It was a long, round thing that caught your attention. You grasped it, and pulled it out, before examining what appeared to a brown stick in your hand, with a golden ring round the middle.
‘What is this?’ you asked curiously.
‘That’s a cigar lass!’ You looked to see a flame haired male walking over, a grin scrawled over his face.
‘I thought you said you didn’t come to these things!’ England exclaimed, as Scotland scooped you from his arms, holding you to him.
‘Aye, I don’t usually. But I thought I might just turn up today, seeing as you were holding it in Edinburgh. Good thing too, or I’d never had got to meet the lil’ lassie here.’ Scotland grinned, tickling your tummy. You gave giggles, trying to push away his hand.
‘Aww, does my little lass not like that? Maybe this!’ With that he flung you into the air before catching you and repeating. You squealed each time, loving the action.
‘Watch it! You may drop her, wanker!’
‘Aye, I may. I dropped you when you were a wee lad Arthur, and we al know how you’ve turned out. God forbid my little squirrel turn out like you.’
‘HEY!’ The loud yell frightened you slightly, and you called your hands over your eyes, burrowing into the Scot’s warm chest.
‘Look, ya scared her! Don’t be frightened lass, that’s just yer grumpy git of an uncle.’ Scotland cooed softly, rocking you.
‘We’re going home Arthur. You lot can stay and talk about politics and all that rubbish, but I’m taking her home.’ Scotland shot.
He walked out, still rocking you carefully.
‘What’s yer name lassie?’ he asked.
‘It’s girl.’ You replied, lifting your head from his chest.
‘Nah, we can’t be having that.’ He mumbled, gently playing with a lock of your [h/c] hair. ‘I think, [name]. Yeah, yer look like a [name].’
‘Ok… Daddy.’ You replied, watching his emerald eyes light up as you called him that.
‘Daddy. I like it.’ He grinned, brining your small head back to his chest, stroking your curls.
That night, after Scotland had bathed you and dressed you in one of Arthur’s old nightshirts, you were apparently “sleeping” on the sofa when you saw them.
‘Bastard brother.’ Scotland growled, tugging his shirt off. You had slightly opened your eyes, and they opened fully when you saw the scars that littered his body.
‘And he goes on about us bulling him.’ The red head scowled, reaching for the cream. ‘God, why are they burning now?’
‘Probably a reactant to something off my skin that you got when washing me.’ You responded casually.
Allistor jumped about seven feet in the air and spun to see you sitting up fully, watching him.
‘[Name]! I thought yer were asleep.’ He sighed.
‘Nah.’ you simply said, slipping from the sofa and walking over to where the Scot sat, cross-legged in front of the fire.
He looked at you, his green orbs meeting you [e/c] one, before giving another sigh and holding his arms out, inviting you to crawl into them and curl up in the crook of his crossed legs. He wrapped his arms tightly round you, holding you against him. You tilted your face slightly, and let a finger run over a scar, hearing him sigh above you, almost in content. They intrigued you, yet almost comforted you, as if they were reassuring you that you weren’t the only one who bore battle wounds, and that you were both in the same boat, clinging to each other like you could never let go.
You let your own tiny arms attempt to circle his waist, only become annoyed when you discovered that they weren’t long enough. He noticed and gave a small chuckle as he caught sight of your frustrated face.
‘Aye, yer not quite big enough yet, lass. But soon, yer’ll be a big girl.’ He soothed.
‘But I wanna be your big girl now.’ You insisted.
‘Nah, not yet. I rather like yer being my wee lil’ squirrel.’ He stood up at that moment, still holding you.
Moving to the sofa, he sat upon it, watching the flames as they danced in the grate, smoothing down your hair.
‘Daddy? Will you sing me a song?’ you asked timidly.
Scotland started, but gave a wiry grin anyway. ‘Aye, I reckon I can.’
He thought for a moment, thinking of a song, before deciding. He coughed to clear his throat, and began to softly lull, the words rolling of his tongue like thick cream in his accent.
‘Share with me the blankets that you're wrapped in, because it's cold outside, cold outside, it's cold outside. Share with me the secrets that you kept in, because it's cold inside, cold inside, it's cold inside. And your slowly shaking fingertips, show that you're scared like me so, let's pretend we're alone. And I know you may be scared, and I know we're unprepared. But I don't care…’
He stole a quick glance at you, and saw that your eyelids were drooping, as you fought to fend off the sleep. He smiled, and continued the song.
'Tell me, tell me, what makes you think that you are invincible? I can see it in your eyes that you're so sure. Please don't tell me that I'm the only one that's vulnerable. Impossible…’
By now, your eyes were closed, and you were just listening to him singing, his voice accompanied by the steady rhythm of his heartbeat.
‘I was born to tell you I love you, isn't that a song already? I get a B in originality. And it's true I can't go on without you, your smile makes me see clearer, if you could only see in the mirror what I see. And your slowly shaking fingertips, show that you're scared like me so, let's pretend we're alone. And I know you may be scared, and I know we're unprepared. But I don't care…’
When Allistor looked once again, you were asleep, breathing slowly and softly, cuddled into him. He let a long, slender finger trace a scar on your arm, one that traveled all the way from your wrist to you elbow, one of many.
‘Poor lass.’ He murmured quietly, careful not to wake you.
He reached over to the other side of the sofa, grasping the blanker that bore the Scottish Flag on and pulling it over, covering the both of you under the fleecy material.
‘Try not to grow up too fast lassie.’ Were the last words he murmured before he fell asleep himself.
‘Allistor! Open the bloody door!’ Arthur growled. He still had his doubts about his older brother raising the girl – maybe it was just personal experience from his own childhood - and was coming to check up.
‘For god’s sake.’ England crouched down and pulled the spare key out from under the door matt, before straightening up and unlocking the door.
Pushing it open, he was greeted by a gust of warm air. Following the heat, he finally located the source.
‘Bloody idiot, you’ll burn the house down if you’re not careful…’ England stopped as he saw the scene, the two curled up on the sofa, Allistor protectively holding [name]. Arthur’s eyes drifted between the scars on the child’s arms and neck, and the one’s that littered his brother’s torso, and could almost sense the connection between the two worn out soldiers. He sighed, and moved over, tucking the blanket more securely round the father-daughter duo.
‘Take care of her Al. I know you’ll be a good dad…
…you bloody wanker.’