Summary: After war was declared on a neighboring kingdom to obtain more land and power, taxes were raised to pay for the war effort. The king's people fell on hard times as their product goods, livestock, and other materials had to be sacrificed to support the armies. With a heavy summer sweeping the land, a small farm on the outskirts of the main city find their crops growing poorer and their livestock getting weaker. Alfred and Matthew, brothers, live with their three friends Arthur, Berwald, and Tino. (For those of you who may not know that's Sweden and Finland.) As bad luck would have it, their little farm takes a turn for the worse and it's up to Alfred, the self-proclaimed hero, to find a way to save everyone and their farm from destruction. With the king being busy with the war and impossible to see, Alfred must go to see Lord Ivan who holds claim and law over the city and their farm. Alfred will offer anything and everything he has to Ivan if his farm and family could be spared.

***Story contains: Yaoi, comedy, dark themes, some violence and bad language, lightheartedness, romance, drama, all the good stuff!

***Human names are used

***More characters will start appearing as the story goes on so please don't email me asking where 'so and so' is. I promise you, they are coming. :)

***There will be slight ArthurxAlfred and IvanxYao

Please enjoy the first chapter! R &R. I do NOT own Hetalia.

Chapter 1:

The rooster crowed loudly at the first sign of the orange rising sun casting its glow over the farm. A pair of cows 'mooed' grumpily and shuffled around in their stall. Sheep 'baaed', chickens 'bucked', horses neighed, and all of the animal noises were enough to wake up the sleeping occupant of a small cottage cabin.

There were five young men who lived there and jointly owned the farm. Due to rising taxes and the start of a war, the five joined what little farms they had to make one large one. The farm was their life and only source of income. Taking all the animal goods to the local market was enough to have a decent amount of food and pay the taxes.

But recently, due to the war, their animals good were usually taken from them to supply to the soldiers and recruits. They were lucky if the army paid them half of the market value price. Times were getting harder to live and the farms' taxes seemed to just keep climbing. They had to properly store and dry their food to make it last longer. Some days they wouldn't eat at all. Keeping food from their animals helped but they needed to sell those goods more than to keep them for themselves. But they counted their blessings as to still be together, still own the farm, and still get to eat.

Arthur was the first to wake up as the sun's rays peeked through a slit between the cabin walls, striping his eyes. He mumbled as he tossed in his hammock, trying to avoid the light. He looked upon his other sleeping friends, either in their hammock or straw bed. Arthur leapt out of his hammock and stretched, cracking his neck. He then clapped his hands and rang a cowbell.

"Rise and shine everyone! Time to work!"

He was greeted with various groans and whines but they were normal. Arthur didn't make too much of a big deal about it, knowing that they were all hungry, cramped, and worn out. Berwald, the strongest and the 'farm hand' sat up straight from his hammock, alert and ready. He never said much but he did all the heavy work of building and lifting. They used to hire him to work but when the taxes went up, they couldn't afford him. Luckily he wanted to just stay and live at the farm with them. Berwald poked his finger up into the hammock above him, hearing a little moan of 'stop'.

"Come on, Tino, time to get up. Those cows won't milk themselves." Arthur pointed out. Tino sat up and stretched.

"I know." He said and jumped off the hammock, standing next to Berwald.

"Matthew shouldn't take long to make some breakfast, so don't let lost out there."

Arthur said more to Berwald than Tino. He watched the two of them go outside and turned to the straw bed with the brothers in them. Matthew was nearly squashed by his older brother, Alfred, on the bed who he was underneath. Matthew wore a slight look of pain on his sleeping features due to Alfred's sleeping weight. The one who would really be suffering is Matthew's stuffed bear, which was crushed beneath both of them. Arthur sighed and with a grunt, pushed Alfred off of Matthew. The disappearing weight made Matthew wake up and look at Arthur. He smiled.

"Good morning, Arthur." He sat up. "I know, I know, 'get breakfast started'". He said before Arthur could. Matthew got up and went right to the hearth, gathering the wood to start a fire. Arthur frowned down at Alfred who was still sound asleep and snoring. Arthur grabbed the cowbell and held it over his head, giving it a few more dings.

