Alfred stared out the window for a long time, his face pensive, as if a million thoughts were flashing by at once. Well, there probably is. Every now and then, he glances over at you, like he's about to say something, but stops himself again, and goes back to staring out the window.
Toris stands back awkwardly, waiting for orders. Alfred sighs and rubs the side of his head. "Lithuania, you're dismissed." he says curtly, his eyes shut to block out all light.
Toris nods and exits quickly, turning off every light not needed on his way.
Alfred watches you again, still no words, and yet all of them, for you on his lips. He shakes his head and turns away from you, resting his hand of the mantle of a grand fireplace, ruffling his already disheveled hair with his other.
The adrenaline leaves your body, reminding you that it is midnight, despite being the night of your escape. The ride over here is also tiring, as it always is. Even more so when you can hardly see more than five feet in front of you. Try as you might, your mental energy is not enough to ward off physical exhaustion any longer, and your eyes start to drift closed, though you fight to stay awake. You adjust your position to a stricter, more uncomfortable position, not letting your back touch the soft cushion behind you. No. I must stay awake. I must.
At long last, Alfred turns back to you for this seeming the final time. "(Name), I don't like the position you've put me in." he admits.
You tilt your head to one side. "What do you mean?"
Alfred crosses his arms and looks you up and down, as if still deciding what to do with you. "You've run away. I legally have to report you. If the police find you here, there's a good bit of trouble I could get in. I hate to say this but... I wish you hadn't come to me."
Your blood freezes over and your stomach flips over several times, making you want to be sick. "Al- Alfie..." you breathe. "You... wouldn't?" It ended in more of a question than you would have liked. "I- I'll leave. Yes. They won't find me here, then you won't get in any trouble." you decide.
Alfred glares at you. "And let a defenseless girl wander about the streets to get raped by some creeper?! Or worse?!" You cringe at hearing him yell at you. It hurts more than Ashley's "big news." It hurts like betrayal. You haven't hurt like that since Mom left. "You're practically falling over from exhaustion as it is." he says absently. He catches himself and his gaze softens.
"I- I'm sorry... Alfie..." you cry softly. You pull your feet up onto the couch and your knees to your chest, tucking your head in. "I j- just wanted f- freedom!" Your voice sounds strange to you, heavier, like your voice itself is fighting to keep back persistent tears.
Strong arms wrap around you, and a sudden warmth spreads over your right side, drawing you in. "Hush, (Name). Hush." Alfred whispers softly into your (h/c) hair. You grab onto him, desperate for something stable in this storm-tossed ship-wreck of a life. His hand traces small circles on your back, calming you, but tears still fall regardless. "You're tired. You're confused. I get it. You're safe here. I promise." He kisses the top of your head gently, still trying to calm you down.
Gentle sobs still rack your body, shaky breaths filling your lungs. Slowly, slowly, your breaths steady. You close your eyes, trusting him with every part of you. "I'm sorry, Alfie..." you breathe.
He just holds you that much tighter and nuzzles closer to you. "I'll figure something out. I'm your hero, remember? It's what I do."
The last tear falls onto his shirt, which is now rather damp. He doesn't seem to mind, though. Hero. Freedom. Hero... You lean fully into him, and your body finally gets its sweet relief. You slip into peaceful sleep in Alfred's arms.