Prompt: Day 1 - 'Adventure is Out There'
Pairing(s): Not USUK... yet? ;u;
Word Count: 1661
Summary: Alfred attempts to befriend Arthur while on a school hike
Notes: I'm attempting to write a one-shot for each day that eventually connects up into an entire story. Because it was too difficult to make it in order according to prompts, the stories will be out of chronological order ;u;
Hike | How to Make Friends | The Fight | Crush | Lights | Coffee | Date | Explanations | Talk | Those Three Words | Make You Better | Marigolds | Think of Me | Promises
They didn’t know each other. Or rather, they didn’t acknowledge each other. Ever since he’d transferred to the school, everyone had warned him about Arthur Kirkland. He’d been told repeatedly that the sole member of the school’s Occults Club was bad news.
“Let’s get going on our ‘adventure’, then.” Alfred eyed the other boy in distaste as he took a compass out of the box. “The sooner we leave, the sooner we can get back to camp.”
He watched as the slight, pale boy collected a map from the pile of printouts. Arthur Kirkland was definitely a strange one. The Briton was always quiet and distracted, and he never seemed to care much for human contact. Too bad the hiking challenge was composed of alphabetically-sorted pairs, then.
“Which way are we supposed to go?” he demanded, leaning over Arthur’s shoulder to peer at the map. “Our first checkpoint is B, right?”
Arthur nodded dully and hefted up his hiking pack. Alfred pretended not to notice the way that the over-stuffed bag tugged heavily at the shorter boy’s shoulders, weighing him down backwards. Instead, he picked up his own pack and set about adjusting the straps until the signal to leave was given.
“Let’s go,” he muttered, snatching the map away and setting off without stopping to make sure that his team mate was following. Alfred placed the cheap compass in the palm of his hand and stared down at it irritably. Instead of simply admitting that he had no idea how to use the compass, he began to stomp off in a random direction. He hadn’t expected slender, long fingers to take the map back after only a few steps.
Arthur frowned down at the map for a moment, then took the compass as well. He fiddled with it, re-orienting himself and then turning the dial so that they would be heading straight towards the checkpoint. Alfred watched in silence, only growing more irritated with Arthur’s lack of speech.
“What, can’t you talk?” he asked cruelly. “I mean, I heard you were weird but I didn’t know that you’re a mute, too!”
Arthur finally glanced up at him. It was the first time that they had ever looked each other in the eyes, and Alfred was struck by how bright and unnatural the green of the Briton’s eyes seemed to be. It was almost eerie. Alfred quickly tore his gaze away. He knew that it was wrong to bully someone, but Arthur was so insufferable! If Arthur had made some sort of attempt at communicating, then Alfred might have disregarded his friends’ advice and talked to the other boy. But with Arthur acting this way, it was rather easy to justify why he was being so horrible and un-heroic.
That didn’t help an awful feeling from bubbling up in his gut, though.
“Sorry,” Alfred muttered finally, glaring at the grass in front of him. He hated feeling guilty. When he glanced over, Arthur’s eyes were wide, as if no one had ever apologised for bullying him before in his life.
“That’s quite all right,” Arthur replied quietly, as if by reflex. As soon as he said it, he glared up at Alfred, as if challenging him. Alfred gave the most easy-going grin he could muster.
“Okay, then,” he said simply.
They reached checkpoint B by late afternoon. Alfred hated to admit it, but Arthur definitely knew a lot about compasses and maps. He had been carrying the tent in his pack, so he left to set it up while leaving Arthur to deal with the food and campfire. It was getting dark rather quickly, and he wanted to have their shelter up before the sun disappeared completely. He wasn’t scared, per se, but there were definitely things out there in the dark, and he didn’t want anything to do with them.
Alfred finished pitching the tent just in time to see Arthur staring off into the distance, eyes slightly unfocussed as he mumbled and absently stirred a pot of baked beans. The Briton had been almost completely silent for the entire day, other than his quiet acceptance of Alfred’s apology earlier and a shrill, startled yelp when he’d almost fallen into a creek. Alfred assumed that the other boy was simply tired. It was hard to miss the dark smudges under his eyes, especially when his skin was so pale. His pack had seemed heavy, too. Alfred resolved to offer him some help later.
“What are you doing?” he asked, coming around and plopping down on the log next to Arthur. The slighter boy startled, tensing up and making a tiny sound of surprise.
