Nero smiled, opening his small gift carefully. He looked to his brother and mumbled, the smooth, dry British accent falling from pale lips. "Weiss… why..? I- I don't understand…"

Weiss smiled back, "I love you, brother. That is what this holiday is all about, is it not?"

Nero chuckled lightly and shook his head, "Weiss… You did not need to do this…"

"Why not, Brother? It is Christmas after all."

"But, Weiss…"

The older of the two smiled, leaning in and giving his younger sibling a kiss to quiet him down. He pulled back, "Now, brother… Would you like to head to the dining room and see the family?"

"If we must…" Nero especially hated his father, the man always felt the need to treat him like dirt. "I will go a long as you are by my side, Weiss."

The older took his brother's hand in his own and smiled, "I am here for you, my brother."

The younger purred and nuzzled against Weiss' neck, "I love you, brother."

"And I love you. Now, come, let us go to the dining area." He clutched Nero's hand and started walking off toward the dining hall.

Nero closed his eyes, swallowing past the lump in his throat. "Do I have to go..? I won't eat tonight, it's fine…"

Weiss shook his head and kept walking, "You need to face Father, my beloved brother. I will protect you… Keep you away from harm."

The older of the two led his brother to the dinner table, sitting him down in a chair before moving to sit beside him. Nero looked down at the table, hiding his face behind shaggy hair.

Their father scowled, "Why is he here?"

Weiss glared, "Because he's a part of our family!"

"A beast should not be at this dinner table." Their father, Omega, glared at the younger of the two.

Nero whimpered, hanging his head still. Weiss growled, "Can we not ever have one nice holiday?"

"Not as long as a monster is with us."

Weiss glared at his father, "He isn't a monster!"

Omega stood, pushing his chair back and slamming his hands down on the table, rattling the dishes, "The child is a monster! He has no sense of what is right or wrong!"

Nero tried to stay away from the conversation; he swallowed hard again, closing crimson eyes. The boy tried desperately to block out his brother and father shouting back and forth. Weiss growled, narrowing his grey eyes, "You can't talk about him like that! He isn't a beast! He's human!"

Their father snarled, his voice going low and guttural. "Are you sure of that? Have you gone to see him at night, son? I'm sure you have. Have you seen the monster come out yet?"

"I… Uhm…"

"You've been scratched bloody by claws. You've been bitten by fangs. He's a monster."

Nero turned and gripped his brother's shirt sleeve, eyes wide and fearful, "I- I think I should go, brother…"

Weiss put a hand over his sibling's, "Nero… No. We should be celebrating family… Not arguing."

The younger avoided his father's eyes; "N- No… I should not have come, Weiss… I am going to leave… H- Have a pleasant holiday, brother." The boy got up from his seat, he swallowed thickly and turned on his heel quickly to bow respectively to his father, "A- And you, Sir."

Weiss watched Nero retreat from the room and he turned to look at their father, "What is wrong with you? Why can't you just accept him?"

Omega growled, "That thing is no son of mine."

The older brother blinked in a little bit of shock, "'Thing'? Why do you do this to him..?"

"Do what? Treat him like he is supposed to be treated? Like the monster he is?"

Weiss shook his head, white hair shaking with it. "No! Why do you treat him like garbage?!"

Omega snarled, "Get out of here, Weiss. Go visit your good for nothing brother." With a twirl of his cape, Father left the room to his own quarters.

The eldest son glared at the spot his father was just in. He turned and walked to Nero's chambers. Weiss knocked on the door lightly, "Brother…? Are you alright?"

Nero's voice cracked as he answered, "Fi- Fine… Just g- go."

"I'm not leaving. May I come in..?"

"Don't c- care."

Weiss pushed the door open a little, peeking in at his brother. The darkness being was curled up in a corner of his room, arms wrapped around his legs. The older of the two blinked at the sight; his normally calm and collected brother was broken down from the insults thrown around at the dinner table.

Nero blinked his hazy, crimson eyes at his brother, "Why are you here? You heard him… I'm nothing… a monster…"

"No…" Weiss crouched beside his sibling, running a hand through his ratty, black hair. "He's wrong."

The younger shook his head, "I am… I'm not normal, Weiss…"

The first took his brother's chin in his hand, planting a small, chaste kiss on his pale lips. "Please… Nero…"

Said brother turned his head away, and closed his eyes tight. Almost suddenly, mechanical wings spread from his shoulder blades. They were made of thin metal, seemed to take on a skeletal form, they had claw-like hands on the top. "A monster."

Weiss gasped, "Nero! Brother, how? Wh- what?"

"It is a long story, brother… Just go… I understand if you never wish to speak to me again."

"Please, Nero, explain this to me…"

"Father… He…"

"He did this to you?"

A hard shake of shaggy black hair, "No… Father sent me… when I was younger… Sent me to this.. this man…"

"What happened?"

"Before he adopted you, Brother… He had sent me… to a scientist. He claimed… that he could make me strong. Father… Father didn't believe him, but he sent me anyway… The man drugged me… He put these things on me…" Nero motioned weakly to the mechanical wings, "Said he gave me some weird meds… Told me they would make me stronger."

"Did they?"

Nero nodded slowly, "With a price."

"What was that..?"

The younger shifted in his spot, uncomfortable with sharing his story. "It took away a lot of my free will…"

"Is that possible?"

