Shivering, you rushed down the sidewalk, eyes fixed on your shoes. You should have known better than to visit England without an umbrella; after all, the land was known for having a plethora of rain. But it was sunny earlier, you begrudgingly thought to yourself.
Finally, you stopped to catch your breath, panting as you glanced at your surroundings. Much to your horror, you couldn't recognize any of them, and to make matters worse, it was getting late. The sky, previously a light grey colour due to the storm, was now a shade of jet. Your (favourite colour) jacket no longer provided any warmth for you, droplets of water dripping from the sleeves.
"Excusez-moi, mademoiselle, but are you lost?" asked a concerned voice.
Startled, you looked up with wide (eye colour) eyes to see a man with wavy, blonde hair standing before you, a black umbrella protecting him from the downpour. His blue eyes looked worried, but being that he was a stranger, you couldn't help but instinctively take a step backwards. "Well, you see, this is my first time in England," you sheepishly admitted, hoping he didn't judge you, a confused tourist, too harshly. "I was just trying to-"
"Here," he interrupted you, moving closer so the umbrella could shield you both. "That's better, oui?" he asked, smiling.
With a relieved sigh, you nodded tiredly. "Thank you," you replied, giving him a weak smile. For a stranger, he certainly was kind.
He chuckled. "Of course, ma fleur! Anything for a darling girl like you," he told you, his smile now resembling a smirk. You blushed lightly, his compliment catching you off guard. You would have been quick to run away if his voice sounded full of lust or intimidating, but it sounded genuine, as if he really meant it.
"Um...thank you," you stammered, unsure of how to respond.
Unfortunately, you only got more tongue-tied when his hand enveloped yours. "I was just heading back to my house, you know. You're welcome to stay until the storm is over," he suggested.
"Oh, well, I-"
"You get your filthy hands off of her!"
Suddenly, your savior had been shoved away from you by a bushy-browed man. "Hey!" you yelped, caught offguard by the sudden attack. "Leave him alone!"
The newcomer shifted his gaze from the Frenchman to you, his green eyes filled with what seemed to be a mix of anger, embarrassment, and something you couldn't quite put your finger on. "Sorry, miss," he muttered, his English accent distinguishing him as a local. "But you should really know to stay away from people like him."
Thankfully, the long haired blonde hadn't been injured by the Brit, and he simply scoffed, adjusting the position of the umbrella so it covered you again. "What do you mean 'like him'?" you asked, a challenging tone in your voice. "He's been nothing but caring."
"Try living next to him for centuries and see if you change your mind," the messy-haired Englishman snorted. Before you could ask what he meant by "centuries", he then returned his irritated glare to the Frenchman. "And as for you, I suggest you return home immediately."
"Must you be such a brute, Angleterre?" he asked, his perfect brows now furrowed. "Where is she going to go if I'm no longer allowed to help her?"
This caused the British belligerent to fall silent, the harmony of rain hitting the sidewalk the only sound heard. "If she must stay somewhere, she can stay with me. The last thing I'd wish upon anyone is to stay with you," he finally stated calmly.
"But I don't want to go with you!" you blurted out, instantly wishing that you had remained quiet.
"It's either that or the alleys of London. Make your choice," he told you coldly. "And as hard as it is to imagine, there are worse people than the frog on these streets at night." For a moment, his stern gaze turned into one of sympathy. "A girl like you won't last long," he said softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
"You don't think I can defend myself?" you hissed, despising the Brit a bit more every time he spoke.
"I didn't say that!" he shouted defensively. "But look how quickly Francis approached you. Yes, he's weak, but-"
"I beg your pardon?" the Frenchman, who you assumed was named Francis, interrupted.
"Shut it. He's weak, but can you imagine if there had been more, much stronger men trying to get their bloody fingers all over you," he explained. Still, you didn't like the idea of staying with someone who was so cynical and hot-tempered. "But fine. Pretty girl like you, I'm sure you've learned how to protect yourself by now."
You were so annoyed with the Brit that you missed his compliment completely. Before you could storm away, Francis nudged your arm. "Mademoiselle," he whispered. "As terrible as he is, it probably is best that you go with the tea lover. Just avoid his food if you can."
With a gasp, you noticed that the Englishman was turned away from you, obviously assuming you had refused his invitation. Quickly thanking Francis, you rushed after the stubborn blonde. "Wait!" you cried.
He glanced over his shoulder, and you could swear you saw a slight smile form on his lips. "Changed your mind, have you?" he asked.
You folded your arms. "Yes, I...I suppose I have." Sighing, you glanced down at the dull sidewalk, puddles of rain pooling at your feet. "I was lucky that I ran into Francis and not someone with darker intentions," you admitted, refusing to look at him.
