Alfred was shivering in his damp shoes. The wind was hollowed an echo throughout his little piece of heaven; an abandoned house with too many holes in it to count. But he was happy. His fire flickered weakly in the wind, barely giving off any warmth at all, and the blankets wrapped around him didn't do much either. The cold winter night always seemed to find a way through the many holes in them to nip and claw as his skin. He scooted as close to the fire as he dared and pulled his knees up to his chest, in hopes of gathering some of his own body warmth.
The empty sounds of the fire and wind filled his empty house, and he didn't like it. His world was all grey and black, nothing else. Narrowing his eyes, he tried to picture the tiny fire in his head, but when he couldn't, he just sighed and gave up.
He listened to the pitter patter of the very heavy rain on the roof. It nearly put him to sleep, until he heard and felt the front door open. His eyes widened and he froze, listening to it slam shut again. There was heavy breathing and light drops of water hitting the floor. Alfred guessed someone that ran into his house for protection from the rain. He didn't blame them.
When the breathing stopped, the only sound left was the faint water droplets that were already hard to hear over the elements outside.
"Is this… your house?" the person asked. Alfred was grateful to hear a new voice. He was British, that's for sure, and he was a male, maybe… twenty-one or twenty-two years of age.
Alfred nodded, "Y-yeah, it is," he answered, moving his eyes to where he heard the voice coming from, hoping he was looking him in the eye.
The man nodded, looking around the very bare house. He then looked back at Alfred, tilting his head, "Wait, how old are you?"
"Sixteen, sir," Alfred answered, "At least, I think I am. I lose track of days easily,"
"And you're living here? All by yourself?"
Alfred nodded, "Yeah, why not? No one else wants me,"
The man went quiet at that, but nodded, "Um… alright… Do you mind if I wait out the storm in here? It's absolutely awful out there tonight,"
That made Alfred smile wide and he quickly shook his head, "I don't mind at all! And it is really bad out there. I haven't heard such rain in so long," He shifted some wrapping the torn up blankets around him more. When he didn't hear the other move, he chuckled a bit, "You don't have to just stand there. I won't attack you or anything, honest!"
The man gave a nod and he started towards the little fire in the middle of the house. Alfred tilted his head a bit as he listened to his footsteps then sneaked a fingerless gloved hand to the floor, feeling the vibrations that the wood would give off when the man walked. He smiled, "You're really young. Can I ask how old you are?"
Once the man got to the fire, he took a seat, "Um… I'm twenty-one," he answered, rubbing his hands together.
"Ha! I knew it!" Alfred cheered then laughed. He heard the man chuckle some then it went quiet again. After a while, Alfred heard him shift uncomfortably.
"Um… why are you staring at me?"
The younger one's eyes widened, "Oh, I am? Sorry!" He moved his eyes down to where he heard the fire, "I forget that I have my eyes on someone sometimes,"
"You forget? How could you forget that you're looking at someone?"
Alfred shrugged, "I guess I space out or something and forget to look away,"
There was another long silence before the British man spoke again. "Is there something wrong with your eyes? I mean, I don't mean to sound rude or anything!"
The teen shook his head, "Naw, it's ok. I normally forget what I'm doing with my eyes because I'm blind,"
The Brit's eyes widened, "O-oh, I'm so sorry! I-I didn't know!"
Alfred chuckled, "Why are you sorry? Did you cause my blindness?" when he didn't get an answer back right away, Alfred guessed that the other was slightly surprised that he took his blindness so lightly.
"N-no, but still. It must be awful… I think I would lose my mind if I was blind,"
Alfred shrugged, "It's not so bad… I mean, my nose, ears, and feeling are stronger, which is cool. I like to think of myself as a blind Aardvark,"
The man blinked and raised an eyebrow, "Do you know what an Aardvark looks like?"
"Yeah! I touched one before, ya know! Really I did! You believe me, right?"
The stranger nodded, "Yes yes, I believe you,"
"Awesome! And I touched a raccoon before! They're just so-…" Alfred started excitedly, loving how he could really talk to someone about all the things that made him happy, but he was cut off by a set of harsh coughs. The man he was talking to made a face and he frowned.
"Lad, are you sick?" he asked once he calmed down.
Alfred looked back down at the fire, now looking very pale and weak, "Yeah… I'm fine…" he said, though when he felt something roll down the corner of his mouth, he quickly wiped it away. He smiled at him a weakly, "Um… wh-what was I talking about…"
The man frowned more and shook his head. He moved over to him and pressed his hand to his forehead, making Alfred flinch, "Are you sick with something?"
Alfred shook his head some, "Unless the Coco clock says different, then no, I don't think I'm sick. This happens every now and then though, and I'm still alive!"
"Have you been to the doctors lately?"
"Tch… they take one look at me and kick me out. They claim I'm not sick or blind and that I just want a quick fix. Even the Emergence room won't look at me…"
This made the British man frown then he took his hand, "Come on, stand up," he told him. Alfred's eyes widened when he was pulled to his feet. His blankets fell to the ground showing he had a torn up jacket on a dirty blue shirt, and tan dress pants that were torn at the knee. His shoes were darker from the water in them and there were large holes in them too.