"Yes… If I try… very hard… I can go against some orders… But," He sighed, "I am not in power of so much… I cannot go on like this, Weiss… I need to leave…" Nero started to stand, looking down at Weiss.

"No. You aren't going!"

"Yes, Brother." The younger fell to his knees, head bowed obediently.

Weiss clapped a hand over his mouth, he watched his sibling for a moment before letting his hand fall; "Nero, I'm sorry… I didn't mean to…"

The younger kept his head down, and his eyes closed, "Do not apologize, brother. You have no need to."

"But, Nero-"

The wings abruptly spread, silencing Weiss in mid sentence. "I need to leave, Sir… Er.. Brother. I cannot be here when Father sees you leave." He wrapped his arms around his chest protectively, "I cannot go through it… No… It has happened too many times…"

"What has?"

Crimson eyes widened slightly, "Nothing! Forget what I said."

"Nero… What has he done to you?" Weiss moved closer to his sibling.

Mechanical wings wrapped around his torso, "Nothing!"

"Brother, you always do this! Please, tell me!"

Nero shook his head franticly, backing into the corner of the room. "No! Get away from me!"

Weiss stopped where he was, "Nero…"

The younger curled up in the corner, "It hurts, Brother…"

"What does?"

"The memories… The fact that he will do it again…"

"Do what?"

"You really want to know, Weiss?"

The older sibling nodded slowly.

"Then tell Father you are leaving. Hide in the closet and do not make a noise. Understand?"

He nodded again before walking over to the front door and opening it, "Father! I'm going to see Rufus." He slammed the door shut and walked quietly back to his brother's room. Quickly he got into the closet, shutting the door softly, and being sure to leave a crack so he can see.

Nero took a deep breath as he heard heavy footsteps getting closer to the room. The bedroom door opened, his father standing in the frame.

Omega growled, "You little runt. How many times have I told you that you are not allowed at our dinner table?"

"M- Many times, Sir… But Weiss told me…" The boy was cut off by a sharp smack to his face, and burning pain as his hair was pulled back.

His father let his voice get lower; "Do not blame your brother for any of this! He is perfect. You are the monster."

Nero's breathing sped up as his head was pulled back, "Ah… Father… S- Sir… Stop…"

Omega growled, pressing a blade to his son's throat, "You are not my son!"

Crimson eyes widened as the cool steel of the knife hit heated flesh. "S- Sir!"

"When will you learn?" Omega growled, "Never. You will keep pushing it."

Nero let out a harsh cry as the blade cut into his skin, warm blood dribbling down his neck. Omega pushed his son into the wall, so the wings were trapped behind his body. The son let out a bubbling cry, "Please… Let me go!"

"Why should I? You'll only disobey me again. I should have gotten rid of you long ago."

As his heart sped up, more blood fell from the wound, "Gah… Sir… No, I will… I'll obey… I swear…"

"You haven't thus far. What makes me think you will this time?"

"D- Don't want… t- to die…" Nero tried to turn his head, only resulting in it being pulled back hard and fast. He let out a screech of pain; a noise that sounded so animalistic Weiss wasn't sure it was his brother that made the sound.

Omega snarled, growling in Nero's ear, "If you obey, you will not die."

The younger son took in air at a rapid pace. "Y- Yes, Sir!"

His Father glare at the boy, "You understand, yes? If you want to disobey my orders, you will be punished. It doesn't matter what Weiss says. I am your master. Understand, brat?"

"Yes!"

Another sharp tug on his hair, "Yes, what?"

"Y- Yes, Sir!"

"Good." Omega pushed Nero to the ground and turned to walk out of the room.

Once he left, Weiss stumbled from the closet over to his younger sibling. "N- Nero…" The eldest sibling reached out to put a hand on the other's shoulder. But it only resulted in the younger shrinking back into the fetal position.

Weiss retracted his hand and kept his voice low, "Nero… Brother, are you alright?"

Scared, crimson eyes turned to look at his brother, "W- Weiss… I f- forgot y- you were h- here…" The raven haired boy let out a few weak chuckles as he moved a hand to caress his brother's cheek.

"Does he… Does he do this often, Brother?"

Nero nodded his head slowly, "It hurts, Weiss… Cannot do it any longer…"

"Nero…"

"It needs to stop…"

"Nero! Are- Are you thinking of-"

The younger of the two placed a chaste kiss on the other's lips, "No, Weiss, no… I will not harm myself… Do not worry… I am going to leave… I must. Before he throws me out in the gutter with broken bones… Like the useless beast I am."

"You aren't…"

Crimson eyes closed slowly, and Nero looked away from his sibling; "You lie."

"No…"

Nero gripped his hair in tight fists, his body shaking; "Yes, yes! I am a monster… imperfect… a beast… You are perfect, like he said… You deserve all… I deserve nothing…"

"Nero…" Weiss reached out and put a hand on his brother's shoulder.

The younger sibling reeled back, holding Weiss' wrist with an iron grip. "No. Do not touch me." Claws dug into the pale flesh, blood bubbling to the surface, "You will no be harmed here. He knows you have a future."

"B- But… Where will you go?"

"I am not sure." He let his brother's arm fall from his grasp.

"Then why are you going?"

"I have told you already… I cannot deal with this any longer…" Nero locked his crimson eyes with Weiss' grey ones, "Father needs a punching bag… It is not going to be me any longer."