The horse you were currently grooming, as though he understood you, neighed lightly in response and dug at the dirt with his hoof.
You giggled as you continued brushing his mane and rubbing his back affectionately. "That's my boy..." you cooed, leaning up to lean your head against his. He gave a brief snort before appearing to nuzzle you back, causing you to smile.
It was a calm, typical day in the old Western town of Tierra. It was slightly hot, which forced almost everyone inside to stay cool, but every now and then a calm breeze would blow, making standing out in the sun bearable as you continued your duties. Everything was calm. As it should be.
That is until bullet shots rang out, causing you to jerk away from your horse as you turned towards the source of the sound. Not long after, an alarm sounded constantly, a few more shots ringing through the air.
Ahh yes. A typical day in Tierra. Calm, not so much anymore. But still typical.
"H-Hey! Come back here!"
From what you could surmise, it sounded like the bank was being robbed. It seemed like it was awhile since anyone had tried to rob it, mostly because of the diligent work of the sheriff. Heck, he was so good, you wondered why anyone even tried to break the law. Because more often than not, they'd end up in jail.
Needless to say, the prison needed to be expanded a few times to fit them all.
You were pulled from your thoughts as the ruckus began getting closer to your current location. You blinked as you slowly walked towards the street-side, only making it about halfway across the ring when a suspicious-looking fellow suddenly came dashing out of nowhere, unlocking the fence before running for the nearest horse.
Putting two and two together, you realized that this was the bank robber...and he planned on using one of your horses to get away! "Hey! Get away from there!"
Knowing he had been spotted -- or maybe he was just moving as quick as he could, regardless -- the man quickly hopped up onto the nearest horse and kicked his heels, the horse neighing before it quickly galloped through the gate.
"Wait! Get back here!" you yelled as you began running after him, despite knowing you wouldn't be able to catch him on foot.
However, right as you made it to the fence line, more shots rang out. You stared wide-eyed as the man fell from the horse, yelling in pain as he clutched his left side. You blinked as you looked up, your mind still racing to figure out what had happened. There you saw a fairly handsome fellow, wearing typical western gear and a cowboy hat. In one hand he held a smoking gun while the other was attempting to calm down the horse the thief had used to try and escape. You then breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that everything was going to be alright.
You watched as your hero stepped forward after making sure your stolen horse would stay put. He reached down to the culprit and dragged him to his feet, causing the robber to drop the bag of money that he had taken. "Looks like I caught you just in time!" the gun-slinger said with a joking tone, a smile on his face. "Trying to run away with a bag of money is against the law!"
The robber continued to groan as he held his wound. "Lord, are you crazy?! What did you shoot me for?"
"Well I'm certainly not gonna let you get away!" he responded, the smile still on his face.
The miscreant mumbled to himself before you approached the scene. "Looks like you made it just in time, Mr. Jones!" you complimented the dirty-blond sheriff.
He turned towards you, pointing the tip of the gun towards his hat as he raised it slightly so he could see you under the brim. A smile immediately formed on his face upon recognition. "Ah, Evelyn! It's good to see you!" His smile soon faded as he looked at you with feign seriousness. "And what did I tell you about calling me that?"
You laughed softly as you lifted your skirt slightly and gave a small curtsy. "My apologies, Alfred. Thank you for coming to save me."
"Ha ha ha! Not at all!" he laughed obnoxiously. "It is my duty to protect this town and all of the fine women in it! Especially you!" You felt yourself blush slightly before he went on. "Anyway, this guy didn't hurt you, did he? I can add a few more weeks onto his sentence if he did..."
"No no," you replied as you shook your head. "He just stole one of my horses, that's all."
"ATTEMPTED THEFT OF SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY?!" he yelled, grabbing the robber by his collar and pulling him up to be face-to-face. "That's another 5 months, at least! What do you have to say for yourself?!"
The wounded crook merely groaned before muttering out, "...ow..."
"I figured as much. It's best to stay quiet anyway so you don't get booked for something else." You blinked as he dropped the man on the ground, the man groaning again as he held his wounded side. "So! What are you doing on a fine day like today?" he asked casually.
Had this not been the norm for him, you might've been thrown off guard by his blithe and carefree attitude. However, that's how he was and you had eventually grown accustomed to his nonchalant ways. As such, you ignored the sudden topic change. "Oh I was just taking care of the horses," you answered. "Mr. Johnson was interested in buying a horse so he was going to stop by and look at them today. So I was grooming them to make sure they all looked presentable!"
