Thank you Shutter Island and "A Great Fire" by Silverstein. You stupid, unholy combo. I hate you. I hate myself for giving in. Anyways, this is my attempt to dabble in the ideas of guilt, sorrow, and what it means to 'save' a person.
Warning: AU, incest, hints of non-con, slash, OOCness, dark undertones, angst, weirdness, purposeful vagueness, hinted mental illness, other things I'm forgetting probably
Pairing: sorta Alfred/Matthew, mentioned Arthur/Francis, mentioned Matthew/unnamed person
Disclaimer: I don't own. Trust me, its a good thing.
Sitting on the grassy knoll, Alfred stared out at the city park nearly eclipsed by twilight. In the distance, he could hear the delighted shrieks of children accompanied by the worried murmurings of their parents. It was almost chilly, the season still transitioning from winter into spring, but the blond teen made no move to zip up his worn bomber jacket. The soft wool at the collar brushed the underside of his jaw as he wrapped his arms around his knees, blue eyes contemplative behind shadowed glasses.
The distant lights of the city flickered and, if Alfred were to strain his ears, he could almost hear the grating screech of rubber against asphalt carried by the night breeze.
Everything was so alive, full of motion. The world was spinning around and around and Alfred was content, for once, just to watch.
"Hey Al?" a soft voice queried next to his ear as a warm presence settled against his side. Alfred glanced down, meeting wide purple eyes. Matthew, head leaning against Alfred's shoulder and pale blond strands tickling the other teen's neck, smiled up at him.
Alfred grinned in return, wrapping an arm around the other teen's thin shoulders and pulling him close. "Yeah Mattie?"
"Is everything okay?" Matthew asked, shifting so that most of his weight was against the older boy.
"Yeah, just thinking." Alfred admitted, instantly wary when he noticed a slightly devious expression flit across the other boy's face.
"That's not normal." Matthew shook his head, eyes gleaming teasingly as a pale hand came up to rest on Alfred's forehead. "I think you're sick or something."
"Or something." Alfred replied without missing a beat, an evil glint sparking behind his glasses. Grabbing that slender hand, he entwined their fingers and leaned back, falling against the wild grass and pulling Matthew onto him. The younger blond landed against his chest heavily (pointed chin colliding with Alfred's sternum), planting his forearms on either side of locks of dark gold. Their faces were scant centimeters apart and the single errant curl of Matthew's teased the tip of Alfred's nose.
Laughing at the surprise and annoyance swirling in those violet eyes, Alfred leaned up and pressed a chaste kiss at the corner of Matthew's pouting mouth.
"Don't make that face." He murmured, hands coming up to rest on the other boy's waist. Silently, he began to draw the other boy's crimson t-shirt (how Matthew never got cold was beyond him) upwards, revealing pale skin bit by bit.
Matthew shuddered above him, face obscured by wavy locks. Suddenly, he dropped down so his chest and pelvis were flush with Alfred's. The slighter blond, then, tucked his chin into the curve not covered by the leather jacket where Alfred's neck met his shoulder, breath coming out in short, warm bursts against the tanned skin.
Alfred moved his hands lower, roving over the revealed skin until he could feel the rough denim of Matthew's jeans.
"Mattie…" He whispered, tightening his grip, relishing the feel of the other's body so close to him.
"Alfred." A fine tremor laced Matthew's voice. "Brother, please."
Alfred froze and Matthew, gathering himself, shot up and shoved off the other teen, landing on the grass, hurriedly adjusting his shirt with averted eyes.
Frustrated, Alfred sat up and, before Matthew could disappear again, he lunged forward and grabbed the boy by both his wrists. Matthew's gaze snapped up to him and something—something utterly dark and terrifying and not Matthew—dashed through those shimmering eyes before they turned beseeching.
"Please what?" Alfred raged, blue eyes sparking dangerously. His grip tightened on those thin wrists. "I love you, damn it. How much longer do I have to wait? How much longer do you plan on stringing me along?" He hissed, tugging the other boy closer. "How much more do you want me to suffer?"
And, suddenly, normally gentle and patient eyes froze over. Matthew—wearing an expression so foreign and cruel—responded, voice like winter, "I'm not the one who wants you to suffer." He jerks away from Alfred's hold.
His wrists are bloody.
"Sweet dreams, big brother." Matthew adds, blood dripping down his slender fingers, screaming out against the pallor.
And then he's gone.
And Alfred has blood on his hands.
"And then Kiku let me play this new game his cousin sent him from Japan! And it was really awesome and I totally cannot wait until it releases over here." Alfred babbles, shoveling more food into his mouth indiscriminately.
