There were many times Alfred and Arthur were alone together after the day Arthur's living situation was introduced to Alfred. They never really hung out at school, though. Alfred's friends didn't like Arthur, and Arthur wasn't exactly fond of them, either. They hung out after school, either at Arthur's or Alfred's house. Mostly, it was at Alfred's house they hung out at. It was free of prying eyes, smoke, and idiotic, drunk brothers.
It was only a week after they met that Alfred invited Arthur to his home. Upon arrival, Arthur noticed that it was only Alfred living in the apartment. The apartment was messy and small, especially in Alfred's room. The living room was barely the size of Arthur's room. It had one couch and a small TV in front of it. A coffee table filled the space between the couch and the TV. A small window on the left of the TV and couch looked out at the center of town.
The kitchen consisted of a minuscule refrigerator, about five feet of counter space, a sink at the end of the counter, and a portable stove. There was a small pantry out of sight, toward the back of the kitchen space. The one bathroom in the apartment was the size of a closet. The toilet and shower were so close, it appeared that someone might trip on the toilet while attempting to leave the shower. Opposite the shower, on the left side of the bathroom, was a small mirror with an equally small sink beneath it.
There were two bedrooms in the apartment, the smaller one being Alfred's and the larger one reserved for guests. Alfred preferred his room small, as he liked being in close-quarters. Both rooms were identical, with a bed in the center, pushed against the wall and a small closet on the left side of the bed. A small window looked out at the world on the right side of the room. A dresser was directly in front of the bed.
"My mom and dad let me live alone. They don't care much about me. As long as I stay out of their hair, they pay for anything I need," Alfred explained. Arthur raised an eyebrow at this but asked nothing more. Alfred never really spoke of his parents. The one time he spoke of them, explaining his living situation to Arthur, his cerulean eyes had turned stormy with anger.
Over the next month, Alfred and Arthur grew close. They yelled at each other, teased each other, joked together. Meanwhile, Alfred felt the wanting towards Arthur grow. What was it about this boy that caused Alfred's heart to turn into a hummingbird and threaten to burst from his chest? Maybe it was the naturally disheveled look to his hair, or those hypnotizing emerald eyes or those strangely attractive eyebrows of his? Alfred had no idea, but something about Arthur captivated him.
He pretended to still like his girlfriend, pretended to agree with his friends when they made fun of Arthur, who often wore earphones and couldn't hear them, but in reality, he was detached. He preferred being with Arthur who was actually intelligent and didn't say stupid, annoying things all the time. Alfred's friends and girlfriend were none the wiser to the friendship developing between Arthur and Alfred.
In fact, no one was, except for Alfred and Arthur. Things went on pleasantly like this for the first month and a half. One Saturday evening, though, at ten o'clock in the nighttime, Alfred got a call from Arthur. When Alfred answered the phone, Arthur was sniffling. His voice kept cracking and he stuttered when he spoke. "C-Can I s-stay at your h-house tonight? P-Please?" Alfred hardly knew what to say. Arthur sounded like he was in a great deal of pain. "Yeah. Come on over. What's wrong?" Arthur sobbed once, quickly, then sniffled again. "Y-You'll see. I'll be o-over s-soon." There was a click and the phone call ended.
Alfred waited anxiously for Arthur to arrive. When he did, about ten minutes later, Alfred rushed to the door and opened it without checking to see that it was really Arthur. In the doorway, Arthur stood with his right eye swollen shut. He clutched his left arm to his chest and and winced whenever he took a breath. "H-Help...M-Me..." Arthur mumbled softly, his eyes rolling back into his head, falling into Alfred. Alfred managed to hold him up and drag him to the guest bedroom.
He laid the unconscious Arthur down on the bed and unbuttoned his shirt. His chest was bruised and battered. He took off Arthur's shirt altogether and noticed a gash in Arthur's left arm. Alfred clenched his teeth. Who ever did this to Arthur would pay. Before he could think of revenge, however, he had to help Arthur. He got an ace bandage and wrapped it around Arthur's chest, to keep him from moving too much. There were no really horrible cuts on his chest, although the bruises looked particularly painful.
Alfred got hydrogen peroxide and a cotton swab and gently dabbed Arthur's open wound in his left arm. Arthur groaned in his sleep when the hydrogen peroxide touched his wound and began to foam. Alfred winced at the sound and sighed. He wrapped the wound up and then focused on the swollen eye.
He got an ice pack and held it gently over Arthur's eye. For the next hour, he waited for Arthur to wake from the stupor his injuries had caused him. The hour seemed like an eternity.
Finally, Arthur's eyes fluttered open and he groaned in pain. "W-Where am I?" He mumbled. Alfred gasped. "Dude! You're awake! You've been out for, like, an hour! I thought you were dead!" Arthur frowned. "I'm not dead. Just tired. And everything hurts." Alfred nodded. "You had a gash in your arm. And your chest was bruised. Your right eye's black, too. It's all puffy and dark." Arthur nodded, wincing at his sharp in take of breath from the sudden movement.
"I'm alright," he said softly, reassuring himself more than Alfred. Alfred huffed angrily. "Who did this anyway?" Arthur was silent, hesitant. "Promise me something, Alfred," Arthur whispered, unable to look up at Alfred. "What is it?"
"Promise me that you won't go after the one who did this to me."
"I can't promise that, Arthur."
"I won't tell you who it was if you don't promise."
"Fine. I promise."
"It was Allistor." Arthur winced in preparation for Alfred's reaction. Alfred clenched his fists and ground his teeth. "That bastard! I'm gonna kill him!" Arthur sighed and shook his head. "I didn't want to tell you and your reaction is exactly why. He was drunk, Alfred. I was there. I'd rather him beat me up than hurt someone else."
"That's stupid! You shouldn't be getting hurt!"
"If that's the price to pay for saving some innocent from going through this, then I'll gladly pay it!"
"That price is too high!"
"It's the only price to pay, you git!" Arthur and Alfred were practically shouting by now. Alfred was pacing in circles, clenching and unclenching his fists. He turned to Arthur from the corner of the room. "I can't let you do this to yourself! Tell me that if he ever tries to hurt you again, you'll run. Please!" Furious tears glimmered in Arthur's good eye. He held the ice pack tightly to the swollen one. "I cannot give my word on that. I will do whatever is necessary to protect anyone from my brother," he spat in frustration, staring at the ceiling.
Alfred growled. "Why? Why can't you just do this one thing? Please! I can't stand seeing you like this, even if it's only this once." Arthur erupted, turning his head sharply towards Alfred and screaming, "Why, Alfred?! You shouldn't care at all!" Alfred's cheeks grew red in anger. He didn't yell. He didn't growl. His voice shaking in anger, tears gleaming in his eyes, he simply said, "Because I love you, Arthur. And I can't stand it if you're going to do this to yourself."
His mouth agape, his body frozen in shock at Alfred's words, Arthur could do nothing but stare at Alfred's back as he retreated from the room, went to his own room, and yelled so loudly and in such anger, Arthur was afraid he would wake the dead.