Prompt: Day 10 - 'I 2 I'
Word Count: 1604
Rating/Warnings: K+? Swearing, very brief mention of sex.
Summary: Alfred goes all out in an attempt to prove something to Arthur.
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;
I've wanted to play with this concept ever since I saw the marigolds sign at the botanical gardens XD
Hike | How to Make Friends | The Fight | Crush | Lights | Coffee | Date | Explanations | Talk | Those Three Words | Make You Better | Marigolds | Think of Me | Promises
Arthur’s recovery had been disappointingly slow. It was as if he lacked any determination to return to his usual routine. Sure, he went to his classes and cleaned up around the flat, but it was obvious that he was still bothered by something.
It had been a long and arduous process, but eventually Alfred felt that he had convinced Arthur’s mother of his intentions. He wasn’t going to leave Arthur. And Arthur definitely didn’t need to be on those medications. If anything, those drugs were wrecking Arthur’s life.
Arthur had begun to See again, though. As clarity returned to him, so did his fear of being crazy. The fact that Arthur didn’t seem in the least bit inclined to believe Alfred was very frustrating, and Alfred hated feeling helpless like that. There was nothing that he could do to prove that Arthur wasn’t insane, and the Briton wasn’t going to simply take his word for it.
There had to be something he could do. He just hadn’t thought of it yet.
Alfred cautiously poked his head into the dark, musty shop. He hated skipping lectures, but knew that it was necessary. He didn’t want Arthur to find out just yet. The bell dangling from the top of the door gave a sudden tinkle as he pushed the door open a little bit wider.
His voice came out sounding nervous and strained. As he glanced around, Alfred could see strange things in jars on the shelves, along with what looked suspiciously like real hones. One of his friends had recommended this shop when he’d been asking around about mystical, occult stuff. He knew next to nothing about the topic, and the internet wasn’t very helpful—the information was all conflicting or just sounded completely ridiculous. Apparently the lady who owned the store would be able to help him, though.
Alfred flinched and spun around, only to find an old, wizened woman standing behind him. Her back was hunched and her face bore the lines from many years of life, but her eyes were still clear and held a spark of mischievousness.
“Um, I have a question—or a few…” He scratched the back of his head awkwardly and looked away. “Do you mind?”
“Of course not. Go ahead, dearie.” The woman began to rearrange the orbs on a nearby shelf as Alfred tried to summon his courage.
“I-is it possible to see… faeries and ghosts and stuff?”
There was a long silence. Alfred was almost afraid that the woman would refuse to answer, but eventually she turned to him, her face grave.
“We can see anything, if only we look hard enough. Human beings tend to skip over things that we deem unimportant.”
“But… is there a way to see?”
The woman frowned, cupping an orb between her hands and peering down at it. “It is dangerous to meddle with these things,” she warned. “The spirits and Fair Folk do not appreciate being gawked at.”
“It’s not just out of curiosity,” he insisted. “It’s… really important to me. I have to show him that he’s not crazy. I have to, or else he’s just going to keep hating himself and then his mom’ll make him go on those pills again but there’s nothing wrong with him!” His voice rose as he tried to express how urgent his question was. This wasn’t a case of simple amusement-seeking. This was for Arthur.
“I see.” She placed the orb back down on the shelf, a small smile gracing her lips. “Marigolds.”
“Pick them at midnight, and brew them in a tea. Before you go to bed, dab the tea onto your eyelids. The amount of time that you’ll be able to See varies from person to person… but be careful. When you become more aware of spiritual beings, so too will they become more aware of you.”
Her words sent a chill down Alfred’s spine, but he knew that for Arthur, he’d brave anything.
He’d decided to try it as soon as possible. Alfred purchased a potted marigold plant on the way home, hoping that it would be enough. He arrived home with barely ten minutes to water and hide the plant before Arthur arrived home.
The Briton was still thinner than was healthy, and though he had regained a bit of his colour he still seemed rather pale. As he stumbled in and toed his shoes off at the door, Alfred caught sight of the exhausted expression on the other man’s face.
“Welcome home, babe,” he greeted quietly, reaching out to take Arthur’s book bag. “Long day?”
