I Love You, Too
It was two o'clock in the afternoon, in the Psychology section of a book store, that Arthur Kirkland saw Alfred Jones after six long years. The weather outside was favourable, but it was different from the storm cloud brewing over Arthur's head as he stared, wide-eyed, at the cerulean orbs that had aged beyond belief.
The smaller man looked around himself hurriedly, as if their conversation were being watched. "What... what on Earth are you doing here?" His words were choked as he fought back tears.
Alfred shrugged, thin lips jerking into a half-smile and glancing around the store as Arthur had. "I've got an internship at an firm down the street. Just waiting for the okay from the boss before I move in." He turned his eyes back up to Arthur's, searching. "H-how have you been?"
Arthur, formerly affronted, backed down, wrapping his arms around himself protectively. "I've been all right. I've been holding up." Something nagged at the back of his mind as he spoke, causing him to sigh and worry his bottom lip. "How was school?"
The taller smiled slightly, obviously still nervous about the reunion. "It was fine. Hard, yeah. They worked us to the bone. Definitely harder than high school." He laughed, and Arthur joined in quietly until he felt a tug at his pants leg. Excited blue eyes peered around his leg and stared up at him before a thin book was forced in his direction.
"Daddy, look what I found! Can we get it? Oh, please, can we get it, Daddy? We read it in school and I absolutely loved it!"
The girl looked to be about six years old, with long caramel-blond hair pulled into tails and shimmering blue eyes. She was grinning up at Arthur as he inspected the book and nodded, smiling back down at her.
"Of course we can, love."
"Yippee! Oh, thank you, Daddy!" She hugged Arthur's leg before her attention was brought to Alfred, who had been watching the exchange with eyes the size of dinner plates. "Daddy, who's that man?"
Arthur flicked his own gaze toward Alfred before leaning down to pat the girl's head. "This is Alfred. He's Daddy's... friend. Now, Anna love, run along and find another book, all right?"
"It's nice to meet you, Mister Alfred!" the child put in, curtseying shortly and smiling up at the taller man. She giggled and rushed off, leaving another awkward silence between the two men. Alfred was the one to speak first.
"You... you're a dad," he gulped; his voice was strained.
Arthur nodded, raising a hand to run his fingers along the spines of the books beside him. "Technically. Literally, I... I substitute as both."
Alfred looked confused as he took a step closer to the other. The Briton was silent. "Arthur?"
The smaller blond swallowed thickly before he looked back into Alfred's eyes once more. "She's yours, Alfred."
The younger man gulped audibly. "H-how?"
"I'm just different, I suppose. I... found out about a month after you left, and she was born seven months later. She was premature, but..." Arthur smiled uncharacteristically. "But she's so beautiful."
Alfred thought back to the little girl, whom he now knew looked more familiar than he initially thought. "Anna... does she know? That you...?"
Arthur shook his head, dropping his hands from the books to his stomach. "I intend to tell her when she's old enough to understand. She thinks her mother left a long time ago."
Alfred nodded in understanding. "S-so... can I come visit?"
A frozen look passed over Arthur. "You're..." Before he could answer fully, Anna skipped into the aisle once more, clutching another book in her tiny hands.
"Daddy, I've got my other book!" she announced cheerfully, tugging at Arthur's pant leg again.
"'I have,' dear. Let's check out and head home, all right?"
"Aw! But I don't want to go home yet!"
"Come on, Anna, I'm sure Daddy's tired, he's an old man after all," Alfred put in, grinning down at the girl as she laughed. Arthur turned a shade of red and grabbed Anna's hand to lead her to the check-out counter.
When Anna and Alfred finished laughing, the American came up close to Arthur and murmured in his ear. "You still in the same apartment?" A nod. "I'm coming over tonight."
"Wha- Alfred!" The Briton whipped his head around to face the young man, but he was bending over to ruffle Anna's hair, telling her that he'd see her later.
"Later, then!" the girl replied, waving as Alfred walked out of the book store. Turning to her father, Anna laughed. "Mister Alfred is really funny, huh?"
Arthur gazed after the other man until he disappeared into the crowded mall beyond the doors. "Yes, I suppose he is."
It was nine o'clock in the evening when Alfred showed up to Arthur's apartment building. He remembered the door code from all those years ago and let himself in, heading up to the fourth floor and wandering around until he saw the familiar door. Arthur answered almost immediately, shaking his head as Alfred stepped over the threshold.
