Long Way to Happy

Author: keisan

Rating: mature

Warnings: cursing, verbal and physical child abuse, possibly some non-con sexual situations later, potential OOC-ness and most definitely SLASH (homosexuality)! So if that's not your cup of tea, please move along. Also, no offense is meant by those in these particular situations written about, I am merely drawing from my own reading, imagination, some research and some personal experience. EDIT: victims of abuse in my story may also display some common traits such as self-harm, suicidal ideation, eating disorders and/or loss of appetite, tendency to avoid situations, places or certain people (often the gender by which they were violated), avoidance of social-interaction, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, nightmares, flashbacks, inability to say no, fear of intimacy, fear of exposure, etc. I am merely giving potential warnings, all of these things will not definitely occur but many will.

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine; they belong to the creators of Axis Powers Hetalia and Hetalia World Series, etc. Also, all events in accordance with these characters are imagined. Other characters are invented by myself and are in no way connected to any real persons; if it seems that way, it is purely coincidental. This disclaimer is meant for the entire fiction (length has yet to be determined), not solely this one chapter. The title is based on the artist Pink's song of the same title-I also do not own that.

Author's note: Here is my first Hetalia fic; it is an AU. Pairing is USxCanada or AlfredxMatthew. Also, considering Matthew's situation I suppose it seems unlikely he'd be pursuing post-secondary education but let's just say he was determined and made it possible. And finally, I am a post-secondary school student and have thus included footnotes for things that I felt may need additional explanation. As for updating, I will try and get to this as often as I possibly can, the story is not completely written out so I'm following my instincts in terms of where this story is headed. It will be slash however, main pairing is AlfredxMatthew, with additional pairings such as: GermanyxItaly, SpainxRomano, SwedenxFinland, and others that will be unveiled later. Enjoy and review! Please be nice though, it's been a long while since I've written fanfiction. Oh, one last thing, this has not yet been properly betaed.

My gaze was fixated outside the bus window; rain cascaded down from the sky in a relentless downpour and bounced off those beyond any shelter in such wretched conditions. Vacant stares from the other passengers slide over those stepping onto the bus as they searched for a place to sit near the front. I sat quietly at the back in a heavy crimson hoodie, too large for my slight frame but warm enough to warm my frozen, fingers. I sighed and glanced at my bag, paint-crusted fingers itching to pull out my school reading that I'm so far behind in. Painting seems to take up all my time these days, at least during the times I am lost in my own melancholic state. The rest of my time is spent dealing with everything which has brought me here—the people, the events and the trauma.

I nibbled the skin around my thumb nail as my own anxiety built; the result of the accumulating crowd for which public transit is notorious. My foot taps in a way that I feel helped to relieve the anxiety but merely served as a distraction from those around me. Once my stop came up, I pulled the string at the top of the window, gathered my knapsack and pulled my hood over my wavy blond hair. When I reached my apartment, I took a deep breath as I dropped back into my reality.

"Matthew! Where the fuck have you been?" yells my overbearing, temperamental step-father, Gary McPherson.

I duck my head in submission, "I'm sorry. I couldn't leave my class early; we had presentations today."

He narrowed his brown eyes and lurched towards me menacingly. I suppose I should have expected this by now, but I still felt that rising anxiety, that rising fear every time he came towards me with that look in his eyes. A much larger man that I, he easily wrapped his fingers around my slender upper arm and smacked me hard across the left cheek with the other hand. I felt my breath knocked out of me when he kneed me in the stomach, my head still reeling from the hit to my face to even attempt to get away. My knees buckled as my brain registered the blow to my stomach and I would have fallen to the ground if Gary hadn't still been gripping my arm. With that, he let go and shoved me and this time I really did lose my balance. He grabbed my hair and held it tight, I thought he was going to rip it out of my head. Tears were stinging my eyes but I couldn't let them fall, not yet. They were useless, just as useless as I am.

"Look at me when I'm speaking to you!" he growled.

