Author's Note: Oh my freaking god. I'm so sorry for not updating sooner. I published the first chapter just days before I got back into school and was swamped for the first few weeks. Then I got sick and felt like dying for a few days and now I finally have a bit of free time to write! However, there comes my old friend Writer's Block and I could barely squeeze by with this chapter. It's definitely not my best work. Not my worst. But far from the best. I will try to make updates every one to two weeks depending on the chapter but I won't make promises because I tend to break them. I'll try to be more regular I swear! Haha. So anyways, here's the second chapter to Give and Take...
P.S. Sorry about some of the comments that Alfred says about British people... PM me if you're at all offended, I don't mean it like that... ^_^"
Arthur was silent as he stared at Alfred with an irritated glower, his teeth clenched in a snarl.
"What did you say?" his voice was low and cold, as if he was stabbing Alfred with his very gaze. Alfred was perceptive enough to know that he had hit a sore spot in the man's self esteem.
"A-ah..." he wasn't sure what to say to the man. Arthur shook his head.
"Kill me now..." he muttered under his breath. "Obviously this isn't going to work out so if you don't mind I'm going to go get my ticket home. Thank you for wasting my time with your bloody nonsense," he pushed past Alfred and began to walk away.
"Uwaah, waiiit," moaned Alfred, grabbing onto Arthur's sleeve. "S-sorry, I didn't mean that. It was just an observation," he sighed, lowering his head in shame. Arthur turned halfway around and raised his eyebrow in skepticism. He narrowed his green eyes and turned the rest of the way in order to look Alfred directly into the eyes.
"That's what everyone says," he shook his head then looked down at Alfred's hands on his sleeve. Arthur pouted and his eyes turned to irritated slits as he tore his hand away and glared at him, crossing his arms with an uncomfortable look on his face.
"S-so, now what?" mumbled Alfred, his blue eyes bore into Arthur's intensely despite his tentative voice. Arthur furrowed his eyebrows.
"Didn't you have anything in mind?" he grumbled, "or did you expect me to do everything for you?" he smirked at Alfred. Of course Arthur wouldn't say the real reason why he turned the question back on the teenager, simply because he had no bloody idea what he was doing. However, Alfred didn't need to know that.
Alfred felt his face redden considerably.
"That's not it," he pouted, "I just hadnt thought that far yet!"
Arthur sighed. "Honestly to think were you this spoiled..." he grumbled, waving a nonchalant hand in the air.
"Hey! I'm not spoiled! It's not like I have extensive experience with these kinds of things. What would be a normal thing to do?" he mumbled the last few words, innocence clouding his sapphire eyes in childish worry.
Arthur pinched the bridge of his nose in indignation. "You're hopeless."
Alfred grimaced at Arthur and looked away from him. He puffed out his bottom lip and glanced over at him, wondering if he noticed. The Brit wasn't really looking at him and Alfred narrowed his eyes in response and then started to walk sulkily away. "Weeeell, if you're not going to help me then you can just leave me. After all I am the son of Martha Jones. I should be able to... You know... Get by," he sighed dramatically and glanced furtively at the man with a coy smirk on his face. Arthur looked up at the mention of Alfred's mother.
"Wait..." he muttered, putting a hand on Alfred's shoulder. "Let's just figure this out as it goes okay? I'm already here. I'm not going to leave," he looked like he didn't want to say it but he did nonetheless.
Alfred didn't expect that trick to work in the slightest. He grinned and was overcome with the urge to hug the man. Arthur's eyes widened at the sudden embrace and his entire body stiffened. Alfred's head rested on Arthur's shoulder and Arthur could feel the gentle tickle of his breath on the back of his neck. He wanted to shiver at the strange feeling but he held back the urge with brute force of thought. "I have to say, even though you may be a bit of a jerk, it is at least nice to have someone to be with," Alfred closed his eyes, overcome with the feeling of touching someone. He knew it wasn't like touching his parents, feeling their warm embrace, but it was as close as he could get.
Arthur looked a bit irked from the 'jerk' comment but he didn't protest in Alfred hugging him. He stood awkwardly waiting for the boy to release him, his eyes narrowing in half-confusion, half-annoyance.
"Thank you for coming," Alfred smiled and looked Arthur directly in the eyes, his smile widening into a grin as he saw the man's bemused look on his face.
"It's nothing," mumbled Arthur, a dazed look on his face.
