Disclaimer: I do not own the characters used in this fanfiction, or the song that inspired it.
It all started with a bang. Well, no, not really a bang, more of a startling crash and the sound of things hitting a floor so dusty it was nearly soundproof. A crash and several thuds accompanying it.
Groggy green eyes blearily blinked awake to the sight of clear little dust particles floating up from the splintery floor, and a very, very broken window with streams of morning light peeking through. Arthur sat upright, his previously tired eyes flashing awake in surprise. He set foot on the ground, forgetting about the fact that the window was indeed broken and that he was barefoot and in thin pajamas. He shot upright again to avoid a painful collision with wayward shards of glass and landed on his bottom, away from the dangerous mess of glass.
Just as Arthur was about to sigh and call for his mother, or perhaps just clean the mess himself, there was a loud knock at his front door along with an even louder outburst of incoherent shouting he couldn't understand a word of. Followed by another quieter voice, this one a sweet solace compared to the first.
The young blonde furrowed his eyebrows and stood again, haphazardly noting the stray baseball that landed right in the middle of the glass mess. Yes, this situation was becoming more clear by the minute. Some kid must have gotten a little too enthusiastic playing catch and thrown it through his bedroom window by accident. It wasn't Arthur's problem, the rowdy kids would have to pay for it themselves. He grudgingly picked up the worn baseball and toed around the glass, careful not to accidentally pillow the little shards with his feet, and left dusty footprints on the wooden floor on the way outside his room. The hall was ridiculously dusty, too, but not as bad as his bedroom. He couldn't recall the place being so filthy yesterday, nor was he focusing on his surroundings much. Arthur was more intent on stopping the rampant yelling outside the front door.
As Arthur got closer to the front door the knocking and shouting became louder. It was definitely two boys arguing over something. The raucous voice was heatedly saying something to the softer one, in a manner similar to pleading. It was accompanied by several hics and hitching breaths.
"Al, hey- Alfred, a ghost is not going to answer the door, I don't even think anyone lives here, wha- Al." that was the quieter voice, and Arthur could now discern that it in fact belonged to a boy. A boy with an extremely soft voice.
"But you don't know that Mattie! It's been forever-" he stopped to let out a sniffle, "It's been forever since anyone's been here! And I heard footsteps!"
Arthur huffed from the other side of the door. Of course this house wasn't empty! His mother, his brothers, and himself had all been occupying this house for years! The nerve of these people! He put on his best offended glare, making sure to furrow his intimidating eyebrows in the most frightening way possible, and yanked the front door open.
Arthur resisted the urge to snicker when the taller of the two boys, presumably Alfred, quickly and discreetly wiped at his eyes and tried to hide a squeak.
"Oh, maple," 'Mattie', the boy with the softer voice, breathed. "Er, hi, we uh, I think our ball ended up here, eh?"
Instead of answering the soft-spoken boy, he glared at the other one, the one with the confident cowlick and irritatingly loud voice.
"I'll have you know," Arthur began, "my family and I have lived here for years! I don't know where all this ghost nonsense is coming from, but I'll be having none of it! And where are your manners, shouting like that outside my door? Watch where you throw that ball, too! Go to the park to do that sort of thing, not in the quiet of this neighborhood! And another thing..."
Alfred stopped listening to the rant at this point, giving his brother a sidelong glance that portrayed their equal confusion.
"Are you even listening?!" Arthur jabbed an accusing finger in front of Alfred's face, making him cross his eyes to focus on the accusing digit.
"Er... nope." he said dumbly.
Matthew nudged his oblivious brother away from Arthur's line of fire, giving him a sincere, polite, and slightly confused smile.
"Sorry, but it was me who hit the window. It was an accident."
Arthur blinked, raising his gigantic eyebrows. "Oh." He handed the ball to Matthew, inwardly berating himself for making such assumptions. It was just that the other one looked much guiltier, and, well, he was much easier to yell at.
"No, no, I'm sorry for assuming." he reluctantly nodded to Alfred. "But I really have lived here for a while. I don't think anyone but me is home right now, though..."
The brothers gave him an odd look, but otherwise didn't question the doubted statement. They knew for a fact that no one had lived in the house for a very long time, and probably would have said as much if they weren't dealing with a scarily grumpy British kid. If he truly lived there, why hadn't they seen him in school before? They were a rather closely knit community, and it wasn't often that they met someone new.
"Ah, may I ask your names?" Arthur asked uncomfortably, still feeling awkward from the previous exchange and shuffling on his feet.
"Matthew." the violet-eyed one answered, alternating his eyes between Arthur and the unusually dusty room behind him.
"Alfred!" the other beamed, even though there wasn't really a reason to. "Or you could just call me The Hero, and I'll call you Eyebrows! 'Cause your eyebrows are huge!" Alfred grinned and poked one of said eyebrows, apparently convincing himself they weren't actually fuzzy caterpillars sticking to Arthur's face.