"Get lost!" Alfred mumbled sleepily and threw the wool blanket over his head.

"It's time to get up you lazy sack of shit!" Arthur gritted his teeth and pulled the wool blanket off of him. Alfred grumbled in protest and hid his head under the pillow next.

"Go away!" Arthur tried to pull the pillow off but Alfred's grip was to strong. Cursing under his breath, Arthur grabbed his ankle instead and started to pull.

"I said get up, you stubborn jackass! You have to work like the rest of us!" Alfred gripped the edge of the bed.

"I will! In a little while!" His shout was muffled from being under the pillow.

"No, now!" Arthur hissed back and continued to pull.

"Alright fine! I'll get up!" Alfred threw the pillow at him. "Don't pull my gorgeous leg out of its socket! Geez, you're worse than the Rack!" Alfred sat up and swung his legs over the bed, slipping into his boots. Arthur shoved a wire basket into his arms.

"Go and collect the eggs, be careful not to drop one like last time! And the radishes should be ready today along with the carrots. Pluck them up and clean them off then go get fresh water from the well." Alfred puffed his cheeks out.

"Why do I get all the multiple chores?" He asked and Arthur just ignored him, picking up his wooden washing bin.

"Just shut up and do it. I need water for the bin as well. Help me fill it up first then you can get fresh water." Alfred muttered curses under his breath as they both left the cabin, leaving Matthew to scrounge together something edible.

Alfred poured the last bucket of well water into the wash bin for Arthur. Arthur already had the basket of what few clothes and blankets they had to wash. Tino was struggling to carry a heavy bucket of fresh milk to the cabin when Berwald saw him. Berwald was busy fixing one of the stable stalls that had snapped during the last thunderstorm. He went over to Tino and easily took it out of his hands, carrying it to the house for him. Tino thanked him with a smile and was getting ready to transfer it to jars when the sound of a familiar horn traveled along the breeze.

Everyone froze in their spots of work and looked towards the sound of the horn. Alfred came out of the hen house with a chicken on his shoulder, quickly shoving it off. Matthew lifted the wooden window frame to look out, trembling. Arthur dropped one of the shirts into the wash bid as he stood up.

"Why are they coming so early? We just paid the taxes…" He said softly to himself, gulping. Berwald held his mallet behind his back as the four men on horseback came riding towards their farm, the horn still blaring. Alfred put the basket of eggs down and ran to join Arthur and Berwald. Tino wanted to rush into the house but his legs were frozen in place. The four horsemen pulled their horses to stop before the three. Alfred tried not to show he was shaking but these tax collectors and guards only meant severe trouble. The obese tax collector, dressed in a red robe adorned with gold tassels and pins, smirked down at the three men.

"Good day to you all. How are we this fine summer morning?" He said mockingly.

"We're just dandy." Arthur replied. "Now what are you doing here? My friends and I just paid the taxes." Arthur kept his voice as calm and collective as he could.

"Ah yes, good Arthur, I know. But sadly, I come to tell you that there has been a slight raise in taxes to support the war. We're going overseas, you know. Need to have strong ships!" He said with a humorous grin. All five of the men felt their hearts drop to their stomachs and their throats dry up. Another rise in taxes!

"B-but that's not fair!" Alfred spoke up. "This war is completely stupid!"

"Alfred! Shut your mouth!" Arthur hissed at him.

"Silence, dog!" One of the guards hollered and pointed a sword towards his direction. "To speak out about the king's decisions is, in fact, treason!" Alfred bowed his head.

"S-sorry…I spoke out of term." It killed him to say that, but seeing as how things were now, it was best to swallow his pride.

"Come, dear Arthur, turn that frown into a smile." Mocked the tax collector. "I do bring you good news as well. Your Lord has decided to make this payment easy for everyone on his lands. For this payment, you only have to pay what the tax increase was. But next time, you must pay in full. Be thankful you have a Lord who takes it upon himself to ease the laws of the king for his charges."

"B-but w-we don't…don't have the…the money to pay the tax increase right now!" They didn't have any money as of yet. They haven't gotten a chance to get to the market yet. "Please, give us a couple of days! We'll have the money for you!"

