_______ ran as fast as her small skinny legs could take her. Her face was stained with frightened tears, clothes were in tatters, and her hair was clumped together by bits of dried mud. How long had _______ been on the run? Even she couldn't tell you. As a new country, she was constantly being chased by bigger nations. Most of them thought her culture and population strange and they picked on her for that. Had they no mercy? Apparently not. She looked behind her as she kept running, a group of men with pitiful weapons cursed and ran after her. Suddenly, _______ felt herself bump into someone and she fell back. Her eyes traveled up the tall pair of legs, that she'd hit, to a young man staring down at her pitiful state. He had uncontrollable blonde hair, abnormally large eyebrows, and emerald green eyes. _______ backed up a little as the man stared at her with a concerned expression.
"There's the brat!" Someone shouted from behind her. _______ let out a small scream and hid herself behind the blonde man, clutching to his pant leg. He looked down at her silently and then back up at the angry mob calmly but coldly.
"May I help you gentlemen?" He asked icely, a graceful British accent was obvious in his voice. The men glared at him and then at _______.
"Hand the girl over, Arthur and you won't get hurt." They threatened, but Arthur wasn't impressed. He glanced down at the little girl's frightened face and anger boiling within him.
"Do you even know to whom you're addressing? If anyone will be getting hurt, it's you." Arthur threatened, "Now leave the poor girl alone and get the bloody hell out of my sight before I decide to let loose an army on your lands." He yelled, making the mob of men to back up a little. They knew that it was a bad idea to mess with one of the most powerful nations in the world. The men growled.
"You'll regret trying to protect this worthless brat." One of the men spat at ______, causing her to whimper in fear and clutch Arthur's pant leg a little tighter.
"I'll take my chances, but I warn you not to mess with a former pirate." Arthur growled back, "Now leave." The men looked at each other and decided to fall back with one more dirty glare to ______ and Arthur. Once they were out of sight, Arthur turned around and knelt down in front of the little girl. She cried and looked up at her savior.
"You shouldn't have done that! They're not lying, they'll come back and-"
"It's alright, I can deal with those wankers." Arthur interrupted gently, "What's your name, poppet?" He asked.
"______." ______ said softly and Arthur gave her a kind smile before standing up again.
"Well, ______, how about you stay with me for a while. You looked like you could use some rest." He offered, holding out his hand for her to take. She looked up at him with wide (e/c) eyes, tears forming in the corners. She hugged his leg again and squealed a thousand 'thank you's. Arthur instinctively blushed, but let out a small chuckle, as he took ______'s hand and led her towards his house.
Time Skip (middle of the night)...
"Useless piece of trash!"
"How do you even have the nerve to call yourself a country?!"
______ endured the insults as the mob kicked her and hit her with sticks and pebbles. Their leather shoes constantly impaling her sides and stomach. Tears cascaded down her blood stained face, there was no one to hear her helpless cries. No one to save her from the constant pains and aches.
"Arthur!" ______ screamed, automatically sitting upright in her new silk bed. Her hair was still damp from the bath that she had a few hours earlier. Her frail body was shaking madly, cold sweat slipped down her face, and her breath was heavy as if she'd been holding it for ages. Fast footsteps were heard down the hall, becoming louder when a breathless Arthur slammed open the door. His hair and eyes were in a wild and stressed state.
"______, are you alright?! Are you hurt?!" He asked franctically walking up to her bed fast and surrounding her with a hug. ______ sobbed into Arthur's shoulder as he tried to comfort her with soothing words.
"It alright, ______. I promise those bastards won't lay a hand on you. Look at me poppet. Look at me." He ordered her gently, holding ______ by the shoulders and pulling her away so that she was forced to look into his brilliant green eyes.
"Shh, come, stop you're crying, it'll be alright." Arthur cooed, rubbing her slipping tears away with his thumb.
"Just take my hand." He took ______'s small hands into his and have them a squeeze. "Hold it tight." Arthur pressed his forehead against hers and continued to comfort her.
"I will protect you from all around you. I'll be here, ______, don't you cry." ______ threw her small arms around his neck, hiding her face in his sweater, taking in the scent of earl grey tea. Arthur returned the hug, and the little girl tightened her grip, causing him to chuckle softly.
"Bloody hell, for one so small, you seem so strong." He teased softly, feeling her shivering body, hearing her whimpers. "You're alright, I promise. My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm." ______ gently pulled away and gave Arthur a small sad smile. He grinned wider and tapped her nose gently, earning a cute giggle.
"This bond between us can't be broken, ______. Because I'll always be here, so don't you cry. You'll always be with me. You'll be in my heart." Arthur explained, as the little girl in front of him listened intently. One of her small hands touches his chest, the side in which his heart is.
"Promise?" ______, asking. Arthur smiled putting his hand over hers.
"From this day on, now and forever more. You'll be here in my heart, ______, always" He concluded, earning another warm hug from the little girl. But ______ was still scared of those cruel countries, what they'd do to her if they found her again.