"Well that shouldn't be a problem! Your horses always look presentable!"
"Oh, well thank you," you replied with a shy laugh, feeling another blush begin to form.
"In fact, I also think that you--"
Alfred was cut off by another loud groan from the crook. "A little...help here?" the robber moaned as he held his still-bleeding side.
You couldn't help but laugh softly at the confused look Alfred was giving him, tilting his head to the side cutely just like a puppy who had heard a peculiar noise. "Help? Why would a criminal like you need help?"
"Well I'm sure lying there in the middle of the street bleeding to death doesn't feel very good," you pointed out, unable to hide your smile.
"But why would he need to feel good? The comfort of an evil-doer is the last of my worries!"
You laughed again and nodded. "Well that is true, but you can't exactly let him die either."
Alfred sighed heavily as a look of defeat crossed his face. "Alright..." he complained. He soon immediately brightened up as he looked to you again. "Hey! Do you wanna come with me on my rounds? I can show you all the neat stuff I have to do today!"
You gave him a sympathetic smile as you answered. "I would but I'm not quite done with the horses yet... I'm sorry..."
"Aw, I already told you that wasn't going to take long! Come on; you don't see greatness like this every day!" he tempted, causing you to laugh once more as your heart fluttered.
"Alright fine. But tell you what. I'll finish up while you take this guy in and I'll meet you over there, alright?"
"GREAT! THAT SOUNDS WONDERFUL TO ME!" he cheered, leaning down and effortlessly slinging the injured man over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes; the man gave an 'oof' at the action. "COME, CRIMINAL! A DATE WITH A FAIR MAIDEN AWAITS!" With that he ran off, the noises of displeasure sounding loudly from the shot victim. You couldn't help but sigh and shake your head, always amused by the handsome man's antics.
You walked over to the stolen horse before rubbing his nose affectionately. "Well...let's get you back and cleaned up. I apparently have a 'date' of sorts with the sheriff." You began walking back to the barn, wondering to yourself why he had called it a 'date' when he clearly wasn't taking you anywhere.
But then again...you really weren't complaining.
You took a deep sigh of relief as you finally finished all your duties, feeling very accomplished after doing so. You smiled to yourself as you headed into your house, a sweet smell wafting throughout. You took a whiff before exhaling softly, "Ahh... It should be ready by now!" You headed to the kitchen where you had been cooking moments prior, seeing the sweet delicacy cooling by the window -- as much as it could anyway, seeing as it was still scorching outside.
You were a decent cook and baker, if all of the compliments you received were any indication. Whenever you had time you would bake for your neighbors because you loved it so much. As such, you also cooked a lot for Alfred. He had saved you and your horses on multiple occasions, so it almost became a ritual that you would give him something as a sort of thanks. And since you were heading over there anyway, it was perfect!
...Or so you told yourself anyway. You sighed as you looked at the pie cooling on the windowsill. "I'm falling for this guy, aren't I?" you asked aloud, looking at your favorite horse that stood right outside the window. As if he understood, the horse neighed and did a nod of sorts. You sighed again and rubbed your head. "Damn...I think you're right. I...can't though." You groaned aloud before shaking your head away from the thought, telling yourself that you were just good friends with him...and nothing more. Right?
Deciding on that thought, you figured you had best be going if you didn't want to keep Alfred waiting. So you checked the pie again and after making sure that it was cool enough, you picked up the baked good before heading out of your house. The sheriff's office was only a few blocks away from the horse barn so it didn't take long to get there. Rather than knock -- seeing as it was a public place -- you slowly slid open the door before stepping in yourself.
"C'mon...let me outta here! If you do, I won't punch you in the face when I get out!"
"U-uh...I-I don't think I'm really allowed to--"
"Who cares if you're allowed to?! Just do it!"
The blond-haired second-in-command continued stuttering as the crooks behind the bars prodded him. However, their eyes turned to you once they registered your presence. "Ooh, what a lovely lady! Will you let us out of here?" one of them asked.
The blue-eyed man blinked before he turned around, a smile of relief coming to his face soon after. "Oh, Ms. Miller. I'm so glad you're here!"