"Oh Arthur…" The tax collector sighed. "You know the king doesn't like to hear those words. It is your duty to your country and kingdom to support the war efforts! Your king is taking the lives of many soldiers to help keep the kingdom and its people safe from harm! How can you just 'not pay' for all he is doing for you?" Arthur bit his lip and Alfred spoke up again.

"We're starving here!" He said. "We are working hard every day to get the goods we need to sell and pay these stupid taxes! The king doesn't give a thought to how hard his 'people' work in order to help fund this damn war!"

"Gods be damned, Alfred, shut the hell up!" Arthur hissed again but Alfred ignored him.

"He should give something back to his people who all their hard work! For the families that have crumbled due to lack of money, for the mothers who've had their children stolen or sold for prostitution to get by, for the starving boys who leave their homes to join the damn army just to be able to live another day! Perhaps the king should take THOSE into consideration first!" The tax collector sighed again and Arthur was fuming with angry for Alfred's words.

"Such company you keep, Arthur." He said. "Regardless of your little speech blue eyes, you still need to play the taxes." He looked around and saw the nanny goat. He smirked. "Hmm…that's a healthy looking nanny goat. I'm sure your Lord will accept that this time around." Arthur gasped.

"N-no! Yo- you can't take her!" Their nanny goat (who Alfred had named Betsy), was their ONLY goat on the farm. Making goat cheese to sell brought in the most money for them! They couldn't loose Betsy! "T-There must be another way!" Arthur begged.

"But you have so little, dear Arthur." He said and one of the guards hopped off his horse, stalking over to Tino on the wooden porch. Tino clutched one of the milking jars tightly in his hands, trembling. Matthew lowered the wooden shutter, fearful for his friend.

"Cute little milkmaid you've got here!" He sniffed him. "Even smells like fresh milk!"

"STOP!" Berwald revealed his mallet but the sword point to his jugular from another guard stopped him.

"Easy there, big fellow." He smirked at him and Berwald growled.

"We need to get our rocks off! This little calf here will due nicely as payment! What do you say, guys?" The guard asked the other two and they whooped in agreement.

"NOOOO!" Tino tried to pull away as the guard was dragging him.

"And you can all watch!" He laughed as he threw Tino the ground. Berwald tried to quickly dodge away from the sword tip but the guard's large horse was blocking him.

"Can't do much when you're dead, big guy!" The guard mocked Berwald again.

"STOP IT! GET AWAY FROM HIM!" Alfred screamed and tried to rush over there but the other guard on horseback stood in his way. Alfred tried to get around him but the sudden sharp, painful slice of a blade against his white skin made him fall back, stumbling to the ground. The guards' blade has sliced through his raggy tunic, bringing with it some trickles of blood. The guard laughed at Alfred and Tino's screams could still be heard as the first guard was ripping at his clothes.

"Stop this!" Arthur begged the tax collector. "Let him go!" He smirked down at him.

"Or we could take the nanny goat. Your lord loves some warm goats milk before bed. Of course, a goat is more useful to you then a virgin milkmaid, if he even is one." Arthur was ashamed at himself for knowing the truth in those cruel words. The man was right. Tino's rape would be over and done with and they could still have Betsy to bring in money. That is what they needed. Sometimes for a greater good, sacrifices have to be made. But hearing Tino's terrified screams, Berwald's and Alfred's shouts and cruses, and Matthew crying he just couldn't do it.

"STOP!" He shouted. "T-take the damn goat! Get off of him!" Arthur shouted and the tax collector snapped his fingers, making the guard lift his heavy armored weight off of Tino's mostly naked, crying form. Berwald ran over to him and lifted him up, holding the crying man close to him. The second guard got a rope from his saddlebag and walked over to Betsy, tying it around her neck. The tax collector handed Arthur the document that stated how much money the tax increase will be. Betsy fought and 'bleated' wildly as she was dragged. The others could only watch as the tax collector and the guards started to leave with the goat, but not before slitting the throat of one of the cows.

"NO!" Arthur shouted as the cow bellowed loudly and fell to the side, it's weight breaking the stall that held them both. The second cow tried to run but Arthur acting quick and grabbed her, steadying her.