Francis nods, silently appalled by his eldest son's table manners.
"Close your mouth when you chew." Arthur snaps, refusing to ignore his son's appalling table manners.
Alfred grudgingly quiets and closes his mouth, chewing quickly and swallowing the bite with a large gulp of milk.
Then he burps. Loudly.
Francis and Arthur both glare at him. The combined disappointment is enough to shame the blond into apologizing and then finishing his meal without any more trouble.
"How was your session today?" Francis asks when the silence becomes oppressive and accusing, but preferring to admire his wine than look at his son.
Arthur, however, wipes his mouth and looks expectantly at Alfred. When the blond glances up at him, the sandy-haired man smiles encouragingly.
Alfred doesn't return his smile and, instead, sets to work mashing the leftovers on his plate into an indistinguishable mess. "Fine." He says curtly.
Arthur, feeling the familiar rise of anger, takes a deep breath. The doctor said Alfred needed a patient, supportive environment.
It's not his cup of tea, but he'll try. That's the least he can do.
He chances a glance at his husband. Francis is studying the way the light strikes the wine.
It's some type of white wine.
Francis hasn't had red wine in months. He can't drink it without gagging.
But he knows that Francis, though he began the conversation, will not take part in it. He's trying, Arthur knows well, but its not enough. Arthur can't do it alone.
But it seems he has to at the moment. So he takes a deep breath, "Alfred—"
"I saw a cat stuck in the tree." Alfred interrupts, fork poised above a small hill of mashed food. "It looked so sad and afraid." The fork trembles ever so and Arthur has the strange urge to tug the utensil away from his suddenly distant son. "But, because I'm a hero, I climbed up there and saved it." He smiles suddenly and its bright and happy and so normal that Arthur can't help but smile too.
"Good job lad. That was quite noble." He praises.
Alfred nods slowly but then a slow frown spreads across its face. "But, you know what that stupid thing did?" He laughs shortly. "It attacked me and didn't stop until I put it down."
"Are you hurt?" Francis asks then, blue eyes suddenly nervous and concerned.
"Nah." Alfred shrugs. "It didn't really have claws."
"It was probably afraid." Arthur says, sagely.
"But I saved it." Alfred says, pout deepening.
Arthur and Francis share a look before turning back to Alfred.
Said teen just shrugs, bringing his fork down aggressively and smashing the pile on his plate. "I guess not everyone wants to be saved." Alfred says, tonelessly.
"Can I kiss you?" Alfred asks, standing at the foot of his bed, watching Matthew who is sprawled on top of the navy blue quilt, arms tucked under his head as he lazily stares up at the ceiling.
"I don't know. Can you?" Matthew asks, bored, feet hanging off the bed.
Alfred rolls his eyes. "You and Dad. Stupid grammar Nazis." He kneels on the bed, the mattress sinking beneath his knees. "May I kiss you?"
Matthew doesn't move but whispers, "Does my answer even matter?"
"Of course it does." Alfred says adamantly. He furrows his brow and leans over Matthew, forcing the other to look at him. "I would never do anything that you wouldn't want."
Violet eyes appraise him for the longest time before Matthew begins to sit up, supporting his weight on one bent arm. His other hand comes up, cupping the tanned curve of Alfred's face and he moves forward, lips pressing sweetly against Alfred's.
When they break away, Alfred closes his eyes and rests his forehead against his younger brother's. "I'm so sorry." He says softly.
When he opens his eyes, Matthew is gone.
"Tell me about Matthew."
Alfred, turns away from the splashes of different shades of purple on the canvas behind the doctor, and looks at the man. "He was my brother." He says curtly, eyes wary.
The doctor smiles neutrally—his default expression—and says, clarifying, "What kind of relationship did you two have?"
"We were close." Alfred says, shifting slightly.
"What does it matter?" Alfred snapped, crossing his arms.
"Alfred, I understand if you don't want to talk about it. But, in my opinion, talking about it—"
"We had sex." Alfred said, cutting the doctor off rudely. He glares at the man, daring him to say anything, wanting a reason to storm out of that office forever.
The oddly soothing painting seems to expand, threatening to swallow up the shining wood furniture and beige walls and the doctor and Alfred and all the crazy in that small space.
Alfred swallows roughly, eyes still locked on the doctor.
The doctor, to his credit, doesn't show any shock or disgust.
"Why didn't you say something?" Alfred asked. "I would've—"
"You would've what?" Matthew raises a slender brow. "Saved me from myself?" He giggles quietly. "Would you have even cared?"
Alfred recoils as though Matthew had struck him. "O-of course I cared! I still care!" He argues, blue eyes full of hurt. "I told you, I love you!"
