You tap pointlessly at the buttons on the controller for the games console in your hand. The little character on screen jumps whenever you do, moving around as you instruct. He still didnt quite jump when he needed to, though, plummeting hundreds of feet into cloudy nothingness that rested at the bottom of the level before exploding with a horrible squeal and re-spawning at the last checkpoint. Clearly that wasnt cloudy nothingness. That was electrified cloudy nothingness. people were mean in creating ways for your character to die.
________, what on earth is it that youre supposed to be-
did you just shush me?
Shh! Arthur, youre making me lose concentration.
The Brit rolls his eyes, taking a seat next to you, God forbid Id ever do that. Looks like you need all the help you can get with this game.
You sigh in frustration as the little character dies again, this time getting squashed under a big falling block, popping out from underneath it with a squelching sound.
He didnt re-spawn.
He was dead.
You had died for the last time that this level would allow.
Look what you made me do! you say, smacking Arthur on the back of his head.
Ow! How on earth was that my bloody fault? he asks, sitting up suddenly, shielding himself from any further attack.
It just is. Anything bad that happens is, from now on, your fault.
Because that makes perfect sense. Thanks for that. Anyway, are you going to be getting dressed at all today?
You glance down at yourself, mumbling,
Oh, Im still in my
your voice trails off as your eyes run over the pattern of your PJs. You look back up at Arthur. His eyebrows are raised as he takes in your appearance. No matter how inexperienced you are at gaming, you still have a gaming-look that is made up of PJs, no make-up and the little puppy-dog slippers Alfred had bought you for your birthday a few years ago. The ears of the dogs were kind of matted now, and one of them only had one eye, but there was no way in hell that these were going anywhere near a black sack.
You answer his question with, Yes. I will be. But, Im not done with-
I really think that you are. There is a bit of cream from that last Oreo on your cheek and your hair could make a bird very bloody happy.
Arthur stands up, just in case you decide to make another attack on him.
Its not that bad, you defend. Alright, so you had been in this sort of gaming mode since this time yesterday, but he didnt know that.
Shower. Now, please. Ill make some tea. Make yourself look pretty, he mumbles, starting to gather up some of the remains of the mess you had made.
Pretty? Why? Im not going out anywhere, you say.
I didnt say you were. Id just prefer it if I wasnt in the company of someone who had a crisp in her hair, he reaches up and plucks it from your nest, putting it in one of the boxes hes going to throw away.
sorry. Im gonna go shower now.
You stand up, leaving your own nest that you had been building since yesterday. Your blanket had made a distinct circle around where you had been sitting and the cushions from the couch were buried in there somewhere, too.
Ok, now you kind of got what Arthur was saying.
You trudge up the stairs, raking a brush through your hair as you go. You were starting to get used to Alfreds brother by now, clearly, seeing as you didnt feel a bit embarrassed.
well, maybe a little. He had been over a lot more whilst Alfred had been away, though. Probably due to your boyfriends strict instructions for Arthur to make sure ________ keeps smiling at all costs or Ill smack your British face so hard that youll fly halfway across the country and then Ill come get you and smack you all the way back again.
Nice parting message for your brother, Alfie. Well done.
When you reach your room, you gently pick up the pink photo frame containing the picture of you and Alfred. Hes carrying you, bridal-style, and looking pretty pleased with himself, as you scream with laughter, asking to be put down. Nowadays it was more like youd be asking for him to never put you down. To never let you go, so you could always be with him.
His last letter lies underneath this picture. Hed written out the lyrics to one of your favourite songs on the back. Well, it was only the chorus he had written out because thats all he could ever remember.
Im coming home, Im coming home,
Tell the world Im coming home,
Let the rain wash away,
All the pain of yesterday,
I know my kingdom awaits,
And theyve forgiven my mistakes,
Im coming home, Im coming home,
Tell the world Im coming.
I love you, ________. Dont ever forget that. Ill be coming home before you know it, baby. xx
That last line always brings tears to your eyes. You miss him so much, and it hurts getting up every morning alone, now. You hated being reminded that hes off fighting and in danger but
Sighing, you fold the paper back up and tuck it back under the frame, ready to hop into the shower.
~*~Short Time Skip~*~
U-uh, ________, are you nearly done in there? Arthurs voice calls out.
Arthur, are you in my bedroom?! Get outta there! you yell from the adjoining bathroom, mainly because you had left your clothes including your underwear lying out on the bed.
I was just wondering, he says.
Whats the rush? Anyway, Im coming out, now. Now, get out of my room so I can come and get dressed.
You listen for his footsteps walking away before leaving the privacy of your bathroom. You had finished your shower about five minutes ago, anyway, so you get dressed straight away, applying a little bit of mascara while youre at it, and bounce down the stairs in search for your hairdryer. You had put on a white skirt and yellow t-shirt with a white daisy in the middle, in hopes that it would pass for pretty.
When Arthur looks up from his cup of tea and nods in approval, you say, Im so glad this is good enough for you.
Well, do I look pretty?
Yes, I suppose. Very summery.
oh good. Im glad.
Looking around as you snatch up your hairdryer and turn it on, you notice that Arthur has cleaned up all of your mess and even folded up the blanket and straightened up the cushions.
Thanks for cleaning, Arthur. It looks great. Whats this all for, though?
Hm? Oh, it was no problem. And I promised Alfred that I would keep you smiling. You didnt exactly seem that cheerful in your little gaming
hovel, he says, shaking his head at the memory.
