"Alfred. Alfred."

"What is it? Who is there?"

"It's me, Alfred."

"Who?"

"Heh…that's what everyone says when they hear my name. It's me, Mattie. Your brother."

"Oh, Mattie. It's just you. You scared me for a second there…"

The young American looked up from where he was sitting in the dark room. His brother, Matthew, was standing in front of him. His skin was a sickly paper-white and dark crescent-moon bags hung under dull, indigo eyes. The strand of curly hair that usually stuck out so springy and cute on his head hung limply in front of an ill face. Matthew's face! It was gaunt and a light-ish gray hue. It looked like he had thrown up everything he had ever eaten, and judging by how skinny he was he probably had. His sweater with ten sizes too big for him, and his limbs hung awkwardly from sockets that were covered by skin so thin and sickly that you could make out every bone, joint and vein.

"O-oh my god, Mattie! What happened to you? Are you okay?" Alfred panicked, trying to get out of his chair. But he couldn't – some sort of invisible force held him fast. Matthew started crying.

"A-Alfred, the note! The note! It's not too late, look at the note I left in your folder! Please! Just go find the note! Because I don't want to die!" he pleaded to his brother.

"Mattie, what are you talking about? What's going on? What note? Why are you going to die!" Alfred said, utterly horrified. Matthew only sobbed in response. When his cries subsided, and Al was able to comprehend what he was saying again, Matthew spoke.

"Al…did you know that you sleep with your eyes open?"

"What? That's impossible. What are you talking about?"

"If you had your eyes open like this in real life, this is how you would see me. But you have your eyes closed. And so does everyone else. But at least you have your eyes open some of the time, like right now. Please, Al…go find the note. Please. I don't want to die yet. Don't let me die, Alfred!"

Alfred woke with a start.
"Wh-hey…Mattie, w-w-what's going on? Hey…!" he blabbered out, sitting straight up in bed. "The note…the note…what the hell was he talking about…?" Alfred got out of bed, fumbling for his glasses on the nightstand. "Notes…notes…notes…there was something important Mattie told me to look at in the notes he gave me today…notes…"

Al continued to mutter to himself as he went through his house, searching for the notes that he had received from his brother at the world meeting today. Now that Alfred thought about it…this was the first meeting that Matt had been to in a long, long time. Of course, his brother was probably the only one that noticed he was gone at the other meetings, but perhaps maybe France or someone noticed too. They just didn't say anything, and no one said anything to Matthew during this meeting…he really didn't stay long at the meeting either, he said he only came to pass out some notes that he needed to give to some other countries.

"Mattie, why did you leave so early at the meeting today? Damn, I hope everything is okay with you, bro…" Finally, the American found what he was looking for. It was a blue folder with a sticker of his flag (plus some other superman stickers on it too) on it. He practically tore open the folder, and instantly started leafing through the papers. "Notes from Canada, notes from Canada, notes from Canada…where are they? Damn, I knew I shouldn't have waited 'til tomorrow to do this paper work! Ah, here it is, notes from Mat-" Alfred stopped abruptly when a piece of paper caught his eye. It was sticking out the side of a smaller folder with the Canadian flag on it.

There was something different about this piece of paper, though. The edges were charred, as if it had been pulled out of a fire. Alfred hurriedly opened the note, and read it, eyes growing wide as he read on. "Shit! Shit, shit, shit! Mattie, Matthew fucking Williams, why would you say that, you dumb shit! Fuck!" Alfred cursed as he grabbed his coat and cell phone, sprinting out the door.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"Hey, so my little bro left a suicide message in some notes and now – a-a-and I think – oh god-" Alfred started choking up and hyperventilating as he ran down the street.

"Sir, please, calm down. Take a deep breath. Come on, it's going to be okay. Take another deep breath. Now where does your brother live?" Alfred gave the lady Matthew's address. He ran faster when he saw a column of black smoke…right above Matthew's house. The house was in view now…there were fire engines parked all along the block as the house burned, burned, burned.

Alfred looked up at the once home, flames reflecting in his aqua orbs. Smoke burned his skin, and he broke into a cold sweat, mixing with the tears rolling down his face. His legs began to feel weak, and he fell to the ground. He kept staring at the house as if he could put out the entire fire just by glaring at it, everything around him racing by in slow motion.

I need to get into that house…Mattie's in there…I need to go in there…I need to save him…Mattie needs me…and I'm the hero, I need to save him, he needs me now, he needs me now, he needs me, oh god I need him, he's in the house, he's burning…Alfred! ALFRED, YOU HAVE TO SNAP UP! Get up and go get your brother from that house! Get up, Alfred! He kept repeating this over and over in his head, mind going a billion thoughts per minutes.

Finally, he brought himself to his feet, and pushed forwards a couple steps. His forehead was sweating, and he felt like he was swimming through oatmeal. But Mattie needed him, Mattie was going to die – oh god, Mattie was dying, Mattie was dying, Alfred could feel it ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod-

Suddenly, a pair of strong arms held him back. He fought against them as hard as he could. Mattie, Mattie, Mattie, Mattie, Mattie, I need to get to Mattie –

"Let go of me! Let go of me, bastard, I need to save my brother!" he screamed, slapping his captor across the face. He turned around to see his face, and hesitated when he did. "Arthur? What the fu…what's going on?"

"Alfred, you need to calm down! Matthew is out of the fire, he's over there with the medics, but you have to calm do- Alfred!" Arthur said as Al ripped free of his grip and ran towards his brother. When he got to where his brother was sitting on the ground with medics buzzing around him, he fell to his knees again. It was the same Matthew from his dream, only now he was lying down on a white sheet, parts of his skin burnt and blistering. Matt was sweating all over, and gasping for air. Alfred crawled over to him and cradled his head in his hands.

"Oh god, Mattie, it's going to be okay, do you hear me? It'll be okay! Alright? The hero's here now, so of course you're going to be okay!" Alfred said hysterically, tears streaming down his face. "Mattie! Mattie, if you can hear me say something! Nod your head! Blink! Let me know that you're still with me, bro!" Matthew nodded meekly and smiled.

"Al…" he said voice raspy from inhaling smoke, "you found the note. And opened your eyes."

"Mattie!"

"Keep your eyes open for others like me. They need someone to see them, too, before they do this. They need someone to see them how they are; broken, weak, lost and confused. They need a hero, Al! You might've not been able to see me, but you saw the note, and I wrote that note for all the kids who want to be seen, so go see them, Al, go see them…" Matthew wailed in his brothers lap, curling up into the fetal position. Alfred shook his head slowly, more tears falling from cerulean eyes.

"Matthew…I will see them. I'll see them, for you…"

…..

See? I write angst and tragedy. Not fluff. It's just something that comes by default. My fluff fails but I write some pretty awesome win when it comes to angst.

Anyway, blah blah blah sappy sappy sappy ending blah blah blah what ending? Blah blah blah wow what a fail for an ending….

.or perhaps 'tis NOT the ending…?

Dunno. Anyway, as always, I would love a review with my cup of tea!