Arthur batted his hand away, regaining his scowl. "I beg your pardon!"
"Well!" Matthew said loudly enough to intervene another rant from Arthur. "I think we should be heading home, right Al? We live just down the road there Arthur, if you ever need anything, or, well, yeah." he pointed to a cozy house on the corner of the block. The only real reason Matthew was offering was because a random foreign kid showing up in a vacant, dusty house didn't exactly sit well with the kind Canadian.
"Whatever." Alfred shrugged, already leaving and for some reason pissing Arthur off even more just by walking away.
Matthew let out an exasperated groan, tagging along behind Alfred in a way that clearly implied the American was terribly vexing to be around. Arthur watched the exchange for a short while until they were out of sight, then laughed dryly. He couldn't recall ever meeting these people, and he certainly would have remembered them if he had. Shutting the door, the British teen turned on his heel and glared disapprovingly at the filthy state of the house. As he retrieved the broom from the closet, he briefly realized that nothing was ever said about the broken window. Arthur dismissed it, deciding to instead just clean the mess while he could.
This wasn't right, no, no it wasn't right at all. It was as if he wasn't even in his own house anymore. The furniture was all wrong, it wasn't even the same things, and they were in the wrong places. Adding onto the fact that they were all incredibly filthy, and that it would take a lot more than sweeping to rid the house of this mess, Arthur was starting to wonder if this was even his house. It was strange, it had been hours since he had risen that morning and realized that his family was, peculiar as the term was to him, missing. He had yet to receive a single phone call, message, expecting everything but getting nothing from them. Where were they? Deciding that he had fretted enough on the subject, he set the dustpan he had been holding on the sofa, clearing his mind and moving to go outside and get a bit of fresh air.
Arthur sighed shakily, sitting on the house's back porch that he was too afraid to call his own. He remembered what his own house looked like, of course. The place was small, quaint, but new and pristine. It was fit for a quiet, peaceful family such as his, it was made for those days baking burnt cookies in the bright dapple kitchen he had become so accustomed to. Made for their little arguments that seemed protected underneath the sturdy, bulky walls, the arguments that were comfortable staying in the little confinement of the rambling structure. Nothing like this big manor-like work of art, with carved wood and antique furniture that seemed befitting for an old wealthy bachelor instead of a fickle British family.
Yes, he wasn't sure what he had been thinking that morning, not noticing such things from the moment he laid eyes on them. Perhaps it was the surprise of being woken by a shattered window, or the leftover grogginess of bittersweet forgotten dreams.
Maybe the two boys he'd met this morning were right, and there really had been no inhabitants in a long time. The thought scared Arthur less than it should have, because the questions remained, then. Why was he here? Where was his family? He could remember them so clearly, it was becoming unsettling.
Arthur rested the heels of his palms against his eyes, attempting to sigh away his inhibitions and just remember what the hell happened already. However, it would seem luck was definitely not on his side. Definitely not.
Arthur raised his head and removed his hands, giving the American a dismal look as he peeked over Arthur's white picket fence.
Then, Alfred started laughing hysterically. Arthur quirked an eyebrow in his direction, which only served to make the immature boy guffaw even more.
"What is it?" Arthur demanded tiredly, giving Alfred an icy stare that didn't intimidate him in the least.
"It's- your- pffhwahaha-"
The English boy curled in on himself and stood from his perch on the paved porch, turning away from the hysterical boy and sliding open the glass door. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it's not funny at all." he called.
"Wait!" Alfred started.
Arthur looked over his own shoulder with an unfriendly, expectant look.
"I'm not trying to be mean, but- haha, uh your eyebrows are all messy. Do you have a comb for them or somethin'? 'Cause it looks like you need one. But I mean are you okay? Your eyes are all red too."
Arthur flushed out of embarrassment, brushing the unruly brows down with his hand and cursing the fact that he was one of the few people who could get snarls in their eyebrows. Not just fixable unruliness, full-on snarls.
"Yes, yes, I'm just fine. Merely tired and confused."
"Oh." Alfred said awkwardly. There was a momentary pause, and then the shuffling sounds of wood creaking and awkward stumbling. Wood creaked and hinges squeaked as Alfred began to squirm.
"What are you-"
"Climbing the fence." the younger boy answered matter-of-factly, hoisting himself up with his fore-arms wrapped around one of the white pickets. He shuffled his feet as if running up a slippery slope, and it wasn't all that much different considering he was trying to run up a vertical surface.
Arthur watched, a bewildered expression crossing his face at the boy's crazy efforts. Alfred made a noise similar to a squeak as his tummy pushed against the top of the fence, then he pushed forward and landed with a breathless 'ow'.
"... Why did you do that?" Arthur frowned, "I could have just let you in the front door."