"Wh-what are you doing?" he shouted.
"Please, don't be afraid of me. I'm taking you to a doctor. You're too young to die here without a chance," the man said then gave his hand a gently pull, but Alfred stumbled, weakly falling to his knees. He then slowly fell to lay on his side. The Brit frowned sadly then leaded over to pick him up into his arms instead. He was very surprised at how light he was. It was almost sickening for a boy his age. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you," he said quietly, stumping on the little fire.
Alfred had gone quiet and tense in his arms, but finally he just gave up and rested his head on the other's shoulder. He felt his eyes water, "Am… A-Am I gonna die?" he looked up, hoping his eyes connected with the stranger's.
The Brit looked at him but he nodded, "No, of course you're not. I promise I won't let that happen," he started towards the door.
"What's your name?"
"My name is Arthur Kirkland, what's yours?"
"I'm Alfred, just Alfred,"
Arthur nodded, "Ok Alfred, don't you worry. I'll get you to the hospital," he opened the door and quickly started outside. Alfred jumped when he felt the cold rain against his skin. He looked up, closing his eyes whenever rain got into them.
"W-we're outside," he said, "It's so cold outside,"
Arthur nodded and waved down a taxi that happened to be coming down the little street, "Yes we are, don't worry though, we'll be in the warmth soon," He opened the back door of the taxi quickly and hurried inside, "To the hospital, please," he told the driver. The man behind the wheel gave a sympatric look back to them but then started off towards the hospital.
Alfred though, started to freak, "Arthur? Arthur, what's going on? Where are we?" he ran his hands over the seats then on the cold glass.
"Just relax Alfred, we're in a taxi," Arthur told him, grabbing one of his wrists lightly.
Alfred looked up, not quiet connecting with his eyes, "Wh-what's a taxi?"
"It's like a car. Do you know what those are?"
Alfred nodded, "Y-yeah, but I've never been in one before…" he clung to the nearest thing he could find which was Arthur's arm. Arthur frowned at how scared he was but looked out the window, seeing the city lights start to come back into view.
Once they got to the hospital, Arthur picked Alfred up and carried him into the Emergence room. He set the other down in a chair, "Alfred, stay right here, don't move, ok? I'll be right back,"
Alfred looked scared but he nodded, "A-alright, but come back, ok?"
Arthur nodded, though he knew Alfred couldn't see it, "I will, promise," he patted is shoulder lightly then moved over to the desk to check him in.
Alfred played with his fingers and stared forward. He was a little overwhelmed at all the new sounds and smells. A child ran by him, knocking into one of his legs. He shouted in surprise and pulled his knees up to his chest, hugging them close. His eyes started to water again as they moved around, even though he couldn't see, it was still a natural reaction for him. He was shaking was some being so cold and wet, as well as being scared. But when he felt a hand on his shoulder, he jumped away from it, yelling.
"Alfred calm down, it's me," Arthur told him. He was frowning sadly at how scared he was but he relaxed when he felt the other relax, "Here, I got you a few things," he moved to sit next to him on the sofa. He wrapped a thick, warm blanket around him and rubbed his shoulders, "This will keep you warm, and this will help you feel what's around you," he took his hand and put it on the handle of a walking stick. Alfred felt it, running his fingers along it then slowly and cautiously, he ran his hand down it to the tip then back up again, getting a clear picture in his mind.
"Wh-what does it do?" he asked, looking where he thought Arthur's eyes were.
Arthur smiled, "You move it around and you can feel if something is in front of you or close to you,"
Alfred felt for the handle and gripped it. He put it the tip to the ground and slid it again it. He slowly smiled when he could feel some things around him. "Whoa, this is so cool! Thanks Arthur!" he said excitedly. He reached out a hand and felt the other's arm, then his shoulder. He moved to hug him tight, "You're the only person to be so nice to me,"
Arthur didn't know wither to be touched or bothered by the statement, but he hugged him back and smiled, "You're welcome,"
Alfred pulled back and wrapped the warm blanket around him more, closing his eyes contently.
After a while, Alfred's name was called, making his eyes open. Arthur helped him up, wrapping the blanket around him more and helped him to use his walking stick as they moved. A nurse came out and helped Alfred into a wheelchair. Alfred had to feel around the wheels and everything before he was alright to move. Arthur stayed behind for a few moments to talk to the doctor before hurrying to catch up with the nurse and Alfred.
The doctors did a few tests on the young teen and he had to stay in the hospital for about a week as they did them. Arthur would always come to see him whenever he could and stayed as long as the nurses would let him. Alfred really enjoyed having Arthur come and see him. Alfred had even got up the carriage to ask Arthur if he could feel his features, so he knew what he looked like.
When the second week began, the doctor had came to Alfred's room and called Arthur out into the hall to read him his test results.
