Alfred perked up as he heard the apartment door open. His boyfriend had been out later than normal, and Alfred had been having a rough day. Alfred really just wanted to cuddle with Arthur for a bit, to rest and forget about finals and school and his stupid engineering project. So he called out to his boyfriend, “Arthur! You’re home!”
He waited for his boyfriend to turn the corner from the door, but the other seemed compelled to stay in the small alcove in front of the door. Alfred, now concerned, stood and walked towards the door, “Arthur?”
He stepped back when his boyfriend stepped around the corner, looking purposefully away from Alfred. He had his leather jacket collar turned up, in an effort Alfred recognized from when Arthur used to get into fights often and would try and hide his injuries.
Now visibly concerned, Alfred reached out and placed a hand on Arthur’s arm as he tried to push past Alfred.
Arthur sighed, knowing he was caught, and turned to face Alfred. Alfred gasped, stepping towards his boyfriend to get a better look.
His face was bruised in multiple places, the beginnings of a black eye rested under one of his eyes, a split lip framed his piercing, his cheek purpled from what was obviously a hefty punch. Glancing down at Arthur’s chest, he could see bruises peeking out from his ripped shirt.
Alfred forgot all his own worries and grievances about his day, now fully focused on patching up Arthur. Stoney faced, he dragged Arthur towards the bathroom, ignoring his insistence that he was fine. Pointing at the toilet, Alfred made him sit down as he dug around for the first aid kit. Something they used to use often, but after a long, painful conversation, had been packed up as Arthur started to avoid fights.
Whatever had driven Arthur to a fight could wait for later, because right now, Alfred focused on cleaning up Arthur’s face and getting him some ice for the bruises. He dug around for the cream to smear on the nasty split lip Arthur had, turning to apply it. Arthur didn’t protest, which may have been odd if Alfred didn’t currently have on a very stern look in his eyes, one that made it clear he would except no such protests from Arthur.
Once the cut looked fine, Alfred left the room to run to the freezer and grab ice. He placed a couple ice packs in towels and carried them back to the bathroom, handing one to Arthur, who quickly set it on his side with a hiss. Alfred placed the other under Arthur’s eye, careful to be gentle.
He withdrew after a second, glancing down at the bruises that were visible on Arthur’s chest. He sighed, “Arthur, take your shirt off.”
Arthur opened his mouth, likely to make a snarky comment about not being in the mood, but then seemed to rethink it. He set his ice pack on the counter before he slid his jacket off. As he moved to take his shirt off, he winced, and Alfred was set into motion, grabbing the hem of Arthur’s shirt to help him.
When the shirt was off, Alfred gasped. On Arthur’s side was a huge bruise, and Alfred knew he was quite close to fracturing a rib. He frowned, but Arthur let out a soft chuckle as he moved the ice pack back onto the bruise.
“You should see the other guy, love.”
Alfred was not amused. If anything, it spurred him on to ask, “Arthur, why? You said you wouldn’t get into fights anymore. You know I hate seeing you like this- what happened?”
Arthur dragged his eyes to the ground, his playful demeanor gone. His brow was drawn, a furious scowl made his lips curl. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Alfred kneeled in front of Arthur, trying to get back into his line of sight, “Sweetheart, please, I don’t understand what’s so important that you’d fight over it, and then not tell me why. ”
Sharply looking up, Arthur glared at Alfred, “I couldn’t let him keep saying that shit.” Arthur spat out the words, as if even thinking of that they had said was disgusting.
Alfred sighed, reaching up to caress the unbruised side of Arthur’s face. “What’d he say?”
Arthur looked away again, his fists clenched in a way that once may have made Alfred nervous, but now just made him anxious to know what was wrong.
“I’m not going to tell you.” Arthur said.
Arthur scowled at the wall, “I don’t want to see the look on your face when I tell you.”
“Arthur, I’ll be fine. You’re the one that’s injured, and I’m more hurt that you won’t tell me.”
Glancing into Alfred’s eyes, Arthur huffed. “He was talking about you.”
“Oh.” There was nothing else Alfred could say. He often got teased, mocked, and bullied. He was used to it- being out and chubby in a fairly southern small town made that a staple of his life. Moving away for college, he’d hoped to escape it. And mostly, he did. Only a few people ever bothered him, and it was always for his actions, never for something as superficial as his sexuality or weight.
And the few times Arthur had heard someone talking shit about Alfred once they got together led to Arthur inevitably getting into a fight. Alfred always tried to stop him, but Arthur always told him he couldn’t stand how people would talk to Alfred and he’d just laugh it off.
