Lately nothing passes lightly
A heavy hand is holding me down
A breeze is just an unfamiliar sound to me

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Lately nothing passes by me
And every hand is pulling me down
And praise is just an unfamiliar sound to me

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

All this meaningless direction
Feels like it pulls me away
It's hard to just forget what they say to me

Just close the door
(It's all coming back to me)
Be still, my heart
(It's all coming back)

Just close the door
(It's all coming back to me)
Be still, my heart
('Cause it's all coming back)

~ Unfamiliar – The Birthday Massacre

Slowly, Arthur opened his eyes. He groaned slightly and rubbed his eyes, "Alfred. . ? Alfred, I-" he looked around where he was sleeping. The kitchen counters towered over him and the smell of vomit trailed through the room. What. . ? Why was he in his kitchen? Why was there this nasty smell in the air? He was in his room last night with Alfred. Why was he here now? This wasn't right. This. . . This wasn't. . .

He quickly jumped to his feet and looked around. Tears pricked the edges of his eyes as the memories from the previous night flooded back to him. No. No! No, damn it, no! How could this be right? No! No! No! No!

"Ahhhhhh!" Arthur let out a loud scream and fell to his knees, beginning to weep. No. . . It was supposed to be reality. . . It was supposed to be true... Alfred told him it was real! He said it was real, damn it! It wasn't supposed to be a dream! Alfred said he would be there when he woke up! He promised! He promised! Why?! Oh God, why?! Why?! Alfred promised he would be there! He was supposed to be here! He-! He was-! He. . . Alfred. . . Alfred was. . . Why. . ? Alfred. . . Why, Alfred? Why are you gone. . ? Why did you have to die? Why?

Having been sitting there quite a long time, Arthur finally decided to make it to his feet. He stumbled as he got up, using the counter as a brace. Why did his mind play tricks on him? Arthur stared out into nothingness, his mind racing with such thoughts. He didn't understand. His heart hurt so much. It was so bad that he almost couldn't even breath. He missed Alfred, he missed him. . . The feeling in his stomach was horrid. It stretched from his gut to his heart and suffocated him. Oh, God. . . Oh, God. . .

Arthur crept his way over to the sink, slowly pulling a knife into his hand again. He stared at it with shaking limbs, just thinking of all the ways it could help him. . . How the pain could help him. . . How it could atone for all he had done. . . Slowly, he pulled the knife across his skin, blood flowing from his wrist. Almost automatically his mind was shrouded in thoughts; in memories; in regrets. Oh, how could he have said such things to Alfred? How could he have kept so much from him? How could he have acted like he hated him? How. . . Could he have hurt him like that?

The more he cut through his skin, the more he mumbled to himself; whispering to himself; chanting to himself, "Alfred. . . Alfred. . . I'm sorry. . . It's all my fault. . . It was my fault. . . I should be the one dead. . . You shouldn't be gone. . . Not you. . . I'm sorry. . . How can I fix what I've done. . ? I can't fix it. . . I never can. . . Please. . . Forgive me. . . Forgive me. . . Alfred. . . My little brother. . . Please. . . Please. . . I'm such a fool. . . I'm sorry. . . I'm so sorry. . . How do I. . . Atone for my sin? I hurt you. . . Please. . . Forgive me. . . Forgive me. . . Forgive me. . ."

Hour after hour went by, the day growing farthing into the afternoon, and all this time the rain poured down. The fog covered the windows and surrounded London, just like every other day. . . But today was eery. . . Silent. . . Hidden. Hidden in shame; in regret; in memories; in pain; in sorrow; in heartache; in suffocation. . . It was lost, just like Arthur. Lost in time; lost in pain; lost in recollection. Lost. Lost in it all. . . All at once. . .

He could have bleed to death from how much he was cutting himself, but his abilities as a country kept him from doing such things; of dieing so easily. Within minutes, a cut that had sliced open his vain would close, not fully; not completely, but enough to keep the blood flowing through his body. Hours and hours and hours and hours and hours. . . Arthur had fully lost himself there; in the cutting; in what seemed to be his only escape now, his one and only escape. . . Was there any other way out? Was there any other way to pay for what he had done? The crimes he had committed on Alfred's soul? His heart? His mind? The tricks he played on his closest friend? God damn it, Arthur played tricks on him! Mind tricks! Horrible, horrible mind tricks! How could he ever make up for that? How could he ever pay for it. . ?

When Arthur finally came to once more; when his mind finally came back to him, he slowly set down the knife. His body was trembling out of hate; hate at himself. How he hated himself now! He made himself sick. What type of person was he? A horrible, horrible person. . . Horrible. Absolutely horrible. He bit his lip as tears began to run down his cheeks, until finally he couldn't hold it in any longer. Arthur broke down in sobs and slowly he fell to the floor, holding himself there. Weeping; crying; sobbing. . . He couldn't move. He wouldn't move. . . And for the longest time he sat there and cried, and cried, and cried, and cried, until he cried himself to sleep. . .

For weeks, even months later, Arthur had no idea what he was doing. His mind was so lost in the memories and regret that he had no motivation to do anything. Insomnia had taken over his sleep, and no matter how hard he tried to close his eyes and fade into the unconscious he could never do so. Instead, to bide his time, and without much thought on the matter, he took to eating thinking that he should do so. The only thing he really even thought of was Alfred and how much he missed him. There was so much he could do, but so little he wanted to do. He just wanted to sit there, doing nothing. . . Nothing. . . For the longest time. The only thing that kept him occupied, and he didn't even realize it, was eating.

He ate very often now. Francis had told him to eat more, and maybe in his mind this wasn't anything bad, maybe he though he was helping himself. Maybe he had even unconsciously caused his own insomnia, but the fact of the matter was that it had gotten out of hand. Though, Arthur didn't see that. He couldn't see that. He didn't even know anything was wrong. If this kept up. . .

As the depression kept creeping up on him, everyday growing stronger and stronger, Arthur's habits grew worse. He didn't think about what he was doing. Not one bit. After a while of eating so often, and so much, not even his body, which had been weak and twig like only a few months before, knew what to do. It wasn't that Arthur was in bad shape, at least not when it came to his own personal needs such as hygiene, food, or water, but more the fact that he was unable to see what he was doing. He was unable to noticing that he was over eating, and that he wasn't sleeping enough. It was like the whole form of his depression had flipped and now it was the exact opposite of what it had been. An insomniac who fills his lack of willingness with food. . .

It seemed almost impossible that Arthur did not see what he was doing, but in fact it was. Every morning, when he woke from his few hours, or no hours of sleep at all, he took a shower, just like he usually would. During that time he passed in front of a mirror many, many times, but not once did he look at himself and take a second glance. Nothing seemed to be out of place to him. Nothing at all. It was as if life had gone on being normal again, even though he still felt like absolute shit. Sometimes he would even go to meetings, but no one pointed out a difference in him. Not one person. Had it been because of what the Prime Minister had told them when he checked up on Arthur last? Or did all of them figure it was because of what happened to America?

Sometimes the feelings within himself grew so bad that he reverted back to cutting again. Somedays he spent hours just trying to atone for the things he had done, hoping, begging that cutting himself like he was would make up for it. He was trying to make himself feel better, trying to make all the pain inside himself go away, and for awhile. . . At least, maybe a few seconds; a few minutes; it did. The pain went away. If only for such a small amount of time. If only for such a small amount of time he felt better. . .

No matter how many times he looked at himself, no matter how many times he passed in front of that mirror every morning, nothing seemed off to him. In his eyes, he looked normal, like he did everyday. A strong man with no physical issues; one who was in shape with nothing to worry about; one who knew how to use his fists if ever needed. Though, thats not what the mirror saw. The mirror reflected an image that was much, much different. How couldn't Arthur have known that he had not only gained his own wight back, but now had gone beyond that? He couldn't he have know? How couldn't he have seen? How much worse would it have to get for him to notice that something wasn't right with himself? How much more would he have to gain? Just how much?

Sometime in the long, drawn out weeks of nothing, Arthur had gotten a call from Francis. It had seemed that he wanted to speak with both the Englishman and their close Canadian friend, Matthew. However, it took Francis quite the time to explain exactly why he called for this three-way, personal meeting and why he wanted to have it take place London of all places. If Francis was the one hosting it, why did he have it in England and not France?

