Matthew stared quietly at the bandages on his wrist. Many questions rang in his head, all for himself. Why am I so stupid? Why couldn't I just have died this time? Why didn't I lock the door? They went on and on. And he couldn't answer any of them.

Matthew looked again at his wrists, and brushed his finger against the left one. Cutting was nothing novel to Matthew; He had simply gotten stupid and forgot to lock the door. If he'd locked the door, Alfred wouldn't have walked in on him. Matthew was angry, upset, confused.

Angry at himself.

Upset at Alfred.

Confused with his feelings- confused with life, even.

It had all started with confusion, on a mid-winter night almost a year ago. Matthew could remember it vividly, like it was only that morning.

There was a weak fire in the fireplace that had been burning for hours at that point. An abandoned game of Scrabble laid on the coffee table, accompanied by a set of coffee mugs half-filled with cold hot chocolate. On the couch, Matthew and Alfred were still awake, flipping through an old scrapbook, digging up old memories, giggling at the cute and funny.

"Do you remember this?" Alfred asked, pointing at a picture of the two from when they were little. Alfred, who was younger and yet taller than Matthew, was playing keep-away with Matthew's old stuffed bear.

"Of course I do! You were such a jerk," Matthew paused when Alfred playfully poked him in the ribs, swatting his hand away when the taller blonde caught his wrist. He held it carefully. Matthew felt his heart jump in his throat and swallowed hard as butterflies nibbled his stomach. Then, Alfred looked up.

"You're cold."



Alfred put his arm around the blonde and pulled him closer. Matthew settled against his adoptive brother, although his heart was beating a million miles an hour. And he was left to wonder, what was this feeling?

By late winter it was denial, by spring it was acceptance. He was in love.

With the rising temperatures of summer came rising conflict and rising tensions. The world had finally gained back it's full, lusciously green stature and Matthew was the first to enjoy it. He spent all his time at home, outside, mostly reading. Alfred, on the other hand, spent most of his time away doing what he did best- getting into trouble.

Matthew was out reading one day when a car pulled into the driveway. In the driver's seat was a boy named Ivan, who Matthew knew little about. In the passenger's seat, Alfred was talking a mile a minute, finally stopping when he began getting out of the car. He opened the car door, and almost got out before...turning and kissing Ivan.

Matthew could only stare at first. There was a dropping feeling in his stomach, a feeling of disappointment and jealousy unlike any other. And then, he was only angry. Angry at himself for being so stupid as to believe that anything could ever happen between him and Alfred, his brother. He slammed his book closed and left it on the wicker bench, storming inside and locking himself in his room upstairs. Tears streamed down his face. He was so stupid.

Downstairs, Alfred waved as Ivan pulled out of the driveway, then turned quickly to the door. What was up with Matt? He casually walked inside, the house empty besides the two. Through the paper-thin walls, Alfred could hear Matthew crying, violently at that. The blonde wasted no time getting upstairs. He couldn't stand to think of his brother crying. It tore him up inside. When he got up to Matthew's room, the door was locked. He waited a moment before knocking on the door, pressing an ear to the door and listening for Matthew's usual crying habits. Maybe then he'd have some insight.

In the room, Matthew was more than upset with himself. Curled against the door with his knees to his chest, all the blonde could do was cry and whisper angrily at himself. Things like, "You're such an idiot, Matthew..." and "I can't believe I was stupid enough to think we actually had a chance". After a few moments, he heard a knock at the door. It was quiet and almost hesitant, but he knew who it was in an instant.

"Al, go away," he croaked out between quiet sobs.

"Come on Matt, you know that's not going to work. Let me in," Alfred spoke like he was sure of himself, despite the hesitant knock. Matthew knew that he was aware of the situation.

"No! I don't want to see you right now. Just leave me alone!" the crying blonde retorted, his voice cracking lightly.

"If you don't let me in, I'm going to have to break the door down."

Matthew sighed. If he broke the door (again, for that matter), Arthur, Matthew's adoptive father, was going to be incredibly angry. Which would lead to a really awkward dinner with Matthew's real father trying to calm him down. The blonde stood and unlocked the door, though quickly retreating to the bed and returning to his curled position.

Alfred opened the door, and at first was at a loss at what to do. He awkwardly sat on the bed beside Matthew and sighed.

"Look, Matt..."

"Spare me the bullshit, Al. I know it'll never happen, you don't have to tell me." Matthew was barely crying now...more like just sitting. Just there, leaking tears but not crying. Alfred reached over to touch him, but Matthew swatted his hand away.

"Just get out!"

"No! Goddammit Matthew!"

