A/N: Ha. It's still Thursday. No, you cannot nag at me for it being nine o'clock at night where I am because it's not and you're lying and no I didn't not just glance at the clock.

Thank you so much again everyone for the reviews and support! Also, Thank you. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. To OpheliaSnorkels (Link on my profile. Go to her. Look at her beautiful writing. If you think this is good, I swear to you that your eyes will never peel from her page again) for helping beta this. NONE of this is itself without her help. I'm not joking.

A-A-Anyway, onward to the story! I promise this is the last intro/exposition/character introduction chapter. I'll finally start the plot Chapter four.


Matthew woke up cold.

The covers of his brother's bed were thrown from half of the side his body recklessly. Matthew mused that his brother could have at least had the decency to cover his younger sibling again after carelessly jumping out of bed like he usually does. How Matthew didn't wake up when that happened may be an effect of living with such a careless, dirty brother for a good portion of his life. In order to deal with it, just ignore it, he told himself unwillingly before swinging one cold leg and one warm leg across the bed and over the ledge before stretching his arms up and yawning.

He winced as a huff of his own morning breath filled his nose.

The curtains were pulled to the side neatly revealing a nice, morning sunny gleam that splayed like paint across the room, only not reaching the darkest corners that seemed so desolate and lonely.

The younger twin couldn't help but frown as he realized that it wasn't just those corners that were left in the dark. His heart couldn't help but feel that the entire house he sat upon felt that way. It no longer felt like a home should. Where did that feeling of security go? What was a family?

A hand ran through curls of long, blond hair, playing with it. He felt his stomach flip, turn, then attempt puking itself out of his body as the question shot across his mind. He always thought he knew, but it felt like that definition he conjured up was quickly slipping away. Not as if it was being corrected per say, more like the entire thought process that led to its very conclusion didn't matter anymore. Like it wasn't real.

His foot moved a little left and touched something cold.

His iPod. It was a depressing grey color because he couldn't make up his mind when his Papa had decided to get one for him and his brother. Alfred made it very clear that he wanted his custom made red and blue with white stars all over it. Matthew was too busy trying not to make a statement about it that his Dad ended up dishing out the idea of grey. Matthew felt he couldn't even argue as the grey-colored iPod was put on the cartoon internet ordering cart thing along with the awkwardly somehow found red and blue iPod with white stars all over it. Even now that iPod was halfway wrecked and slung across the room (on accident of course, Alfred can't hold in his "odd" strength) unlike Matthew's, which was clean and spotless, just like when it was bought. (Indicate which iPod the one on the floor is more clearly. I thought it was Matthew's at first, so call the iPod the "awkward" one.)

His foot had run across the touchpad because for some reason last night, he had forgotten to put it on hold, and the volume turned up rather loudly, a random song he stuffed in playing through the room.

Matthew rolled his eyes and bent down to pick it up. His eyes couldn't help but trail back under his brother's bed.

The suitcase was still there. And it looked as if it had been pulled out recently, unlike many other messes Alfred refuses to clean up. Still, it looked dashingly new, no matter how old it seemed to be. Matthew sat up and stared at the blindingly white screen of his iPod. The ear buds were dancing on his lap with the loud music.

It wasn't purely curiosity but it was something along those lines. Matthew had leant in closer to his lap to listen to the song. Of course, the music was quite loud, but it at least looked like he was trying to find out what was playing. "--Who gives a damn about the family you come from? No giving up when you're young and you want some—" Matthew brought his face away and scrutinized the dull MP3 player. He didn't even remember when Mika got into his iPod, "—Running around again… Running for running… running around again… running for running."

Even as the last "running" was playing, his fingers moved to turn down the music. But that's when he realized his brother, who he then realized was in the bathroom, decided to finish up the song instead. There was a rather scratchy scream-sing-sound, and that's all Matthew would really think.

"I was a boy! I'm an open doo-or! Why you starin'? D'Yousta think thatchu knowww." The younger twin wanted to giggle. He was already screwing with the lyrics along with his dreadfully beautiful toneless voice. The next part was almost too painful to hear. It was almost a miracle their parents hadn't burst through the door calling 911. "Look at the trea-asure with the things thatchu thru like ma-agpie! I live for glitter not you!" And oh god, his voice was cracking all over after that. Matthew quickly burst into the bathroom, only to find out he had tackled his almost-naked brother holding a toothbrush that was covered in spit due to the fact he was singing into it while he was clad in only navy, star-covered boxers.