"I would have preferred you not to come," the Briton started, watching Alfred glance around the apartment and plop himself onto the couch. "Would you like some tea?"
The younger man shook his head. "Nah, I'm good. I had some coffee before I came over."
"All right." Arthur made his way over and sat down heavily beside Alfred, who was brave enough to continue the conversation.
The shorter blond nodded towards a somewhat open door down the hallway. "Sleeping. She was more tired than she wanted to admit. She," he paused, nervously smoothing his trousers on his his thighs, "she's stubborn, like both of us, but I swear she got your taste buds." He frowned, causing Alfred to laugh quietly.
There was another bout of silence before Alfred spoke again. "You know, I really missed you."
Arthur scoffed. "If you'd truly missed me at all you would have bothered to phone or write."
"I tried! Really! I wasn't exactly made of money, though. The stupid dorms charged for every minute on the phone and my parents stopped paying for my cell."
Green eyes rolled sarcastically. "Nothing but excuses."
"Arthur, shut up," Alfred replied stiffly. Said Briton turned pink, but obliged. "I miss you, that's all that matters. I love you, and I miss you, and... even though I'm six years late, I want to be with you again and help you with Anna." He paused when he noticed the tears glistening in Arthur's eyes. "She's my daughter too, Arty. I deserve that chance."
Arthur shook his head, wiping away his tears and turning an angry expression on the other. "I can't let you do that, Alfred. You're far too young to be tied down to a child-"
"I don't care!" Alfred interrupted. He leaned in, grabbed the elder's hands, and looked into his eyes searchingly. "I don't care, Arty. I want to do what's expected of me, even if it means raising a family!"
There was another vigorous shake of the head from the Briton. "Alfred, please! You've so much else expected of you! You're twenty-four years old, about to get a promotion from one of the largest law firms in the country! You can't possibly expect that I will simply a-allow you to come barging back into my life, Anna's life, after six years that you worked so hard to finish and simply throw it away just to say that you love a thirty-four-year-old ex-teacher of yours that is totally and absolutely smitten with you and has been ever since he first met you when you were eighteen." Arthur's voice trailed off into silence as he spoke, blinking harshly and wiping away stray tears. "God, that didn't even make any sense, did it..."
Alfred smiled absently before he moved in and kissed the corner of Arthur's mouth. "No, but I got the jist of it." As he pulled away, the elder blond followed, wrapping his arms about the American and pressing their lips together for the first time in six years.
Minutes passed, the kiss deepening heavily with each second, before Arthur moved back. His panting breaths fogged Alfred's glasses and caused the younger to laugh brightly, but quietly.
"The last time we did this, I was eighteen and you were my English teacher," Alfred commented, stroking the other's cheeks and brushing ash-blond hair out of his flushed face.
"The last time we did this, it ended in me getting pregnant," replied Arthur, voice harsh but a smile upon his face.
"And what a lovely baby she is," said Alfred, grinning widely.
Arthur studied him for a moment, running his hands over the younger's skin and through his bright blond hair. A hollow silence filled the apartment as Arthur's fingers traced the lines and contours of the American's face. After a few minutes, the elder locked eyes with Alfred.
"You've changed so much..."
Alfred frowned slightly. "Hope you're not saying I look old, 'cause you really have no room to talk-ow!"
With a scowl and the flick of a wrist, Arthur had moved his hand down to punch the other's shoulder. "I may have carried a child but that does not mean that I have aged!"
"Hahaha! You haven't changed at all, babe," Alfred supplied, leaning and planting a sloppy kiss on Arthur's exposed neck.
The British man squeaked, blushing darkly, and pushed the other away. "A-Alfred! Anna is still sleeping!" he whispered in a berating voice. The American simple hummed and grasped Arthur's hands in his own, pushing him down onto the couch and ravishing his neck with both soft and forceful kisses. Arthur bit back a moan as Alfred pressed their lower regions together and created a friction that both knew they desired.
A yelp resounded, and Alfred flew away from Arthur and landed on the floor beside the couch. The elder male sat up quickly and righted his clothes, though he groaned at the realisation that he wouldn't be able to hide his crimson cheeks. He turned to the edge of the hallway, where Anna stood rubbing sleep from her eyes. Arthur glanced at the clock, noticing it had been an hour since Alfred had arrived.
"Darling, what are you doing up? Did something wake you?" The British father stood and went over to the little girl and lifted her into his arms; she immediately laid her head on his shoulder.