You giggled softly as you took a few more steps in. "Well thank you! That makes me happy. How are you, Matthew?" you asked with a smile.
"Uh, I-I'm okay..."
"Tell him to let us out of here!" Matthew winced as one of the criminals yelled behind him, reluctantly looking over his shoulder at the gruff man.
"Sorry! Can't do that~!" you sang, giving them a closed-eye smile that you knew would get on their nerves.
The men groaned before one of them looked at the ground. "Ooh, how about you, cute little teddy bear? You wanna let us out of here?"
You looked down to the bear cub who wore a cowboy hat similar to Matthew and Alfred's as he turned his head towards the men. "Yeah! Come on over here," another man urged as he knelt down, sticking his arm outside the bars to coax the bear. Kumajirou stood up from his seated position as he ambled over, giving the man's hand a small sniff. "Yeah, good boy! Now just--" However, the man was cut off with a scream as Kumajirou opened his mouth and bit down hard on his outstretched hand. "Ahh! You stupid bear!"
"No one gets out," the bear replied as he sat down again, staring at the men with his blank stare. The criminals behind the bars only groaned before muttering amongst themselves.
Matthew swallowed nervously before he turned back to you. "Uh, s-so! W-what brings you over here, Evelyn?" he stuttered.
"I actually brought a pie for Alfred as thanks for helping me with that bank robber," you explained as you held up the pie. "Would you like some?"
"Oh...no, I'm okay," he said as he waved a hand dismissively. He then turned to the bear at his feet. "Would you like some Kumashirou?"
The bear blinked before turning his head upwards to the blond. "Who are you?"
Matthew smiled as he turned back to you. "No, we're fine. Thank you!"
"Sure," you laughed as you lowered the pie again and looked around. "So, where is Alfred? I was supposed to meet him here..."
"Oh...he just left a little while ago. I'm not sure when he was planning on being back..."
You frowned sadly. "Oh...I see." He didn't stand you up, did he? Was it possible that he just forgot? He invited you to go on rounds with him, so where could he have possibly gone?
...And more importantly, why were you caring so much if he was just a friend?
However, right as you were about to give up the door busted open, an obnoxious laughter sounding throughout the small prison. "Ha ha ha! I hope you enjoy your new home, evil-doer!" You blinked as Alfred threw another frumpy-looking sap on the ground and stood proudly in the doorway. "Matthew! Lock him up!"
"Oh uh, y-yes, Sir!" Matthew reluctantly reached down, grabbing the knocked-out man before dragging him with much difficulty towards a vacant cell.
Alfred opened his smiling eyes as they finally rested on you. "Oh! Evelyn, great timing! Did you see the guy I just brought in?" Not even giving you time to answer, since it was obvious, he continued. "He was about to punch someone in the tavern but I stopped him mid-punch! I had super-human reflexes!"
You gave a soft closed-eye smile as you answered, "That's great, Alfred! Congratulations!"
"Yeah, you should've been there. It was great!" He then looked down to the item you held in your hands. "Oooh! Is that one of your wonderful pies?"
"Yes, it is!" you replied and held it up. "I brought it for you as thanks for stopping that guy. I don't know what I would've done if one of my horses were stolen!" You ignored the nagging feeling in the back of your head that was screaming that you made it for another reason.
"Oh it was easy!" he laughed as he took the good from you. "Y'know, I think I'd shoot a crook a day if it meant I'd get something from you!"
You tried to not notice your nervous heart beat as you laughed softly and answered, "Well I hope not, otherwise the whole town would be injured!"
"Well that's what the doctor is for!" He stepped around you and set the pie down on the desk before he turned to his subordinate. "I'm off to do my rounds! Keep an eye on things here!"
"O-okay..." Matthew shyly replied, sending another hesitant look over his shoulder at the men who were already staring him down.
"It was nice seeing you, Matthew," you told him as Alfred held the door open for you.
"Y-you too, Evelyn...Take care!" You flashed him another smile as you walked out the door, Alfred closing it behind you before you began walking down the street.
"So, do you have anywhere you need to go?" Alfred asked you.
"Anywhere I need to go?" you questioned in confusion.
"Yeah! Y'know like...the store or bank or...somewhere?"
"Oh, no," you replied with a shake of your head. "Tomorrow is actually my shopping day. I go every Tuesday because that's when they restock."