"THAT was for your little friend's outburst there!" The tax collector looked back at them and chuckled, his eyes meeting Alfred's. "Better watch that bark of yours, little puppy, or your friends may just end up starving." His laugh could still be heard as they headed off. Arthur quickly tied the surviving cow to one of the tree stump posts. Matthew came running out of the house to go to Tino, asking if he was all right. Alfred got up from the ground, cautiously walking over to Arthur. He knew he was in trouble. His chest stung from the cut but it didn't hurt as much as the pain he knew Arthur was in right now. The pain they were all in.

"A-Arthur?" Alfred stuttered a bit, clapping a hand on his shoulder. Arthur grit his teeth and growled before turning around and landing Alfred a strong punch in the jaw.

"YOU FUCKING IDIOT!" Alfred felt blood pool in his mouth and he stumbled back to the ground. Arthur's weight was on his chest as the man straddled him, his hands around his throat and thumping his head on the ground. "YOU AND THAT GODDAMN MOUTH! YOU'VE PRATICALLY KILLED US ALL!"

"STOP IT!" Alfred gasped out.


"ARTHUR, STOP IT!" Matthew screamed and ran to them, trying to pull him off his bother. "STOP IT! PLEASE! PLEASE!" Arthur continued his assault when Alfred landed a punch of his own, pushing both Arthur and Matthew back. The roles were switched now.


"BUT I DIDN'T!" Arthur countered and before the fight could keep esclading, Berwald pulled them both apart.

"Enough!" He shouted. "Stop!" Both of them scrambled to their feet, panting.

"Alfred…all you do is give us a hard time and get us into trouble! Do you see what you've done? We lost a cow! A cow! Now we only have one and she's getting old! She won't be able to produce any milk next spring! They killed the young one!" Alfred looked away, holding his sleeve to his bloodied lip. "I tell you this all the time! You never think before you speak! You've damned us all you foolish sow!" Arthur stomped off and into the cabin, slamming the door. Matthew went to Alfred.

"Brother? Are you alright?" Berwald went back to Tino, picking him up.

"Yeah…kind of." Alfred said softly and looked at his brother with a sad smile. "I really did fuck this up, huh?" Matthew looked at him with tears in his eyes but he couldn't answer him. Alfred noticed the silence and nodded. "Yeah…I get it." He walked over to the now dead cow, avoiding the river of blood that pooled from it's neck. "Berwald?" Berwald came over with Tino still in his arms, shaking and crying.

"What?" He asked.

"Let Matthew take care of Tino inside. You and I…lets…lets cut her up and dry the meat for us. We'll sell the fresh meat at the market today. That should bring in some coins. We'll dry the hide as well…"

"It won't last us long." Berwald replied.

"I know…but it will hold us for a bit. Come on, let's get to work."

Berwald nodded and Matthew took over caring for Tino, walking him into the cabin. The two men set to work on the dead cow, slicing up all the good meat to sell and the lesser meat to dry. Arthur shut himself up in the cabin with Matthew and Tino, watching the trembling man on the bed. Matthew sat next to him and soothed back his hair, trying to calm him.

"Tino…I'm sorry." Arthur finally spoke and the blonde haired man turned frightened eyes to look at him.

"I-I know, Arthur." Tino said in a slightly hoarse voice. "I understood your hesitation…but I'm glad you didn't follow through with it. Thank you." Tino gave him a little smile and Arthur smiled back.

"I couldn't let them do that to you…we'll manage."

Arthur gave them both a reassuring smile, which calmed them but only filled himself with dread. He rest his elbows on his knees and pressed his forehead against his folded hands, sighing deeply. He was the undeclared leader of this farm since the beginning and the others all look to him to run things. Now they were short one cow and lost their main source of income. Luckily they didn't take the workhorses with them. He supposed he could sell one of the horses or trade it for another goat. It was all that idiot Alfred's fault! Arthur could have gotten them an extension, for he had done it in the past before.

