Author Note: Based on a scene from our RPG, it just wouldn't leave me alone :D Enjoy. Please let me know what you think.
Sunlight streamed in through the kitchen windows of the Chamberlain family home, giving the room a bright, cheery atmosphere.
Except for the little boy sitting at the table, who glared at the work in front of him.
Five year old Thomas Chamberlain kicked his legs in boredom as he stared down at a blank piece of paper. His oldest brother, who had been helping him write his letters had left the room to help their father and he'd been instructed to fill the page with his name. He looked up out the window, wishing he were on the other side. Glancing over his shoulder he inched off the high seat and walked as carefully as he could towards the door, knowing where it was safe to step, and where the floorboards creaked. He almost was at the door when someone behind him cleared their throat loudly, he cringed.
"Tom," His oldest sibling intoned quietly, "Mama finds you outside she'll have your hide."
He turned and made a dramatic return to the table, huffing as he climbed back into the chair. He grabbed the charcoal stick and stuck it to the paper.
"Names are capitalized." The teen said, sitting to watch his brother write.
"Yes Lawrence." The dark haired boy muttered.
Their father's voice was heard from the other end of the house once again and the elder Chamberlain stood and left the room for a second time. The five year old remained where he was, though. Blue eyes concentrating on the paper, squinting slightly as it reflected the light through the windows. His mother walked through briskly, pausing for a moment to check his progress and to leave a quick kiss on the top of his head. She ruffled his dark hair slightly, so different from her own light features. He took after his father more in that aspect.
She smiled at his sullen expression, "You're doing fine Love, as soon as you finish you can go outside." She moved to the little oven in the corner, pulling a plate of flapjacks into view.
"I'm saving these for when chores are done, but since you're rushing to get outside you can eat while you work. How does that sound?"
He nodded happily and began eating as soon as she set the plate down, looking at the dwindling space on the paper. He'd be outside in no time. He was soon alone again and was finishing his name, not even looking at the paper as he shoved the last of the flapjack into his mouth. Looking back at his paper he almost choked. He hadn't written on the paper, he'd written on the table.
She was going to kill him.
He filled the rest of the paper, wincing slightly at how awful the handwriting had become in his haste. He slid the plate over the charcoal writing and rested his chin on a hand when his mother returned, holding a dress she had been mending. She laid it on the table across from him, the skirts coming dangerously close to the sticky syrup on his plate, which had pooled enough for him to play with it with his fork.
He only half listened when she began talking, not really sure what the subject was. He looked back up at her and made the letters of his name over the plate in syrup, not learning from the last time he had looked away from his work. Looking down his eyes widened and he thought he was having trouble breathing for a moment. The syrup hadn't hit the plate, it hit the dress. There was his name, Thomas Chamberlain, across the green material of his mother's favorite garment. She hadn't noticed yet, so he made the best of it while he could.
Folding the skirt over he held up the paper. "Look Mama! I finished!"
She scanned the work quickly, giving him a look at how sloppy the bottom of the paper was before nodding.
"Alright Love, you're dismissed."
He shot through the door and towards the barn, running smack into his older brother who was coming from a stall. The blond haired boy, who had been helping their father looked at him inquiringly.
"Tom what are you doing? Did you finish?"
The young boy didn't answer, but pointed a little hand up to the lofts of the barn.
"Get me up there Lawrence!"
He was treated with a gaze of disapproval, "You're not allowed in the loft, it's too high."
"Please! I won't fall I promise!"
The elder looked up and down the aisle of the barn, "I can't believe I'm taking the promise of a five year old." He muttered softly.
Perched carefully on a hay bale, Thomas watched his brother go back to the ladder, nodding fervently at his brothers words.
"You stay there, don't move you hear me? You don't move."
Reaching the floor of the barn he understood the little boy's anxiety suddenly. Their mother's voice could be heard from the house.
"Thomas Davee Chamberlain!"
The teen looked up to see the boy peeking his head over the edge, "What did you do!"
"Umm," The boy hesitated, "I wrote my name."
The oldest child looked back towards the house, where his mother could be seen coming across the lawn.
Tom was in a panic, whispering harshly, "Lawrence she can't know I'm here."
They met eyes, Lawrence suddenly became very upset at how his brother leaned over the edge, giving him a meaningful look and only breathing again when the boy backed away.
"You just keep down."
Their mother stalked into the barn, somehow making it look easy with the skirts she wore. "Where's the little rogue?"
He raised a brow, "I'm sorry Mama I haven't seen him, did he finish his work already?"
She sighed, unable to stay mad at her youngest. "He did, though I wish he'd kept it on the paper." She explained what she'd found once 'the little rogue' had left the kitchen. Her dress and the table.
"If you see 'im send him inside." She wanted to know what would posses him to do that. She turned and left, looking for her other children to spread the word. Who knows where the youngest one was by now. Probably off with the neighboring farm's children, the Merrill brothers.
Lawrence climbed back up the ladder and smirked at the boy who lay on his stomach in the hay, "Boy are you in for it."
The five year old groaned tiredly, and let his head fall pitifully, "I think I'm going to live up here ok?"
"Suit yourself." He said with a smile, dropping easily down the ladder and heading for the open doors. He counted down in his head, three, two, one-,
He spoke without turning around, "What is it Tom?"
The voice that floated down from the loft was very small and pitiful, "You wouldn't leave me would you?"
He turned and climbed back up the ladder, to see the boy looking at him with tired eyes. The family had woken to do chores earlier than usual that morning, and to a five year old that was torture. Even if he had left to play after his writing exercises Lawrence doubted he would have lasted an hour. He reached a hand out, not wanting the boy to attempt getting down on his own. Once safe on the floor he noticed just how tired his sibling was, rubbing his eyes. Tom was horrible when tired, he was surprised the little rogue was so quiet.
"Does Mama hate me?"
He quirked an eyebrow, "Why would Mama hate you?"
"I ruined her dress, and the table." The child looked back towards the house with a look of dejection. The teen knelt and picked him up, speaking quietly as the exhausted boy laid his head on his brother's shoulder.
"You're getting too big for this, but no, Mama doesn't hate you. Those are material objects Tom, you're her flesh and blood."
Before even reaching the house he knew Thomas was asleep, and if not yet asleep he was very close to it. He smirked when he noticed they were both littered with hay and wondered if their mother would notice. He was suddenly plagued with a thought.
If he'd fallen out of that loft. You put him there.
He shook his head, next time Tom asked he'd have to say no. He couldn't put his brother in danger, even if the boy didn't know he was. He krept through the house and made it to Tom's room undetected, laying him down gently and then turning to shut the door. He walked down the hallway back to the barn.
After learning of her son's trip to the rafters of the barn, he was sure she wouldn't be concerned with charcoal markings in a table.