"Makes sense to me!" he laughed, almost nervously it seemed. "So you don't have any other errands to run?"
You shook your head again and answered, "Don't think so. Why? I thought I was just accompanying you on your rounds?"
"Oh! Well, I just thought I could help you since we were both in town! Y'know, me being a strong guy and all, I figured I could protect you while you're out!"
You smiled sympathetically as you looked towards the ground. "That's...very sweet of you, Alfred. But...you don't have to."
"Well of course I do! I'm the sheriff, that's what I do!" Your smile faded as you continued looking at the ground. "But of course I want to, too! It's a pleasure for the hero to look after his fair maiden!"
You couldn't help but blush at his possessive form that he used, but instead you focused more on the serious aspect. "But...what if you get hurt because of me...? I'd never be able to forgive myself."
Rather than have him take it seriously, he only laughed his typical heroic laugh. "Ha ha ha! I never get hurt! I'm the hero of this town! And everyone knows the protagonist never dies!"
You swallowed thickly over the lump that began forming in your throat. You opened your mouth to say something, but felt like you were about to cry. Not wanting to cry in front of him, you closed your mouth again and opted to stay quiet.
"So you don't need to worry! Besides I'd be more than willing to give my life for you; you mean a lot to me!"
"Alfred..." You clenched your eyes in an attempt to hold back the tears, but it seemed to no avail as a few leaked out.
Unfortunately your voice began to crack, which caused Alfred to look your way. Upon seeing your teary-eyes, he gasped dramatically. "Oh no! I made my damsel cry! Heroes aren't supposed to make their princesses shed tears! I...I've never seen this! What am I supposed to do?!"
Whether he was trying to cheer you up or if he was actually being serious, you weren't sure, but regardless you still choked out a laugh and reached up to wipe your nose. "No, I'm sorry. It's not your fault..."
"It must be! No one else is around here! Unless..." He trailed off as he gasped again. "OH NO! DID YOU HURT YOURSELF? THE MAIDEN ISN'T SUPPOSED TO GET HURT! I--"
"No, no," you laughed again through your tears and shook your head. "I was just...thinking. It's not you, I promise."
Alfred looked honestly dejected as you both stopped walking. "But something had to have set it off!" he worried. "I can't continue until the problem is solved!"
"I'll...be fine," you replied as you forced a smile. You found it hard to swallow again as you reached up to wipe your eyes. "I'm sorry, Alfred but...I think I'm gonna go back home. I...don't know when Mr. Johnson is coming to look at the horses so I--"
"Oh, well that's fine! I can walk you back!"
"No!" you quickly responded, causing the blond to blink once before looking at you sympathetically. "I mean...no... That's okay. I-I'll be fine. I don't want to take up anymore of your time."
"Thanks again for everything, Alfred," you said as you took a step back and gave a quick curtsy. "I'll...I'll see you around." With that you quickly turned towards the direction you came from, walking much quicker than anticipated.
More tears fell from your eyes as you picked up your pace, leaving the confused sheriff further and further behind.
And for some reason, that seemed like the hardest thing you have ever had to do in your life.
You hummed softly to yourself as you headed down the empty street towards the convenience store. Today was your shopping day and you desperately needed it; you had used a lot of supplies on the horses to groom them and after making your pie for Alfred, your kitchen had become rather bare as well. So needless to say, you needed quite a few things.
'The only problem is how I'm going to get it all back home,' you thought to yourself with a sigh as you looked down at the horse you were riding. "I surely don't want to make you carry more than you have to..." you told the steed, who merely continued ambling along through town.
Just then you heard a strange noise behind you, causing you to turn around curiously. However, you saw nothing, so you figured you must've just heard the horse's hooves and perhaps that just made a strange noise.
However after a few more paces, you heard the noise again; not wanting to miss it, you turned around faster to see the source of it. You saw a brief flash of yellow and brown, catching only a glimpse before it disappeared behind a nearby building. You blinked to yourself as you turned forward again. 'That kind of looked like Alfred...but what is he doing? Why would he be trying to be so sneaky?' Shrugging it off as one of his 'adventures', you paid no mind to it as you continued heading towards the store.
After a few minutes -- and more strange noises from the presumed Alfred behind you -- you made it to your destination. You hoped off your horse before tying him up, grabbing your basket, and heading inside.
