"So, I'd like to congratulate you Frog." Arthur shot his companion a brief smile; Francis raised one eyebrow in question as he hurried to keep up with him.

"For what?" he asked. "And slow down," he added.

Arthur rolled his eyes but lowered his pace. "For not making me want to rip your intestines out and feed them to you - for once in your life."

A large smile spread across Francis' face. "Does this make us an official couple then?"

"Frog, we've been dating for over a month now," Arthur snorted. "What did you think we were?"

"Well..." Francis scowled slightly. "Every time we had a date you always told me that I could have 'done a better job' at the end."

"Well you could have," Arthur responded, shrugging his shoulders. "And now you finally have."

Francis raised one eyebrow, expectantly.

"Yes," Arthur sighed. "I'm probably going to regret this later but - yes. We're an official couple...or whatever."

With a delighted laugh, Francis swooped down and pulled the shorter male into a kiss. Arthur let out a yelp of protest but didn't struggle and immediately responded.

"Maybe if you were less impulsive..." he murmured, once the kiss had ended. Francis snorted and rolled his eyes.

"Oh stop complaining," he grumbled. "You know you love me."

It was an light-hearted comment but even so, Arthur was glad that Francis had turned away before he could see his cheeks burn bright red.

When Arthur once again met Francis' gaze, he saw that the other male was frowning.

"What's wrong?" he asked, following Francis' gaze to the house across the street.

"Someone was watching us," Francis muttered, shaking his head. "It was probably nothing..."

"That's the Braginsky house," Arthur muttered. Francis' nose wrinkled in distaste.

"Ivan Braginsky?"

"That's right - the creep himself." Arthur let out a bitter laugh. "Ignore him, he does that a lot."

"He stares at people outside windows?" Francis shook his head. "No wonder everyone calls him mentally unstable."

"He probably is." Arthur wrapped his hand around Francis'. "But let's not talk about Braginsky, alright? I'm almost home and I want to enjoy this night while it lasts - who knows when it'll happen again?"

"I'll take you out for dinner tomorrow," Francis promised.

"Yup." Arthur smirked slightly. "And you'll probably get it all wrong."

Francis dropped him off at his doorstep. He hesitated for a moment, glancing at the door of the house, his eyebrows raised.

"Are you planning on leaving?" Arthur asked. "Because I'd love it if you did."

Francis' eyebrows raised higher.

"Because of my parents," Arthur amended. "You know what they're going to do if you come in with me."

"Your mother will take hundreds of photos and your father will kill me," Francis sighed. "Right, of course."

They kissed again and then Francis walked off. "I'll see you tomorrow," he called back.

"Bye." Arthur watched for a few moments before knocking on his door. His mother opened it, beaming widely when she saw him.

"Oh Arthur!" she exclaimed. "Where's Francis, hmm? I want to get a few photos of you two before he leaves -"

"You're a bit late," Arthur told her, grinning. "He already left."

"What?" Her expression fell. "But...I told you to make sure he stayed for a bit after! Honey, I made cake and everything!"

"Arthur?" His father, who was sitting on the sofa in front of the television, glanced up at him and frowned. "You're awfully late - I thought I told you to be home by -"

"Oh, knock it off," his mother interrupted. "Let the boy have his fun! Besides, Francis is a lovely boy."

Arthur snorted. "I'm going to bed, alright," he told them.

"You should have been in bed over an hour ago," his father grumbled. Arthur rolled his eyes and headed up the stairs.

Once he was a fair distance away from his parents, he let out a small, victorious cheer. The night had gone...well, amazingly. Better than he had ever hoped for. The only thing that could have made it better was, well...

...Arthur shook his head and blushed. Dammit, he had been spending too much time with that Frog.

"Artie?" said a voice from above him. He peered up at the top of the staircase, smiling when he saw his younger brother staring down at him.

"Alfred!" He bounded up the remaining steps. "What are you doing up this late?"

"I was waiting for you!" Alfred responded, beaming widely. "You took ages, what were you doing all night?"

"I was with Francis," he responded, rolling his eyes. "You knew that."

"I didn't think you would take so long!" Alfred pouted. "You promised you'd read me a bed time story tonight, remember?"

"Did I?" Arthur frowned; oh crap, he had. He shot Alfred an apologetic look.

"I'll read you one tomorrow," he promised.

"You said that yesterday!" Alfred scowled. "And the day before! You're always busy now with Francis! And if you're not with Francis, you're with Elizaverta or...other people! It's not fair!"

"Alfie, I'm tired," Arthur groaned. "Can't we do this tomorrow? I promise I will -"

"But you're just saying that!" Alfred cried. "And then tomorrow you're going to be busy again!"

"Oh come on," Arthur moaned. "Let me off the hook, I'm exhausted! Tomorrow, alright? I swear - I'll even read you a horror story if you like."

