Arthur watched ______ with a glitter of mirth in his eyes, carding his fingers through his tousuled blonde hair. His lover stood several paces away from him, feet firmly planted in the snow. "You need not be afraid," He laughed, extending a hand towards her "It's perfectly safe."
"You're certain?" The Englishman nodded.
He had initially hoped to waste the day beisde the fire, perhaps reading or watching old Christmas films, but a sudden inclination towards a more...romantic pursuit had overtook him. He'd drove himself and his lover through the snow and the vast country estate that he lived on, and now they were standing at the edge of a frozen lake; the blonde already wore skates that had lasted him an extremely long time, and another pair were at ______'s feet. She stood still, teeth chattering from the cold and a becoming pink blush rising to her cheeks. The young woman had been somewhat delighted and horrified simultaneously at the suprise Arthur had arranged, not so much because of their rural location but because she couldn't skate. Arthur had watched her with that penetrating moss-green gaze of his, and now it was only a matter of tempting her on to the ice. The blonde slid forwards, still regarding her with that open, honest look (which could most certainly pursuade her into doing anything). "Please, _____? I won't let you fall."
Honestly, how could she resist him?
______ let herself shuffle forwards, fishing the skates off the ground and tentatively pulling them on. She left her tan leather boots to the side of the lake, praying the experience wouldn't be too much of an ordeal. She didn't want to humiliate herself in front of Arthur, no matter how enticing his offer might have been. The minute her feet hit the ice she felt her entire body tense up. "Are you ok?"
The young woman nodded slightly, shreiking when she began to skid forwards several paces and straight into her lover's arms. She clung to him as if he were a life-line, knees weak and adrenaline thrumming through her veins. "C-Can we just go slow?" She panted, before Arthur straightened his back and pulled her along gently. "Of course." He gave one of his wolfish grins, glancing down at her feet "Though it would be a lot easier for me if you were to just give it a go."
"It's fine, poppet." The Englishman stopped for a moment, and ______ cringed at how far away they were from the bank of the lake "I can take you back if you want, and I'm sure if you take it slowly you'll get the hang of it." He took his lover's hands in his own, drifting away from her with a practised grace that she greatly admired. "Just move one foot at a time, don't dig your toes into the ice, and most importantly-" He paused for emphasis "Trust me."
"I will." The two began a slow, laborious circuit of the lake, the sensation of gliding along both a foreign and enjoyable one to ______. It made her feel extremely secure in Arthur's arms, and it was now slightly more tolerable than it had been now she could regain her balance. Prior to their arrival he'd told her not to be afraid of taking a tumble, however that was the one thing she felt uncomfortable about. Soon enough she began to panic again, namely when Arthur removed one of his hands and skated along slowly beside her. She gripped his fingers tightly, thankful for the help she was receiving yet annoyed that she still couldn't do it. "I'm hopeless!" She grimaced as they slid along, Arthur skidding to a halt and frowning at her. His eyebrows furrowed and he looked somewhat hurt. "Are you not enjoying it?" She gave a tentative shake of her head.
"Do you want me to take you back?"
"...Maybe in a moment. It's awfully beautiful here and I feel terrible for not appreciating it."
"How about I show you what I can do?"
Arthur was glad he'd finally coaxed a smile and a laugh from her.
_______ watched in awe as Arthur stepped back on to the lake, the silver blades of his skates and the surface of the ice shimmering in the now emerging sunlight. A bitter cold still gnawed at her limbs and there was a bone-deep ache spreading from her feet upwards- But his majesty somewhat subdued her embarrasment and pain. With a reluctance she tore her eyes away from her lover, allowing the scenery to seduce her into a moment of tranqulity. Spindly tree branches reached for the pale sky, dense, swirling clouds stretching for as far as her eye could see; ancient sentinels and frosted oaks surrounded her and the seclusion of the lake. Somewhere in the barren canopy above her a squirrel scurried, somewhere else there was the singing of birds. It was peaceful and beautiful, but all the more enticing was Arthur:
He drew her eyes back to him with a brief call of her name, gliding gracefully backwards with the crisp winter breeze combing through his hair. He turned slightly, switching from one foot to the other and giving her that heart-melting, swoon-inducing smile. "Impressed yet?" He called, then turning on one leg and barrelling off somewhere else. ______ laughed and nodded, cupping her hands around her mouth and shouting into the wind "I never knew you were good at things like this!"