The only excuse that was told to Arthur was that England was in between France and Canada, but that of course was a pretty big lie. Arthur knew that couldn't have been it. Francis was probably still worried about him, though why should he be? Arthur was just fine, at least thats what he thought. No matter though, Arthur agreed to meet. The meeting seemed to be about the situation in America and how they wanted their governments to work with the situation, because Francis felt like all three of them wished to help. So, the best thing to do would be to discus it between them, right?

Francis had chosen a private building, one that wasn't the Englishman's house, feeling the Brit may have felt like he was being intruded on much to often lately. The building was somewhere on the outskirts of London, away from almost anything else. For some reason, it was a decent middle class home. . . Arthur seemed to have been the last of the three to get there, even though he lived in London. For some reason the two got there before him though. Odd. He walked inside, finding the other two sitting at a table in what seemed to be the dinning room of the home.

"Hello?" Arthur said, walking farther into the room and trying to get the others attention.

Both quickly looked behind them. For some reason, Matthew looked like he had just seen a ghost, and Francis stared at him in awe.

"Angleterre!" Francis shouted, jumping up from his seat and running over to the Brit, "What happened to you⁈"

Arthur raised an eyebrow, "What?"

"What do you mean 'what'?" Francis asked, giving the Brit quite a worried look, "Haven't you seen yourself recently?"

Arthur glared at him and moved to his seat, "Yes, and I have no idea what you are concerned about."

"Arthur!" Matthew said, standing up from his seat as Arthur sat down, "How do you not notice this? Do you not care?"

Francis went back to his seat and eyed Arthur curiously as he pulled lightly on Matthew's arm to tell him to sit, "Angleterre. . . You don't notice anything off? Anything weird?"

The Brit rolled his eyes, "No. Stop acting like there is."

"But there is something wrong, Arthur," Matthew pleaded. He too was still having a hard time with Alfred's death, and seeing Arthur in such shape was killing him. Francis had told him things about what Arthur had done to himself, and he couldn't believe some of it. This whole death thing, it was even worse when it was another country. No one took the time to ask Matthew how he felt about it, besides Francis, but he too was trying his best to fight off depression. So, seeing Arthur like this, so wrapped up in it, was extremely difficult. If Arthur gave into it, why couldn't he. . ? No. He wouldn't. Arthur had it much worse then he did, and he needed to keep his mind thinking straight in order to help all of them. But if he got aggravated at Arthur, it wasn't his fault. . . Was it? Because he could feel himself getting angry at him. So very angry.

"And what the bloody hell is wrong with me then⁈" Arthur yelled, getting annoyed at these two men who were treating him as though he couldn't do anything right anymore. No matter how hard he tried they all just thought he was a failure in fixing himself.

Matthew quickly stood up, bitting his lip in anger. Francis placed a hand on the Canadian's shoulder and gazed up at him, slowly shaking his head 'no'. The force on his hand told the teenager to sit down, to be calm and let his former, and first, caretaker handle it.

"Angleterre. . ." Francis began, trying to keep his sad eyes on Arthur's face rather than his body, "Have you even noticed that those clothes don't fit you?"

Arthur scoffed, "Of course they don't, Frog. Of course they don't."

The Frenchman sighed and shook his head, "Pensez-vous honnêtement tout simplement pas voir il, Angleterre?(Do you honestly just not see it, Angleterre?)"

"I don't know what the bloody hell you're talking about."

"You honestly can't see that you've gained weight⁈ You've put on at least twenty pounds!" Matthew shouted, trying to clam himself down. He didn't get angry often, but this situation was hard to deal with. He didn't exactly know what to do. How was he supposed to deal with his so called 'step-father' doing such things to himself?

The Englishman raised an eyebrow, "Gained weight?" he let out a laugh, "Of course, of course. I see how this is. So be it. I don't give two shits what you two 'see', because you obviously are seeing things that are not true."

"How can you defend this with such things?" Francis asked, obviously trying to understand Arthur's meaning behind his last words, "You have gained weight, Arthur! Matthew and I are just concerned about what you are doing to yourself and as to why you have gained so much. You usually wouldn't have even thought of gaining weight like this. . ."

