Brother Knows Best
Arthur won't settle for being anything less than number one in his little brother Alfred's heart. But Ivan Braginski, Alfred's best friend since childhood, is bound and determined to confess his affections to Alfred. In a fit of jealous fury, Arthur decides to get rid of Ivan by any means necessary. AU, Possessive!Arthur, Rusame.
Hey guys. Really hoping you enjoy this one; please review! Constructive criticism is my chocolate. ;) The first chapter might seem a little slow, but the intro is kinda important for character development.
Chapter One: Meeting You
Arthur Kirkland had not been one of those large-eyed little babies in the charity ads that made your heart melt and your wallet open. He had not been one of those infant you spotted in a stroller and bent over to coo at. He had not been a cheery, giggly baby who liked to play. Old ladies had not insisted on pinching his cheeks and blessing his little heart—they were more likely to start at his unfriendly scowl and to comment on how his eyebrows looked like caterpillars above his piercing green eyes.
The newborn had not been much of a crier, thank heavens, for his parents were new, and his father got migraines very easily. But instead of enjoying hugs and kisses, he seemed only to only tolerate them, the way a lazy cat will tolerate particularly bothersome flies that it already knows cannot be swiped down. When his mother spoke to him in baby-talk, the baby often sent her disgruntled looks, as if to say 'You must be joking.' While he had a fondness for plush animals he could cuddle up with, his dignity would not permit him to do so unless he was fairly certain no one was looking.
He heartily disliked childish toys that would buzz or beep or light up, but enjoyed letter blocks, which he would spend a great deal of time arranging and re-arranging.
"Artie's our smart little gentleman," his mother would joke whenever they had company over. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him sitting by the fire reading Shakespeare next year."
Arthur had no patience for television, but loved to hear his parents read aloud. He spent hours poring over his parents' books whenever he could sneak them, and taught himself to write his name at age two (So proud of his ability was he that he spent a good amount of time writing his name over everything he could reach with a crayon, which unfortunately included the walls). When they went on road-trips, he insisted that they listen to audio books, and his thirst seemed all the more insatiable the more stories they finished. Alice in Wonderland was such a favorite of his that he listened to it nearly every day, and arranged several tea parties with his stuffed animals.
He loved books on etiquette and manners, and impressed adults with his pompous and occasionally flamboyant manners by calling the mail lady "Your ladyship" and the milkman "Your lordship." He loved to host pretend balls in which he was the esteemed host everyone answered to, and with his mother's help, tried to bake food for his imaginary friends. (It was very fortunate that they were imaginary, because any real creature would have expired immediately after eating one of Arthur's dreadful biscuits.)
When Arthur was three, his parents began leaving him at a local preschool during the week so that Mrs. Jones could return to work. He was a little young, but Arthur didn't seem to mind being on his own. He was a fairly well-behaved youth, but the teachers worried that he wasn't very sociable. He preferred reading picture books instead of painting with the other children, and instead of running around with his classmates, he preferred to pretend to garden.
But one day, Arthur got news that sent his little world spinning, and not in a good way. Yhe sulking boy had no choice but to confide in his fellow students on the playground, who commiserated with him.
"My little sister's just startin' ta get teeth," complained a little girl on the playground. "She chews on everything, including my dolly's hair."
"Babies smell," added a boy, making a hideous face. "My Daddy spends, like, a bajillion hours changin' my little brother. He can't play as much as he used to."
"They yell all the time!" piped up another child, who was making a sandcastle. "When I try to watch TV, my sister starts screaming and then my ears hurt."
Arthur's stomach churned, and now he felt even worse than it had the previous evening, when his beaming parents had come into his room with the news while he'd been having a gentleman's duel with Mr. Sparklebun. Other children eagerly chimed in.
"They take Daddy and Daddy's time away!"
"Mommy and Papa ALWAYS take their side."
"They NEVER stop following you!"
"They barf everywhere! Ewwww!"
"They drool all over your stuff!"
"They break your toys!"
"They always cry!"
"They smell really bad! Like, really, really bad!"
No, Arthur did not want that baby.
His mind recoiled at the idea of having a whining, pining, messy and disorderly creature in the house. He was known to have fits when he was younger when his parents didn't serve applesauce in the red bowl and macaroni and cheese in the blue bowl. If so much as a crumb of food fell on his lap during meals, he'd refuse to eat until he got it off. His father could be heard bragging about Arthur's tidiness in comparison to most toddlers.
And there was nothing he could do about a fat, drooling, helpless slug coming into the house. A slug that would scream at night and prevent him from re-inacting stories with his stuffed animals. Or listening to his favorite tapes. Or from having any fun at all.
He begged his parents to change their minds. He promised to be the best little boy if they decided to keep only Arthur. He promised he would learn how to cook and make all the meals from that point on (They'd been awfully quick to shoot down that suggestion, for some reason), and he promised to stop getting into fights with Francis, the neighbor kid next door. Well, so long as Francis stopped starting fights.
But it was useless; his parents gently told him nothing could be done, and so Arthur's scowl deepened even as his mother's womb grew during the weeks.
Just when Arthur thought things could get no worse, he learned they very well could.
His parents had gone in for some stupid picture from the doctor, only to learn that Arthur was not in fact getting a little sibling.
He was getting two. Two screaming, bratty little siblings that would scream and barf and poop and break things.
Arthur decided that, the moment they were born, he would go out into the woods and wait for some fairies to hopefully kidnap him and raise him as their own.