"I've got Mr. Alfred's results," the doctor told him, "And since you're the only person to care for him, I thought I should tell you face to face,"
Arthur crossed his arms and nodded. His face was serious but his emerald green eyes swam with nerves, "Alright, what are they? Is he going to be alright?"
The doctor hesitated, not a good sign. "Well, we took some x-rays of his chest and lung and did some blood work. His x-rays showed some dark spots over the entire area of his lungs, which tells us that he has some sort of lung disease. Once we figured this much out, we tested his blood and… I'm afraid the results weren't good…" he fixed his glasses then tilted his head and frowned sadly, "I'm sorry to say that he doesn't have much time left… He has a very serious case of Tuberculosis, which I'm sure you know about. Not eating like he should and ignoring his signs has strained his heart and other major organs. They're slowly shutting down, and soon, so will his heart. I'd estimate that he has only a couple hours left. I'm very sorry,"
Arthur's eyes had gotten wide and watery as the doctor continued to talk. It felt as though someone had ripped out heart and stomped on it many times over. His whole body felt cold and weak as his throat started to close. Sure he only just met the boy, but he had grown very fond of him. He was like a little brother to him…
Arthur put his hands over his eyes, letting his back tremble as his tears started to force their way out of his eyes. The doctor frowned deeply and put a hand on his shoulder. He gave it a light squeeze, but decided it would be better to leave him alone.
The British man continued to cry, soon doubling over and falling to his knees. He clenched his teeth together, trying to hold back any whimpers and cries. He didn't want Alfred to know his fate…
"Arthur? Are you still out there?" he heard Alfred call from his bed. Hearing his voice only made his heart cringe more. He grabbed at it through his shirt and let out a quiet, shaky breath. He had to calm down, he couldn't cry, not now. He only had a few hours left with the boy, so he would make it the best few hours Alfred had ever had.
Wiping his tears away on his sleeves then took a few breaths, calming his breathing and evening his voice out. After he was sure he didn't sound upset, he stood and walked back to Alfred's bedside.
"Yes lad, I'm right here," he said forcing a smile into his voice.
Alfred smiled wide and looked over at him, "Yay! You're back!"
The bright and happy smile on Alfred's face would have brought more tears to his eyes if he didn't have the will to keep them back. "Alfred, tell me something… Is there anything you wanted to do in your life? Anything at all?"
Alfred tilted his head, thinking, "Um… I've always wanted to see the sunset, or get an idea of what it looks like,"
"How would you like to go and see it now?"
Alfred's pale blue eyes light up, "Oh boy! Ya mean it? That sounds amazing! Let's go! Can we go see it now? Please!"
Arthur nodded, "Of course, we shall go and see it now,"
Alfred threw his hands in the air, "Yay! I can't wait!"
Arthur called a nurse into the room to help get Alfred out of is IV and other monitors then put him in a wheelchair and helped him to a cab which was waiting for them out in the parking lot. Arthur thanked her then helped Alfred into the car. Alfred was bouncing excitedly, rambling on about how he always loved the beach and how he nearly got bitten by a shark. Arthur only smiled, trying to hold back his tears.
Once they arrived at the beach, Arthur picked Alfred up and carried him down to the sand. He set him down then sat next to him.
"Here, I'll draw what it looks like with my finger on your back. Do you think you could picture it in your head?" Arthur suggested.
Alfred nodded happily, "Yeah! I think I can do that! Oh boy, I'm so excited! I've always wanted to know what the sunset looked like!"
Arthur nodded then started to trace what he saw onto the other's back. Alfred had closed his eyes to help him concentrate, but an awed smile soon appeared on his face.
"Oh my gosh… it's so beautiful Arthur…" he said in a dreamy tone.
"Yes it is…" Arthur replied quietly, taking his hand back once it started to shake.
"You know Arthur…" Alfred started, gazing forward, smiling fondly, "These past few weeks have been the best of my life. I know that sounds silly since I was in the hospital the entire time, but you really made me happy; the happiest I've been in a very long time," Alfred smiled up at him, actually connecting with his eyes this time, "I can't wait until I get out of the hospital. Then we can go everywhere together! We'll be best friends, or even better! Brothers! We can be brothers! You'll be my big brother, and I'll be your little brother! Doesn't that sound awesome?"
Arthur's lower lip started to tremble and he nodded, "Yeah… that would be a lot of fun…" he said softly.
Alfred looked back out to where he heard the ocean, taking as much of a deep breath as he could. He closed his eyes and rubbed them come, "Mmm… I'm tired…" he mumbled then scooted over to lean against his new best friend. "I'm gonna take a nap, mmk?"
"Alright… sleep well Alfred. I… I love you…" Arthur said weakly, his voice on the forge of breaking.
Alfred smiled, "Love you too, Arthur…"
Then everything was quite. Arthur's shoulders started to tremble hard again, letting his tears start to roll down his cheeks and into the dirty blonde hair of sixteen year old boy against him; that smiling, happy boy, that even though he had nothing, he was still happy and loving. The same boy that was filled with energy and excitement, was now limp against his shoulder.
Arthur wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tight, "I'm sorry… I-I'm so sorry…!"