"Aren't you just the cutest little thing?" Arthur cooed at the girl the turned quickly away from his view. "And what is your name?"
"(f/n)," she looked from the safety of her father's shirt. She had seen those eyebrows somewhere before, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
"That's a very pretty name!" Arthur grinned. "And what is your Mom's name?" The fact that Alfred had forgotten that information was weighting down on Arthur's mind. And he hoped that the girl could shed a bit of light on to the mystery. What is the worst answer she could give?
"Mary Kathleen Queensland," she smiled proudly that she could ring off the name on command.
Enter two bewildered faces of the Northern American Nation and a British one. Looking at each confirmed what the other was thinking. If a certain someone found out, in hot water another would be in.
"(f/n)," Alfred muttered lowly at the little girl he sat back on her feet, "please go into the living room so I can talk to Arthur."
She nodded and darted off towards the living room.
"Get in the kitchen Alfred," Arthur grumbled and took a hold of the taller man's ear and into the kitchen he was pulled. After they knew they were out of earshot of the child they looked at each other. Arthur let go of his ear and crossed his arms from punching the thunderous nation in the face.
"I…didn't…" Alfred could do nothing but stutter at his former caretaker. "Mary Kathleen? She didn't…"
"Alfred, if Australia finds out what you did to his Mary Kathleen." The Brit rubbed the side of his agonizing head. "That explains why you're taking care of her now. She's the daughter of a nation and a town."
Arthur paused and thought of the towns that were disbanded and she happened to be one of them in Australia and his favorite one to boot. It even could happen to a nation as proven by the ancient nations. But he wondered why she posed as a waitress in one of the world meeting or needed too. And what made her have a go with the brash American.
"You don't think she told, Kyle?" Alfred asked and slumped onto the table. Crawling into a hole and dying came into mind. Maybe he could change his name and run away. Working out the plan in his mind seemed like aces. He could drop the kid off at Canada's house. She would grow up safe if that damn polar bear didn't eat her.
"I would say not! You're still alive," he tsked, "otherwise I think we be scraping you off the pavement at this moment."
Arthur walked over to the teapot that sat on the stove. He shook it to see if there was water left in it, of course there wasn't any. So he went onto the familiar task of making tea for himself.
"How in the heck can you think about making tea? I've got a problem here!" The American looked up from his arms that he cradled his head in.
"You're right," Arthur scoffed, "you've got a problem. Now it's time to be a big boy and deal with it. You can't have everyone else raise your wards."
"Yeah," Alfred huffed, "and you didn't raise me either. You left me to myself for most of my younger years."
"I've apologized to you, Alfred," Arthur grabbed the cleanest cup he could find on the shelf. Snatching a rag off the counter he wiped it out just to be safe. "But you've got the responsibility of a child now. And don't you think it was difficult to raise all the towns I do? Not including the fact that I once had most of the world under my thumb. That was a challenge. This is just one little girl."
"Daddy?" The little (h/c) haired girl peeked into the kitchen.
"What (f/n)?" He planted his face firmly on the table.
"What happens if you spill soda pop on your video game things?" She asked innocently placing her hands behind her back.
"They stop working. Why?" His muffle voice floated up.
Arthur opened the tea bag and dropped into the mug of hot water. All those tea cups that the deafening little American broke were going to pay for themselves at this moment. Including all the books he drew in and let's not forget the priceless coat of arms he used to slide down the stairs. Or the doubloons he skipped across the pond. There was a word for this…payback.
"Deep breath," Alfred gripped the steering wheel and watched the little girl in the backseat of his car. Taking in a gulp of air he organized himself to drive.
"Where are we going?" She asked yanking the taut seat belt.
"To buy some food." He had taken notes on what Arthur had explained to him. The leftovers in the fridge apparently weren't good enough for her. When he was her age he would have killed for leftovers after eating the damn British cooking. Maybe that's why his palate was less then gourmet.
"This seat belt is scratchy," she complained, "can't I set up front with you?"