The day finally came in July. Far too soon for Arthur's liking. As if being left at Francis' house weren't bad enough. He'd begged his parents to leave him with anyone, anyone else, but they'd apologized and said that they couldn't find another sitter besides Francis' daddy. He would have settled for a hungry tiger at the zoo. The angry little boy spent the day sulking, kicking dust, and sending half-hearted insults towards Francis, heart heavy with dread.
A few hours later, Mr. Bonnefoy had cheerfully announced the "good" news: Mrs. Jones had given birth to two healthy little boys. Arthur exchanged a few curt replies with his exhausted parents, most of which consisted of grunts.
The next morning, Arthur was taken to his parents' room in the hospital. His kept his eyes—simmering with resentment—on the floor as the babies gurgled in their bassinets. His father kept talking to him gently, trying to excite him.
"C'mon, buddy, cheer up," he said gently, raising up Arthur's chin. "You know, just because we've got Matthew and Alfred doesn't mean your mom and I are gonna love you any less."
Arthur's eyes prickled, and his vision became blurry. His father sighed, and kissed him on the cheek, scooping Arthur up before pointing at the nursery's viewing window.
"If anything, it means we love you even more now, kiddo. We're counting on you, buddy. Someone's gotta look out for your brothers. And it can't be just anyone. It has to be someone we can trust. Someone intelligent. Someone brave. Someone responsible."
Now Arthur found himself looking up into Mr. Jones' eyes. The man smiled kindly.
"I can't think of a better brother for these boys to have," he said gently, squeezing the child's shoulder. "I—hey! Look! It's Alfred!"
Arthur reluctantly turned his eyes to look. A little baby with wispy blond hair and a cowlick was sleepily considering his brother and father with eyes the color of a midsummer sky. His twin brother slept on beside him.
Arthur frowned at the baby, but it was getting harder to. The baby wasn't screaming, but looked rather thoughtful and pensive, eyes distant. Mr. Jones chuckled.
"Look, see? He's looking at you. He knows you're his brother. His knight in shining armor."
"Rubbish," replied Arthur, though curious in spite of himself. How could he know who Arthur was?
Later on, when they returned to the room, Alfred and Matthew were given back to the Jones, wearing clean pajamas (Matthew was dressed in polar bear pajamas, while Alfred was dressed in moon and stars jammies), fuzzy caps, and tiny hospital bracelets. They looked very much alike, although the one called Matthew preferred to stay hunched up in a little ball, sucking on his thumb. Alfred's eyes were bright now, and the infant seemed to enjoy wriggling around, keen to test out his limbs' capabilities. Arthur watched them both, an impassive look on his face.
"Would you like to hold them?" asked Mrs. Jones gently, moving aside on the bed and patting it invitingly. "One at a time?"
Arthur didn't think this was such a good idea, but his father hoisted him up, and before he knew it, Mrs. Jones was handing over Matthew. Swallowing past the knot in his throat, Arthur fumbled with the bundle of blankets and tried to hold him correctly, but Matthew's eyes flew open and the baby started to scream. Scream the way Arthur had dreaded he would, with blue eyes panicked and dismayed. Mr. Jones hastily snatched up Matthew, who was sobbing inconsolably, and quickly took him out of the room so that Alfred's whimpers didn't escalate into the same.
Mrs. Jones sighed, scooped up Alfred, and tried to hand him to Arthur; Arthur was trying to scoot off the bed as fast as he could.
"If he cries, fine. Just try, okay, dear?"
Ready to have a temper tantrum, Arthur sullenly took Alfred into his arms, bracing himself for the shriek. To his surprise, Alfred didn't start bawling. He continued to whimper, but the sounds were dying down, and he seemed to be resuming his happy twitching. Arthur's eyes narrowed as the baby considered him again, looking curiously.
A smile flashed across Alfred's face, and he let out a strange noise. Arthur started. Mrs. Jones smiled.
"He's cooing. That means that he's happy."
Swallowing, Arthur experimentally tugged the baby closer, unconsciously cradling him against the warmth of his shoulder. Alfred hummed slightly as Arthur sniffed him. Well, he at least he didn't smell like…like that. More like a milky, baby powdery like smell. Not Arthur's idea for a perfume, but not unpleasant.
The baby didn't seem to mind that Arthur was holding him so awkwardly. Alfred smiled goofily, and his eyes flicked all around the room, as if he didn't know what to look at first. He seemed excited, cheerful, and hopeful at once, as if the world were some brand new treat for him to explore and enjoy. Entranced, Arthur tentatively pressed a fingertip against the soft, soft face, and saw Alfred tip his head in his direction, eyes on Arthur.
After a few minutes however, he seemed to get sleepy, judging from the way his blue eyes were flickering. Arthur hummed tunelessly, unconsciously rocking back and forth until Alfred's eyes fluttered shut. Then he stayed still. Perfectly still.
He didn't notice that Mrs. Jones had been taping the entire display next to him with her phone, eyes bright and teary. "You are a sweet thing, aren't you honey?" she asked, dabbing at the corner of her blue-gray eyes. "I think you and Alfred are going to get along just fine."
Arthur's throat was too tight to speak, so he just nodded. Mrs. Jones smiled at him, and leaned over, reaching out for her baby. "I'll tuck this little guy in now for right now—"
As quickly as if he'd been bitten, Arthur protectively snatched the baby out of reach, wincing as Alfred started whimpering again. But before he could stop himself, he had shouted: