The first thing that happened to Alfred after his brother had completely ruined his life is that he was moved from place to place. He had grown up living in the northern United States, close to Canada, but as they moved him, he went further and further south, and the heat was unbearable. The homes he was sent to as they were trying to find him a permanent place of residence sucked. They were small and crowded. He had to share a room with dozens of others, and the bathroom wasn't even private. It was almost like a public restroom, only there were multiple showers. The once popular kid shuddered to think that he'd have to share things. He was so used to being spoiled and having everything that he wanted, when he wanted it. The meals that he was served were extremely bland and boring, simply meant for nutrition, not pleasure. Alfred, as much as he disgusted himself by doing it, took fewer showers, paranoid that he was being watched by numerous pairs of small eyes, never getting a moment to himself. On top of all of that, he was slowly "losing" things, though he was pretty sure that all of his things were being stolen by the little rats that lived in those homes. Because of them, he even took to wearing his shoes to bed so that they wouldn't be taken, not that any of the kids could fit them anyway, because his feet were rather huge, and seemed even more so when compared to the feet of those children.
Finally, the day came that he was assigned to a permanent home. The couple came to pick him up, and didn't even offer to help him with his things, not that it mattered as all he had were a few changes of clothes that were getting increasingly ratty and the shoes on his feet. He had no socks.
The woman was heavy and the man looked like he wished that he wished he lived in the Old West. Of course, it didn't really surprise Alfred as he had made his way to Texas through the switching of homes. God, it was hot. He hoped that the couple had air conditioning. That was something that he had certainly taken for granted, and that he missed a lot.
"You must be Alfred!" the woman exclaimed, throwing her bulky arms around him and squeezing him against her voluminous bosom.
"Y-yeah, that's me," Alfred said, awkwardly hugging her back. He was only putting up with being suffocated by her overly large—and not in a good way—chest because this couple was going to be his savior from the hell of the homes for displaced children.
"What a cute accent!" she said, holding him at arms length. "Cletis, don't he sound cute, what with that northern accent and all?" The woman was all beams.
"Yeah, Betty-Sue, he does. Can we get 'im home now?"
"Sure, sure," she said. "Get yer stuff and let's go."
The two turned and walked off to their car without waiting for Alfred. He hurried after them and sat in the cramped back seat of their pickup truck, which was obviously not meant for someone like him to sit in. Inside of the car, it was stifling. The couple only had their windows cracked, and the air barely gave Alfred relief from the stench that was coming off Cletis. He smelled like manure.
Once the car was stopped outside the house, Alfred was simply given directions to the room that he was to share with a kid named Billy, who was taken in by the two of them off of the streets. Doing as he told, Alfred found that the room that he was sharing was the only one in the house with proper a/c. The only thing was, though, that Billy... well... he wasn't someone that Alfred wanted to be near all the time. Billy was a dark teen, who seemed to be practicing some sort of black magic or something...? Alfred wasn't sure. But he saw that Billy already had a picture of him taped to a dart board. So Alfred didn't linger, but dropped his meager belongings and ran back down to Cletis and Betty-Sue to see what they wanted from him now, or to see if he was going to actually going to get a tour of the house.
"There you are. What took ya so long?" Cletis asked as Alfred entered the kitchen, which had wallpaper with cow spots all over it. How tacky.
Alfred just shrugged.
"Use yer words, boy. An' follow me. We'll getcha situated right away. Everyone does their fair share of chores around here. You won't be an exception just 'cuz you're new."
Chores? Chores? Alfred had never lifted a finger in his life! His mother had picked up after him and done his laundry and everything. Now he was expected to not only clean up after himself, but others? This was hell on Earth!
"I got some clothes for you," Cletis informed him. "Y'll be wantin' 'em for your chores."
Specific clothes for his chores? What had Alfred gotten himself into? No... what had Matthew gotten Alfred into? If it weren't for that selfish little bitch, Alfred would still be comfortable in his own home, with all of his belongings, being allowed to do as he pleased.
Overalls, tall boots and some rubber gloves were thrust into Alfred's hands.
"Go change an' make i' quick," Cletis said, looking rather annoyed at having to wait for anything.