Alfred was acting out of pure impulse at this point. Anything he did now was a result of confusion and adrenaline. He forced Matthew out of the curled position and locked his lips with his brother's, his hands roaming. He didn't know what he was doing, or why he was doing it. He had never even considered Matthew as anything other than his adoptive brother. His kisses became more and more sloppy and short as he came to his senses, and Matthew could tell he was about to stop. Matthew quickly took charge. There was no way he was about to let this slip away. He felt incredible, like his whole life had been the basis for this moment and nothing else mattered. He led Alfred through unknown territory, the territory of making love, territory that he admittedly had never mapped out. Matthew savored each little kiss, as he trailed them down Alfred's jawline and onto his neck. He allowed his hands to roam, and lost himself in the contours of his brother's- no, his lover's body.

Alfred could do nothing but drink it all in. The blonde let Matthew take charge, and even now he doesn't remember how they ended up shirtless, or how Matthew came to be inside of him so quickly. All he recalls is how they were both too eager to fully remove their pants, how his brain was no longer capable of coherent thoughts, how sloppy each kiss was and how heated each touch was.

Matthew found a steady pace, speeding up only when Alfred had ordered it in a gasp of pleasure. His arms were curled protectively around Alfred's waist, his lips pressed soft kisses to the younger blonde's neck. Matthew was in heaven. He took in the scent of the lightly tanned skin before him. Pure heaven.

The two kept the rhythm until they both found release, and collapsed onto the bed, not minding the sticky substance between them or the heat in the room. Alfred fell into a light sleep almost immediately, Matthew looking on with wonder. The elder pulled a blanket over the two, and before falling into an equally light sleep, whispered a simple, "I love you, Al."

By the time autumn rolled around, the event had been forgotten. Alfred and Matthew never spoke of it again. Matthew cleaned his sheets and Alfred continued his relationship with Ivan. Life went back to normal.

Unfortunately for Matthew, normal meant miserable. As the golden autumn leaves fell around him, Matthew quietly walked home. The grass in most areas had already begun to brown, and the blonde felt himself missing summer already. The air had cooled enough to begin wearing a light jacket, which Matthew clutched onto to distract himself from...everything. He listened closely to the sounds of children playing in the distance and the leaves rustling in the wind. He couldn't stand the empty feeling in his stomach. It was like the depression was a monster and his heart was a city. And the city was destroyed. In his slow descent into depression he'd managed to alienate himself from Alfred. The two barely made eye contact anymore. That, in Matthew's opinion, was probably what hurt the most. He couldn't stop loving Alfred. It drove him insane to live in the same house as him, to eat dinner across the table from him every night, to hear him sneak out of the house at night to meet Ivan.

The only thing that kept Matthew sane these days was cutting. Cutting, for Matthew, was a quick release from reality. A quick release from all the pain he bottled-up inside. One cut, if deep enough, provided enough therapy to last him a week.

Sometimes, however, one cut wasn't enough. And when it wasn't, Matthew couldn't stop himself. Those were the nights he spent hours in the shower on the edge of fainting, the days he spent wearing long sleeves although it was warm. Tonight was one of those nights. He could feel it. There was nothing left for the monster to destroy.

When Matthew made it home, he noted the empty driveway and called into the house to confirm that it was, indeed, empty. Matthew threw his backpack down beside the door, abandoning his shoes and jacket there as well. He walked up the stairs, subconsciously peaking at each of the pictures that lined the wall. Most of them were of Alfred and himself. He entered his room and shut the door behind him, before hastily locating the dresser in his room and fishing the razor blade out of the top drawer. He tugged the sleeves of his sweater up and pressed the blade in for that first bite. He dragged the blade down his wrist, savoring the feeling, and when he pulled it away, he saw the blood start to pour from the cut.

Matthew let out a shaky sigh of relief and stumbled back onto his bed. He swapped hands and put another deep cut in his other wrist. There was no stopping this. He leaned against the headboard. His vision was getting blurry and he was light-headed. The knocks on the door went unheard as Matthew took a second look at the cuts and realized what he had done. This was it.

Alfred banged on the door a second time, finally deciding to just go in. When he found Matt lying on the bed bleeding out, he took immediate action. He dived for the phone and grabbed Matthew all in one lightening motion.

"I'm not going to let you die, you hear me? Don't go to sleep!" he pleaded as he called the ambulance.

Matthew could smell that sweet skin once more before passing out.

Matthew looked around the room, taking in the bland decor and sterile scent. A part of him was almost happy to be there. The larger part of him just felt stupid. Outside of the room, his father and adoptive father spoke with the doctor. They hadn't noticed he was awake yet.

"M-Matt?" The blonde heard. He turned and saw Alfred sitting in the chair beside the window. He was missing his glasses and bags had formed under his eyes from little to no sleep. Judging from his outfit and general appearance, Matthew inferred that he had probably been at the hospital all night. He couldn't imagine how he'd not noticed him in the room before.

Alfred jumped out of the chair and hugged Matthew passionately. The older blonde could practically feel the relief emanating from Alfred. When he finally pulled back, Alfred mumbled something he didn't catch. But it didn't matter, because his actions made it perfectly clear. Alfred caught Matthew in a kiss and mumbled it again, "I love you."

And Matthew found himself there again...pure heaven.