And off you went, gathering the numerous goods that you needed. Your basket quickly filled up and soon you began to hold your goods in your free hand. You wondered if you should pay for these and put them out on your horse and come back for the rest...but you were still a bit skeptical of the robbers in the town and didn't want your goods -- or your horse for that matter -- to get stolen.
However, it seemed a hero heard your silent prayer. "Ah, Evelyn! Good to see you again!"
You couldn't help but smile as you turned, seeing the handsome blond sheriff smiling widely at you. "Oh, hello there, Alfred," you greeted, trying your best to sound surprised.
"Are you doing some shopping?" he asked as he made his way to your side.
"Yeah, sure am. I'm pretty short on supplies."
"Well me too!" he laughed before he extended his hands. "Here, I'll help you carry something!"
"Oh...I-I got it--"
"Nonsense!" Not waiting for you to decline, he reached forward and grabbed all of your groceries from you, the smile still on his face. "See? No problem!"
You chuckled lightly before you continued forward. "If you say so... Thanks, Alfred."
"It's my pleasure!" You reached forward, grabbing something else you needed before he went on, "Imagine, seeing you at the store like this. What a coincidence, huh? I mean, what are the chances?!"
Coincidence? Besides the fact that he was somewhat stalking you on the way there, and the fact that you told him yesterday that you were going shopping today... Sure, it could be a coincidence, but it was highly unlikely. However, you went with it anyway. "Yeah! That's crazy! Amazing."
Alfred laughed to himself, another smile coming to your face at the heavenly sound. After a few more minutes, you had gotten everything that you needed so you and Alfred headed to the check-out counter.
You turned to the sheriff as the clerk began adding everything up. "Didn't you need anything?"
"Huh?" he blinked. He thought a moment before he smiled and laughed yet again. "Oh, nope! I just came to see if there was anything I needed! And I realized I had it all!"
This only secured the fact that it wasn't actually a coincidence that you met Alfred there, but that he was there on purpose. If that was the case...then, does that mean...
He had feelings for you too?
'Wait, "too"? I didn't mean that! I can't fall for him. I just can't...' You forced a smile before reaching to your pouch to take out the needed money. "Sure...Makes sense to me!" Alfred nodded assuredly as you handed the money over, getting the correct amount of change before putting it back and taking the groceries into your arms; Alfred took easily more than half of them. "Thanks a lot for the help, Alfred," you told him as you headed outside and placed your goods into the saddlebags on your horse. "I probably wouldn't have been able to do this on my own!"
"Ha ha haaa! Of course! Just leave it to me!" Your eyes widened as he rubbed his hands together and bent over towards your horse.
"U-uh...W-what are you doing?" Your eyes widened even more as he knelt under the horse, positioning the horse's stomach on his shoulders before he stood up, surprisingly with ease. "Alfred! What--"
"Your horse would get tired if he was to carry this the whole way himself! So I'll carry your horse!"
'He's heavy!', 'You'll hurt yourself!'...you had wanted to say all of these things, but you knew he wouldn't listen. Not to mention, Alfred's strength had always surprised you; ever since you knew him it seemed he had super-human strength. He certainly wasn't a typical teenager, that much was true.
"Well, let's get going!" he said as he pranced off, seeming like he wasn't inconvenienced in the slightest; if you hadn't known any better, you probably would've said that the horse was stuffed by the way he was carrying it so easily.
"Um, o-okay..." You hurried after him, feeling speechless at his impressive display of strength.
On the way back to your house, Alfred had engaged in some very casual conversation. You only responded with mono-syllable answers, mostly still too surprised to say much more. But your thoughts also began to wander back to your problem. You knew you were falling for Alfred...in fact, it was too late; you probably already had. But what were you going to do? You surely couldn't keep going the way you were. You were only going to get hurt...and you couldn't risk that.
"Well...we're here," you announced as you made it to your house. "Thanks...again."
"Of course!" he replied as he knelt down, setting your horse down with no problem. "It was easy. I'll always be here for you, Evelyn!"
You eyes widened as you had a brief flashback.
"I'll always be here for you, Honey. Don't worry, I promise!"
You had to quickly close your eyes in order to prevent any tears from forming, forcing yourself to swallow and calm down before you burst into tears like yesterday. "I...I gotta go put this stuff away. Thank you for your help, Alfred." With that, you stepped forward towards your horse and began unpacking the groceries from the saddle bags.