"Arthur, I'm afraid though." She whimpered and Arthur cursed under his breath.
"You know I used to be outcasted like that as well?" He said, now getting up to sit on the bed with ______. She looked at him wide-eyes, obviously not believing what she just heard. Arthur noticed her expression and chuckled.
"Yeah, when I was just your height and age, people chased me around, tried to hurt me, to kill me." He faltered, and looked back at ______'s adorable face. "But my brother, Allistor, he defended me, protected me from their cruelty, and here I am. A strong, powerful country, and someday you will be too, ______." Arthur gave the little girl a playful nudge and she giggled. His face was sad and completely serious though.
"Why can't they just understand the way we feel? I guess they just don't trust what they can't explain. We're different, but deep inside us we're not that different at all." ______ clutched onto Arthur sleeve hugging, her body still shook furiously, she'd been through too much for her age.
"Arthur, am I brat? Am I worthless, like they said? Should I just die? I know that I can't stay with you forever because you don't need me and I'm useless, and when I face them again, will they try to kill me? That's what those countries said they'd do" ______ asked, more tears started to form in her eyes. Arthur looked down at the helpless little girl with wide emerald eyes. How could she even think that?
"Don't listen to those gits, what do they know? We need each other." He took both her hands and gave them a small squeeze. "To have and to hold. They'll see in time that...I know they will." Arthur tried to find more comforting words to say to ______without lying to her.
"One day though, when you're grown up and strong, you'll leave because you have to take care of your people, that's destiny. And when that destiny calls for you, you must be strong. I may not be with you, ______, but you have to hold on for me. I promise, those gits will see in time, and they'll leave you alone, I know because we're going to show them together." Arthur brushed a strand of (h/c) hair out of the little girl's tear stained face. She made a small smile.
"You'll be in my heart too, Arthur. I promise you'll always been in my heart as well." _______ said, giving the Brit another hug. She didn't know it, but what she'd just said might have made Arthur the happiest person in the world, for a moment. He chuckled.
"I'll be there for you from this day on, now and forever more, ______." He promised again, "No matter what they say." ______ smiled and let go, shimmying down into the bed again. Arthur sighed, stood up, and gave the little girl a quick peck on her forehead.
"Whenever you're afraid, just look over your shoulder, and I'll be there. Always" He whispered, as ______'s eyelids drooped closed. Her, fast shaky breathing turned soft and peaceful. Arthur just chuckled.
"Goodnight, love." He whispered and tiptoed out the door, shutting the lights behind him.
Time Skip (a few hundred years later)...
______ had grown up and she was moving out. She had practically bloomed into a beautiful country, full of life and culture. With the help of Arthur, those other countries left her alone and recognized her independence. Speaking of Arthur, she didn’t want to leave him, not one bit, but he encouraged her and prepared her for this day, so she didn’t have a choice in the matter.
“Remember to invest in the military before everything else. You need to establish a stable government before signing any treaties with anyone else. And don’t forget-” Arthur was interrupted by ______ engulfing him in a hug.
“I’ll be fine, Arthur, really! If I need any advice I’ll be sure to contact you. And expect visits from me often. You haven’t gotten rid of me forever.” She joked playfully, earning a chuckle from the Brit.
“I know, I know, love. I can’t keep babying you anymore. You’re a young, beautiful country now. What happened to that adorable little girl, who hung on to my pant leg for hours on end without letting go?” He teased. ______ laughed and gave Arthur another hug.
“I’m gonna miss you so much.” She whispered into his chest, on the verge of tears. The Brit chuckled as he pet her soft hair.
“I know you will, poppet. And you’ll especially miss my scones.” He joked, and ______ burst out laughing.
“You wish!” A honk came from the end of the driveway and Arthur slowly, and reluctantly let her go.
“That’s your ride I guess.” He sighed, and ______ stared at the cab and back at the Brit. She grabbed her suitcase and with one last kiss on the nose, walked away slowly to the car. _____ fought back the tears that threatened to fall, she was afraid, so very afraid.
“Just look over your shoulder” Arthur’s voice echoed in her head. She froze dead in her spot.
“Whenever you’re afraid, just look over your shoulder, and I’ll be there. Always.” His voice repeated. ______ let her tears fall and she slowly turned around, looking over her shoulder. Arthur had turned around, scratched the back of his neck awkwardly, as he started to walk back into the house. ______ dropped her suitcase and ran to him.
“Arthur!” She called, and just when he turned around she tackled him in a hug. He was surprised at first, but quickly returned the gesture, hiding his face in the crook of her neck. Tears were falling down both their faces now.
“You’ll be in my heart, ______. Remember that.” He whispered and gave her a long kiss on the forehead, wiping away her tears with his thumb. She smiled up at him and buried her face in his chest.
“From this day on.” ______ quoted.
“Now and forever more, love. I promise.” Arthur finished, giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head before pulling away. She smiled up at him, unafraid, and she ran to the cab. Waving one last time to the Brit, she got in the car and drove away.
"Always." Arthur whispered to himself and walked back to his house, alone.