"So!" Alfred looked like his spirits were high. "What should we do first, oh master guardian?" he bowed lowly and playfully, his blonde hair flopping over in front of his eyes.
Arthur grimaced at the thought of spending any time with this boy. "I guess we should stop by the bank and get a settlement on this whole guardian thing anyways," he sighed, scratching the back of his head with unease. However much he wanted it to not be true, he was going to have to take responsibility. It still felt unreal, as if it were a dream; Arthur knew though, that the moment he signed those papers, it would all be much too real.
Alfred's smile dropped a bit at the mention of the bank. "W-we have to go to the bank?" he stammered, his eyes became duller and less sparkly. "I don't… really like the bank," he mumbled.
"Well, there's nothing you can do about that because you have to come with me," explained Arthur, putting his hand on his hip and leveling Alfred a stare.
"Got it," Alfred exhaled quite a bit with discontent.
"Ahem," it was the same, hard-eyed man that Alfred had met before at the bank. Alfred couldn't help but glower at the man who he blamed for ruining his life. He had to blame someone, and this man just happened to be that scapegoat.
"It seems," the hard-eyed man looked up with his icy stare. "That you reconsidered, Mr. Kirkland, about becoming this boy's guardian," he observed, a smirk playing on his thin lips.
"When did I say I wasn't going to?" grumbled Arthur, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest with a level glower at the man. He realized why Alfred didn't like the bank now.
"I believe that you made it quite clear, ah where is that note… Aha, Mr. Kirkland, your exact words upon being requested were: 'I don't give a damn, you bloody wankers. I'm not going to babysit some little American shitfuck just because his parents died. Go fuck yourselves and leave me alone,'" the man looked up from the paper and raised a perfectly styled black eyebrow in dubious inquisitiveness. "To me that doesn't quite sound like a person ready to come take care of a child," his voice was cold as he surveyed the Brit critically.
"Hey! Don't call me a child! I'm sixteen!" shouted Alfred, jumping up out of his seat.
"Legally, you are still a child until you're eighteen, Mr. Jones," explained the man, brushing back his gelled hair with a bony hand. "Now, I can presume that Mr. Kirkland isn't going to leave anytime soon. So, if you would sign these papers of custody, then we can all be on our merry way," a smile crept up on the man's face as he pushed the papers forward, a task he rather enjoyed doing. His sadistic grin only widened when he saw Arthur hesitate in taking it.
Arthur skimmed over the document, his eyes narrowing with each sentence. "This says I have to take care of this prat until he's eighteen," Arthur raised an eyebrow in irritation. "Is this for real?" he grumbled.
"Indeed, surely you would have known that when you flew all the way over here from England, or did you just want to drop by and say hello?" the man's smile widened even more, the corners of his mouth twitching up in a smirk.
"I didn't think I'd have to bloody take care of him for two years. I can barely stand him for two minutes," complained Arthur, glancing at Alfred with a disapproving scowl.
Alfred stared at Arthur in shock. He was slightly hurt from the man's words and felt a hot feeling rush through his body. He couldn't tell if he was angry or just upset but it made him want to punch Arthur's eyebrows clear off of his forehead. Alfred narrowed his eyes and turned away from Arthur, the upset feeling overwhelming him.
Arthur read through the rest of the document, his eyes narrowed slightly and he sighed, drawing out the breath longer than needed.
That did it. "Fuck it then!" shouted Alfred, he balled his hands into fists and stood up with anger. "If I'm really that much of a hassle then you can just go back to your fucking land of scones! Screw you! I can fucking take care of myself, I don't mean to INCONVENIENCE you or anything," he shouted, his voice cracked halfway through and hot tears welled up in his eyes. He was upset but he didn't know why. He didn't know this man, there was nothing connecting them. So why did he feel so hurt?
Arthur stared at Alfred in surprise. He laid the fancy black and gold pen down and turned in his seat to look at Alfred, a stupefied, contemptuous look cementing itself into his features. Saying nothing, he held the packet of documents up for Alfred to see, feeling that doing so was the only way to get his point across, having no words to express his discontent.
Alfred's eyes widened when he saw the scrawl of Arthur's signature across the line.
"Are we done here?" Arthur turned back to the man with cold eyes.
"Yes we are," the man took the documents in his hands and smiled at Arthur and Alfred. "It was a pleasure doing business with you," he said in an overly kind tone.