However, Arthur knew that the tax collector could have turned around and said 'give me one of your livestock' as payment anyway, with or without Alfred's outburst. But then Arthur could have bargained animals with him and then they wouldn't have lost a cow. His shoulders trembled, he was so angry at Alfred for all the damage he had caused, and the sun had even fully risen! Arthur grumbled and marched out of the cabin to go back to his laundry. Despite everything that happened work still needed to be done. Now more than ever.

Alfred had avoided Arthur the rest of the morning, even skipping out on breakfast. Berwald had told him to bring the fresh meat to the market and he would finish up with the cow. Alfred tightened the harness on the mule before patting her shoulder. His face and lip were already bruised and swollen, but it would go down soon. Arthur has a weak punch but living the way they did didn't leave room to get strong and healthy. Still, it hurt!

He hopped onto the seat and clicked his tongue to make the mule start to walk. He should have told Matthew where he was going but then he would risk seeing Arthur. He hoped that this meat would sell fairly well and then Arthur would forgive him. It was worth a chance at least. As he got on the dirt road that headed into town, he squinted at the cross signs. Damn his inability to see far away. He brought the mule to a hault and got off the cartto walk up to the cross signs. He tapped his chin as he tried to remember which road it was.

"Locus or Thistle…Locus or Thistle….?" He wondered out loud. He knew it had to begin with either an "L" or an "T". Then he patted his fist in his palm as he remembered it was Locus he had to take! Arthur's words still wrung in his head about the last time he got lost. 'Follow the Locus road like the locus you are!' Not the best way to remember directions but hey, it worked. So with that, Alfred hopped back on the cart and took the Locus road.

A short while later…

"FRESH BEEF! GET YOUR FRESH BEEF HERE!" Alfred's voice rang out in the market street as he held up a thick slab of the dead cow. He had already sold a few slabs of it but the coin was hardly enough. It felt weird selling Clarabelle like this. Yesterday he was hooking her nose to get her to move out of the stall to graze now he was selling her dead flesh. "GET YOUR FRESH BEEF HERE!" He was luckily to have gotten to share a stand with a fruit merchant, the flies going more to the fruit then to his meat. Still, he had to declare war on some persistent flies.

A woman came up to him with a basket of bread and offered to buy one of the meats. He tried selling them for two gold coins but that was really steep for this market seeing as many of the people here were just like him. So he sold her the meat for one gold coin and wrapped it in a rag for her. He batted away some more flies from the meat and counted how many he had left. Three slabs, that wasn't so bad. He had already made six gold coins.

"COME ONE, COME ALL! FRESH CUT BEEF! FRESH OFF THE COW THIS MORNING!" 'Literally'. Alfred said to himself. He heard something falling next to him and saw that the man's peaches had tumbled onto the cobblestone road. "Here, I'll help you!" Alfred offered as he started gathering the pieces. As he handed the fallen fruit to the man, he turned around just in time to see a stray dog take one slab off the stand and run. "HEY! YOU MANGY MUTT! GIVE THAT BACK!" He shouted and started to go after the dog but stopped. He shouldn't leave the stand! Alfred quickly turned around and went back, only to find one had been taken.

"Sorry friend, I tried to stop guy! Hand was quicker than the eye but I saw him run off with it!" Said the fruit merchant. Alfred slapped a hand to his face and drug it down.

"I-t's okay…I should be heading back anyway."

He thanked the man and took his last piece of meat. It wouldn't last the trip back home so he tossed it into an ally where the stray dogs fought over it. It was turning a bit green anyway, it wouldn't have been healthy to eat. He went to the wagon lot and found his mule and cart still waiting for him. He sighed in relief.

"Hey, Daisy." He pat her head. "Made something out of the disaster that was today. Lets go home." It was dangerous to be on the traveling road after sunset so he wanted to be home and surprise Arthur with the six gold coins.

Back at the cabin, Arthur had finished hanging up the last of the washed clothes. Since Alfred had wondered off somewhere, probably to sulk, Arthur had to pull the radishes and carrots. That set his laundry time back. Berwald passed by him, drying his hands of the blood with a rag.

"Hey Berwald, have you seen Alfred?" Berwald looked at him and nodded.

"He went to market to see some of the meat."