He quickly sat up with a red face and smacked his brother's left arm. The "you're a frikken' idiot" almost went unheard through the older's boisterous laughter. There wasn't even anything to be boisterous about. Matthew laughed with him.


Chapter 3: Human Habits and Dysfunctions

The boys, to their surprise, hadn't woken up their parents. There was no clean breakfast waiting at the table, there were no fake smiles waiting for them down the stairs, and most of all, there was absolutely no awkward silence. It wasn't unusual for their Dad and Papa to wake up a little too late to wish their boys off on a good school day. In fact, most of the time, they had to go up and wake the two. But they didn't. They deliberately skipped breakfast, grabbing their bags filled with undone homework and grabbed a few dollars laying about the kitchen counter before walking out.

Other than that, they aimed for a normal day.

They were glad to see out in front that their Papa's car was parked neatly in the driveway unlike the day before. They weren't even pestered by a freaky Asian lawyer who wanted to know where their house was. Nope. It was like nothing ever happened. It was just a normal school day as they went to school. And that's all they needed to think.

Just Like Normal. With all capital letters like when you make a title or create an acronym. Alfred was making crappy excuses like usual, including something along the lines of asexuality and snails, and Matthew was just going on about life as the invisible student he was. It was Just Like Normal.

After first period, however, there was a fire drill. Not that anyone knew it was a drill, but it's happened so much that it was almost easily assumed a drill. There were still those who hopelessly believe their school really had been shot down or had a lab accident that caused a school-wide evacuation so that the kids could watch in wonder as the flickering fire burnt down their beloved school, but barely any after at least middle school.

Alfred, who shared Matthew's first hour class, was sitting on a brick wall behind the school, holding ear buds and watching as his custom-made star-covered red and blue iPod swung back and forth weakly. Matthew was watching how it was almost coming alive, scratches and all, screaming to him, "Please save me and send me back to my manufacturers!" with sincere hope, tears streaming down its square face. His own iPod was snug as a bug in his left jean pocket, almost laughing mockingly at the poor treatment his brother's iPod was receiving.

The younger Jones child decided he'd keep these rather exclusively disturbing thoughts to himself and turn to watch their school "supposedly" burn down.

It wasn't long before they heard a "Hey, like, isn't that them?" from not too far away. Alfred retrieved his iPod and Matthew turned to the source. Indeed, a certain transvestite, southern-guy-and-boyfriend, and fidgety kid came dashing down to where the two were sitting peacefully. Matthew felt bad for labeling them so harshly instead of using their names, but the true fact was that he still really hadn't memorized their names and that his brother was sadly rubbing off on him way more than he would probably like.

It was around that thought he decided to not label them anymore. Quickly before they came, he looked carefully at each of his new friends and tried to drag out their names, practically mumbling them under his breath. His brother turned to him shortly to question his sanity but he waved it off.

"Like, that was, like, totally a bummer huh?" Feliks huffed, crossing his arms with a pout. "I was like, going to, like, go to science and dissect a frog." Everyone except Alfred visibly gagged to the idea. Feliks laughed mockingly and said something about them having, like, no backbone.

"I don't know. I was headed towards math. I'm glad to be out of that class." Raivis nearly stuttered. Everyone nodded in agreement.

"I don't know, he tries to be nice! Although, his teaching is sort of… bad." Tino mumbledBernard only shrugged in agreement. Not that he ever seemed to disagree with whatever Tino said. Maybe Matthew was a little curious about them but again decided against asking.

"Like, yeah, and he, like, totally hates me." Feliks agreed, puffing his cheeks out much like an eight-year-old girl would when she couldn't get the toy she wanted to play with.

Matthew only laughed. He couldn't really relate. No one really noticed him, so at the same time he had no problems socially. Other than that he was ignored, that is. Alfred, however, was surprisingly quiet. Indeed, he had Mr. Green (and needless to say, was hated by him like any other teacher on the face of the Earth that ever knew him) but it was like he was dazed. His face looked as if he were drawing a blank and nothing else. He looked like he was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object.

No one really noticed but Matthew though.

"Where are you two going?" Raivis mumbled to Tino and Bernard. The two looked at each other then laughed. Or at least Tino did. Bernard made an off-looking smile.

"Ah, just Sex Ed. You know that story ha ha!" They both looked a little red for something that sounded a little too casual.

Matthew was tempted, but he didn't ask.

They were all laughing when the principal's voice boomed through the speakers, saying one thing or another before actually admitting that it was a drill. No matter how many people already knew for a fact that it was, there was still a collected groan when "drill" was mentioned.