Alfred paused. "But...you never read me horror stories," he said, slowly. "You say that if you do, I'll just annoy you all night because I'll be too afraid to sleep." He narrowed his eyes. "And I do not get afraid - I'm a hero, and hero's are never scared!"

"I'll make an exception," Arthur promised. "Tomorrow I'll read you one, alright? Whatever you want."

Alfred thought for a moment, a deep look of concentration etched across his ten-year-old face. Finally, he nodded his head.

"Okay," he agreed. "But," he added, narrowing his eyes slightly. "If you don't do it you have to be my sidekick for the rest of eternity, alright?"

Arthur hid his grin. "Alright," he agreed, trying to look serious.

Alfred immediately beamed. "Thanks Artie!" he cried, before hurrying off to his room. Arthur watched him for a few moments, shaking his head in amusement. While his brother could certainly be annoying at times, he wouldn't change him for the world.

Arthur stretched and let out a yawn. He really was exhausted. He'd been out longer than he had expected. With a small smile on his face, he headed for his room. He really needed to get some sleep.

...

Arthur knew something was wrong the moment he opened his eyes.

The house was much to silent. Something Arthur had come to realize in his seventeen years was that whenever his family were around things were never quiet. There was always something going on and the silence made him feel slightly apprehensive.

The next thing he noticed was that he was lying on the floor. In bewilderment, Arthur looked around, wandering if he had somehow fallen off his bed in his sleep. This feeling grew once he realized that his entire room was empty.

"What?" he muttered in disbelief. His eyes roamed the room, looking for something. Where was his bed? Where was his cabinet? Where was that framed family picture that his mum kept sticking in his room no matter how many times he got rid of it?

"Is this some kind of joke?" he called out, a hint of anger slipping into his voice. "Alfred - I swear, if you did something -"

It had to be Alfred. Despite how Arthur couldn't wrap his head around how his ten year old brother could do something like this, at the same time...who else would do something like this?

Dammit, he should have just read the boy his bedtime story last night...

"Alfred, this isn't funny!" he howled, storming out of the room. "I don't know what you're doing, but I want my stuff back!"

The corridor outside his room looked...strange. Arthur couldn't figure out why; a part of him wanted to say that it looked 'empty' but then, the corridor had always been that way. Oddly enough it was the one place that wasn't brimming with family photos and odd ornament...his mother had always been obsessed with those...

"Alfred," he growled, throwing open his brother's door. "Alfred this isn't -"

The room was empty.

"...What?"

With wide eyes, Arthur stared at the bare space in front of him. Arthur thought about the way his brother's room usually looked; clattered, messy - an accident waiting to happen. The room now looked uninhabited, as if no one had set foot in it for years.

"If this is a joke, it isn't funny!" he cried, turning around and throwing himself back into the corridor. He flung open the next door - his brother, Matthews room - and looked inside. Empty. It was all empty.

Arthur swallowed heavily, backing away. His eyes wandered over to the closed door of his parents room but he couldn't bring himself to open it. He knew what he would find on the other side.

"What the hell is going on," he half-moaned. Why was the place empty? What had happened?

"Mum?" he called out, heading downstairs. "Dad? Alfred? Mattie? Is anyone here?"

He almost wasn't surprised when he reached the bottom floor of his house and found it as empty as the top. Cobwebs hung from the walls; the cheerful house he had fallen asleep in the night before had vanished.

"Where is everyone?" he whispered.

Silence.

Swallowing heavily, Arthur narrowed his eyes. "If this is some stupid joke," he choked out. "Everyone is going to pay - even mum and dad! And I don't care if they're the 'parents' and they 'call the shots' - I'm seriously not going to let this go -"

He stopped abruptly and closed his eyes. A joke? Which idiot would actually move every piece of furniture out of the house for a joke? His mother would have had a fit if they'd even suggested touching her precious things. Not to mention, the house looked like it hadn't been lived in for years...

Arthur, keeping his eyes lowered to the floor, headed for the front door. He needed to get out. He needed to see...people. And maybe he'd find his parents, or his brothers, and find out what was really going on.

"This is bullshit," he muttered. "Bullshit - I swear, there better be a good explanation for this -"

Last night had been so wonderful...dammit. He should have known his good mood wouldn't last.

Stepping out of the house, Arthur was immediately hit by the blinding sun. As opposed to the cold, unfriendliness of his home, the world outside looked almost unnaturally cheerful and perfect. Arthur frowned, looking around for any sight of his family.

The yard was empty. Arthur's jaw clenched slightly and he stepped onto the street, scanning it for any sign of life. A few cars drove past, and Arthur couldn't help but feel a hint of relief at that; at least something was normal.

"Alright," he muttered. "Think, now, think. Your family must be somewhere, they couldn't have just disappeared of the face of the planet!" He let out a nervous laugh; that was impossible...right?