Alfred did as he was told, finding the boots to be small and constricting to his feet while the overalls were too short and yet somehow were too big for his muscular body, and then Cletis lead him out to some stables. "Your first job is to muck these out," he said, motioning to the multiple ones. "An' when yer done, ya can c'llect th' eggs from th' chickens." He pointed to where Alfred could find said animals. "Watch out for clucky. 'E don't like visitors. When yer done wif that, y'll be good for now and can do as ya please. We don' have cable or nothin', but I'm sure Billy c'n entertain ya." With that said, Cletis left Alfred to his chores.
Stables first. The smell was the first thing that got Alfred's attention. It was worse than when their septic tank had backed up and flooded the yard. Not to mention that the heat made the smell worse. Flies buzzed around the shit in the stalls and Alfred thought he was going to die. The stables seemed to be hotter than the outside, the smell lingering in there. He gagged, and even threw up a few times, tears in his eyes. When he was done with the stalls, he sat outside and sobbed, feeling sorry for himself. His body, as muscular as it was from sports, was sore as the muscles he had used for cleaning the stalls either weren't used or weren't used as much in the sports in which he played.
When he finally got himself around to getting to the chicken coop, he was covered in shit (quite literally) and his eyes were red and puffy from breaking down and crying. He went inside to gather the eggs and was immediately assaulted by feathers being ruffled and flying everywhere, and whatever the hell sounds chickens make while a beak started pecking at him. Alfred quickly gathered the eggs, dropping and breaking most of them. Then, he shut up the coop and went to the house, ready to just die.
There were no complaints from anyone when he went to shower. The soap stung his dirty skin and all of the cuts and scrapes that he had gained from that chicken. Not to mention that the water didn't seem to have a setting for hot, so his shower was freezing. When he got out, he managed to find some antiseptic for his cuts. But as soon as he left the bathroom, Cletis started yelling at him about breaking all the eggs.
Eventually, Alfred was allowed to go to his room, where he dropped onto the bed and cried himself to sleep.
The next morning, Alfred was awoken, by Billy. The boy was straddling him and running some sort of weird herb over his skin. After freaking out and successfully waking the whole house up—which was comprised of quite a few people, Alfred shortly found out—and being reprimanded again, Alfred was sent off to school without breakfast as he had broken all of the eggs.
At his new school, he was made fun of for the way he smelled—the scent of manure just didn't seem to leave him—and he was made fun of for his accent. Anything the kids could find to make fun of him for, they did. Objects were chucked at him, insults thrown in his direction, and then he went home only to have to muck out the stables and gather eggs. He got better over the days, and faster too. His body was less sore. But he was physically and emotionally drained. Alfred longed to run away, but was too tired. He just... couldn't. When he was working and thinking about it, he couldn't because Cletis and Betty-Sue's farm was surrounded by barbed wire and there were cameras in the school hallways, not to mention that if he did runaway, he could end up in Juvenal for being a runaway. His grades, which weren't good to begin with, slipped further and as soon Alfred turned 18, he got the hell out of that hellhole that he called home. At first, he lived on the streets, showering in a public restroom and working as often as he could. Then he got a car and lived in that. Finally, he made enough money to transfer somewhere further north, close to where he had grown up. While he didn't bother looking for his parents, Alfred did look up Matthew. He didn't go see him, but once he had an apartment of his own, Alfred sent a letter to Matthew apologizing for all the years of neglect and abuse. That taken care of, Alfred went back to school and earned his diploma, working his ass off. As much as he hated his time on the farm, it had really helped him to grow up, and he became a much better person. Through letters, he rebuilt his relationship with his brother, and the two actually got close again. Alfred was jealous, though, because Matthew was doing well in life, and was even married, though it was to a guy.
Once he got the money for it, Alfred went to college, and Matthew helped him when he could, even though Alfred knew he didn't deserve it. Gilbert hated Alfred for all that he had done to Matthew, and didn't approve of Matthew trying to have a brotherly relationship with him, but was could only sit back and do what Matthew wanted, as he wanted the man to be happy.
While in college, Alfred fell for his English professor, Arthur Kirkland. While he knew things couldn't work out, especially while Alfred was a student, he didn't stop dreaming. His relationship with Matthew even strengthened because of this, since Alfred was constantly asking for "gay advice."
In the end, both boys turned out better after that court date all those years ago, and grew into good, functioning members of society.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me through all of this, guys. I hope you all liked it. This is now the end, and I'm sad to see it end after so long. Also, sorry if the end seemed rushed. I suck at endings.