"I heard noises, Daddy. I wanted to make sure you were okay," she explained, yawning.
Arthur sighed, looking over his shoulder at Alfred, who was picking himself up off of the floor. He flushed at the reminder of what they had been about to do. "Oh dear... I'm sorry, love, I didn't mean to worry you," he replied finally, earning a grin from his American ex-lover. He scowled back and felt Anna shake her head against his shoulder.
"It's okay, Daddy..."
"Come now, let's get you to bed," Arthur suggested, adjusting his daughter in his arms before wandering down the hallway and into the spare room that had been converted into Anna's bedroom. Alfred followed silently.
Anna was asleep once more by the time Arthur tucked the blankets under her chin. He stayed sitting beside her for a few moments, stroking her hair, as Alfred glanced around the room, chuckling at the abundance of pink decorations and stuffed animals, namely unicorns. Arthur shook his head and smiled at the young man's amusement.
"She got your taste in animals," the American said quietly so as not to wake Anna a second time. He leaned against the door frame and crossed his arms.
Arthur raised a thick eyebrow at the other before looking back down to smooth out Anna's blankets. "Don't you dare patronise me over that again."
Alfred, smirking, lifted his hands in mock surrender. After another short laugh he sighed and rested his head against the frame as well, simply watching the Briton tend to his, their, daughter.
"You're amazing, you know that?"
Blinking, Arthur looked up from picking at a thread on the pink blanket. "What do you mean?"
"I mean... you're amazing. You handled us amazingly in high school, and you're handling Anna amazingly, too. You're perfect for caring for kids and stuff. I mean, giving birth? Most women can't even deal with that!"
Arthur flushed heavily and shook his head. "I'm not amazing. I was terrified when it was time... and even then she ended up in a C-section..." His hand travelled to his stomach, fingering the scar that was no longer there.
"Arty, come here." Alfred stood at the doorway, beckoning with his arms.
The elder hesitated for a moment before placing a kiss on Anna's forehead and leaving the room. He closed the door behind himself and looked up at Alfred, who lead them to Arthur's bedroom down the hall. Once inside, the younger man shut the door as Arthur sat down on the bed. The Briton felt his heartbeat quicken when he realised the familiarity of the situation.
Alfred paused, then went over and sat on his knees before the other, tangling their hands together. Arthur's green eyes followed his movements as Alfred took his hand back, seemingly forgetting something, and pulled something small from the pocket of his trousers. Arthur swallowed hard.
"I know... I know I'm not ideal, and I haven't exactly been here for the past six years, but I'm here now. I'm right here, Arthur, and I'm waiting for you. I, heh, don't really have anything more awesome to say... I love you, Arthur. I love you, and I love Anna, and I want to stay with you guys. Arthur, will... will you marry me?"
He opened his hand, revealing a ring, a simple silver band embedded with three small diamonds. Arthur pulled his hands back to clamp them over his mouth, wide eyes staring at the piece of shimmering jewellery in Alfred's shaking hand. He turned his gaze up to the young man, who smiled sheepishly.
"When did you..."
"A couple months ago, actually. Be-before I came back, I figured I'd see if you would give me another chance..."
A tiny grin made its way onto Arthur's features. "Where was this when we said these same things earlier?"
The sheepish smile become embarrassed as Alfred reached around to scratch his head. "Forgot..."
"Just like you..." The British man shook his head and lowered his hands to close Alfred's fingers back around the ring. "I told you earlier, Alfred, I can't tie you down to a child-"
"But why not?" the younger blond retorted, his fist tightening on the metal ring. He stopped himself when his own childish side began to show through. "I've grown up, Arthur! I'm not the bratty jock who hides his feelings any more! I've changed, and so have you! You're still high and mighty, but you still can't be without me! You... you showed me that before." He paused and held out the ring once more. "So are you going to give me a second chance, to be there for you and Anna and help you raise a beautiful little girl into a beautiful young woman? I want you to want me back, Arthur... that's all I ask."
Arthur hesitated, staring into Alfred's determined blue eyes. It was obvious the years spent apart had done nothing to their relationship, but Arthur couldn't bring himself to burden Alfred with Anna, even if she was the product of both of them. As this thought passed through the Briton's mind, another managed to push it away completely: Alfred was back. He was home. He wasn't going to leave the city for who knew how long, which meant that he wouldn't leave Arthur alone again. Alfred and Arthur would be together again just like they had been six years ago before Alfred went to law school. After a moment, Arthur let this thought consume him and he reached forward, taking his renewed lover's cheeks in his hands and letting his thumbs caress the baby-soft skin, skin that felt exactly like Anna's but with the hint of the stubble of a man. The elder smiled as Alfred did the same, though the American's was far more excited; he leaped up from his knees and tackled Arthur into the mattress, the green comforter pooling around them.
"You just made me the happiest guy in the world, you know that, Arthur?" Alfred said, grinning down at the Briton. Said man flushed.
"I hope you know that every man who proposes and gets a positive answer says that line," replied Arthur, though his own smile was far more full than he would normally allow.
Alfred stuck out his tongue teasingly, but sat back and helped his now-fiancée into a sitting position. They both watched with bated breath as the American slid the ring onto Arthur's finger, a perfect fit. It was a rather cliché moment, but both could have cared less as they embraced and kissed and fell asleep in each other's arms.
Telling Anna that the two of them were going to get married was an eventful thing. The girl was excited beyond belief, not even questioning the fact that they were both men as she pulled out a scrapbook and showed Alfred and Arthur a collection of cut-outs from bridal magazines that she had scrounged together from school. She sweetly admitted that the pictures were plans for her own wedding (a fact that broke Arthur's heart knowing that his girl was already planning on marriage), but she was willing to let them borrow some of her ideas for theirs. Alfred was enthusiastic, seeing as Anna had taken an immediate liking to him the day before, but Arthur insisted that their wedding would be small and no invitations sent out. Their relationship six years prior had been kept under wraps, especially considering the taboo teacher-student setting, and Arthur was determined to keep it as such, especially when it could mean problems for Anna's social life.
"Come on, Arty, don't worry, she's only thinking of the best for us," Alfred said over dinner that night, nursing a glass of wine. He had insisted on taking his fiancée out to celebrate their engagement, and so had made reservations at a lovely Italian restaurant; Anna was at home with a babysitter that lived in the building, so everything was taken care of and it made his heart light knowing that Arthur thought of him as a true adult now.
The Briton, however, was frowning as he ran a finger along the edge of his own wine glass. "I know, it's just... what if children at school tease her? It's certainly fairly rare for a child to have two fathers," he replied, brow furrowing even deeper. He sighed and pressed two fingers to his temple, rubbing thoughtfully. "I'd never even... considered you coming back. H-honestly, I'd given up on you... But now that you're back, and both of her parents are in the picture, it will definitely get more difficult. W-what will we say when she gets older? When she realises that... she has two... gay... fathers... Oh Heavens, Alfred, I'm scared!" He shook his head vigorously and didn't notice when Alfred reached across the table and grasped his hand, fingers running over the shimmering engagement ring. Tired green eyes glanced at the gems glowing in the candlelight before smiling shyly up at the American.
"Arthur, don't worry," the younger said solidly, earning a soothing sigh from Arthur, "Don't worry about anything, okay? Anna's smart, she's strong, she's stubborn, and she loves you to death. I'm pretty damn sure of that." He smiled and laughed lightly. "Come on, drink your wine and we'll enjoy our awesome pasta and go home to our loving little daughter who's waiting for us oh so anxiously, alright?"
Arthur shook his head, though this time it was more of a 'what am I going to do with you' shake, before saying, "I agree. That sounds like a brilliant plan, Alfred, and I'm sure it will be the only one I will agree to for a while." He laughed as Alfred jutted his lower lip in a childish pout.
"You pick on me too much. Giant robots saving the planet might happen one day, you know!"
"Of course, and you'll be the one to invent them, correct?"
A chuckle escaped Alfred as the taller blond took an exaggerated bite out of a piece of introductory bread. "I love you, Alfred," he said, expression softening.
Alfred's did the same when he finished chewing. "I love you, too Arthur."
Oh wow. I never did think I would write an m-preg, but... THE IDEA WAS TORTURING ME. T-the friggin' plot bunnies.... they invaded.... s-so many of them.... -shudders-
So yeah. Hope I didn't fail at both the m-preg or the mindless fluff, and I superly hope you liked it orz I personally think Anna is bad-ass. Can't wait to see her grow up. She's gonna be a cheerleader, I can feel it.
The story of how Al and Arty met will be up after this.
Thank you for reading! Reviews are appreciated (greatly), but are not demanded, and flames are used to stoke the fire of Mrs. Lovett's oven. Meat pie anyone? -smilesmile-