“That’s none of your business,” he snapped, before looking away uneasily. He seemed to focus on something slightly beyond the fire, and Alfred felt chills going up his spine.
“What are you looking at?” Alfred tried again, scooting a little closer and attempting to peer into the same direction. “There’s nothing out there.”
Arthur’s mouth opened slightly, then closed again. His shoulders appeared to slump fractionally. “Of course there is,” he muttered. “Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean—”
“As if!” Alfred interrupted frantically, clapping a hand over each of his ears. “There are no such things as ghosts, or monsters, or anything like that! Ahahaha… there’s no such thing. They don’t exist. So stop trying to scare me because it’s not working and you won’t get any stupid pictures of me to blackmail me with!”
The smell of something burning suddenly assaulted them, and Alfred leaned in to peer at the pot. “Dude,” he said, sounding awed now instead of completely terrified as he had just moments before, “how the hell did you manage to burn baked beans?”
Sleeping with Arthur Kirkland was beyond awkward.
The Briton was curled up in his sleeping bag, facing away from Alfred. He appeared to be sound asleep, giving tiny, snuffling snores that were actually kind of funny. That is, they would have been funny if Alfred wasn’t currently scared out of his wits.
He couldn’t stop thinking about what Arthur had said earlier. What had he seen? What was out there? They’d put out their campfire and the surrounding checkpoint area was completely dark, but the almost-full moon cast long, eerie shadows upon the sides of the tent.
Alfred suddenly felt the need to pee.
“Arthur!” he whispered loudly, playing with the zip on his sleeping bag. “Arthur, are you awake?”
He was obviously asleep, but that didn’t stop Alfred from trying. “Arthur, wake up!”
He scooted out of his warm sleeping back and slowly crawled across to where Arthur was lying. “Arthur!” he hissed again. The other boy merely mumbled a bit and shifted, but didn’t wake. Alfred reached out to shake him… only to come in contact with something soft and fluffy.
With a completely unmanly squeak, Alfred snatched his hand back. What the hell had he touched? What the hell? He sat still for a moment, breathing deeply. Slowly, he reached back over and prodded the thing again, squinting in the dark. It seemed like a toy, or something, but there was something weird on its head.
“Oh my God,” Alfred whispered, grinning widely. Arthur Kirkland slept with a unicorn plushie. He couldn’t wait to tell the guys about this. Idly, he thought that perhaps he should take a picture to prove it. But the thought of it being spread around school was too cruel. And anyway, Arthur wasn’t hurting anyone, right? It was actually kind of… cute.
Alfred went back to his sleeping bag, his urge to pee gone. Had he honestly just thought that? Maybe eating those burnt baked beans had poisoned him after all.
They made it to the next checkpoint without incident, and were on their way back to the base camp. Arthur seemed to be opening up little by little, scolding Alfred for taking risks or getting offended over the tiniest of things. Alfred couldn’t help but wonder why Arthur was always alone if he wasn’t a bad person.
“Hey,” he said, taking a drink from his canister as Arthur bent over to adjust his shoelaces. They were so close to camp that they could hear shouting and cheering in the distance. “Why don’t you come sit with me and the guys at lunch, or something? You know, when we get back to camp.”
“I must regretfully decline,” Arthur muttered, straightening up. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be seen around me, anyway.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Alfred demanded, bristling. He prided himself on being a good guy, and even though he hadn’t been all that nice to Arthur at first, he was trying now! That’s what counted, right?
“People like you are all the same,” Arthur said. “You’re all two-faced bastards and I want nothing to do with you.”
The way that Arthur said it should have been warning enough. His tone was cold and matter-of-fact, as if he was merely saying something for the sake of saying it, instead of actually believing in his own words. Arthur was purposely attempting to drive him away, and unfortunately, Alfred fell for it.
“You’re just sore ‘cause you don’t have any friends,” Alfred snapped, offended. “You could be a cool guy, but you don’t even try! All you do is mope around by yourself. It’s like you’re scared of something!”
He watched as Arthur’s face reddened, then paled. “You don’t know what it means to be scared of something,” he snapped. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Well you know what?” Alfred gestured rudely, scowling in the most menacing way he could. “I don’t even care! You think saying all that stuff makes you so cool, but you’re actually just a loser. Go sit by yourself then, like always!”
He stormed off then, straight towards the sounds of the camp. It didn’t matter if Arthur was still following him or not. Screw Arthur.