A/N: I am probably not going to be able to write any more for the next two weeks, unfortunately. I've got stuff coming up, and I won't be in town… I'm sorry I couldn't finish this before I left. But, as soon as I come back, the last few chapters will be uploaded.

And, a little forewarning, this chapter is depressing. It got me down after writing it.

Enjoy~…?

~w~w~w~

"How is she?" Matthew asked, desperation lacing his voice as he rose from his spot on the cushion. The hospital room was, he had found, quite uncomforting, as the scents of sterilization and cleanliness all but overwhelmed his nose. The walls were a pristine white, all plain, and albeit it was not offending, Matthew found it indescribably so.

A single doctor entered the room, a clipboard tucked firmly in the crook of his arm as he took approached the teenage boy, a saddened glint evident in his eyes. "Look, I'm afraid… she-"

The Canadian boy didn't even wait for the doctor to finish his sentence before taking off down the hall, desperate to seek out her room. Where could she be, what had they done to her? A mist of tears streaked down his flushed cheeks as he rounded the corner, spotting the room in which she was being held. Without another thought, nor any regards to the doctor behind him, telling him not to enter, Matthew burst through the doors, approaching the lifeless, pale body laying upon the bed.

"What… What are you doing?" he demanded, watching as one of the two physicians in the room removed the IV from her hand. "Put that back in there! Don't give up on her!"

"Matthew, I'm sorry," one of them whispered, patting the teary boy upon the shoulder before returning his attention to one of the nurses. "At what time was she pronounced dead?"

"About two thirty-six this morning, sir."

Matthew's heart contracted, a newly found well of tears brimming over his eyelids. "What? No, you're wrong! She can't be dead!" But, as he scanned his blurred violet eyes over to her body, motionless and frightfully stark, he knew it must be so. "She isn't… She…"

And he threw himself out of the doors once more, approaching the payphone and allowing the tears to flow freely down his face. He clumsily fumbled with the change and inserted the money, pressing the phone up to his ear.

"Hello?" Alfred's voice greeted his.

"Alfred…" he managed to choke out, sniffling heavily before continuing.

"Mattie? What's wrong?"

"It's… Mother's dead, Alfred!"

The line went dead on the other end.

~w~w~w~

Matthew sighed, allowing the American breeze to whisper into his ear, blowing his hair around his face in a messy array. 'Twas a warm breeze, mind you, but a comforting one nonetheless. He approached a table outside of a coffee shop, grabbed a newspaper, and began to read, completely disregarding his alternative surroundings. Instantly, the headline caught his attention- something about Anette's peculiar reaction to the interview, as well as a bit more on Kiku, whom they had found out had been interviewed separately by a smaller news station as opposed to the larger one. Kiku, Alfred, and Heracles were out at the moment, buying souvenirs and whatnot.

The Canadian male sighed, gazing up at the sky above- cloudy, such a dreary day, indeed. And appropriately so, for Matthew had found himself even more bogged down over the subject of their father than ever before. The cruel man was only a few miles away, and with that last phone call that had been made to Alfred, he was anticipating the worst. In fact, their Father had yet to call back since that fateful day, which gave the Canadian even more reason to worry. So what if Matthew was a worrywart? Rightfully so!

He spent the next three hours sitting there, doing whatever he could to keep himself occupied.

Sighing, he rose from his spot on the chair and tucked the newspaper into the inner pocket of his lightweight jacket as a heavy downpour split the sky, a flash of lightening crackling and mocking his very being down below on Earth. Matthew hurriedly ducked beneath the covering tarp beside a barber shop, leaning up against the brick and slumping to the ground, readjusting his crochet hat atop his head. The streets that had once been buzzing with crowds of people were now virtually lifeless, albeit a child and her mother were running towards their apartment complex in an attempted escape from the storm. He smiled, watching the little girl as she scrambled up the steps, laughing obliviously all the while. However, as he saw her enter the building and disappear out of sight, an entirely new thing caught his attention- a large navy vehicle, not by any means a cheap car, drove up to the shop, slowing to a steady five miles per hour as it inched along the curb, and the driver caught a glimpse of the man leaning against the wall, humming to himself and awaiting the rain to pass.

Said man, Matthew, met the eyes of the driver, and instantly recoiled, nearly falling over in the slippery waters that now slicked the sidewalk. That familiar gaze, a violet much too similar to his own, though entirely dissimilar in expression… Matthew knew in an instant who exactly it must have been, and further pressed himself against the wall, never once averting his trembling eyes from the driver's.

And that's when the car parked, and out came the man whom he had come to know as Father.

~w~w~w~

"Mattie, I'm back!" Alfred called, inviting himself into the hotel room at which his twin was staying. "Mattie?" he repeated, glancing around the room in an uneasy fret. "Huh, he's not back yet…"

"Not back yet?" Kiku repeated, standing behind the American in the doorway. "He left almost four hours ago. He was supposed to be getting coffee and reading the paper- it should not have taken him so long."

"I'm sure he's just running a little late… maybe he found something else to do?" suggested Alfred, though he knew this was likely a very absurd assumption. "If he's not back in another half-hour, I'll go find him. Luckily, this town's not very big."

