Carolyn had always dreaded this day. For all of Arthur's 29 and a half years, she'd feared this moment.
In a way, she was almost relieved that it had finally arrived.
She'd arrived home from a not-date with Herc (because he was not her boyfriend, teenagers had boyfriends) to find the firetrucks outside her home.
It didn't look that worse for wear, not burning down, no flames shooting out of windows, but there was lingering smoke, and her son perched in the back of an ambulance, wrapped up in an atrocity with a paramedic attending to him.
"Arthur?" she called, rushing over.
Arthur looked up. "Mum!" he chirped, shoving the oxygen mask off his face. "Look what I got!" he said, beaming. Carolyn raised an eyebrow. "They said I can keep the blanket!"
"Oh... yes, that's lovely."
It wasn't really. It was one of those hideous orange things. But if Arthur was happy...
"Arthur," she trilled, getting his attention. "What happened?"
Arthur looked away, sheepish.
"I was just trying to make supper," he began before Carolyn cut him off.
"Whatever possessed you to think that would be a good idea?" She levelled a glare at him.
"I was hungry?" he offered.
Carolyn sighed. "And you didn't want any of the sandwiches I made for you before I left?"
Arthur squirmed a little where he sat. "...not really."
She almost didn't want to ask. "And what was is that caused the fire?"
"Sausages in the toaster," he sighed. "I thought it would be less of a mess, cause when you cook them in a pan, they sort of splatter everywhere, and I thought you'd like if I made less of a mess."
Carolyn sighed, surveying the unintended mess Arthur had caused. "Yes. Well."
She turned to the paramedic.
"Is he alright?"
"Slight smoke inhalation. He'll be fine."
Arthur tried to smile at her again, but it wasn't really working.
The house was determined to be structurally sound, and the only actual damage was to the kitchen, where one wall was blackened and soaked. There was an overhanging smoke cloud, but Carolyn opened all the windows and turned the fans on.
She sent Arthur to bed early, after quizzing him on the proper protocol for cooking.
"When do you use the oven?"
"When you are in the kitchen."
"And when do you use the microwave?"
"When you're at home."
"What does not go in the microwave?"
"Metal. Animals. Melty things. Marshmallows. Wow, that's a lot of M things."
"Arthur!" Carolyn snapped.
"What goes in the toaster?"
"Bread. Waffles. Bagels."
"And what does not go in the toaster?"
Arthur sighed. "Sausages."
"And?" Carolyn prompted.
Arthur frowned. "Animals?"
Arthur only stared blankly at her.
"Metal," she said firmly. "Never put metal in the toaster. Do not use a fork to get your bagel out if it's stuck. Ever."
Arthur nodded, his eyes a bit wide. But Carolyn could only hope that it sunk in.
God knows that was all she needed; another kitchen mishap.