A bunch of popular girls were just coming out of the building when the principal started talking. They were most likely in the bathroom doing some extreme precautions for their makeup before leaving the building. As awful as it sounded, Matthew imagined what would happen if there really was a fire and they were still in there complaining about how the sun destroys everything visual. They noticed a group already heading in and snuck a few back-steps into the school again before hurrying to the bathroom to adjust their makeup again.

Alfred punched his arm.

"What?" Matthew grumbled, turning to his brother with a sharp glare. Which, of course, didn't affect said brother at all.

"That was for this morning." he said with a grin before walking ahead of him.

Just Like Normal.


Feliks pulled him right out of the classroom after English, a class Matthew hadn't noticed they had together until then.

"Hey, so, like, have you heard about the runaway boy?" He looked just as perky as ever, despite the fact he was being teased the entire period for wearing the wrong uniform again.

"What? Do you mean that brown-haired one?" Matthew noticed that when he mentioned brown hair, Felik's seemingly neverending good mood dropped substantially.

"The rich one? Yeah."

The hall was somewhat deserted. But that was to be expected before lunch. Even the fattest, slowest kid would have to sprout wings and runner legs in order to at least get a little bit of the good lunch. Usually when they ran out (which they usually did) they'd pull something pretty bad out. Matthew was more than used to that serving of lunch and gave up trying to make it past the crowd of fat kids and hungry people.

It seemed Feliks didn't really care much either.

"What about him?" Matthew asked, watching as his friend paused every now and then to examine the oily, unclean public school walls littered with fingerprints all over it. He didn't really get an answer until they hit the sophomore history hall. Feliks stared blankly at an enlarged student-created (not to mention badly drawn) map of America. There were little notes about American History and Government stapled all over it and pop-out quiz sheets at the bottom. The smaller blond was fiddling around with the pop-outs, distracting himself.

"…What do you, like, think about it? Running away?" he asked after a while instead of answering. Matthew grumbled inwardly. Sometimes it felt like most people just loved to ask questions but when someone actually asked them the question, which, doubtless, they know the answer to, they usually avoided it and asked another one. Especially teachers. Teachers loved to do that. Weren't they hired to answer questions, not ask them?

"…I never really thought about it," Matthew mumbled after a while, not giving much thought to it. But when he had said his answer, he began to ponder it on a "yet" scale. Was it because he just never actually needed to? He thought about his family back at his house, the circumstances. Weren't those reasons to ponder running away? He hardly thought so, but a part of him seemed to get excited about the idea. Probably the childish part of him who still wanted to join the circus when life just got too tough. Like now.

"Huh," Feliks said, smiling. "I have." He ran a soft, girly hand down the side of Nevada that connected with Utah blankly.

"Where do you think the rich brown-haired kid is now?" Matthew asked without thinking. Feliks flinched a little then looked about the map.

"He's still, like, here," Feliks mumbled from under his breath.

"H-He is? You know where he is?" Matthew countered quickly.

Feliks stared at him with sharp green eyes. Matthew immediately shut himself up and flustered under the stare. It was, if not scary, intimidating. "I do," Feliks said under his breath, trying to make it hidden.

"S-So know him?" Matthew whispered back, putting the pieces together.

They looked like a couple of girls gossiping in the hallway.

"Y-Yeah," Feliks said, looking to the side before blushing weakly. His hand held his other thoughtfully; his upper front teeth bit his bottom lip insecurely. He looked like a lovestruck [girl, almost like Juliet after she had met Romeo. "He's my best friend."

Matthew didn't know what happened after that, but he did remember the story. They were tracing states on the map, alone in the hallway before lunch. The younger Jones twin knew that his brother, like usual, was probably waiting for his arrival near the lunchroom, but he didn't want to move or intrude. He just listened, feeling awkward and prying just by hearing it. Even if it was voluntary.

Feliks first started about how they became friends. The missing boy's name was Toris. Their families were close. Both of their dads were like brothers that could never be separated, but Toris's mother was nothing less than a gold digger. All she really cared for was the money. Eventually Toris's father died. Everyone was appalled, but not Toris's mother.

"She kept, like, looking for a way to get richer," Feliks whispered, face twisting into anger. His perfectly polished fingernail was practically ripping through the cheap construction paper on the map. "Eventually, she found the Braginskis who told her to sever all ties with, like, everyone. It was totally stupid." Matthew never thought "like"'s and "totally"'s could sound so menacing.