"That was nothing~" She gasped at Arthur, eyes widening as he launched himself into the air and spun, landing precisely and then skating away with equal fluidity. Stepping back on to the ice came with both relief and trepidation for the Englishman, and now as he gained momentum he remembered all the winters he'd spent skating and laughing (mainly with Alfred and Matthew when they were children). It was all a simple hobby, but so exhilarating that he felt as if he never wanted to leave. He always had looked upon certain tasks with a childish enthusiasm, and it was only once in a while that he truly got to 'let his hair down' as it were. The blonde threw back his head, laughing loudly with his voice resonating between the trees. Even if _____ wasn't skating, it meant a lot to him that she was there...he had lost count of the Christmases he'd spent alone over his time as a nation.
After a while even Arthur began to tire, his slim waist and small frame trembling from the bite of the winter air. Snowflakes were beginning to fall again, the sky becoming overcast and grey once more. He had enjoyed the time while it had lasted, especially his attempts at teaching ______, and he supposed their break (spent snowball fighting) had also been extremely fun.
Now the two were making their way back to the car, huddled together in a mess of thick coats and knitted scarves and wellies. Arthur had always been notorious for his motherly tendencies, but his demeanour had shifted to rival the extinctive nature of...perhaps a mother bear or something similar. He insisted on turning the heaters in his vehicle to full blast, even handing her his own scarf as the radio crackled to life too. It would be a lie to say that ______ didn't enjoy Arthur paying such attention to her, but before the car could choke itself to life she paused and placed a hand over his. She gave a small smile, shifting along slightly in her seat and resting her head on his shoulder. "I'm sorry I couldn't enjoy this as much as you did..." She confessed, a sigh expelling from her dry lips "But it was worth it to see you so happy." The Englishman didn't respond, simply slipping an arm around her shoulders. He closed his eyes and listened to ______'s voice. Eventually she stopped, and he felt cool hands carress his face.
"I love you." He blinked owlishly down at her, a small smile crossing his face.
"I know, though isn't my car a rather unorthodox place to claim so?" She laughed, snuggling closer despite the gap between their seats.
"I don't tell you enough...even after you do all these things for me." The Englishman paused, feeling warmth swell and blossom in his chest.
"I love you too...you ridiculous, beautiful woman."
"I think you're the ridiculous one here, Mr Kirkland~" The blonde chuckled as he felt a chaste kiss on his cheek, more and more being peppered on his face and down the pale curve of his neck as _____ lavished attention upon him "You're a silly, smart...impossible person."
"And you like that about me?" He smirked.
"I like how you contradict yourself all the time...how you get yourself worked up and how you're like an old man sometimes..." The young woman grinned "And, well...I can't put into words how much I adore you." She laced their fingers together with a nostalgic smile, finally glad that she'd redeemed herself (at least in her own mind)."I don't need a Shakespearean sonnet, poppet."
"I love how you call me all of those cute pet names."
"Don't you start-" Arthur felt his eyes widen slightly, but they slowly closed in contentment as he felt a warm mouth of his own, silencing his protests. He kissed back hungrily, before drawing back and surveying ______'s face in a moment of realisation. "I suppose the journey back won't be quick enough, will it?" He laughed, smiling wolfishly and winking. The young woman nodded, an involuntary blush creeping across her countenance. "Honestly, Arthur, you mean so much to me...and...maybe I was silly to be scard of falling." She watched him start up the car and then watched his face contort in thought. "Why?"
"Because you'll always be there to catch me."