Arthur looked up at him, his eyes as green and beautiful as ever, but still duller than they once had been. It made Alfred’s heart ache, and he once again swore to himself to restore that spark to them soon.
“Do you want dinner?” Alfred tried, when he realised that he wouldn’t be getting a response from his boyfriend. “I haven’t cooked anything, but we can if you want—or we can order takeaway. Do you want Chinese tonight? Or Indian?”
It took him a moment before he noticed that Arthur wasn’t even looking at him. His gaze was somewhere over Alfred’s shoulder instead.
“Artie? Sweetheart, look at me.” He gripped Arthur’s chin gently and tilted his face up. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” Arthur said finally, his voice hoarse. “I’m sorry, Alfred. I suppose I’m rather tired…”
Alfred wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Do you wanna just eat and then go to bed? You don’t have to do any study tonight. You’re already on top of things.”
“That sounds very tempting.” He gave a soft smile. “You’ll be joining me, I expect?”
“Of course.” Alfred leaned in and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “Now go shower or something, yeah?”
Arthur nodded wearily and wandered into the bedroom. Alfred ordered some Chinese takeaway and by the time Arthur was back, dressed in his fuzzy, pastel-coloured, unicorn-patterned pyjamas, Alfred had dished everything up ready for them to eat. Dinner was a quiet affair, but every now and then Arthur would smile gratefully or give Alfred’s hand a light squeeze.
Soon enough, they had cleaned up and were ready for bed. Alfred slipped into bed behind Arthur and spooned him, relishing the closeness of the Briton’s body. “I love you,” he murmured quietly.
“I do love you, too,” Arthur whispered back.
He would do what he had to, to keep Arthur happy.
At midnight, Alfred crept out of bed and picked the flowers. He boiled the petals for a while, hoping that it would work.
All he could do was try, though, so he dabbed the mixture onto his eyelids and went back to bed.
When Alfred woke up the next morning, the first thing he saw was a tall, fuzzy figure leaning over the bed.
“Holy crap!” He flailed a bit, trying to untangle himself from the covers and only succeeding in making himself even more trapped. Beside him, Arthur began to stir.
“Wha’zza matter?” the Briton mumbled, rolling over to face him and peering up blearily.
“A-Artie… Look!” Horrified, Alfred pointed at the figure. He could see the figure’s mouth moving, but he couldn’t hear anything that it was saying. Arthur evidently could, though, because he glanced up at the figure and then at the tiny, glowing things that were circling above them.
“Oh.” Arthur cocked his head to the side curiously, still looking intently at the things. “I see. This is what you meant.”
“They’re there. They’re really there. Holy fucking shit, Arthur!” He couldn’t seem to lower his hand, and continued pointing. “What’s it doing here? What does it want?”
Arthur frowned disapprovingly and tugged his boyfriend’s hand down. “It’s rude to point. But… did you really… can you really see them?”
“Yeah.” Alfred let out a girly shriek and clung to the other man as another figure popped out from a wall. “Oh my fucking God, what are they doing they’re everywhere and shit do they watch us shower and have sex and stuff—”
“They most certainly do not!” Arthur huffed. “They are perfectly decent! But…” he looked away then, playing with the buttons on his pyjamas. “They said you did something… to make yourself See. Marigolds, they said. I… why?”
“I love you,” Alfred declared, proud that he only let out one tiny squeak. “I love you and if I can see them too then you’re obviously not crazy. You just don’t need the flowers too see stuff. You’re perfectly normal though, mentally. Your mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
He sat there, still clinging to Arthur, as the Briton stared at him with wide eyes. He was also uncomfortably aware of the faeries and spirits gazing at him openly, their mouths moving up and down without any sound coming out.
“You are so silly,” Arthur said finally, twisting around to bury his face against Alfred’s neck. “You’re such a sweet, silly, wonderful boy, and I do love you so.”
“I love you, too,” the American replied automatically. He closed his eyes and curled up around Arthur. “But I think I’m going to have a heart attack if I keep seeing those guys pop out of places. I love you heaps, babe, but I’m never doing this again unless I for some reason want to piss myself and die.”
Arthur simply laughed for the first time in a long while. It was light and carefree, and it was the most beautiful sound that Alfred had ever heard.