"Toris wasn't allowed to see me and had to start hanging out with their fat, pompous kid. We, like, hated it. Toris would, like, have to sneak out to see me and stuff." His hand traced around Colorado. "That was, like, when Toris told me that he had to run away. He didn't, like, tell me too much, but, like, I think it was because his mother was trying to get him to be wedded with that psychotic weirdo."

Matthew watched as he clenched a fist and silently let out a dragged out "Oh." He suddenly felt like what was going on around him was nothing in comparison. Even though his fathers could be such assholes sometimes, he felt they wouldn't do something as rude as to split him and his brother apart for money. They wouldn't do anything for money.

Then why were they getting divorced?

Matthew bit his lip and looked down painfully.

"So I'm going with him." The twin didn't even realize he had tuned out until he tuned back in to Feliks's last words. Matthew bit his lip and stuttered out what sounded like a "What" before mentally slapping himself. Feliks only laughed "Yeah, I'm, like, totally going to run away and find him."

"Don't you love your family?" Matthew asked without thinking again. He'd been so unregulated into a social life that he'd started to feel like he really should just shut himself up and go back to being the invisible, friendless Matthew he was. The one who spoke half-French, half-English, had a twin brother, and wanted to go home.

Feliks just looked at him, appalled for a minute. He, unlike Matthew, gave thought to what he would say before he said it. "Yeah, but I love Toris more," he said simply, as if it was as simple as that.

But Matthew couldn't wrap his head around it. It wasn't simple at all.


His head was in the clouds for the rest of the day. Even during his lunch, which he had spent with the others catching up through the years and basically talking as if they really had been close friends through the empty time they sat together, his mind wasn't getting any clearer.

He wasn't even thinking. It more felt like he was in one of those type of states of in which you want to forget things ever happened and pretend the world was just peachy by creating an imaginary roadblock from where your memories are held to the part of the brain unconsciously functioned in school without paying attention. The roadblock would have to be pretty, seeing as the latter part was a rather large percent of a student's mind.

He hadn't even noticed, let alone cared, when Alfred slammed his locker shut right after he turned the last part of the combination to open it. In fact, he hadn't even made some sort of angry remark at his brother and instead just went back to putting the combo right back in.

"What's up with you?" Alfred said finally, a little ticked. Matthew finally shook out of it.


"…Pfft. God, you look stupid." Alfred mused. Matthew pulled open his locker again before turning to his brother with a rather angry voice.

"What do you mean by that?" Alfred only laughed at him.

"I mean, you look so stupid when you're in a daze." He was about to knock the locker closed again when Matthew shot his hand in to stop it. Sadly, that part of his memory was slowly elapsing into the side that went about school without much thought.

"I was not… in a daze!" He had to pause in the middle of his argument to try and remember what Alfred had said right before then. Realizing how airy he was, he rubbed the back of his head and groaned. Alfred only looked at him skeptically. "Look, okay, I am. Can I get my stuff without you bruising me with my locker so we can go home now?"

Matthew wasn't sure what got into him the second the last part of the dialogue was said, but he definitely didn't feel like himself. The amount of students in the hallways were already diminishing quickly save for the depressed AP students who were currently holding a pile of books higher than them and attempting to get through the door without dropping any. But even they were beginning to shuffle out.

Alfred had a straight face on. It wasn't serious but it wasn't his usual goofy grin either.

"We're not going home."

"What?" Matthew stated dryly. He didn't ask, he stated. It wasn't a "What, really", it was a "That's not what I want to hear" what. Suddenly the memories from the previous night flooded back into him, along with the many fights that transpired in his household. He clenched his weakened stomach.

Then the thoughts he had on what Feliks had told him that day.

Alfred hadn't noticed any of these actions at all however. He only smiled and laughed. "Yeah, we're gonna stop by Starbucks first. Bernard and Tino planned a get together between the, uh," He paused and took out a few fingers to count with, "Between the six of us, yeah."

Matthew felt a realization wash over him quickly. Things felt a little better.

But the thoughts that had rushed back to him so fast remained ever so slightly. He couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if he were to runaway.

Or worse, if Alfred had decided to run away.

Starbucks wasn't too far off from the school, nor was it too far from their house. It was like the dead center, the radius in between. It didn't take long to get there, but since it took so long for the two of them to get ready and head off of the school campus, they were the last ones to arrive.

Bernard, to their surprise, was up and ordering. Tino had to run to him and add the two extra orders they needed when the twins had arrived. Other than that, everyone easily welcomed them, and they sat around a small coffee table usually occupied by those mad writers who needed a couch. Well, too bad, Matthew mused, they have the couches now.

