Food shopping was pretty much one of the most dreaded chores in the house, but of course it was something that had to be done. Considering Alfred about twice his weight in any and every kind of food every week it was necessary. Today it was not only necessary out of the fact that food sustained life, but Arthur (Accompanied by Alfred and Charlie because the American insisted they had to do this together) was there because tomorrow would be Charlie's first birthday and snacks, meals, and treats alike would need to be prepared.
Arthur held the list firmly in hand, the other hand on the shopping cart (Which of course had been wiped down and sanitized before touching it). His green eyes glanced over the several different brands of tomato sauce trying to decide which jar was the best deal. Behind him Alfred was busy at play with Charlie; holding his little hands and walking with him like he always did.
"C'mon Char," Alfred prompted. "I've been walking with you forever now and you still can't take a step by yourself?"
"No!" The little boy replied back with delight. 'No' was his new favorite word courtesy of overhearing Arthur yelling at Ace who was attempting to claw the couch.
"He told you off." Arthur said from where he was a small amused smile quirking up on his lips.
"He'll say no to anything, watch. Charlie do you love Daddy?" Alfred asked the little boy.
"No!" He replied again, smiling with delight.
Arthur whirled his head around and shot a fierce look at Alfred, "That's just playing poorly."
Alfred smiled proudly and shrugged his shoulders, "Maybe, but I rest my case." Alfred dipped his head down by his son again, "Charlie, do you not love Daddy?"
"No!" He replied again in delight.
"I think he's got a love hate thing going on." Alfred laughed as he picked Charlie up, tickling the little boy and kissing his head. Charlie laughed cheerfully with that wonderful bright grin of his plastered on his face.
Arthur gave his green eyes a little roll, "Lovely." He sighed. "Please do me a favor, pet, and don't teach our son to not love me." Arthur said, finally picking out a jar of sauce he deemed worth of his purchase and placed in the cart.
"Don't worry, I'd never teach Charlie to not love you." Alfred claimed walking over to Arthur with Charlie tucked in his arms. "Besides, I'm pretty sure this little guy is incapable of feeling anything other than happiness. He's always got a grin plastered on his face."
"He's like you in that way." Arthur said, smiling softly and admiring the way Charlie and Alfred's matching blue gazes shared that same excitable shine. It nearly seemed as though everyday Charlie was becoming more and more akin to his American father and Arthur dreaded the day when Charlie ate like him too.
"Yeah, he's a handsome little devil, isn't he?" Alfred grinned broadly at his positively adorable son who sent him up a nearly matching toothless grin.
"You're just saying that because he looks like you." Arthur said, scrunching his pointy little nose up a bit with a small pout though of course he was just messing with his husband.
"Darn right; you'll have all the ladies chasing after you when you're older Char." Alfred laughed.
"No!" Charlie replied happily. That made Arthur think.
Arthur pressed his lips together softly, "… Well you know…. He could end up not wanting to be chased by women…" He said softly, almost as if their happy mood would break if he spoke one step out of term. "For all we know… he could end up like us…" Statistically speaking, children who were raised in homosexual households had a habit of becoming homosexual themselves.
Alfred hummed softly in response- looking down at Charlie as the little boy as he happily sucked on one of his little chubby fingers. "I guess we don't know…." He said with a small shrug of his shoulders. "But either way we'll be supportive of Charlie with whatever he wants and whatever makes him the happiest." Since most definitely Alfred and Arthur had experience in the field of familial issues and their homosexuality. There was no way they would put their son through a similar situation.
Arthur smiled softly and gave a small nod, "Yes, whatever makes Charlie happy."
The couple started moving again- going onto the next aisle to complete their list of needed goods. "But y'know Charlie would never not love you. I think he loves you more than me." Charlie turned his gaze onto his British father and began whining softly- stretching his chubby arms out to Arthur in an attempt to prompt him to hold him. "See what'd I tell you? He loves you to pieces."
The Briton felt his heart melting at the sight of his little boy reaching for him- eyes begging to be held by the person he was closest to. "Come here, pet." Arthur cooed softly, reaching out to take Charlie who eagerly wriggled from Alfred's grasp to fall into Arthur's. Alfred and Arthur switched places so the American could push the cart and the Briton could carry their son.
The three walked along the stocked aisles contently the smiles not leaving any of their faces, "So," Alfred began. "How much more of this list do we have to get through?"
"Well that depends, darling, how much food can you eat?" Well this was most definitely going to be one long shopping adventure and Alfred knew it.
The morning of the next day was spent busily with preparations for Charlie's birthday. Arthur was forbidden from any preparations in the kitchen (Alfred didn't want their guests to have food poisoning after all) and instead was assigned to decorating duty. Arthur of course wasn't going to go crazy with all the streamers and balloons (as Alfred would have most likely) and made everything tasteful yet festive. It was around one o' clock that people started arriving- Alfred's parents first with Francis and Matthew following soon after. Nathan and Mary Jo came a few minutes after and were lastly followed by Arthur's brothers.