It hadn’t happened in a long time, both because Alfred was now working on his master’s, so he was surrounded by people who were either too mature to do something as petty as talk shit and bully someone, or they were too busy with school work to do so. Plus, Arthur had mellowed out since they got serious. He stopped his self-destructive behaviors, while the punk clothing stayed and his attitude was still prickly, he’d grown.
But apparently, he would still get into a fight over someone saying something horrible about Alfred.
So he braced himself as he said, “Just tell me. I want to know what you thought was worth getting so injured over.”
Arthur snorted, “Trust me, he’s way worse off than me.”
A sigh, “I don’t want to repeat what he said.”
Alfred exhaled, “Be vague, please, just tell me why-”
“He called you an idiot. He said horrible things about how you didn’t earn any of your achievements, just that you’d slept with the headmaster and stupid fucking shit like that.” Arthur spat out.
Alfred leaned back, stunned. As angry he’d been with Arthur for how he’d gotten into a fight, he couldn’t blame him, not really. If he’d heard anyone say stuff like that about Arthur, he’d be pissed.
But Alfred didn’t know why Arthur was so against him knowing that was what had been said, and he asked Arthur as such.
“Because!” Arthur hissed out, “It’s not true. That slimy bitch has no idea what he’s talking about. You’re so smart, Alfred, you earned everything you've worked towards and you deserve so much more-”
“If I ever see that man again, I swear I will kill him. Filth like him-”
“Doesn’t deserve to be on the same planet as you, I’m going to fucking-”
“Arthur!” Alfred yelled, grabbing at Arthur’s arms in an attempt to stop his rant. “I’m fine, see? I don’t care what he said. I mean, yeah, it’s rude and if he’d said it about you I’d probably punch him too, but I’m fine. Don’t get worked up over it anymore, okay? That’s probably all he was trying to do- rile you up.”
Arthur looked at him, and Alfred sighed at seeing tears in his eyes, “Alfred, you’re amazing, you know that, right? You’re so smart, and-”
“Arthur, I’m okay. Don’t worry.” He caressed his face, frowning at the bruises on Arthur’s face, “But you’re not.” He picked up the ice pack and set it back on the black eye that was forming.
Arthur gave a half-smile, “I love you, dear.”
Alfred smiled and stood, “I love you. Now, let’s get you to bed.”
Arthur laughed and followed suit, wincing a little and adjusting the ice pack on his side. He took hold of the one under his eye as he said, “Alfred, it’s three in the afternoon.”
“Maybe so, but someone’s had a busy day.” He said as he led Arthur into the bedroom. “I think we both deserve a nap.”
Arthur nodded, and Alfred pulled the sheets down and crawled into bed, watching as Arthur kicked his boots off and slowly slid in next to him. He kept the ice back on his eye, but set the other one down on the side table.
Alfred scooted closer to his boyfriend, returning the smile Arthur gave him, before he crawled on top of him.
“What are you doing, love?”
He let his grin grow before he gave Arthur a peck on the lips. He then set about kissing every bruise on Arthur’s face, ignoring the soft chuckle Arthur let out. He nudged the ice pack aside, softly brushing his lips against the damaged skin before he pulled away.
“I love you.” Alfred said. He then scooted downwards, pressing a kiss to each bruise that trailed down Arthur’s chest. He frowned as he glimpsed a mark under Arthur’s chin. “What happened here?”
Arthur scoffed. “The idiot slammed me down onto his car. It didn’t hurt, except I bit my tongue a little.”
Alfred scowled, “I don’t like that.” He paused, before letting a sly smile stretch across his face. “Want me to kiss that better too?”
“Yes, please.” Arthur answered enthusiastically, but Alfred shook his head.
“Gotta finish your chest first.” And he did, he kissed each injury Arthur got in that fight, as well as a few older scars that were scattered across his chest. Arthur huffed and set the remaining ice pack aside, obviously unhappy that his smooch was being delayed.
Only when he was finished did he slid back up Arthur’s body, ready to kiss him again, until he hesitated.
“What?” Arthur asked.
Alfred sighed, “I don’t wanna hurt your lip.”
Arthur rolled his eyes, “I’m fine.”
Arthur huffed and brought his hands up to tangle in Alfred’s hair before he pulled him down and smashed their lips together. Alfred felt a quick flash of guilt as Arthur winced, but it faded as Arthur kept him pressed down.
He returned the kiss for a while, just enjoying the sensation of being with his boyfriend, until he pulled away.
Alfred grinned and pecked the frown away from Arthur’s lips. “We should take a nap, you gotta regain your strength, sweetheart.”
Arthur sighed, “Fine. But you’re staying with me.”
“Of course. Where else would I be?”