"No," he started the car and pulled out onto street. He turned on the radio to steady his nerves. Why did Arthur have to go back to England? Couldn't he have stayed and helped him? "That no good limey…"
"Who is this?" She yelled over the music.
"The Rolling Stones," he mumbled. 'Did I ask a lot of questions? That was a long time ago. Maybe I did.'
"My heart ani't ready for The Rolling Stones," she smirked, "play me a country song!"
"How old are you?" He glared at the tiny person in the backseat. Did she just quote a fricken country song to him!? He invented country music! He didn't need a little pipsqueak telling him music.
"Old enough to know mom likes country!" She smiled proudly. "When can we go see her? She said you would explain everything to me."
"You know," he turned down the radio and let Mick Jagger go on about satisfaction. "Maybe we could talk about that certain subject later."
She looked confused at him. He wondered if she didn't understand the words, meanings, or just his whole demeanor. Whatever the reason she was going to have to wait for him to explain all this to her.
He stopped the car and tuned off the ignition. Looking over the list one more time that Arthur had written up he mentally prepared himself.
"Come on kid!" Alfred unbuckled her seatbelt and carried her threw the busy parking lot of the supercenter.
After dragging one of the carts from the tangled mess of them he placed her inside the mini 'jail' as per Arthur's instructions. Keep an eye on the child at all times when out.
Alfred stopped at the markdown DVD bin and started to go through the scattered cases of 'B' movies.
"What are you buying?" She peered over the side of the cart. "Can we get this one?" Taking a hold of one with a colorful cover. "It's a cartoon." She studied the picture on the front for a second then looked to her father for conformation. "Please Daddy!"
"She is just too cute!" A little white haired woman stopped her cart next to Alfred. "And look at those big (e/c) eyes!"
The American turned to the women and grinned. "Yeah…I think I'll keep her." The women laughed and walked away. That might not have been exactly a joke…
"These are too scary!" She picked up the movies Alfred had put in the cart. Some had brain eating zombies, soul sucking vampires, and multi tentacle aliens on the covers.
"Then you won't watch them," Alfred shrugged his shoulder. Little did the man know what trouble that would cause soon enough. He would learn to heed Arthur's warning to lay off the scary movies.
"Where are we going now?" She asked tossing this and that in the cart. He should have reread the part to watch her like a hawk.
"Food." He was ready for another twenty questions. "What do you want?"
"Whatever you like! You're my Dad," she proudly smiled, "that means we like the same things!" What she didn't say was she was going to be just like her father if it killed her!
"That doesn't mean that (F/n)," Alfred raised an eyebrow. "If I said I liked," he looked at the shelf and grabbed the most unappealing things first, "Vegemite®. Would you say you liked this?"
"Yeah! See! What did I tell you?" She took the yellow label jar from his hand and put it in the cart. "Get the cheesybite one too!"
And prompt the hand to face moment. He would learn to love the feel of smashing his hand to his face.
"Oh Minties®!" And another box into the cart.
Alfred looked up at the sign that hung from the ceiling; International Foods. What a bad aisle to pick first.
"I didn't know that Australia had so many different kinds of 'food'?" Alfred took out the Cheezels®. "These at least look like something I might try."
"Get your own bag!" She snatched the bag from her father clutches.
That about 'reaping what you sow'!
"Can I get out of the cart? It's kinda crowded in here!" She smiled sweetly. Alfred on the other hand was trying to decide with kind of apples would be better. 'Who the heck made all these kinds of fruit?' He wondered as he tossed a few bags into the cart.
"Stay where I can see you, (f/n)." Alfred kindly reminded her.
Bad move on your part, America!
"Daddy? Can I get this?"
"I don't care," he waved his hand, "toss it in the cart."
Very bad move, America!
He looked at the heaping cartful of various things. Did he really buy all this? Without really looking closely at the packages he started to toss the items on the belt of the registers.
"That's going to be $456.87," the pug nosed cashier rang off the amount like it was nothing.
"Credit," Alfred mumbled and slid his card.