The house was full of chatter and laughter and a general cheery atmosphere filled the space and let it shine. Charlie of course was at the blinding center of all this love and attention seeing as how he was the birthday boy. The gifts on the table were wrapped and colored paper with flowing ribbons all primed and ready for Charlie to open after cake had been served. Charlie was basking in all his birthday glory as he moved from lap to lap and played with every one of his special guests- the grin never leaving his face and the shine never leaving his eyes.
"Oh, he's just cutest darn thing I ever did see." Mary Jo cooed lovingly as she coddled the boy and kissed his soft round head. It was almost like Charlie knew that everyone was talking about since his smile seemed to beam doubly as bright at the compliment from his godmother.
"That's 'cause he doesn' look like ol' Artie." Angus laughed, sipping on his beer.
"I wouldn' jinx it, Angus," Carney added in from where he sat. "Little Charlie's brows are startin' to look a little thick."
"Belt up would you. There's nothing wrong with his or my eyebrows thank you very much." Arthur huffed, crossing one leg over the other in his seat.
Alfred laughed, "Don't worry, babe, I think they're cute." He complimented, squeezing his husband's hand a little. Arthur only huffed once more, but discreetly squeezed Alfred's hand back in silent thanks.
"Has he taken any steps yet?" Nathan asked, watching Mary Jo as she coddled and played with the babe in her lap.
Arthur shook his head, "No, not on his own anyway. If you hold his hands he can walk a bit, but he still needs the support." The Briton explained.
"Well then, Charlie," Mary Jo said as she picked the boy up into her arms and got up from her seat. "What says you and I have a little walk?" Mary Jo placed the little boy on the floor and put her hands out for the boy to grasp. Charlie knew exactly what to do seeing as how he had walked with his American father countless times. He wrapped his chubby fingers around Mary Jo's slender ones and put puffed his cheeks out as he concentrated. With some help from Mary Jo he got his puffy diapered butt off the ground and stood wobbly on his still undeveloped legs. "C'mon Charlie, c'mon." Mary Jo prompted; moving the boy along. Charlie lifted one leg a smidge off the ground and steadily moved it forward, falling onto it for support after he had moved only an inch or so.
This went on for a few more fleeting moments and everyone watched in contentment as Charlie took his own wobbly steps with a little help from a friend. "Well I say he's got a pretty grip on walking; he just needs the strength in his legs." Matthew commented; turning to his older twin brother.
"Don't worry, he'll get it eventually. He is my kid after all." Alfred laughed with a broad grin.
"We're in no hurry to see him walk; after all we don't want him to grow up too fast now do we?" Arthur followed.
After a while longer of happy conversation it was time to serve the cake. It was decorated fully and completely with designs of little icing airplanes, super heroes, and sail boats (courtesy of Alfred and his "glorious" decorating skills. Alfred and Arthur helped their little boy blow out the candles and once all the waxy sticks were removed a slice was given to each guest and even Charlie.
Charlie had never before experienced the glory that was chocolate cake and it was clear to see that the baby liked it for he shoveled it all in his mouth like there was no tomorrow. He had even covered his little lips and cheeks in white frosting. Arthur cooed fondly to him and wiped the mess from his face which he objected to and squirmed in his high chair. His British father was far too clean for his tastes right now. Not when there was more chocolate cake to be had.
When the cake was fully devoured next was the stack of bright gift boxes on the side table. Each one was placed before the little boy and he managed to get a few strips of paper off before Alfred and Arthur swooped in to help him out. He received toys and clothes alike to which each one would receive a 'Thank You' card in the mail courtesy of Arthur and his gentlemanly habits. Charlie squealed with delight and clapped his chubby hands together in the glory of all the attention.
Charlie was inspecting a box of blocks curiously as Alfred and Arthur cleaned up the wrapping paper mess that had formed around him when something interesting happened. Charlie puffed his cheeks out in his focused face and placed his chubby hands on the box. "What's he doing?" Carney asked curiously as he watched Charlie.
Arthur looked over at the little boy, "I haven't the slightest; maybe he wants the box open." But of course they were wrong and wonderfully so. Charlie pushed on the surface of the box, using it for support, and slowly got up on his unsteady legs. Everyone's gazes were completely fixated on the little boy before Alfred managed to put the pieces together and figure out what the baby was trying to do.
"That's it Charlie, you can do it, c'mon one foot in front of the other." Alfred grinned broadly as he crouched down a little ways off from Charlie and held his arms open for his boy. Charlie focused his bright blue eyes on his American father and finally stood up on his own; letting got of the box for support and standing on his very own unsteady legs. The room held its breath all except Alfred who encouraged Charlie continuously. "C'mon, Buddy, come to papa." He prompted.
Slowly, but surely Charlie picked up one small foot and moved it forward, paused, and repeated the process with the encouragement from his father. With uneasy steps and many grueling moments Charlie made it to Alfred and fell into his arms with a bright grin that matched his proud papa's. The room burst into clapping and cheering with praise for the little boy and Charlie just beamed as bright as the sun itself with all the praise.
Alfred and Arthur jointly held their little boy and smiled like never before at the warmth that filled their beings just from being here, together and with their darling son.