"Hahh…hahh…hahh…" Tiny feet hit the cobblestone street one after the other, faster and faster, the path in front of the child growing seemingly longer with every step. He reached out towards the three figures ahead of him. Vision blurred, he watched the two men drag away the boy, kicking and screaming in their grip.

It's not his fault!

The boy's outstretched arm was roughly yanked behind his back as the men lead him to the platform. Moonlight cruelly illuminated the hangman's noose.

"No!"

"Run Arthur, run!"

He ran faster, faster, he had to get to the boy, but the path was endless. Suddenly, the child was on the ground, chin smarting from the blow. There was no way for him to get to the boy now.

"Brother!"

Faster, faster, faster, faster

BANG!

Arthur woke up gasping once more. The dream never went away. It was always there, always tormenting him. Birds flew overhead, screeching their horror to the trees.

"Brother!" The shrill scream pierced the jungle air.

Jumping to his feet, he ran blindly through the trees, pushing boughs out of his way like feathers in his mad rush. He had to get to him, he had to, he wouldn't let it happen again, no, he couldn't…

There was a clearing ahead, and a strange, long-haired child knelt in the center. He bent over in the grass, screaming at the body beneath him over and over again. "Brother! Wake up! Please, wake up!"

Two men knelt on the outskirts to his right, one with his musket at the ready, the other happily watching the hunt.

Arthur darted into the clearing, unblinking. The world slowed to a snail's pace as a second shot rang out through the air. He watched it leave the barrel, spinning through the air in slow motion. Sliding onto one knee, he whipped out his cutlass in a flash of movement, holding the flat of the blade with one palm. Sunlight glinted off the steel and the side of his boot carved a path through the grass.

CLANG!

Sparks flew as metal hit metal. The crushed bullet peeled itself off Arthur's blade in an instant, falling with a plop onto the grass below. Eyes wide, the men on the other end of the clearing swiftly stood.

Glinting with unspeakable rage, Arthur's eyes narrowed, his normally calm face twisting into a mask of grotesque horror. Fury and madness radiated from his very bones. Grass crunched underneath his boots as he stalked infuriatingly slow to the two men. Their legs were as jelly, quivering uncontrollably in their loose cotton pants, their jaws incapable of speech.

Miraculously, one loosed his trembling lips to stutter out, "C-c-c-capt-tain?"

Arthur's voice dropped to a deadly hiss. "Which one of you fired those shots?"

The men shrank back silently, too caught up in their own fear to answer to the murderous glare above them. "S-s-sir, you t-t-t-told us that w-we could hunt any anim—"

A twig snapped with a crack, under the boot that had taken a menacing step closer. "I said," Arthur growled, "which one of you fired those SHOTS?!"

"Capt'n, it was Beck! I swear it on my own grave! He did it!" one of the men cried frantically, jabbing the other man with his gun.

Arthur cocked his head to one side, sneering. "Do you think I'm stupid, Marcus? You're holding the gun." In an instant, Marcus fell to the ground with a bang, blood seeping out of his ears. Arthur delicately slipped his pistol back into its holster. "Funny thing to swear on, one's own grave."

Beck, shocked out of his fearful daze, began to blubber and wail incomprehensibly.

Arthur's face calmed once more and he helped him to his feet. He gave the man a disgusted glance before turning once again to the little boy.

The child clutched the dead boy's clothes in his tiny hands, folds of cloth gathering between his fingers. Arthur looked down at his lifeless face and dull royal blue eyes stared back at him. Face encircled by wavy blonde locks, cheeks ever so slowly being drained of their rosiness, he was the splitting image of, of…

Francis. Arthur stepped back, a wave of nausea coming over him. He didn't want to think about it, but the two boys looked so alike, all the way down to the same cold expression they wore in death. Instantaneously he averted his eyes and knelt down beside the child, now whimpering his sorrow.

