AN: This actually comes from an RP, but cleaned up. So most of what Alfred says at the beginning of this chapter and the next, and the text around it was actually written by my Alfred. Who's amazing and awesome, and said that I could post this - in fact, suggested that I should.
Don't worry, the logs have been cleaned up, so it (hopefully) doesn't read like them!
"Tell me a story." Alfred grinned.
"What kind of story?" Arthur asked.
"Mmnnn… Story about when I was little… Since I can't remember stuff too clearly from back then."
"All right then. Just a story about you, or one with Matthew in too?" Arthur asked, as he tried to think of one to tell him.
Smiling a bit, Alfred shrugged. "Doesn't matter."
Arthur tried to think of a tale he could tell Alfred that the boy probably wouldn't remember. He settled into the bed, moving one pillow behind him so he could sit up against the head of the bed comfortably, and then guided Alfred to rest against him so he could stroke his hair. "Stop me if you remember this." He started, quietly.
"When you were little, all I ever did was worry about you. Worry that you would get hurt, that you weren't eating properly, that you weren't learning well enough. So I over compensated, and tried to keep you close at all times.
"One time, while I was working, you came to me and tugged on my hand.
"'Come out side and play,' you begged, but I had to work, so I apologised, but said no. So you asked me if you could go outside instead, and I said no to that. You left, and I returned to my work.
"When I finished, and came out to play with you, you were filthy, and I knew you'd disobeyed my orders. So I sent you to bed without dinner, and hoped that you wouldn't do it again.
"A few days later, the same thing happened. You came to me while I was working, and asked for me to play with you. I said that I couldn't, and forbade you to play outside. But when I finished, you weren't in the house. When I went outside to look for you, you were trying to clean up so that I wouldn't know that you had disobeyed again. Again, I sent you to bed with no dinner, and was thankful that nothing had happened.
"For almost a week, you behaved, and I thought that you had finally learnt your lesson. But then the time came again that I was working and you asked to play. This time, after making you promise not to go outside, I wasn't as trusting, and left you a while, before coming to check on you, and as I suspected, you weren't there.
"I headed out to look for you, heading first towards the forest where you used to go to play. I must have searched for hours, but eventually came back to the house at nightfall. You still weren't back, so I wrote you a note, and continued my search.
"A few hours later, the rain started, and I became more worried than ever. Fortunately, soon I heard you crying, and I finally found you taking shelter under a bush.
"You flinched when I picked you up, but I rocked you and promised you that it would be all right, and eventually you buried your head in my shirt and cried as I carried you home. As I prepared a bath for you, you clung to me, refusing to let go.
"'Aren't you mad?' You asked, as I tried to pry your fingers from my shirt.
"'Of course I am. But only because I was so worried. Anything could have happened!'
"You frowned, and I was finally able to escape, stripping you and wrapping you in a towel before preparing the bath, your eyes on me the whole time. Only when we were in the bath, did you speak again.
"'Why won't you play with me?'
"'Sometimes I have important work to do. If you waited, I would play afterwards.'
"You frowned at me, and pouted, and were silent for a little while longer. We lay in the water until it began to cool, when I washed you, then dried you, and took you into the kitchen for something to eat before dinner.
"'What if it can't wait?' You asked, as I put you to bed.
"'If what can't wait?'
"'What I want to show you.'
"I hesitated. 'Then you should say so, rather than running off.'
"'Tomorrow, then? Will you come?'
"I nodded, and kissed your forehead. 'Tomorrow.'
"Sure enough, when you came to me the next day, I put down my work and followed you out to the woods. I had expected you to lead me close to where I found you, but instead you took me to a completely different area, and into a hiding place under a bush. I had to squeeze underneath and wrap you up close to fit.
"We were quiet for a while, until eventually a young wolf arrived, three cubs trailing behind her. Even though I clung to you, you squirmed out of my grasp and went to play with them, leaving me to watch.
"On the way back, I asked you why you didn't just tell me that that was what you wanted to show me in the first place.
"You looked up at me, before replying. 'Because then it wouldn't be a surprise!'
"I chuckled, and ruffled your hair. 'Still. I worry about you if you're not safe.'
"'Why?' You asked, frowning.
"'Because I love you, and I don't want you to get hurt.' I explained.
"You frowned, and were quiet for a while. 'It was horrible when you weren't at home when I got back.'
"'I went out to look for you.'
"'Promise me you won't leave me again?'
"I stopped, and looked at you, before kneeling down so we were at eye level. 'Alfred, I can't promise that. There will be times when I have to go home to look after my own country. But no matter what I will always, always come back to you.' I held you close, and you hugged back."
Arthur sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment. "And you promised that no matter what, you would always be waiting for me." He added, quietly. He didn't add how much he had cursed him over that after the revolution, but just pressed a soft, loving kiss to his head.