Arthur took Alfred's hand and led him out of the office. He was seriously steamed. He didn't like the man with the cold eyes, he felt like he had been played; toyed with, even. Just before he closed the door to the banker's office, the feeling overwhelmed him and with an angry hand he flipped off the man, smirking as he saw the banker's surprised face at his rude gesture. He deserved it too, the sadistic bastard.
Alfred still refused to speak after they left the bank. It was partially due to shock that Arthur was now his legal guardian and partially because he was upset.
"You need to learn how to control your emotions, Alfred," explained Arthur, glancing back at the boy.
Alfred averted his gaze and narrowed his eyes in contempt.
"You shouldn't have signed that, if you find me as that much of an annoyance. Besides, you have no right to lecture me yet. You may be my guardian legally but that doesn't mean that I need to listen to you," he mumbled sulkily, shoving his hands deep into his pockets.
"Well it's a bit too late for that isn't it," sighed Arthur, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah but it's for two years! You said-" Alfred cut himself off, realizing it was a stupid thing to say.
"I know what I said, but I'm not a man that goes back on my word. I said I'd take care of you. No matter how much of a hassle it's going to be. I owe that to your mother," sighed Arthur, a look of loneliness shrouded his emerald colored eyes for a split second.
Alfred blinked in surprise then he grinned and hugged Arthur in a big bear-hug. "I knew you were a cool guy!" he laughed and his entire body shook.
Arthur pushed himself away from Alfred and looked skeptically up at the boy. "Indeed," he mumbled. They began to walk down the sidewalk slowly. "Is that going to be a regular thing?" inquired Arthur, glancing up at the teenager, curiousness getting the better of him.
Alfred looked confused. "Is what going to be a regular thing?"
"That... hugging thing," mumbled Arthur, he looked embarrassed to say the words.
Alfred grinned. "Do you want it to be?" he inquired jokingly.
Arthur raised an eyebrow then shook his head in exasperation and decided not to comment.
"So! What do we do now? Dad?" Alfred grinned at Arthur and laughed when the Brit jumped in surprise.
Arthur turned around and stared at the American, his eyes as big as dinner plates, slight fear clouding his gaze. "That's not funny, Alfred. Don't ever call me that again, I mean it," he said seriously.
Alfred's smile faded and he gazed at Arthur with confused eyes. "Hey, I was just kidding, Arthur, it was a joke," he mumbled sourly.
Arthur shook his head solemnly. "I get it, I know that that was a joke; but it was a joke in poor taste nonetheless," he sighed. "Well, at the moment I'm still a citizen of England. I won't even bother asking you to consider coming back with me so I don't have to sell my apartment-,"
"No way in hell am I going to that damn smelly fish-hole you call a country!" shouted Alfred, cutting Arthur off, his hands balled into fist.
Arthur smirked at the insult. "Which is why I'm not considering it to begin with, bloody prat," he trailed off into an aside and mumbled the last two words of his sentence.
"I'm hungry," Alfred put his hands behind his head and looked down at the Brit expectantly.
"Then get yourself some food, I'm not going to baby you, you damn berk," he grumbled.
Alfred groaned with annoyance. "Oh come on, this is when we get to know each other," he grumbled, he didn't bother asking what a berk was; Arthur was just likely calling him an idiot.
"I don't want to get to know you," Arthur mumbled under his breath, beginning to walk ahead. Alfred stumbled after him, unaccustomed to the Brit's fast pace.
"I can show ya around the city, if you like," suggested Alfred, finally matching strides with Arthur. He pouted with the man rolled his eyes at him.
"Don't you have school or something?" he grumbled, looking irritated. Arthur wasn't used to having a teenager around and it was frankly wearing him out.
"I don't get what the big deal is, why don't you want to spend any sort of time with me, after all, we're going to be together for the next two years," sighed Alfred, he balanced himself on the curb and walked in a straight line, putting one foot carefully over the other and holding his hands out for balance.
"Exactly, we have another two years to get through this so why do this now?" said Arthur, glancing over at the teenager with a disapproving grimace.
Alfred stopped walking and swung back and forth from his arms on a street light, looking curiously at Arthur. "You need to get that checked," he said vaguely, paying attention to everything but the Brit's face and instead focusing on the ever-expanding blue sky, his lips curled slightly up in a smile.
Arthur looked bemusedly at Alfred and turned around. He shoved his hands into his jean pockets and studied the American's behavior with minimal interest. "What do I need to get checked out?" he asked, still thoroughly confused.