"You bloody gits!" Arthur yelled and jumped up from his seat, now fed up with their insolence, "There is nothing wrong with me! I haven't gained any such weight nor have I thought of doing so! What makes you think I wanted to if I have⁈"

That was it. Who cared if this meeting was meant to discuss important government agreements between them, Arthur was done with their shit. He stomped out of the room and slammed the front door loudly behind him. How dare they accuse him of such things. Things that he in all of his right mind would never think of doing! Why would anyone want to gain weight⁈ Beside, he hadn't. Of course he hadn't. Why would he have? What the bloody hell were they thinking? Or seeing for that matter! His clothes? They don't fit him? What was Francis's issue? Of course they did! If they didn't Arthur would have noticed by now! He was sure of it!

No matter how much he tried to reassure himself of his standings, of how he was right in this, he couldn't help but be worried that what they had said might be true. For some reason, no mater how sure of himself he was, their concern lead him to be weary of himself. He was okay. He was fine. What did he have to change? He had been fine for the past few months, what changed that? Or. . . Were they right? Were they? Was he the one seeing things? No. They couldn't have been right. They couldn't. It was a lie. Why would he do that to himself? Again and again he told himself he was right; he was fine; there was nothing wrong, but all the while something was edging at him to check, to make sure, to know for a fact that he was indeed right. Because, no matter how much he didn't want to admit it, something inside himself said something was wrong. Something knew; his body knew; even if his eyes didn't see.

Soon he found himself back at his home. It hadn't taken him long to get there, not long at all. Quickly, he entered his house, and even though he didn't think the two had been right, his legs carried him all the way back to his bathroom. Honestly, he wanted to keep on believing that nothing was wrong, because he should be able to tell if he was overweight or not. So, why couldn't he? He honestly could not see anything wrong. He look perfectly fine when he looked into the mirror. There was no extra weight. None at all. . . Why couldn't he see it? Why? It made no since to him, and something kept bugging him to check. It was as if someone, or something, was poking him constantly in order to get him to do so, and every second they poked him harder and harder, until it felt like there was a bruise on his insides. It wouldn't leave him be. Not until he knew for sure.

Arthur quickly made his way into the bathroom and pulled out the scale. He stared at it for a few seconds, not knowing exactly what to do. This seemed almost exactly like half a year ago. . . When he stared at that scale; scared to see what numbers it would yield. What would it tell him? Would it show what he wanted? Or will it tell what Francis and Mathew had been trying to all along? He was scared, but also anxious to see what would turn out. Just like half a year ago, he stared at it, scared to see his weight. Though this time it wasn't fear of the numbers being deadly low, but rather that those numbers would turn out to be high; to show him he had in fact managed to switch sides dramatically. If that was the case. . . What the hell was he doing to his body? How was his body able to handle such a huge change in such a short time?

He took a deep breath and then stepped onto the scale. This time he looked directly at the number, his eyes not wavering one bit. One hundred eighty-one pounds (Eighty-two kilograms). One hundred eighty-one. . . Francis and Matthew weren't lying. . . They weren't. . . How didn't he notice this? Why didn't he? Not once did he look as though he had gained. . . So if this was true, why weren't his eyes able to see it? Why?

Arthur took a look in the mirror again. For the first time in quite a long time he saw how he really looked. Indeed, Francis was not making anything up, nor was Mathew. All the things they said were true. He had gained weight. Plenty of it. His clothes didn't fit him, just like Francis had pointed out and Arthur didn't believe. They didn't fit and were quite stretched rather than fitting how they should. He had gained weight, and now he was overweight. A while ago he realized that he had been more tired than usual. . . Now he knew the reason. Even part of his stomach was showing because his shirt didn't fully cover him. Oh, God, what had he done to himself?

But. . . Hadn't he accused Alfred of looking this way so many times? Hadn't he made fun of him; hurt him; abused him by telling him he was fat? By telling him he was overweight; fat; out of shape; and fat? Had he not done such things? Because if he recalled. . . He called Alfred that to many times to count. . . Way to many times. Just another thing to add onto the list of things he had to fix, but never could. He had to fix it. . . He had to make up for it. He had to. He wouldn't be able to live knowing that he would never be able to do so. . . But he couldn't fix it! He couldn't! He never could! Ever!

Wait. . . What. . . Would he be able to fix this? Maybe. . . This. . . Could. . . Maybe he could. Maybe. . .