"HE WHAT!" Arthur nearly screamed. "You let him go to the market by himself with slabs of fresh beef? Knowing Alfred he'd probably come home with a sack full of magic beans!"

"You can find out now." Berwald said and pointed to Alfred's cart coming back.

"Just wait until I get my hands on him! I'm going to wrap them around that scrawny little throat!" Arthur seethed with anger as Alfred pulled the car up. He smiled at Arthur.

"Hey Arthur! Guess what! I made six coins today! Six! Isn't that great!" he reached into his pocket and pulled out the coins, showing them to Arthur. Arthur took one and bit it, making sure it was legit.

"They're all real…but this isn't enough for taxes next month."

"I know but it's a start, right? So something good came of today." Arthur looked at the bruised and childish face and sighed heavily.

"Yeah…I guess this is better than nothing. Go ahead inside, I'll put the mule away. Matthew just added more water to this morning's soup, go eat up."

"Thanks Arthur." Alfred got off the mule and went into the cabin. Tino was sitting at the table with a blanket over his shoulders and Matthew was at the hearth, as usual. "Hey guys!" Tino smiled at him and Matthew turned around.

"There you are, brother! We wondered where you were!" Matthew whined, clutching the wooden spoon close to him.

"I went to the market to sell some meat of Clarabelle. I made six gold pieces off her! But more importantly, how are you doing, Tino?"

"Oh…I'm okay. I got better as the day went on…but I'm afraid to go outside. I asked Berwald if I can sleep with him tonight."

"That would be nice…then I could sleep in your hammock and get a better night's sleep." Matthew said dreamily, thinking about how peaceful it would be without his big brother to push him around and steal the blankets.

They all sat down for dinner after the sun set, silently sipping from their bowls. They were very low on candles so after dinner they would only be able tell a story before they had to get into their beds. With no full moon or spare candles, all they could do was go to bed. Arthur was always the last to go to bed simply because he enjoyed having some hot tea by the window. He grew some tealeaves for himself and always made sure Matthew had his little hot ceramic jug of hot water by the hearth. His tea was his ONLY leisure and he liked to enjoy it in silence. Just as he was getting ready to get into his hammock, Alfred called to him.

"Arthur?" He said softly.

"What is it?" A pause. Then…

"Would you like to share the bed with me tonight?" Arthur saw Berwald and Tino curled up peacefully together as well as Matthew's happy sleeping face above them. The room was dark but he could always make out Alfred's blue eyes. They hadn't shared a bed together in awhile.

"Yeah…sure." Arthur walked over carefully to the bed, trying not to make noise. Alfred pressed his back up against the wall to give Arthur room to get in. The summer night was hot and Alfred was naked, which is how he usually slept this time of the year. Arthur was hot as well but he only had his shirt off, keeping his short breeches on. As he settled into the blankets, Alfred cuddled up into him, resting his head on his chest and throwing one leg over Arthur's two.

Arthur didn't say anything but let Alfred lay against him. Being as there were only five of them out in the middle of nowhere, bed partners were VERY had to come by. As far as Arthur knew, only he and Alfred had shared in pleasure together. There was never penetration but they had the basic needs of men that could be pleasured in other ways. He felt Alfred start to kiss his neck and chest softly, slowly sliding his hand down so his fingertips were just past the hem on his breeches. Arthur quickly grabbed his hand to stop him.

"Not tonight, Alfred. I don't have the mind or the energy to enjoy it."

"But you deserve it after the shitty day you've had. Come on, just a little."

"No!" he said firmly and pushed Alfred's hand away. "You can't expect your charm and seductive wiles to get you out of everything. You really messed things up today." He said in a harsh whisper. "I'm very upset with you. And what's worse is that you didn't even LISTEN to me when I warned you to stop."

"Arthur…I know I fucked up but I made us some money! Some is better than none, right?" He kissed his cheek and nibbled his ear but Arthur pushed him away again.

"Don't think batting those big blue eyes at me will get to forgive you for what you've done. I will in time, but you've REALLY set us back far, Alfred. You never THINK before you do something!"