Alfred's smile faded as he blinked in confusion. "Huh? But I can hel--"
"No, that's okay. You've done plenty, really." You forced another smile, sure your eyes were probably glistening with your unshed tears; you had to hurry and escape before he made another scene. "You probably have to get back to work anyway. Matthew needs you."
"He's fine," he answered, confusion still plaguing his features. "I don't--"
"Thanks, Alfred. I'll see you around...!" Not waiting for him to say another word, you quickly dashed into your house, closing the door tightly behind you.
Alfred, meanwhile, remained standing cluelessly in the street. "It clearly must be me," he mused to himself. "But that can't be! The hero is never to blame for a damsel's sadness! Especially his own! Other damsels might be sad because they don't belong to the hero, but the hero's damsel can't possibly be sad! There's nothing to be sad about!...Right?" he asked as he turned to the horse, who still seemed to be in a state of shock from being carried in such an odd fashion. "Hmm...right... Wait a minute. She didn't tie you up!" he noticed, just realizing that you had left the horse in the street. Alfred sighed as he grabbed the reigns and slowly led the horse around your house, opening the gate before showing the horse towards its stall. After it was placed, he unhooked the reigns and hung them where they were supposed to go, heading back out towards the street and making sure to close the gate.
After that was done, he stopped and crossed his arms as he thought. "Hmm...Someone must know what's wrong with her." He gasped and smiled as an epiphany came to him. "I know! I'll ask Matthew! He's nice enough to care and get involved in everyone's lives! He probably knows!" Set on that thought, Alfred smiled as he made his way towards the Sheriff's office. "Matthew!" he called as he busted in through the door. "You need to answer some questions!"
The poor blond was already shaken up from the criminals harassing him, so when Alfred came barreling through the door, he nearly had a heart attack. "Ah! A-Alfred. What's wrong?"
"Evelyn Miller, tell me why she cries when I talk about being a hero."
Matthew began sweating nervously. "What makes you think I know?!"
"I'm sure you do! Now tell me!"
"U-uh well...I...I don't know for sure, but I...could guess why she might--"
"Wonderful! Tell me all about it!"
Matthew swallowed before fiddling nervously with his hands as he looked down. "W-Well...I heard that when she was younger...her father was a sheriff in a town just like this one..."
"Ha ha! That's perfect! She comes from a fine line of heroes too!" Matthew shifted his weight as Alfred continued. "So if he's also a hero, why does she shed tears?"
"Well...one time when he was on patrol...a man who had just finished robbing a bank saw him and, not wanting to go to jail...shot him." Alfred's usual bright demeanor suddenly went solemn as Matthew continued. "He died soon after, and her and her mother moved away after that. So...if I had to guess why she cries, I might guess that?"
Of course...she was worried about him being a hero because she already lost her original hero! It all made sense now! "Ha ha! Matthew, you're a genius!" Alfred laughed as he slapped the young boy on the back. "I'm off to go find Evelyn!"
"But...what are you going to say to--"
"Take care of things here! I'm counting on your support!" With that, Alfred headed back out, only to stop and blink in surprise as the door closed behind him. "Evelyn!"
You stood a few feet from the door, staring at Alfred in surprise as well before a soft blush formed on your face. "Oh...Alfred. I, uh...I just came to apologize..."
Alfred blinked again before he smiled a wide closed-eye smile and laughed. "Ha ha ha~! There is no need! I know the problem thanks to my deductive skills!"
You looked up again in surprise. "You...you do?"
"Of course!" he said as he put a fist towards his chest. "You lost someone important in your life and you don't want me to replace your old hero!"
"I..." you started before turning to the side. "It's not that..."
"It's not?" he asked with a clueless blink.
"It's not like I'm worried about you replacing him," you continued, still looking away. "It's just...he meant a lot to me. I always worried about him going off, but he assured me that our town wasn't that bad...and that he'd be okay." You closed your eyes, feeling tears form again at the memory. "But then...he died. I felt so lost after he was gone...!" You turned to Alfred, your eyes glistening with tears as you continued. "I just don't want the same thing to happen to you. I don't want to get attached to you if you're just going to die too!" At this you began to lose control again as choked back sobs shook your form.