He hurriedly headed down the street. His mind was blank as he tried to think of where he could possibly find his family. His brothers might be at school...right? Was it even a school day? Arthur groaned and shook his head; he was really starting to go crazy over this.

When he saw the first sign that everything in his life hadn't gone completely mad, he almost wept in relief. At the end of the street his best friend Elizaverta stood with Francis, both conversing about something. Arthur had never been so happy to see them in his life. He picked up his pace, hurrying down towards them.

"Lizzie! Francis!" he called out. "Something really weird is going on - you have to come inside my house, everything's gone and - what the fucking hell?!"

Arthur stopped abruptly, his eyes widening in horror and disbelief as something shocking happened.

Elizaverta and Francis started to eat each other's faces off.

...Well okay, they were kissing, but that was just as bad.

"...Huh?" Arthur stared in front of him, uncomprehendingly, as the kiss grew deeper. His eyes followed Elizaverta's arms as they wrapped around Francis' neck, clinging to him as if he'd escape and run away if she let go.

"Why the fucking hell aren't you trying to run away you frog?!" Arthur howled. "Run away! Do something - no not that! Don't kiss her back!"

Oh dammit, Francis was wrapping his hands around Elizaverta's waist and dragging her closer. Didn't those two need to breathe. Arthur watched in horror, moisture stinging his eyes (he wasn't going to cry, dammit!) as two of the people he cared about most carried out the ultimate act of betrayal.

"...I'm going to commit murder today," Arthur growled. "I don't care if it's a fucking sin, I'm going to kill them!"

They pulled away at last, panting hard. They both gave each other small, tentative smiles, and Arthur felt his stomach curl in disgust.

"You want to go catch that movie?" Elizaverta laughed, her cheeks flushed pink. Arthur glared murderously in her direction.

"Say no, you Frog," Arthur hissed. "I'm never going to forgive you but if you say no...I might spare your life. Maybe."

"Oh yes," Francis agreed, grinning sheepishly. "I got a bit distracted."

Arthur felt his eye twitch.

The two entwined hands and turned around; Despite the rage he felt bubbling within him, Arthur felt a thrill at this.

'They'll see me now,' he thought. 'They'll see me and they'll realize that I just saw everything...'

If Francis and Elizaverta did see him (which they had too; he was standing right in front of them, for godsake!) they certainly didn't acknowledge him. With matching smiles on their faces, they walked straight past Arthur, chatting happily about something that Arthur honestly didn't give a shit about.

"They ignored me," he spluttered in disbelief. "They fucking ignored me!"

For a few moments he stood still, still too stunned to move. What the hell was wrong with the world?! First his home went mad and now...now what? His boyfriend had cheated on him? His best friend was really a two-faced bitch?

Life really hated him, didn't it?

Arthur stormed off, all thoughts of finding his family gone from his mind. He knew that he needed to find them, and that something was incredibly wrong but Arthur couldn't bring himself to think about it at the moment. He wanted to sit down and...do nothing. He wanted to relax and pretend that everything was normal.

...Maybe this was all some whacked-up, horrible dream...

There was a park close to his house; he often went there when he was upset or angry. He had a specific spot there for these days, where he would sit and relax, stare out at the lake in front of him, and let his mind go...blank. He really needed that right now.

"Why can't I just be happy?" he growled, as he rounded the corner. "Why can't I just be happy for once in my life without everything screwing up..."

The park was just down the street, and Arthur allowed his mind to wander as he walked. He should have known not to trust Francis. Arthur shouldn't have allowed himself to fall for his tricks; he should have known better...

"Why did he have to make it so good?" he grumbled, glowering darkly at the reminder of what he had witnessed. "Couldn't he have...spat in her mouth or something?"

Arthur suddenly stopped, closing his eyes and clenching his jaw. Brilliant; to top off his oh-so-wonderful day, someone was sitting on his seat. His seat! He stood still for a few moments before storming over, stopping abruptly in front of the person and shooting them the most venomous glare he could muster.

"You're sitting in my seat," he growled. Sure, the guy couldn't have known that it was his feel-better spot, and sure he couldn't blame the guy for wanting a sight of the brilliant view but...well, he wanted that brilliant view! Wasn't he entitled to that after his hell of a morning?

"I got here -"

Whatever the other person - a boy around his age - had been about to say cut off abruptly. A small choking sound exited the boy's mouth; his eyes seemed to grow wider by the second.

Arthur frowned. "Are you alrigh - what the HELL?!"

For a moment neither of them spoke, simply staring at each other in shock. Arthur's eyes roamed the boy's face, taking in his familiar features, his familiar eyes, and that familiar cowlick that their mother had always hated.

He looked older but...without a doubt it had to be him.

"Alfred," Arthur choked. "What the hell happened to you?!"

...

AN:

Okay so I got the idea for this fic a few days ago and I got a bit excited so...I thought I'd try it out. I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, and tell me what you think! :D