"You guys are, like, late." Feliks laughed, sticking his tongue out. Matthew just grinned and took a seat next to him, the seat unoccupied on his other side was taken by his brother.

"I have a lot of homework tonight." Matthew sighed.

"That's, like, a lie. I have a lot of classes with you and we, like, barely get anything."

Matthew laughed to himself, withholding his "I know" because then he'd have to explain why he had three days worth of eight classes' worksheets to do.

Alfred just sat, not talking.

Bernard and Tino came back soon with six Blueberry Frappuccino Mediums and started passing them around. Raivis started complaining about how they bought too much and offered money. Tino kindly objected and said that it was on them, meaning Bernard and him. Matthew pondered if they had a shared bank account like married people do.

Like their parents don't.

"I'm sure!" Tino laughed innocently. In that either truthful or extremely convincing way. Raivis eventually gave in and stuffed the ten dollar bill back into his pocket. Matthew and Alfred could barely offer anything but a thanks. Their parents stopped giving them allowance months ago. For Alfred, it was because he failed every single one of his classes. For Matthew, it was because he temporarily lost his phone for a month. Either way, their parents either hadn't forgiven them or they didn't have the time.

And Matthew was sure it was the latter.

"M' pr'tty r'ch," Bernard said simply, offering one of those lop-sided smiles of his. Tino only nodded in agreement.

"He's right! This isn't anything for us, I've got a good amount of money too." Toni started passing out straws. Everyone did a unanimous thank you before Feliks declared that they should have a group toast. And they did. Immense sipping was heard afterward.


Alfred had pointed out that it was around six o'clock when they finally headed home. They ended up spending hours buying really strong coffee and chugging it like they were in a beer contest. Feliks left looking like his eyes were going to pop out, Tino was talking a mile a minute, Bernard was even more incomprehensible than he usually was, and Raivis's natural shiver added with coffee made him so animated that he looked like a constant bobble head. Alfred and Matthew had refused the contest, afraid either one of them would lose and would have to pay. They had no money.

They got home without too much of a fuss and were glad to see no lawyer car out in front when they walked in.

But it was dreadfully quiet.

"Dad? Papa?" Matthew called, shutting off his grey iPod and walking a little further into the house. No lights were on despite it being twilight. Alfred was right behind him.

He quickly saw two silhouettes sitting around the kitchen table with their arms crossed and eyes closed. Two bottles of strong wine were empty and in front of them.

"Welcome home," their Papa said with a shivery voice. But it wasn't drunk. It was completely sober. Matthew and Alfred knew their Papa even when he took the slightest sip of alcohol.

Their dad, on the other hand, was obviously drunk. He didn't speak.

"Your Dad and I have been worried," the Frenchman continued. Matthew and Alfred dropped their bags by the door and crawled into the kitchen like lost kittens. Even Alfred, who was trying his best to look up and cunning, was dragging his feet across the ground.

"I'm sorry," Matthew said first, half whispering. "We were meeting up with a bunch of friends."

There was a loud slam emanating from the kitchen table. Their Dad had slammed his fist into the top.

"What were you doing with these friends?" the man they called their dad asked with a quivering voice. Doubtless both the empty wine bottles belonged to him.

Both of the twins had already recoiled and were slowly attempting to slip out of the kitchen.

"We were just drinking coffee at Starbucks."

"It takes you four hours to drink coffee?" their younger parent retorted, standing. Matthew shut himself up.

There was a silent moment between the family members. The younger twin was beginning to sob softly, wondering why their Dad had gotten drunk so late, wondering why their Papa wasn't stopping him from being so mean. He felt like a child who had ridden his bike too far and was found out. But it wasn't that way at all, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he did. Though it's true this type of thing hadn't ever really happened before. If they stopped for Starbucks, they'd bring the drink home. They never had friends so it probably was a surprise to their Dad that they were out so late.

"Dad!" Alfred cried out. Because although those conditions were true, that didn't mean their parent could drunkenly judge them at six in the afternoon holding an empty wine bottle. Francis was still silent. "Dad, we were just at Starbucks with a bunch of friends."

"Why didn't you call us? Why didn't you warn us?" Soft tears were forming in Arthur's eyes. It was quite obvious that he was worried.

"This sort of thing didn't happen before, okay? We, it was an accident," Alfred argued, voice getting softer as the words dragged on. Matthew felt his stomach churn again.

