Hi, Miss Canadia! Happy birthday, you old thing, you. I wanted to give you a little present, but I’m gonna be anon because I don’t really know you all that well but your blog is awesome and aasdfghj I’m too socially awkward to say hello. Anyway, I saw you wanted this type of fic, so here’s a little gift!
It had been a long day; sunshine bright and laughter loud, chasing summer dreams behind a toddler hiked on sugar. They’d gone to the beach and Alfred had scrubbed sand out of a squealing toddler’s hair while trying to – please Mattie, water stays in the bath, thank you, no don’t splash me you little demon!— keep water off the floor and in the tub. Alfred struggled to get the kicking toddler into his sleeper while three year old Matthew giggled and twisted awkwardly. Alfred blew air out of his nose and pushed his honeyed hair out of his eyes, and tried to calm his growing frustration. It was a situation he was very used to, by now, but it still annoyed him to no end. He was happy to have Matthew in his life, truly, but even he has his limits.
Matthew had been a surprise, a welcomed one, of course, but a surprise none the less. The family had not been expecting to have another baby. The age gap between Matthew and his older brother was proof enough, what with Alfred being 19 years older than the family’s newest addition. However, he loved the baby like no other and was often found asleep on the couch with the baby on his chest when he was home from college. His parents always left him to babysit and, be it because of his child-like demeanor; he lit up like July skies whenever the baby was near. He never imagined that his casual babysitting, and occasional visits from school, would ever turn into something like this.
It hadn’t been easy, losing their parents; Matthew had been too young to even remember their faces as he was only six months old. He remembers getting the call while he was at school, cellphone ringing right as he left his engineering class. He doesn’t remember much from that day, most of it is a blur of condolences from people he’s never met and a stabbing pain of uncertainties creeping up beneath his feet. What he does remember, however, is the sound of a baby boy crying in the background while police officers lament his parents’ death through cold, calculated words.
He remembers the officers asking him what he would like done with the baby. Did he have any relatives? Did he want to put the child up for adoption? The words rang sour in his ears and brought a thickness to his speech. No, no, no he couldn’t lose everything in one go, he couldn’t. It was a long drive home, sorrow permeating the car, but he wouldn’t stop. The farther away he was, the farther he was from the last piece of family he had left. His parents had eloped, and were estranged from their families. He couldn’t let some stranger waltz in and take Matthew away. But what did that mean for him? Did it mean that he was going to keep the baby? How could he? He didn’t have the money, and he certainly didn’t have the time to take care of a child. Maybe, he thought, maybe I could let him go to a better home than I can give him. Maybe foster care won’t be too awful…But what about the bad families, the ones that starve and beat the children?
It took stepping into the police station to resolve his answer. It took having the social worker come out of a room with his hysterically wailing baby brother to resolve everything. He took Matthew from her arms and cradled his tiny, sobbing body close. Hush now, he whispered, hush now, Mattie, please. I’m here now. I won’t leave, I love you, I love you, you’re all I have left.
There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to be keeping Matthew. He could never let this baby go now. So he went through a funeral, and a life altering decision, and it was worth it. He worked through parenting classes and sat through hours of discussions and signed his weight in papers but it would be worth it. While he finished his schooling, he was only able to visit Matthew on weekends, but he came down every time. The social worker told him, later, on the phone, that she’d never seen a child light up the way that Matthew does when he’s around. It left him feeling oddly accomplished. It still hadn’t prepared him for what was to come.
Alfred will never forget the absolutely heart-wrenching terror he felt, when 9 month old Matthew babbled out “Da!” He blinked stunned blue eyes and sat down with Matthew on his lap. No, no, Mattie, he had whispered, I’m Alfred, not Daddy. But it didn’t change a thing.
He finished his engineering course and was allowed to come take Matthew home. The life insurance their parents had was going to help Alfred pay for basic expenses, and things they may need. They were lucky that their parents owned the house they lived in or cost of living may have been too much to handle. It wasn’t much, but it was something to go by. He missed his parents dearly. He looked down to his side where he held one year old Matthew, asleep on his hip and resting his tiny face on his shoulder and breathed deep. Matthew’s little hands held his shirt tightly and it was enough.