"Do you?" Matthew studies him. "I've always wondered, do you love me or do you love the role I play?"
"I don't understand…"
"My big brother Alfred." Matthew smiles at him sweetly, no malice to be seen. "Always ready to stand up to bullies. Always ready to be the hero. Always swooping down to save the day, whether or not someone needed to be saved." He looks at Alfred. "Or wanted to be saved."
Alfred doesn't understand. And he's certain he doesn't want to.
"You liked playing the hero because everyone loved the hero and you always wanted to be loved." Matthew continues, casually as though commenting on the weather. "But not everyone needed a hero al the time. But, oh, here comes the baby. He needs someone to protect him."
Alfred feels cold.
"I was your constant damsel in distress, wasn't I?"
"No…that's not true." The words are heavy on his tongue.
"I would always love you and, in return, I'd satisfy that desire. And you loved me for it."
"But when I found a new 'hero'…" Matthew trails off. "Well, you never liked to share."
"Someone had to be the villain."
"But it couldn't be you, the true hero."
"Oh what people do in a moment of jealousy."
Matthew looks at him with pity. "There's a fine line between hero and villain, brother."
Alfred falls to his knees, the tiles icy under him, and cradles his head in his hands.
When Francis and Arthur finds him later, all he can say is "Its not true."
"I tried, you know. I knew something was wrong, so I skipped out on football practice. I came home and the house was so quiet. I called his name, over and over. I found him in the tub and I started to wrap his wrists but there was so much blood and my fingers kept slipping and he felt so cold. But there was a pulse and I just kept telling him everything would be okay and I would call an ambulance. But he just kept shaking his head and he said…"
"If you want to stop here—"
"He said he didn't want to be saved."
"I miss 'im." Francis murmured, accent strong, sitting on the mattress, staring moodily out the window. "I'd give up everything, make a deal with the devil 'imself, just to 'ave 'im in my arms. If only for a moment."
"Me too, love." Arthur whispered, taking his husband's hand in his. "It was too soon. But I think Matthew, the dear lad, is watching over us right now."
"People say I have a hero complex. Or messiah complex. I don't even know the difference, so its whatever. I don't think that's true at all. I just want to help people. Is that so wrong?"
"Mattie once said I was selfish. Haha, I mean, c'mon! Heroes are like the least selfish people in the world."
"Alfred, do you blame yourself for his death?"
"Because you weren't able to save him?"
"…I think we're done for the day."
"C'mon Al! You never hang out with us anymore, man!"
"Yeah! At least come get some pizza with us."
"Nah, maybe another time guys."
"Fine. But we'll see you at the party this weekend right?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Cool. And you'd better damn well be there."
"I think you should go." Matthew offered, treading gentle fingers through Alfred's short hair. "You like parties."
Alfred, lying next to his brother on his mattress, shrugged in disinterest. "So?"
"You'll have fun." Matthew insisted.
Alfred huffed in annoyance. "Can we talk about something else?"
"Fine, fine." Matthew rolled his eyes. "Like what, though?"
"Like how long you'll be nice this time before storming off in anger."
Matthew's hand stilled. "I stay as long as you want me to." He said softly.
"That's not true." Alfred muttered. "If it were, you'd never leave."
Matthew sighed. "Alfred—"
Matthew complied without argument, just a quick peck on the lips. "Happy?"
"After you get back from the party." Matthew insisted.
Then he disappears, leaving Alfred alone in the quiet room.
He goes to the party.
"…I could've tried harder to save him."
"Alfred, you don't know that."
"Yes, yes I do. After he told me to stop, I just sat there. I should've called 911. You know what I did instead? I sat there. I sat and watched him die. Then I walked out of the bathroom and walked back in. Then I started panicking. And then I called 911."
"I did love him, though."
"I don't blame you nor do I want you to suffer." Matthew said, leaning against the wall.
"Why not?" Alfred asks, a little broken and pained. "How can you not?"
"Because I love you, Alfred." Matthew smiles ruefully. "Its just a shame it turned out like this."
"I let you down—"
"No." Matthew laughed. "You saved me."
I would absolutely adore feedback on this, just because its so...-makes vague hand gesture- idk. Its pretty much Alfred dealing with Matthew's dead, in light of their previous relationship. Oh, and Alfred has problems. And Matthew was kinda a douche, but really, he is behaving how Alfred kinda wants him to. I dunno, I like psychology and psychiatry but it is not mah forte. Like, for serious. So, I hope it wasn't so bad. Now, if you'd excuse me, I'll be in my Cave of Shame. -runs away-