"Yes, you were. You could have been hurt, you know," he pointed out. You nodded in response. "Arthur."
"What?" you asked, glancing up to meet his green gaze.
"I'm Arthur. I never got to introduce myself," he repeated. "Might as well get that out of the way, no?"
"Oh, right," you agreed. "I'm (Name)."
"(Name)," he echoed faintly. To be honest, you enjoyed the way your name sounded on his tongue. "Well, come along then, now. The storm seems to only be getting worse," he told you, extending his arm out a bit so his Union Jack umbrella covered both of you. You had seen the same umbrellas being sold at gift shops, but this man appeared to be born and raised in England. You assumed he was quite patriotic and shrugged it off.
"Thank you," you said, nodding, grateful that he at least had the heart to keep you out of the rain.
"Of course. It's what a gentleman does," he replied casually. Says the man who nearly mauled Francis, you thought to yourself. Quietly, you two walked down the sidewalk.
"Out of curiosity, how far away is your house?" you asked, your legs feeling tired from wandering around London all day.
"It's an apartment, and only a few more blocks," he corrected you. You sighed in relief, which he must have taken as a sign of irritation. "Look, I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier, alright? It's just that Francis is a tart, and you deserve to be with better people," he apologized.
You were about to ask him what exactly made him better than Francis, but you thought of a better question. "How do you know what I deserve? You barely know me," you pointed out. Your tone sounded more curious than judging.
"Alright then. Why don't I get to know you?" he proposed, which caused you to blink in confusion. "So, (Name), what's your favourite colour?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I've getting to know you, love. So, what is it? Blue, red, green?" he explained, a playful look in those stunning green eyes of his.
...Wait a moment, you didn't just think that. And he didn't just refer to you as "love."
"(Colour)," you said, watching him give a curt nod to show that he had heard you. "Anything else you want to know?"
The two of you spent the rest of the walk to his apartment discussing your favourite books, plays, and things of that nature. You told him about your home back in (Home Country), and he in return told you about his life in England. Apparently, he had many older brothers who all despised him, and one younger brother who spent most of his time on the Internet. "If I told him once, I've told him a thousand times: there's no way staring at a screen for that long can be good for your eyes," Arthur exclaimed in frustration, which caused you to giggle. His headstrong, blunt nature was beginning to appeal to you, although you had no idea why. Perhaps it was the way he intently listened to you, no matter how unimportant what you said was.
"Ah, well, here it is," he finally stated, gesturing towards three steps that led up to a dark, slightly chipped door.
"Oh, alright," you replied, about to head towards the stairs when you felt something nudge your side. Glancing down, you saw that it was Arthur's hand, its palm facing up towards you.
Shifting your gaze to meet his, you saw that there was a light blush on his face. As soon as your eyes met, he glanced away. "Well, are you going to take it or not?" he suddenly barked. "I don't want to be out in this rain all day, you know."
"Okay," you quickly agreed, entwining your fingers with his. His knuckles were calloused, and you couldn't help but notice that his hands were somewhat cold. Taking the lead, he lead you up the stairs into the building, where he closed his umbrella and ran his free hand through his hair, making it even messier. "It's not too far from here," he said as you followed him up another set of stairs into a hallway.
Right at the moment when you felt you would collapse from exhaustion, you reached his apartment. He unlocked the door, giving you a worried glance. "Are you alright, (Name)? You're not going to faint, are you?"
You promptly shook your head. "No, I'm fine," you promised him as he lead you into the apartment.
It was small, but neat, as you expected it to be. There was a wooden bookshelf with various novels confined together, most of them looking to be hundreds of years old. "It's not much, but it suits me, I suppose," he commented aloud.
"It think it's very nice," you told him, thankful that the apartment was warm. "Do you live by myself?"
"Well, yes," he admitted, folding his arms as he leaned against the wall. He must have noticed your expression, because he instantly looked alarmed. "No, no, don't think that I'm just a lonesome bloke who reads books all day!"
"I didn't," you snickered. Out of the corner of your eye, you noticed a picture frame. Taking off your shoes so you wouldn't ruin his carpet, you picked it up, studying the pictures in the photo. One of them was Arthur himself, a scowl on his face as he pushed a younger, spectacled man out of the way. In the middle of them was a young boy, maybe twelve years old, in a sailor outfit.
"Oh, that's, um-" Arthur began, taking the photo from you with a flushed face. "Alfred and Peter."
You stifled a laugh at his embarrassed reaction. "I see," you smiled gently.
He glanced down at his wrist before sighing. "God, (Name), it's already past eleven," he told you, grimacing at his watch as if he could make time go backwards. "Well, I'll sleep on the couch."
"The couch?" you asked, raising an eyebrow. "No, that's ridiculous. It's your bed, after all. I'm fine sleeping on the couch."