"It must be awfully painful," Alfred composed his face, he couldn't smile or it would ruin it. He had to appear as serious as possible.
"I'm in no pain," muttered Arthur, his eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
"Surely, you must be. I've heard that if it's up there long enough it turns you into a stiff prude," Alfred's mouth twitched, desperately wanting to grin.
"If what's up where long enough?" Arthur was starting to get annoyed.
"Why, that stick up your ass of course," Alfred finally burst into hilarious fits of laughter, his eyes dancing.
Arthur coughed, looking sheepishly in the other direction. He had chosen not to comment but that was proving hard to live by.
"Seriously, Arthur, lighten up, man," grinned Alfred, walking over and patting Arthur firmly on the back. The Brit stared at him dubiously, then shook his head in contempt. "You need a sense of humor," added Alfred, slouching at the lack of reaction from the man.
"Let's stop by a café and get something to eat," suggested Arthur, completely ignoring Alfred's previous comment.
"Sweet! I'm starving!" Alfred gave Arthur a winning smile. Said grin only widened when it noticed the tiniest hint of a returning smile on Arthur's face.
They stopped in the first café they saw, a quaint, secluded bistro nestled at the end of a shopping district. They walked through the mahogany entrance and were greeted by a slim waitress that led them to one of the many open tables. It was already three hours past the normal mid-day rush and only a few stragglers remained. Alfred made himself comfortable on the cushioned side of the table while Arthur grudgingly took the seat adjacent to it, not comfortable with sitting in a stiff chair but knowing better not to comment.
"So," Alfred searched for a topic to ask the Brit about. However much he wracked his brains though, he was unable to think of anything.
Seeing Alfred struggle to find words, Arthur considered beginning the conversation but quickly decided against it. The less he knew about the idiot the better. He leaned against his hand and opened a book he was dying to read.
"You're going to read?" exclaimed Alfred, shocked at the man's behavior and scowling.
"Oh, go ahead, I'm listening," mumbled Arthur after a moment's hesitation, after all, you can't stop in the middle of a sentence.
"You should look someone in the eyes when you're talking to them, it's called conversation, dumbass," retorted Alfred, his eyes narrowing in irritated suspicion.
Arthur's eyes snapped up at the insult and he glowered at the boy. "Conversing has nothing to do with the eyes, it has to do with the mouth and forming words that represent ideas formulated by the speaker, no eye-contact necessary," he said matter-of-factly, as if reading from a dictionary.
"I didn't mean for you to take it literal," snapped Alfred, exasperatedly putting a hand over his forehead to calm himself down and fixating on the polished table.
"Then you shouldn't have used a word that didn't support your argument," sighed Arthur. He looked up from his book and shook his head in mock solemnity. "Honestly, do they teach you nothing in your American schools, you don't even know how to make a proper argument or talk to someone without losing your temper. Are you so used to being right all the time that you lash out at anyone who says you're wrong?" he questioned honestly, his prejudice and stereotypical thoughts overwhelming his brain. He had a pissed expression on his face, likely due to the fact that he had read the same sentence four times already.
"You're a fucking assho-" Alfred cut off when he noticed that the waitress had been standing there, patiently waiting for them to finish their discussion.
Arthur glanced momentarily at the waitress and went back to his book. "I'll have the tea, Earl Grey, if you have it, only leave the teabag in for two minutes. I don't want it too strong, on second thought, just bring me a cup of hot water and the teabag; I'll do it myself," he said briskly, waving his previous thought off with a twirl of his hand.
The waitress looked genuinely insulted as she angrily scribbled down his order of hot water and a teabag.
Alfred gaped at Arthur. "You can't be that rude to a working person! You make it sound like you expect them to get it wrong!" he cried in angry shock.
"The customer's always right, so I've heard. I know how I like my tea," countered Arthur, not looking up from his book.
"And what'll you have, sir?" the waitress smiled sweetly at Alfred, regarding him as a hero who stood up against evil British bastards that insulted her. She practically glowed when he smiled at her. Alfred just seemed to have that kind of personality that people instantly were attracted to.
"I'll have the special," said Alfred, cheerily, shooting an annoyed look at Arthur. "Excuse my… friend. He's British after all," he chuckled, grinning at Arthur.
"Cheeky git," grumbled Arthur.
If you have ANY questions at all feel free to ask! I hope this chapter wasn't too boring, the beginning of this story's going to be kind of slow so bear with me... Please R&R! I know you want to! Do it. Now. XD XD XD