I was very happy, thank you very much, you yell over the blasting roar of the hairdryer. Gaming reminded of you of Alfred, no matter how you did it or how bad you were. Your (h/l)(h/c) hair was being blown wildly around your head, making it difficult for you to see, so you brush it back as you dry it until it is definitely bone dry.
There. Isnt that better, ________?
I suppose I have to agree with you, you reply with a smirk, ruffling the Brits hair, Do I look alright now, Artie?
Yes, you look very pretty. May I get you some tea? he glances at the clock, but then looks back at you.
Sure, but let me get it. You want a refill?
That would be lovely, thanks, he says with a nod.
Taking his cup, you walk into the kitchen, flicking on the kettle. Arthur stands up and walks over to the window with a sigh, tapping his foot to a non-existent beat.
Do you have sugar?
No, thank you, he says, not turning when you walk back with both cups. Seeing as hes not coming to get it, you take it over to him, balancing the cup on the windowsill.
Taking a drink, you ask, Anything interesting out there?
Not really. Three dogs and their owners.
Are you gonna sit down?
No. Give me a minute.
Shaking your head at him, you leave him to it, turning the TV on. His phone buzzes a few moments later. He takes one glance at it, and then says, Its a lovely day. Why dont we take a walk?
a walk? Really?
Yes. A walk. Youre all dressed up and looking
better now, so maybe you could show it off a little?
You pause, narrowing your eyes at him. Show it off? What
Whats going on, Arthur? Youre acting weird, you say, standing up and facing him.
He goes to say something else, but then sighs in defeat, Look, Im really bad at this. ________, come with me. He glances out of the window once more before seizing your arms and putting one hand over your eyes, Right now would be preferable.
Arthur, what the hell?! What are you doing? you ask, making an attempt to get his hand off of your eyes but both of your wrists are being held by his other hand and, well, its surprisingly strong.
Sorry about covering your eyes, but I made a promise and
well, Im just going to take you outside, he explains, taking his hand off of your eyes to open the door, but then instantly putting it back on to lead you down the steps.
You hear a car pull up, so you say, I swear, if youre going to throw me in a car with Francis, Toni and Gilbert, then I will kill you. That was not fun.
No, Im not doing that. Besides, you know that wasnt my idea, Arthur says. A car door opens and then shuts again, followed by footsteps. Arthur then continues, Anyway, here. I have a present for you. Its come
a long way, you could say.
Arthur, whatever it is, it better not be a load of crap, cause
Your voice trails off when he takes his hand away from your eyes.
Standing in front of the car is your American boyfriend. He has a grin plastered on his face at the first sight of you, waiting patiently for Arthur to remove his hand from your eyes.
Still dressed in his uniform, he drops his bag and says, I hope Im better than that.
Alfred, you whisper, eyes starting to water at the sight of him.
You then take off at a sprint towards him and then throw yourself into his open arms, your arms winding around his neck.
Oh my god. I missed you, you sob into his shirt.
He laughs, I missed you too. Im so happy to see you.
You dont reply, just hang onto him as if you could never let him go. You dont want to ever let him go. Having him here, just being able to hold him in your arms, is the best feeling ever.
See, I said I was coming home soon, he says, pulling away so he can kiss you.
I know. I know you did, you mumble, kissing him back.
I love you, ________.
I love you too, Alfie.
You stand for another minute in each others arms, Alfred kissing your neck as you just keep hold of him, as if youll never let him go.
Cmon, babe, lets go inside, he says.
So Alfred can keep his arm around you, Arthur comes over and picks up his back for him, saying, Welcome home, Alfred.
Thanks, man! Missed you, too, yknow.
They smiled and you all walked inside, closing the door behind you. Alfred pulls you onto his lap when youve sat down. You finally let go of his neck and say, I feel better, now youre home.
wait, does that mean that Arthur didnt keep him promise? Cause, if not-
No, no, I did my job, Arthur says, I think she needs a lesson in playing that bloody game, though. I dont like the thing, myself, but I know that that was not how you play it.
Alfred laughs, Seriously?
I wasnt that bad, you defend, pressing your face into his shirt again with a quiet giggle, thinking about the state the room was in before Arthur had appeared. You were very glad the Brit had made an appearance today.
Im guessing you knew about this? you ask Arthur.
Yeah, of course. I had to come over and make sure you were alright. And looked decent, he says, clearly thinking back to the nest you had built, too. You just hoped he wouldnt mention to Alfred.
Oh, ________, I have something for you
He stuffs his hand in his pocket and pulls out a little box, This isnt very romantic, but I love you. Youll never forget that, right? No matter how long I go away for.
So, will you marry me? he asks with a smile, opening the box to reveal a diamond ring.
oh my god
Yeah, of course, you say, a smile growing on your face as you nod. He slides the ring on your finger. You fling your arms around him again, I dont care. It was romantic. All I care about is that fact youre home, and that you asked me. I love you, Alfie.
Love you too, babe, he whispers, pulling you close to him again, But you do realise this means Im gonna have to teach you everything I know about video games, right?
The two of you spend the day wrapped in each others arms. You slip into bed at night and wait for your fiancé to join you, pulling the blanket right up to your chin with a childish smile as you watch him undress.
He turns and grins at you, Everything alright?
Yeah, fine. Its just
you look great. I missed this.
He laughs, Yeah, me too. You know, I told you I was coming home. He slides the last letter out from underneath the picture, and flips it over so he can read the lyrics.
Im coming home, Im coming home,
Tell the world Im coming.
You smile as he slides into the bed next to you and you put your hands on his strong chest. He hugs you for a moment before saying, So, I leave you for a few months and I come back to hear youve been failing at the video games.
Im not that baaaad!