He gathered the child in his arms. Limply, it grasped onto his coat, mumbling softly. "Brother…brother please…don't leave me…don't leave me here alone…please, just wake up…"

Brother, no, don't leave me here, please, wake up, don't leave me, no, brother please…

Arthur shook the memories out of his head, focusing instead on the tiny shivering boy in his arms. Cradling him, he looked at Beck. "Whatever in your twisted mind gave you the idea to shoot a child?"

"'Ave you ever seen a child with rabbit ears? Or fox ears 'n a tail? No, Capt'n, that is not a child. That is not normal. That is something you shoot and put on your wall."

He looked down. Sure enough, the quivering child in his arms had a sort of…appendage growing from his head on either side, not long hair. The dead boy was the same, but with a pair of auburn, pointed ears on the crown of his head. Neither seemed to have any evidence of a set of normal, human-like ears.

"So…Capt'n, are we going to just sit here and coddle the bloody creature, or are we going to bring back its body on a stick?"

The little boy tensed, his lamentations at a standstill. Arthur tightened his grip around him, and shot a glare up at the sailor.

"Beck…if you or anyone else dares to lay a finger on this child," he snarled through clenched teeth, "I will personally send him in the most painful way possible to burn in HELL."

Beck took a step back fearfully. Arthur's eyes blazed with lethal intent as he stood to his feet. The child silently burrowed itself in the folds of his coat.

"Come, the rest of the crew will be expecting us back soon." He stalked off through the jungle, pushing vines out of his way, Beck hurrying behind.

As they trudged through the brush, the child began to struggle in his grasp, swatting at his arms and kicking. With every step, the more violently he writhed.

Suddenly, his tiny mouth opened before clamping down on Arthur's arm. The Captain cried out, dropping the child, who ran straight back to the clearing.

"Hey, wait a moment!"

Beck put a hand on Arthur's shoulder. "Capt'n, just leave the li'l beast; he doesn't matter anyway."

But Arthur paid no mind, dashing off into the trees behind the boy. He caught up quickly, his legs being much longer, and scooped up the child once more, who erupted into screams.

"NO! I WON'T GO WITH YOU! FRANCIS IS GOING TO WAKE UP, I TELL YOU, HE'LL WAKE UP! LET ME GO YOU BLOODY TWIT!"

Thrashing back and forth in his arms, his face turned a deep scarlet as he rattled off a long string of obscenities at the man holding him.

"I know you don't want to hear this, but—"

"DON'T YOU DARE SAY IT! IT'S NOT TRUE YOU LIAR, HE'S GOING TO WAKE UP—"

"HE'S DEAD!"

They both froze, emerald eyes locking. Lower lip quivering ever so slightly, the child slowly collapsed to his knees. Tiny fingers dug into the dirt.

"…I know that…" His narrow shoulders quaked with every breath. "I just…I just can't leave him like this…"

"There are some things no one can undo, lad." Arthur put out his hand. "It's going to be alright, okay?"

And hesitantly, a small, shaking hand found its way into his.


Hello there, lovelies!

Odd pairing, no? Stumbled upon it once, many months ago on the interwebs and I just couldn't resist! Anyways, hope you like, for there is more to come. And of course, it will get much darker, I can assure that...it won't all be rainbows and unicorns.

For all of you who read 'The Man I Used to Know' I know I promised you guys a more fluffy, happy USUK. It is coming.

Also, I've decided to take requests, any pairing, BUT...I can only take two. Just leave the pairing, type (IE fluff, smut, friendship, AU, etc etc, you know the drill), and any other specifications. Comment fast, because only the first two will be picked! I'll be writing those between updating 'Endless Soul', which, by the way, is SO getting a title change because it sucks pretty badly...I just needed to come up with something so I could post this. BLEGHGHARGHARGHALMUFASHARNOB LARGAGRAGNAKHNNFIUANWERRRFNV EWKJRFNH

ANYWAYS.

Enjoy, and comment and review please!

-Wasabi97