Title: How to Make Friends
Prompt: Day 7 - 'Part of Your World'
Word Count: 1282
Summary: Alfred basically forces Arthur to become his friend, but fails?
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
The Occults Club classroom overlooked the sports oval and tennis courts. Arthur had never been particularly interested in those areas of the school, but after the incident at camp he was curious. Who was Jones, and why had he made such a ludicrous offer? What was even more ridiculous was the fact that Arthur was still bothered by what Jones had said.
‘You could be a cool guy, but you don’t even try.’
He had tried. He’d tried several times in the past, but it just wasn’t possible. He was just too different from everyone else. No one else saw the things that he did. No one else was forced to listen to the dead recount their tales of woe, or the faeries chanting nonsensical, ominous things. Though he was sure that others out there were plagued by the same beings that he was, he’d never met them and there didn’t seem to be others at the school. He couldn’t fit in with the normal people. It wasn’t possible.
Arthur gazed down at the oval, watching the football team go through their drills. Jones was a puzzling fellow; he was inherently kind, but also like every other teenager. He was eager to fit in and hated to be criticised. Arthur, on the other hand, knew that he’d never fit in and had grown numb to the many rumours about himself.
He noticed that he had focussed on a single player running warm-down laps around the oval. Alfred was at the front of the group, laughing and joking with his friends as they continued back around towards the coach. Stupid Jones. He couldn’t stop watching though, even as the boys began to do their stretches.
What made Jones so different? What made him so interesting?
Well, it didn’t matter anymore. Arthur had successfully driven him off back during the hike, so he didn’t have to worry about Jones coming near him again.
“I’m fine on my own,” he said quietly, pressing his face so close against the window that it was beginning to fog up from his breath.
“You aren’t alone, Arthur,” the faeries chimed. “You have us. We’re all you need.”
“I know,” he sighed. Sometimes he wished that he could be like everyone else. He wished that he could live the way that everyone else lived, and only have to worry about simple things. Maybe then he’d have friends.
He jolted in his seat, painfully smacking his forehead against the window as he saw Alfred suddenly look up. Even from that distance, Arthur could clearly make out a wide grin on the American’s face. He glared back determinedly, just in case Alfred was looking at him and not at a girl on the floor below. Down on the oval, Alfred was beginning to wave. Arthur tried to ignore it, but the stupid idiotic excuse for a high schooler merely waved harder, all but flailing his arms around.
Arthur scowled and gave him the finger.
Immediately he could see Alfred burst into laughter, clutching at his stomach while his friends prodded at him curiously.
Alfred really had been waving at him, then. Arthur felt his cheeks warm up.
When he opened his locker, Arthur was surprised to find an envelope inside. He opened it cautiously, lest it was filled with itching powder or something of the sort. It contained some kind of invitation. Arthur didn’t bother to read it, instead crumpling it up and shoving it into the nearest bin. He received these all the time—some ‘popular’ member of the grade would simply shove invitations into everyone’s lockers and then expect everyone to attend. He hated how ‘outcast’ groups always jumped at the opportunity to attend those parties even though the popular people treated them like crap.
He never bothered to go to any of the parties. He couldn’t have fit in, anyway.
As he filed out of his last class of the day, a hand suddenly descended onto his shoulder. Arthur whirled around, his posture defensive.
“Hey, chill,” came Alfred’s obnoxious voice. “I just wanted to ask if you got the invite? I’m having a birthday party.”
“I got it,” Arthur replied, shrugging off the other boy’s hand. “But I won’t be attending.”
He had to admit that Alfred’s acting skills were quite good. The boy seemed to visibly deflate, his shoulders sagging and his bottom lip protruding a bit. “But I wanted you to come!”
“You don’t always get what you want.” Arthur made his way through the masses of students and headed for his locker. He packed his bag in silence, well aware of the boy who was standing behind him and still giving him puppy eyes.
“I want to be friends with you,” the boy insisted. “I’m sure you’re really cool!”
“Well I do not wish to become friends with you.”
He walked away without allowing Alfred to say another word.
There was no football training on that afternoon. Arthur gazed out of the window at the solid mass of mud being produced by the rain.
“There you are!”
He tried to ignore the voice, but knew that it didn’t belong to any of the spirits or faeries that surrounded him. “What do you want, Jones?” he finally sighed.
“I just wanted to convince you to come to my party.” The American entered and sat himself up on the desk next to Arthur, swinging his legs. “It’ll be super fun, and I won’t just leave you in a corner by yourself.”
“I thought I made it clear to you that I have no intention to attend.”
“It’ll be fun.”
Arthur finally looked away from the window, glaring at the other boy. “I don’t think that you’re understanding me. I am not like you, Jones. I do not want to attend parties. I do not want to get drunk and do stupid things and have photographs taken of me. I just want to be left alone. I’m not one of you. I’m not part of the kind of life you live.”
“You could be, though,” Alfred argued. “But… fine, then. What do you want to do?”
“I don’t want to do anything that involves you.”
“What about chess? You like that kind of thing, right?”
It was surprising that Jones did remember that, actually. Arthur had attempted to join the chess club when first starting at the school, but had felt too isolated from the other club members to continue. “I do,” he confirmed, “but you probably can’t even play.”
“I can so!” Alfred rubbed his hands together gleefully. “I’m really good, too! Mattie makes me play against him. Let’s say… if I win, then you have to come to my party!”
“And if you lose, you have to leave me alone.”
“I’ll leave you alone for a whole week.”
The next afternoon saw them squaring off against each other in a game of chess. True to his word, Alfred was a formidable opponent but in the end, Arthur triumphed. Still, it had been exhilarating and almost… fun, to be playing against another person instead of online or against the faeries.
Alfred had looked so thoroughly disappointed that Arthur almost felt bad. He still didn’t understand why the American craved his presence at his party so much; it was probably some kind of social status booster to have him turn up. He had no reason to feel sorry for the stupid git. He wasn’t part of that, no matter how much he’d wanted to be.
Still, when Alfred arrived at school on his birthday, he found a neatly wrapped gift in his locker. It was unlabelled, but he could guess who it was from.