He had already started down this path, so why couldn't he finish it? Why couldn't he go farther? If he did this; if he did it on purpose; if he gained weight on purpose, would it be able to at least make up for a little bit of it? It wouldn't ever be enough to fully fix it, not ever, but at least. . . At least there would be some way to at least change it a little. For every time he had called Alfred fat; for every time he had made fun of Alfred's eating habits; for all those times he should gain the weight he accused Alfred of. He could make up for it. He could. He could! He could fix it! Yes! Yes!

If he did this; if he gained all this weight he could make up for it! Yes, he would be able to feel better about himself! He wouldn't regret this as much. He wouldn't. He would be able to sleep, he would be able to think and know that he did something right to pay for all those things he had said to Alfred. Even if it was just one part of all the horrible, horrible things he had done to him, this one area would be paid for. He would pay for it. He would. It would all be okay, only if he did this. Only if he gained all the weight for all the times he had accused Alfred of it. That was the only way. The one and only way. . .

The thought passed through Arthur's mind for at least a few minutes, and finally the idea took root. He didn't care what other people thought, he was going to go through with it. But part of him still seemed to be uneasy about it. . . Why? Why did part of him say no? It had to be done, and he had to force all of himself into it.

He snickered, and keeping his head down he placed a hand on the mirror, right over the reflection of his face. When his eyes looked up, he didn't move his head at all, only his eyes stared into his own sorrowful eyes, glazed over in an odd, eerie form of happiness. What type of joy was this? He had never seen such an emotion before; not in his eyes. It sort of reminded him of his pirate days. . . That look he used to get. . . Though, at that time it was an evil, drunken happiness. Oh, such enjoyment did he find in raiding, burning and looting all those ships. How much fun had he had striking fear into all who sailed that Atlantic sea. Yes, this look in his eyes, this emotion, it was similar, but not quite the same. It was as though his old, pirate mindset had come back to him; as though he had just stolen all the life from an enemy ship and he was watching it burn and sink back into the sea.

But this wasn't totally the emotion he held. He was angry at himself, but at the same time proud. The idea of sinking that ship and watching it burn; that pride; that feeling of accomplishment; oh yes, that was in his eyes, but that something else that was there. . . Sadness. Sadness. Sorrow filled his eyes. The sorrow that he held from the very beginning of all this, it was still there, and it would always be there until he did something about it. Arthur missed him. . . He still would, no matter how much he tried to fix things, or how much he thought he could fix things. That sorrow would never leave. Never. But even so, he was going to go through with his plan. He wasn't backing out. . . He had already begun.

He looked up at himself, up into those eyes, and let a strange smile crawl onto his lips as he snickered, "You have to do this, Arthur," his voice was somewhere between a whisper and a bellow, causing a creepy residence in the house as he began saying things as though he was trying to suppress a laugh, "It will pay for all those things you've said to him~! It will pay! If you do this everything will be okay. Things will be fine and you'll feel better. You'll make it up to Alfred! That's your goal. To fix things. How many times have you hurt him with such names? Oh, way to many to count if I recall. . . In the past sixty, seventy years. . . How many times have you called him fat? Or misshapen? Or overweight? Or fat arse? How many times? Once? Twice? Ha! Way more then that, you bloody fool. Fifty times? A hundred times? Two hundred? Four? Six? Haha. . . For every time you've called him such things. . . To make it up to him shouldn't you take on what you accused him of? Yes. . . You should do that. . . It's how you will fix things. . . It's the only way to fix things. . . You'll make it up to him. . . You'll make it up. . . That's your goal. . . To make it up to him. . . That's what you're doing. . . That's what I'm doing. . ."

Just like that, in a matter of minutes, Arthur's whole goal and way of life for the moment changed. After he talked to himself like that, that place inside him that was uneasy before seemed to have disappeared. Had he convinced it? Had he? It seemed so, because nothing held him back anymore. Nothing. There was nothing there telling him no, and he took no thought about it any longer. From that moment he began his plan. He began throwing himself into all that he was doing. Arthur's main goal now: 'gain all the weight you can, as fast as you can, all of it to pay for your crimes against Alfred.' That was his goal, and that's what he would do.

Whoo! I have updated once again! This next part will hopefully pass rather quickly and we'll soon get to other things.