clearly disliking the stinging of disinfectant.
"Errmm…. Hello?" Alfred called from the doorway.
"Sit down Alfred," Francis said trying to hold the boys face still.
Alfred ignored the chairs around the table and walked over to the blonde boy, and sat on the counter next to him.
He ruffled the hair of the boy.
"Dude, is this Artie?"
"Yes Alfred, stay still! It'll be over quicker!"
"But it stings," Arthur whined
"I know, I know, come on only a little bit more, Alfred could you hold the ice to his forehead please?"
Al picked up the tea towel wrapped ice block and held it against Arthurs head.
"Al you need to put your other hand at the back of his head," Francis told him.
Arthur sat squirming in between the two. Alfred held the back of Arthurs head and held the ice pack to his forehead, this kept Arthur still enough to allow Francis to finished disinfecting his face. He placed the kitchen roll to the side and picked up the plasters.
"Which ones would you like? The dinosaurs or the normal ones?"
"Artie, choose the dinosaurs" Alfred said excitedly, waving his hands excitedly forgetting that he was supposed to be holding the ice pack to Arthur's head.
Arthur pouted at Alfred and pointed at the plain ones. Francis smirked and unwrapped the plain one and put it over the cut.
"Awww you're so boring, dinosaurs are way cooler,"
Arthur rolled his eyes and began to fiddle with the plaster.
Francis tapped his hand away, "Arthur, it'll fall of if you do that," Francis warned.
Francis checked his watch, "oh shit," he muttered, "I've got to leave now or I'll be late, Alfred don't break anything, Arthur be good," hurriedly ran from the room.
Arthur listened to him pull on his shoes and pick up his briefcase; he came back into the kitchen and kissed Arthur on the head which Arthur promptly 'rubbed off'.
Alfred smiled at Arthur as the front door shut.
"Okay little dude, whaddyou wanna do?"
"What do you want to do?" Arthur corrected compulsively.
Alfred laughed, "I dunno I was asking you,"
"Fine, I want to read,"
"Come on Artie, that's so boring,"
"Arthur," he corrected again.
"Whatever dude," Alfred brushed off.
"I have an idea, let's go play outside!"
Arthur rolled his eyes.
Alfred didn't notice and picked Arthur up off the counter and ran out the back door and into Francis garden. It was fairly large with a small bit off patio then grass and flower beds around the edges. A shed was on the left through the window you could see an array of tools and a bike.
"So Artie….. What should we play?"
Arthur looked up at him with raised eyebrows, he sighed seeing that Alfred would never understand his non verbal communication.
Arthur struggled in Alfred's arms pointing at the floor. Alfred laughed, sank to his knees and placed the boy down. He stayed crouched keeping eye-level.
Arthur lips curled into a smirk and his eyes gained a dangerous look.
"Tag!" he shouted, pushing Alfred and running as fast as he could to the other side of the garden.
Alfred fell back not expecting the sudden push; it knocked him from his precarious position. He scrambled up and ran after the boy who was now half way down the garden.
He caught up to Arthur as he reached the end of the garden. He reached the end of the garden and turned to see Alfred right on his heels, he tried circle around Alfred. He succeeded and ran back down the garden as Alfred's momentum carried him through the flowers and into the wall at the end. He pushed off the wall and ran back after Arthur he caught up with him about a quarter of the way back to the house.
Alfred jump the last little bit between them and tackle Arthur. Arthur hit the ground with an oomph.
Arthur moaned slightly in pain and tears sprang to his eyes.
"Got you" Alfred said cheerfully.
Arthur nodded whimpering slightly.
Alfred heard this.
"Hey buddy, you okay?"
Arthur nodded trying to keep from crying again.
"Awww come on, I just forgot you were this tiny,"
Arthur wriggled out of his grip and ran back into the house. He ran up the stairs and into Francis room.
Alfred pushed himself up and followed Arthur.
He followed the muddy footprints through the house and upstairs until he stood outside Francis bedroom door.
He knocked, wondering what he was supposed to do.
"Hey, Arthur?" he called through the door.
He got no response. He tried again but still no answer so he went in anyway and followed the footprints to the edge of the bed where the stopped. Arthur clearly wasn't on the bed, so Alfred guessed he was under it.
"Artie, what's wrong?"
"I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong," Alfred said in a sing song voice.
"Come out from under there,"
Alfred got a muffled response of "no!"
"I come under there and get you if you don't"
Arthur stayed under and Alfred counted down from five. On two he saw Arthurs little foot poke out as he tried to wriggle back out. Arthur remembered what happened last time he had been counted down, and did not want to test Alfred to see if he would actually crawl under the bed.
Alfred smiled in triumph and stopped counting. When the boy had finally wriggled all the way out, Alfred pulled him into his lap.
He remembered how when he was younger Arthur would stroke his hair to calm him down. Alfred ran his hairs through Arthur's hair.
"Hey, I'm sorry buddy," Alfred apologised again.
"..s okay," Arthur mumbled.
"Come on, you can tell me," Alfred urged.
"Nothing," Arthur folded his arms in defiance.
Alfred moved Arthur from his lap and onto the floor in front of him. Arthur avoided his eye contact preferring to look at the floor.
"Please talk to me," Alfred begged.
"Hang on," Arthur stood up and walked out of the room.
Alfred stayed on the floor very confused. He heard Arthur going down the stairs. He wanted to follow but figured he'd never find out what was wrong otherwise he just hoped Arthur would hurry.
A couple of minutes later Arthur came back into the room. Alfred had begun to get fidgety sitting on the floor. When Arthur came back glanced at the the paper and pencil he was now holding. Arthur sat back down opposite him and began to write on the paper.
Alfred leant back on his hands waiting for Arthur to finish. He allowed his head to hang back and he gazed at the ceiling. He was following the pattern of the swirls when he felt Arthur tug his sleeve. He looked down at him and saw that he was holding the paper out to him. He took the paper and read it. Arthur sat back down opposite him and waited for him to finish, his hands twisting together.
I do not know how to say this. I guess that this will have to do.
Do you remember playing tag when you were tiny and you would chase after me and knock me to the ground?
Well, that just reminded me of that. Now it is the other way around. You were never supposed to have to look after me. I was supposed to look after you although that did not go as planned anyway so what I am trying to say is, I do not know what I am trying to say, but I guess I am still not over you leaving.'