"'Cause I wanted to." he said from his spot on the grass, spreading his arms out and looking up at the sky. Then, he craned his head and glanced at Arthur upside-down. "Because why not?"
Arthur was beginning to deign this Alfred guy as being extremely outlandish.
"I see..." Arthur said, though it was a lie because absolutely nothing was making sense right now. He approached the sprawled out younger boy, looking down at his skewed glasses with an odd expression. The fluffy clouds were reflecting off the thick frames, and the blue of Alfred's eyes actually made it seem like an actual sky. Of course, he wasn't ogling over the boy's eyes like some sort of blushing schoolgirl, he just thought they looked rather nice like that. Like a burst of clarity after an unclear day.
"You don't live here." Alfred said casually, as if he wanted to talk about it like the weather.
"Yes, I do." No, you don't, he told himself.
"No, you don't. We looked it up." Alfred sighed and fixed his glasses. "I'm here 'cause Mattie made me come check on you. You don't live here, Fuzzbrows."
"Dude seriously you should get a heavy duty razor for those monsters. Anyway, what do you expect me to do when you don't answer the door and I find you almost crying back here? I mean, I'm not one to agree with my smarty-pants brother all the time but there's definitely some fishy business going on here. And I think you're just confused as we are. We haven't told our mom or nothin', 'cause she'd probably flip out and call the cops reporting a found kid- wait, is that what you are? Did you run away?"
"I most certainly am not a runaway," Arthur scoffed, giving the younger boy an almost offended scowl.
"Then what's your deal?" Alfred fussed with his glasses, trying and failing to align them with his eyes at the odd angle.
The British teen glared hard at Alfred, then gave up and sighed.
"What makes you think I know?" Arthur sat down next to the younger, crossing his legs and resting his hands on his palms. "You expect me to have an answer as to why I woke up in a completely unfamiliar house this morning. I'm not even going to mention the broken window right now."
"That wasn't me..." Alfred whined.
"I know it wasn't you. I don't blame your brother for it either. Hell, it isn't even my house. What can I do about it?" Arthur worried at his lower lip and gazed into the green blades of grass below his feet, as if they would give him some sort of answer.
Alfred sat up, keeping his legs stretched out before him and turning to give Arthur a confused look.
"Well, if you don't live there, where do you live?" he inquired, and Arthur noticed that, even though he hadn't known him very long, he assumed him to be the type to be ridiculously outspoken. Yet at this moment he was being politely inquiring.
"I live in London. Well, the outskirts of London. It's a lot greener when you're not in the city, but it's still nice to be so close." Already Arthur was wishing he was at home by the cozy fireplace. He wished he was curled up with a nice cup of tea and a riveting novel.
Alfred quirked an eyebrow. "London? Like... London, England?"
"Well, what is it?"
"I should probably start by saying you're not even close to England right now." Alfred tensed his shoulders at the look he received from Arthur. It was such a ruffled expression that under another circumstance he'd probably giggle and taunt him.
"What?" It sounded sharp and demanding, surprised. Arthur may as well have cut the American off mid-sentence. "What do you mean?"
Looking at the green-eyed teen, Alfred could tell that just the idea of being an ocean away from his supposed home country wasn't the best thing for his emotional state. Arthur began fidgeting nervously, and let out a sharp, false laugh. It wasn't the type of laugh that came from humor.
"I mean, you're an ocean away. You're in the states. Yanks and all that."
Arthur simply couldn't wrap his mind around that. It wasn't that he didn't believe it, he just didn't understand. How on Earth had he found his way to America, of all places? Why was he here? He had never longed more for his mother's warm smile or his father's gruff reassurances. He even wished for his siblings' presence, as it was a heartful reminder of home and everyday life. Now, though, he was stranded in a foreign country, without even a trace of familiarity. It wasn't that he was immediately dropping to his knees and sobbing, or trembling out of fear, he was 16 for goodness sake, he just wasn't sure how to react. It was like confusion, as an entity, had just marched its way into his life and slapped him in the face.
The idea was ridiculous, actually. He recalled going to sleep in his own room the night before. It had been an unproductive day, a weekend. Arthur's siblings had gone off somewhere, and he found it strange that he couldn't recall where they were. Nonetheless, he could clearly remember several details, such as his cat, Teacup, running away. He remembered going outside to look for the spotted fold, spending a few minutes wandering about the front yard in fruitless search. This wasn't an unusual occurrence, so he had thought nothing of it and returned inside. A few hours later, after a terribly charred dinner made by his mother, he found himself curling up in a newly washed off-green duvet. Oddly, the remembrance of feeling his eyes slowly shut caught Arthur's attention. It was strange, being as that normally would be a completely normal thing, but this time was just... off. It was as if he hadn't fallen asleep at all. Something about the memory had an unsettling tint of restlessness.