I look up into those cold eyes, fear dominating my features; I really did have to learn how to hide my feelings better. I clenched my jaw and pain bloomed across my cheek; great, I'm going to have to hide the bruising somehow.

"P-please, sir! I'm sorry. It won't happen again," I stuttered.

"You're damn right it won't. Take your goddamn shoes off—they're covered in mud—and get in the kitchen. Don't you dare burn my food!"

He let go and stomped over to his recliner in front of the television and sipped at the half-filled bottle of amber-coloured whiskey on the coffee table.

It was only then that I let out a silent breath and got to my feet. I pulled off my shoes and put them on the mat. I brought the rest of my things into my barren room and went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Once the food was made perfectly (which I am now an expert at doing), I quietly brought a large plate to Gary, hands shaking slightly.

"It's ready," I murmur, "There are left-overs for your lunch tomorrow."

I would most likely go without, of course. I swallowed anxiously as he took the plate from me roughly.

"Finish the vegetables in the bottom of the fridge," he said gruffly.

At least I wouldn't starve; I hoped the vegetables weren't too off yet.

I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen and prepared a small plate of food for myself. There were a couple of oranges in the fridge, some wilted celery and cucumbers; probably not a complete meal even for myself (a vegetarian).

I padded into my bedroom and locked my door. I pulled out my first aid kit and spread some Arnica1 over my rapidly bruising cheek. After removing my hoodie, I smeared some of the healing gel over my bruised arm and bit my lip at the black and blue finger prints over too pale skin. My stomach was a sight to behold as well; more Arnica for those bruises but the internal bruising could only heal itself. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to go to the hospital again; one time he broke two of my ribs. I went to the hospital claiming I'd fallen down two flights of stairs in my rush to school.

I glanced at my reflection and only saw ugliness; violet eyes were shadowed in melancholy, hopelessness and despair and bruising blooming across my skin. I felt so lonely and trapped; I didn't know what to do.

My biological father, Francis Bonnefoy, was a writer and he left my mother before I was born and my mother, several years later, re-married out of loneliness. Unfortunately, she'd only known my step-dad for about six months and after he lost his job (an office worker) he began turning into this monster. Of course, he'd gotten another job later on, but it wasn't his true calling, I suppose; he certainly didn't seem to find joy in pumping gasoline. My mom, on the other hand, had been an artist; she painted and tried to sell her works but I suppose it never brought in much money, she wasn't famous or anything. She passed away after a car accident when I was nine; I was in the car with her and I know I shouldn't have survived. Evidently Fate wouldn't have it that way.

After a couple hours of studying and doing my homework, I crept over to my bedroom door, the sound of the television hummed low in the background. I scrunched my eyes in concentration as I tried to listen for the snores that would inevitably surface from the drunken man in the recliner. Once I felt the coast was clear, I tiptoed out my door and into the kitchen; I'd had enough injuries in my past to know that I ought to be putting ice on them. I opened the freezer and pulled out a bag of ice, a loud snort from the living room halted my movements immediately, so I waited in stillness. Once the evened out breathing and snores continued I breathed a sigh of relief and continued. I quickly took the bag to my room, locked the door behind me and began resuming the care of my injuries.

When my temporary imposed stoicism could no longer obey my practical self-talk and thoughts, my emotions let loose. I picked up my stuffed bear, Kumajiro, and cried into his soft, worn, off-white fur. Mom gave him to me when I was little and I always kept him close to me. I had to hide him so Gary wouldn't get rid of him. I cried silently until I ran out of tears and couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Tomorrow would be better, it had to be. Fate couldn't be that cruel.

End chapter.

Reviews are loved. Constructive criticism is appreciated. Flames will be batted away with Canadian hockey sticks. I read this somewhere, don't mean to take it but I loved it! Credit goes to whoever owns that line haha.

1 Arnica Montana, according to The University of Maryland Medical Centre website, "Arnica has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and remains popular today. Applied topically as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, Europeans and Native Americans have used arnica to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is often the first remedy used for injuries such as sprains and bruises. Arnica in herbal form is primarily restricted to topical (external) use because it can cause serious side effects when taken internally."