Kiku nodded hesitantly, though couldn't help but gaze downward in a troubled state. There was absolutely no reason for the Canadian to be gone, and they both knew that.

Perhaps it would be better if Alfred worried a bit more.

And that half-hour passed in the blink of an eye.

~w~w~w~

"Matthew?" the older man called, exiting the vehicle and taking a few steps in the direction of his disowned son.

Matthew took a few steps back in response… or, at least, attempted to. He found himself huddled against the wall, his sire approaching him with wobbly steps and outstretching a hand. "No…" he mumbled, though barely audible in all of his paranoia. He could feel the fearful tears biting away at his eyes, threatening to pool down over his cheeks. But, alas, he found himself in too frightened a state to even do so. He froze, utterly paralyzed as the man snatched him swiftly by the forearm, dragging him closer.

The Canadian cringed, the grip around his arm unbearably tight, likely to bruise. As the older man brought him closer, Matthew was all but overwhelmed by the sudden stench of heavy alcohol that lingered about his father's body. "No!" he screamed, a bit more forcefully this time, though still unconvincing, as he wrenched himself from his Father's grasp. "You're drunk!"

"What does it matter? I need you out of the way, boy." He reached out again for Matthew's arm, though stumbled forward and almost lost his balance in his state of drunkenness.

"What? Y-y-you're-"

"I'm not gonna kill you, brat! Quit groveling!" Was this truly what their father had become after intoxication? Was this what Alfred had had to deal with all of those years alone at home? A sudden rage welled up within Matthew's chest, threatening to burst out. "Listen to me, very closely. You are going to get out of that school, and stay the hell away from my son. You are-"

And burst it did. Matthew lunged forward, shoving the man to the ground with a flame of anger burning in his eyes. "Your son? Get it through your head, you bastard! I'm as much of your son as Alfred is, and… quite frankly, that's not much! You're not our father, and you never have been. You're the one who should get out of Alfred's life, not me!" Matthew stumbled back, however, and cupped a hand over his mouth, heart threatening to palpitate out of his chest. He had just yelled at…

The older man coughed a few times before standing back up, taking two steps towards the Canadian, voice deathly quiet. "I am going to make you regret those words, boy. And, rest assured, I will make you stay away from Alfred, one way," a fist met Matthew's stomach, and the younger male toppled over in pain, "-or another."

Matthew grimaced, managing to stand back up before his sire made a fist again, ready for another drunken attack. He's not conscious of what he's doing, he told himself, skidding away from the man before he could get injured further. As much as the anger had welled up inside of him, he knew that the vast majority of this that was talking was, indeed, the alcohol, and Matthew knew he didn't have it in him to punch back, unless he absolutely had to. Dodging another punch, he shoved the man away forcefully and took off in the opposite direction, ears throbbing with the sound of his heart.

He cast a gaze back at his Father's form, which was now distantly behind him, getting into the car. Oh my god, he's chasing after me! Panic arisen within, Matthew ran harder, panting heavily as he rounded the corner and hopped the fence, making his way to a street opposite his Father, making it more difficult to be ensnared while he caught his breath. He doubled over, puffing out little breaths of air as he desperately tried to normalize both his breathing rate and heart rate. Matthew shuddered, rubbing the tender skin of his now-purple forearm with his palm. All of this madness, all of this time… Alfred had been dealing with the likes of that for so many years. Was it too much to just ask it all to stop?

And his Father's car approached him once more, and the chase ensued.

~w~w~w~

"Mattie's gotta be around here somewhere!" Alfred said, a slight panic arising in his voice. He and the rest of the interviewed students (Kiku, Arthur, Anette, Francis, Heracles…) had split up, looking about in different parts of town for their Canadian friend. He and Anette had taken this particular road, and had been searching for at least ten minutes with no avail.

Anette sighed, wiping a bead of sweat from her brow. "I don't see him anywhere. Think we should go back and report to the others? Or maybe to the police?"

"No," Alfred called back, rushing out ahead to look further. I know he's around here somewhere. I can feel it. All I know is that he'd better not be in trouble. As heroic as I may be, I don't know if I'll be able to save him without so much as a piece of evidence. Oh, Mattie, where could you be?

"Hey, Alfred!" Anette's voice met his ears, and he instantly turned to face her. "Here's a coffee shop- do you think he went to this one?"

"It's possible. Let's keep looking!" he shouted back, and continued running forward. The sudden screech of tires, however, soon halted his thought process. "This way!" He turned to face her and called back, rounding the corner and racing down the street.

Alfred rushed forward in a desperate panic, Anette trying desperately to hold him back as a hand clamped onto his shirt, and many different things crossed his field of vision.

And the scene unfolded before his eyes.

His Father's car.

A different truck approaching from the right side, sliding along the road on the slick wetness.

His brother's violet eyes, wide and meeting his in a flash.

And, lastly, the pool of crimson that soon engulfed the road before him.

"Matthew!"

~w~w~w~

A/N: … Please, don't kill me for leaving you there. I'm sorry, really I am, but you'll have to wait to find out what happened. I'll try my best to get it up within the next week or so, but it probably won't happen. I hope I get some reviews though- I'm curious to see your input- especially if you hate me with a burning passion now…

R&R~!