"I'm not trying to seduce you into forgiving me! I just want us to forget about everything for the night." Alfred said softly and attempted kissing him again, this time rolling on top of him to rub their groins together. Arthur pushed him again and this time he slapped Alfred across the face. Alfred froze there atop of him, putting a hand to his already swollen and now stinging cheek.

"Stop acting like a slut and get off of me! I told you I'm in no mood for this!" he bucked the rest of Alfred's weight off of him and turned his back to him. Alfred suddenly got out of the bed and threw on his tunic top. "Where are you going?" Arthur asked him.

"The slut is going outside for some fresh air." He whispered harshly so he didn't wake the others.

"Get back into bed, don't be ridiculous. You know you can't see at night with those eyes of yours."

"I'll just be on the porch, don't bother me."

With that Alfred closed the door and Arthur rolled on his back, throwing his arm over his eyes with a deep sigh. He knew he was being hard on Alfred earlier, but the boy had to learn! He couldn't keep getting away with big mistakes like the one that happened today. Arthur had to be firm with him it was for his own good. He shouldn't have called him a 'slut', though. When Alfred came back in he would apologize for that term. He wanted to go outside and get Alfred but that would only make things worse. He didn't want Alfred outside at night ever with his bad vision. Earlier in their lives on the farm, Arthur had started secretly saving a coin each day in a little box he kept under a loose floorboard. He wanted to have enough one day to buy Alfred a pair of glasses. They were very new and VERY expensive to purchase. Usually only nobles and royalty had them. Alfred desperately needed a pair.

When they all joined their little farms together and they were living in content, Arthur and Alfred had already started a little bond with each other. It didn't take long for it to turn sexual. Alfred was hard to ignore, with those blue eyes and wheat colored hair. The first time he ever noticed Alfred was when he caught him bathing in the stream on early summer morning. The sunlight made the cascade of running water known his lithe body sparkle. He had waved to Arthur when he saw him and bid him to join in. Arthur told him 'no' and that he hand laundry to do here. But it was hard to stay focused on work when that beauty was right in his line of vision. After that day, the two spent some nights together in each other's arms. Arthur rolled over, too exhausted from the days' events to think anymore. Alfred would be in soon, he knew, and quickly fell asleep.

Outside on the porch, Alfred leaned against the front wall of the cabin, listening to the quiet of the night. The air was heavy with heat and he wiped some sweat from his forehead as well as tears from his eyes. Why couldn't Arthur forgive him for today? He knew he did wrong and tried to make up for it with the coins but Arthur was STILL pissed at him. He had tried to comfort him with his body and the man had pushed him away, calling him a 'slut'. Arthur had never called him a name like that before. At least not in such a derogatory manner.

Alfred crossed his arms and dug his fingers into his muscle. He knew he messed up today. The increase in the tax was to steep for them to live at all. They would have to work double time and sell more than then could keep. Now Betsy was gone and Clarabelle slaughtered. Betsy brought in the money and Matthew could make some wicked good goat cheese with her milk. How were they going to survive now? The summer is unbearably hot and the crops are likely to dry out quicker. The sheep's wool was all they had of real worth and they wouldn't grow it back for a while. And with this heat, the livestock is more likely to die.

He couldn't stand it. Something has to be done! Someone needs to take action! He wouldn't let his friends and family be wiped out by some foolish war and taxes! Alfred leapt off the porch and ran to the mouth of the farm, looking out at the trees that led to the city where his Lord would be. Alfred stood straight and tall as he took a vow onto himself.

"I, Alfred Jones, will go to our Lord and work for a way to save this farm and my family! I won't give up no matter what the cost! I will do whatever I can to ensure the safety of my home! So watch out Lord "Whoever-You-Are"! I, Alfred Jones, will make you see things my way and save the kingdom! I will be a hero to one and all! ALFRED JONES, THE SAVOR OF THE WORLD!" His perfect speech was interrupted by Daisy's sudden loud "EEE-HAAAAW" behind him, making him jump. "GAH! How did you get out!" Daisy just snorted and swished her tail, nipping at his tunic. Alfred sighed and looked up at the crescent moon. He had hoped that whatever spirit or deity out there didn't just send Daisy here to him for a reason…

End Chapter 1 TBC