"Oh Evelyn, don't be silly!" he assured you, causing you to look up at him as he smiled. "You don't need to worry about that! I haven't gotten hurt once in my life! Plus it'll take more than an attack from a simple baddie to bring me down!"
"That's...what my dad thought too," you muttered as you turned away.
"You don't get it!" he continued. "I'm not saying your dad wasn't a hero; he had to have been. I'm just saying that I have something to live for! I can't die because then there would be no one left to protect you!"
You snapped your head towards him with wide eyes in surprise. "Alfred..." you began, a tear falling from your eyes...but for a different reason than before.
"Besides, the story has barely begun! It can't end with the protagonist dying! He has to marry his princess first, at least! And even then he won't die! They have to live happily ever after!"
"But don't you get it, Alfred?" you asked as another tear streamed down. "It's not like my father wanted to die! It was unexpected!"
"Well of course! But he already had his happy ending; he married his maiden and they had a family! I have yet to marry you so I can't die until I do so! And even awhile after that so I can at least enjoy my happily ever after too!"
Your eyes widened once more as you stared at him in shock, your heart beating heavily in your chest. "M-marry? You...You want to marry me?"
"Isn't it obvious? How else am I supposed to protect my princess at every moment?" he replied with a laugh and closed-eye smile, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"So every time you said I was yours...you...weren't kidding..." you mused to yourself quietly.
"So like I said! You have nothing to worry about. Heroes don't get injured, especially when--"
However, just as he was about to go into another long spiel he was cut off as the door to the sheriff's office came swinging open, knocking him to the ground. You gasped as you knelt by Alfred's side. "Alfred, are you okay?!"
"Oh, Boss I'm so sorry!" Matthew apologized as he knelt on the blond's other side. "The criminals began throwing stuff at me so I had to escape! I didn't know you were on the other side of the door! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
Even though he was injured, you allowed yourself the small smile that tempted to crawl on your face. "Now do you see what I mean? You weren't expecting yourself to get injured and now look what happened to you." Alfred had no response, and instead groaned slightly as the spirals continued spinning in his eyes; you frowned with worry. "Alfred...?"
Alfred closed his eyes before slightly opening one to look at you. "Don't you know the stories?" he asked in a hushed yell. "The princess is supposed to kiss the hero to give him his strength back!"
Even though you don't ever recall hearing such a story, the thought made you smile widely anyway. "Ah...yes of course," you pretended to recall as you leaned forward. "Time to wake up...my hero." With that, you closed your eyes and leaned in the rest of the way until your lips connected with his, a warm feeling erupting throughout your being at the simple gesture. You felt as his hand came up behind your head to press you deeper into the kiss, causing you to smile against his also-smiling lips.
Soon after, you pulled away, Alfred's eyes opening immediately afterwards. "And the hero is revived! Thank you, fair maiden!"
"I-I'm really sorry, Brother," Matthew continued to apologize. "I didn't mean it!"
"Worry not!" Alfred said as he jumped to a stand, you standing up soon after. "I have been saved by my Evelyn so all is well!" Matthew continued sulking to himself as Alfred turned to you. "So what do you say, Evelyn? Will you allow me to continue to protect you?"
You laughed softly before nodding. "Yes...and as long as you promise to stay safe, I'll always be here to revive you."
"I promise!" he exclaimed with a closed-eye smile. He took a step towards you, sweeping you off your feet in one fluid motion as your arms quickly wound around his neck. "Well then, I suppose this is where we ride off into the sunset!"
"But it's only noon--" Matthew started, but was cut off by Alfred once again.
"Come, my love! We must get started on our happy lives together!"
You giggled before nodding and reaching up to cup his cheek. "Of course. I'll go anywhere with you." Alfred smiled before he leaned his head down and brought you up, giving you another sweet kiss. When you pulled away, he gave another laugh as he headed towards his noble steed, hoping on with insane ease as he still held you in his arms. "Away!" he called as he clicked his heels. The horse neighed and bucked slightly, Alfred keeping a strong hold on you the whole time as the animal began galloping off down the street to nowhere in particular.
However, you didn't care. You did still worry about the dangers Alfred would go through every day, but you knew you couldn't deny yourself the happiness that you got when you were with him. There was no point in worrying; he was easily worth the risks.
You smiled to yourself as you snuggled against Alfred's chest, feeling his arms tighten around you as well. And as all the fairy tales go...
You both lived happily ever after.