Dismissing it, Arthur came back to reality. He wasn't entirely sure what to say to Alfred, after all, everything about this situation wasn't something that happened. It was hardly possible to fathom, let alone talk about.
"Don't remember anything?" Alfred gave Arthur a concerned look.
"Not a thing." he answered. Eyes alighting, he suddenly got an idea."I don't-" Arthur took a moment to check his pockets, "I don't suppose you have a mobile phone on you?"
Alfred shook his head apologetically. "I don't, but I guess you could come use one at my place. I don't think anyone would mind. My mom's real strict about the whole, 'no phones until you're sixteen' thing so I don't have one."
Arthur nodded. "May I? I just want to see if I can contact my family somehow. I'd imagine they're very worried about me, what with disappearing overnight."
"Sure thing." the American affirmed and stood, waiting for Arthur to lead the way through the strange house as he wasn't too keen on climbing the splintery fence again.
They commenced into threshold of the house, and Alfred had to do a double take at the sorry state of the place. It wasn't that it was grimy or sickly, more so that everything was just completely coated in a thick film of dust and lint. There was a single trail of cleanliness and an abandoned dustpan near the antique sofa, but other than that, the place was literally lined with the stuff. It was, in a way, off-putting. The two found themselves in the weeded but spacious front yard of the old house, traversing down the wraparound cobblestone driveway and into the much less wealthy parts of the neighborhood.
As Arthur followed after Alfred, they found themselves bathed in an awkward silence. Or, to Alfred it was awkward. Arthur used it as time to think.
Had someone somehow managed to transport him across the Atlantic within the span of one night? If so, why him? Who would go through so much trouble just to get a whiny English kid into the states? No, that idea was preposterous. No one would, without a dangerous motive that would have shown itself by now.
It wasn't long before Arthur found himself standing in front of a quaint little house. It sat on the corner of the block, and was covered in pale yellow paint with white siding in some places. The little home was a nice comparison to everything that had happened thus far.
"Just a sec'." Alfred opened the door and disappeared into the house. From outside, Arthur could hear the sound of Alfred speaking with someone.
Arthur shuffled on his feet uncomfortably and leaned on one of the white columns supporting the porch, sighing resignedly to himself. Nothing was making sense. Who was he to make these people help him? At the moment all he was asking for was a phone call, but still, he wasn't sure what good his own family could do from across the Atlantic Ocean, even if they were relieved at learning his location. He felt as though he was doing nothing but imposing on everyone, and he couldn't do a thing about it. They would probably just end up calling the police and getting the situation figured out from there. Whatever 'there' was. Probably a lecture he didn't deserve and a questioning he wouldn't know how to answer.
"Uh," Alfred peeked out from behind the door, looking highly uncomfortable. "Yeah, come on in."
Matthew gave him a nervous smile from behind his brother and gave Arthur a cell phone, presumably belonging to the quieter boy.
"So he has a mobile, but you don't?" Arthur inquired, quirking an impressive eyebrow.
"Well, he's sixteen..."
Arthur made a sound of understanding and dialed the number he'd become familiar with and held the phone to his ear, looking at the tiled floor instead of the two curious stares.
The phone began to signal that it was searching, the ring sounding in his ears and repeating.
Arthur frowned when there was no answer and he only received a default voice message. He snapped the phone shut and handed it back to Matthew, scowling at nothing all the while.
"No luck?" Matthew offered. "We have a computer too, if you think it will help."
Arthur nodded. "It just might."
While he was awaiting an answer on the phone, Arthur had failed to notice that Alfred left the room. He figured it had something to do with the conversation that could be heard from the other room.
Matthew led Arthur into a room with a single desk and an office chair, a simple laptop computer sitting on the desk.
"What do you want to try to find?" Matthew sat down in the chair and opened the computer. He keyed in a password and the desktop began to load.
Arthur thought for a moment. Perhaps, he had been here for a while longer than he thought. Maybe he just didn't remember any of it.
"Search my name. My full name."
Matthew gave him a confused look but nonetheless entered Arthur into the search bar. He gave Arthur sideward glance, waiting for confirmation.
"Kirkland." Arthur supplied.
Matthew nodded mutely and entered the full name, and they waited for the page to load.
Eventually it did, and what it showed wasn't exactly what Arthur had been expecting.
"Sixteen year old Arthur Kirkland found dead in his own bedroom."
AN: Oh hello. Yes I'm the smartass who decided to write a fanfiction at the beginning of a school year.
Anyway. This is my first (what I consider my first) attempt at sharing a fic online. I'm not trying to write one of those, "Hoogha so scary what's happening." fics. But I am trying to make it sad, so bear with me here. It is inspired by the song Little Talks, which I highly recommend if you haven't heard it yet. It is rated M because I like my stories lemon scented.
Until next time.