Matthew was a handful, though, and caused his babysitters some major grief. Alfred could never get him to sleep without the proverbial world ending. He finally got Matthew into his sleeper and just finished reading his third story and giving Matthew his fourth cup of milk. The boy wouldn’t sleep.
Alfred pulled on his hair as Matthew tried to worm his way out of the blankets again.
“Mattie! Please, just go to sleep,” he pleaded, brushing the young boy’s blonde locks off his forehead.
“No!” the boy yelled, pushing at Alfred’s hands.
“Matt—” he warned, biting his cheek lest he snap. Now, whether it was his exhaustion from the day, the heat or the ultimate frustration he’d been feeling, trying to pay bills he didn’t have enough money for, he was ready to lash out.
“NO!” Matthew screamed, flailing his arms and knocking Alfred’s glasses off his face.
“Dammit Matthew, that is enough!” he yelled, grabbing the toddler’s arm. Three year old Matthew looked at him wide eyed, violets shocked before they filled up with fat tears. His lips trembled as he sobbed and he curled into himself the best he could with his arm still held by the elder boy.
Alfred let go immediately, horrified that he let himself snap like he just had. He reached out for the other boy, gently, but Matthew flinched and curled up tighter into his blankets. “Matthew, Mattie, sweetheart, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it I—I…just…”
“Y-y-y-you hate m-me…y-you…you dun want m-me, D-daddy,” the toddler sobbed, hiccupping.
Alfred’s heart clenched uncomfortably and he tried to pull the boy into his arms again. This time, Matthew came willingly and hid his face in his ‘dad’s’ shirt. Alfred held him tightly and brushed his fingers through Matthew’s soft waves.
“Shh, shhh,” he soothed, softly humming after each whisper, “I’m sorry that I yelled at you, baby boy, but Daddy is very stressed. But, you know that I love you very much, Mattie, and that will never change.”
He held onto the young boy until his breathing leveled out and he fell asleep. After placing him gently in his bed, he covered him with blankets and placed his little stuffed bear in his arms. With a kiss to his charge’s forehead, he turned on the night light and left the room. He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, under his glasses. How could he have snapped like that? He flicked on the TV and put on a rerun of a game he had seen earlier and set out the bills and paperwork he’d been mulling over. Yawns interrupted his calculations and his watering eyes made it hard to see.
He doesn’t remember falling asleep, but a small tug on his shirt startles him awake. He blinks rapidly and focuses in on the teary face of his baby brother. With a stretch and a yawn, he rubs the crick out of his neck and reaches down with his free arm to pick the child up.
“Whassa matter, big guy?” he asks, words slurring, as he wills himself awake and settles the toddler on his lap.
It takes some more coaxing and a couple sloppy kisses on Matthew’s still tear streaked face for him to answer but he does, he whispers, “I’m sowwy that I make you mad sometimes. I’m sowwy that I’m bad, but don’t give me away pwease, Daddy.”
Alfred looked down at Matthew like he had another head, “Where would you get that idea, kiddo? I’m not going to give you away.”
“Sometimes I see you cry when you think I’m not awound. And I know that money is a probwem, I heard you say it. And, and, and I know that I cost money but pwease I don’t want to go ‘way. I wuv you, Daddy, I wuv you.”
Alfred hushed him again and made a note to himself to be less obvious with his stress levels. He held Matthew close and brushed away his tears, soothing him with a soft cooing sound.
“I’m sorry I made you feel upset, Matthew, but I would never give you up. Money is an adult problem, and we’re going to be fine. I love you so much, kiddo, you have no idea. It’s fine, we’re fine, everything is going to be fine. I have your back, and you have mine, right?”
Matthew nodded enthusiastically and cuddled in close. Alfred sang softly under his breath and brushed his hand through Matthew’s hair until he felt the boy fall asleep again. It wasn’t long before he followed suit.
Tomorrow would come and there’d be new messes to clean, new bills to pay and new stresses to face. But he’d have Matthew: Matthew this darling little boy that he loves with all his heart and soul. And, he thinks, last thoughts before drifting off, that it’s more than enough.
ANON THIS WAS JUST SO PERFECT OMG ;w; IT IS EVERYTHING I COULD HAVE ASKED FOR AND MORE KALDFJHGLAKSDJHLAKDJFHGLSKJDFG THANK YOU SO SO SO SO SO MUCH YOU’RE WRITING IS SO GOOD AHHHHH <3333333333