"(Name), as a gentlemen, I insist that you take my bed."
"And Arthur," you smirked, imitating his haughty accent. "As a lady, I insist that I sleep on the couch."
You got a quiet chuckle out of him, and he tentatively looked at the piece of furniture in question. "Fine," he hissed.
Reveling in your victory, you removed your coat before cursing under your breath. "I don't have anything to wear," you timidly said aloud. Your clothing was already drenched, and you hadn't exactly expected to stay the night at a Brit's house.
Arthur gave you a sympathetic glance. "Well, I...suppose I can lend you something," he muttered.
Disappearing momentarily in his bedroom, he returned with a pillow and a blanket that looked like it hadn't been used in years. Under his right arm was what appeared to be a long, white nightshirt. "Here," he said, placing the bundle of bedding and clothing on the couch. "I don't know if it'll fit you, but it's better than nothing."
"Thank you, Arthur," you replied, daringly stepping closer to him. "If it weren't for you, I'd still be aimlessly walking around the streets." Well, truthfully, you'd probably be off with Francis, but still.
He, in return, took a step back, which caused you to feel hurt. Did he not like you? If so, why did he offer to let you stay with him? "Yes, well, it's nothing," he quickly stammered. "Goodnight, (Name). I'll see you in the morning." And with that, he rushed off to his bedroom.
Puzzled, you quickly changed into his nightshirt, which must have been long even on him, because it covered your thighs. You organized the bedding and rested your head against the pillow before pulling the blanket up to your chest. You could see the crescent moon through the apartment's window. It was then your mind began to wander. Did Arthur have a window in his bedroom? Somehow, it comforted you, knowing that you two were staring at the same moon. You felt a warm blush spread on your cheeks as you nuzzled against the pillow, which carried a light scent of tea leaves. You had to admit that the Brit was attractive, what with that unruly hair of his, his bushy eyebrows, and his eyes.
Those lovely, green eyes.
"Mm," you hummed softly to yourself. Was Arthur thinking of you, too? The thought excited you, but you closed your eyes and forced yourself to fall asleep.
"Hey, kid, where do you think you're going?"
"Oh, well, I...I was just walking, and it's seems I've gotten lost."
You awoke with a violent jerk, clutching your blanket to your body. Your breathing was rapid, and you quickly glanced around the room. It took a few moments to realize where you were, which calmed your nerves slightly. Your nightmares had been terrible: vivid images of yourself being maimed by strangers in the cold. You whimpered softly, feeling like a small child. You suddenly longed to hear Arthur's voice. Eager to know the time, you looked at the wall by the front door to see that it was past four in the morning. Surely Arthur would be furious if you woke him up.
But there was always the slight chance that he wouldn't be angry. That he'd allowed you to sleep next to him, feeling safe by his side. It was a risk, but considering how frightened you were, if was a risk you decided to take.
Picking up your blanket and pillow, you headed down the small hallway that divided the living room from his bedroom. Pushing open the door, you were relieved that it made no creaking sounds.
Arthur was fast asleep, one arm tucked underneath him while the other carelessly dangled off of the bed. A Union Jack quilt protected him from the night, and you couldn't help but smile at how adorable he looked. Feeling brave, you cleared your throat. "Arthur?" you squeaked.
"Arthur," you said, your voice a bit louder this time.
In response, the Brit stirred, sitting up in his bed drowsily. "(Name)?" he asked, pushing a tuft of hair out of his eyes. "What is it? What time is it?"
"I, um," you started, glancing down at your bare feet. Well, now that you had woken him up, you'd have to tell him what was wrong, even though it would bruise your ego. "I had a bad dream, and...I was wondering if I could...well, you know...possibly sleep here."
You couldn't tell if he was blushing due to the darkness, but there was an eery silence for a few moments. "...Here?" he asked.
You nodded before realizing that he probably couldn't see clearly. "Yes. I know it's foolish, but-"
"If it makes you feel safe, then it's fine," he repeated, adjusting the blanket so you could fit underneath it. "Just...don't go and tell Francis about this."
Overjoyed, you bounded over to the bed, resting your blanket over the Union Jack one. "No, I won't, I promise," you told him. You laid back, exhaling quietly in relief.
Suddenly, you felt Arthur's arm snake around you waist, pulling you closer to him. "Um, I-"
"I just thought it would be a better idea, considering that you had a nightmare and everything," he explained. Now you could see that he was clearly blushing. "It's alright, isn't it?"
You nodded, resting your head against his chest. "Thank you," you whispered, closing your eyes once again. You knew that the nightmares wouldn't plague you anymore, not when you were with Arthur.
Before you fell asleep, you felt him kiss the top of your head as he stroked the small of your back gently. "Sweet dreams, (Name.)"