"Wouldn't it be logical to tell us?" Arthur half yelled, tears spilling over the rim of his eyes. Francis was still silent.

Matthew couldn't speak either.

"Well maybe if you would stop drinking and start sobering up—" Alfred began but was cut off.

"My drinking habits have nothing to do with what you've done, Alfred!" Their Dad made it worse than it actually was. Francis didn't speak a word.

"Your drinking habits," Alfred said, emphasizing the words, "have just about everything to do with how we're raised, if you haven't noticed! You frikken' airheads of parents didn't really care where the hell we were when you were fighting!" Alfred screamed, jumbling his words. Arthur was already on his feet, glaring with red-rimmed eyes.

"What do you have to say about how we raise you two?! You don't understand the pain, the torture…"

"Oh, if it's so 'painful' then why the hell did you adopt us in the first place?!" Alfred yelled before the guilt trip started.

Matthew was on his knees sobbing. The room was dark. Arthur had an empty wine bottle in his hand. Alfred was screaming. The eldest parent wasn't stopping anything.

None of the family members had expected what happened next. It was like a flash of a shooting star, it only lasted a moment but burned itself into one's memory. It was like how someone could usually only remember the most obvious and stunning part of a person. It was that traumatizing.

And so Matthew remembered the details, of how the house vibrated with a loud klunk, a temporary silence taking over the household. Gleaming glass shards scattered about, reflecting the window's shine of twilight, each shard a different sunset color. It was like the world had stopped or slowed down, giving just enough time for Matthew to witness this, to be able to describe it, to remember it in detail.

Alfred had run to his room soon after, screaming bloody Mary about God knows what. Matthew had to stumble after, only glancing slightly behind him before actually leaving.

Arthur was on the ground, suddenly feeling guilty, angry that his actions were controlled by his intoxication. He was on his knees and hands next to an empty bottle of wine. Broken. He was crying madly, as if he had murdered someone.

Which he practically did.

And yet there Francis stood, silently watching. Matthew couldn't help but notice a hint of amusement in his eyes, as if he knew this would happen.

As if he set this up for it to happen.

It was then when Matthew realized that if he hated both his parents, he hated Francis more. A whole lot more.

He quickly stumbled up the stairs and into the room where his brother was.

Almost everything was a blur after that.


It was about two hours before the boys got themselves back together. Two hours were spent crying about nothing and everything. Two hours were spent without a thought. It was almost as if the original wild-animal complex resurfaced, holding onto both of them. They were crying. But they didn't even remember why.

Sure, there was a reason they should have been crying, but for once, it felt like that reason wasn't nearly enough to have them to cry for two hours. It wasn't nearly enough reason to feel like they were lost entities floating around and doing nothing but watching the world collapse in front of them.

Alfred and Matthew talked for probably hours after that about nothing. Like songs. Or maybe school. Even unfinished homework. Heck, they finished all their unfinished homework, and they were still up at about twelve o'clock at night, not sleeping.

Their parents hadn't dared to enter their room. It was like they were afraid of losing. Losing what, Matthew would have to contemplate on his own.

Neither of them smiled, no matter how goofy their conversations got. It was just extremely dull. Everything felt dull.

If their world had crumbled in front of them like they thought it had, they must have been thinking that they were floating on the remains, trying to grab at lost pieces so that they could put it back together.

But there were too many pieces.

Their stomachs were living on the single frappuccino they had had at Starbucks.

"You okay?" Matthew asked, watching as his brother rubbed the back of his shoulder. It had been bleeding profusely six hours ago. Now that it was wrapped up and cleaned, it looked a little better. Matthew had been glad not to find any pieces of lost glass inside of it.

"Yeah," Alfred answered automatically, still rubbing it. Matthew knew that it wasn't the pain that was bothering him. It was the memory that came with the pain.

A pain that wouldn't heal as fast as a flesh wound.

"I don't wanna be here anymore," Alfred mumbled after a while of silent rubbing.

Matthew could only nod. He didn't want to object like he would have if the incident of six hours ago didn't happen. He didn't want to care. Anywhere seemed better than there.

But to the younger Jones's surprise, his brother hadn't bent down to reach for that suitcase. No. He just grabbed his scratched up iPod and put on a random song and laid down on his bed.

Matthew went to his own bed and did the same, still watching his brother, waiting, as if he knew it would happen but it didn't.

And he fell asleep wondering why, even though his brother's breathing softened into an even pattern, that suitcase was absolutely not touched that night.

And he still wondered even as Alfred disappeared the next morning.


A/N: Feedback appreciated!