"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."

Neither of the two brothers looked that amused when they stepped into the office building. It was poorly decorated with large love hearts with a few helium balloons tied to office chairs. One of them had already broken free and floated to the ceiling where it was completely ignored by everyone there. It was bland overall which was ironic for what company it was.

"They're new," Arthur muttered under his brother's stare. "I don't think they had time to decorate how they would have liked."

"It's shit." Scot didn't care how old it was. It felt like a stiff place with no room to breath and relax. It was definitely not Scot's kind of place but Arthur was keen to get started on their new house and agreed to do most of the workload.

"I'll admit, we have better decorations at the hospital but at least they would be allowed to bring alcohol in. The only booze we get is the one we have to work with. Don't want to be drinking that afterwards."

Scot grunted in response. Their conversation came to an end with the receptionist approached them with a perky smile. "Dr Kirkland? They're ready for you. If you can follow me to the conference room."

Alfred had fun laughing at the sight of his brother wearing a suit. Matthew had gone red and mumbled about looking presentable for his job interview which instantly made Alfred shut up. It wouldn't be long until Alfred graduated and then they could start their business together. Until then Alfred had to endure the guilt of not doing this sooner.

They stepped outside wearing their winter coats and instantly began to unbutton and remove the extra thick layers. For a February, it was incredibly warm. The coats were slung over their shoulders before they started talking along the street.

"What the fuck is this?" Alfred groaned loudly, not wanting to walk in such humid weather. "I'm gonna melt! In a Winter season! What gives?"

"I heard they say it's global warming," Matthew explained but his voice wasn't heard over Alfred's constant complaining.

Scot slouched down in his chair in the conference room. Arthur did his best to ignore his brother's behaviour and kicked him in the shin to make him sit up just as the door opened and one of the architects entered. Thankfully, he didn't appear to notice the kick and only smiled at them.

"Hi there, Dr Kirkland," he said politely, tucking a loose strand of his wavy blond hair behind his ear. "I'm Matthew Williams. Sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to Vanderbeck and Associates."

He placed a file down on the table and sat down opposite them then took out the sketches and designs and talked them through it step by step. Arthur nodded to most comments made and added in his own thoughts here and there while Scot remained slouched and annoyed until he couldn't take it any longer and pushed himself forward. He picked up one of the pieces and raised his eyebrows.

"It's kind of out there, isn't it? It's gonna look weird as hell." He tossed the sheet back down on the table.

"This is the direction Arthur said he was looking for," Matthew attempted to explain. "He was definite with his ideas."

"I love it," Arthur said flatly, ignoring any glances from his brother. "I think it's great and since it's my money that's paying for it - I'm having it my way." He smiled innocently at Scot. "Seems fair doesn't it?" he asked, getting no response from the older one other than having two fingers raised in his direction. "Perfect. I knew you'll see it my way."

Alfred's rants didn't stop until they stopped by a set of traffic lights. Alfred knew that class was going to be long and dull with this heat so would need a major pick me up afterwards. He grinned at his silent brother. "You want to grab a beer after your interview?"

Matthew shook his head. "Can't. I, er, have a date." His cheeks flushed pink and he braced himself for Alfred's teasing but none came. Instead, Alfred froze on the spot. The green man was flashing and people were walking past but he did not move from his spot. He stared over at the people who were enjoying the sunshine and then back at Matthew with a strange look on his face.

"What day is it?"

"Valentine's Day," Matthew said slowly as he wondered what was going through Alfred's mind. "It's February 14th. Why?"

"February 14th... 2006," Alfred whispered.

"Yes... Alfred, what's the matter with you?" Matthew couldn't understand what caused the sudden change in his brother.

Alfred stepped back, away from the edge of the road. He walked back into a person but didn't not apologise. He stopped when his back reached a wall and ran his fingers through his hair. "He told me about today."

"Who?" Matthew began before realising the answer for himself. "You mean Arthur?"

"Yes!" There was excitement in Alfred's tone. His eyes were sparkling and a smile was forming. "There's a letter that says where he's gonna be. Mattie, don't you see?! I can see him today! You said it last night - what have I got to lose? Nothing! Mattie, this could be my big chance!"

He wasn't sure how it all fit together but it was the first time he saw his brother this excited in a long time so Matthew smiled and clapped him on the back. "What are you waiting for then?"

"I... I have to find the letter!" Alfred pushed himself back up and sprinted through the crowds.

Matthew shook hands with Arthur. "We'll draw up some preliminary blueprints and go from there. I'll just send someone to make a copy of the plans so you can call me back if you notice anything we've forgotten to discuss."

"Great," Arthur said with a smile, moving to collect his coat. "See, Scot, that wasn't so bad," he teased while Matthew headed out to find someone to photocopy the papers. "You never did like change but you can decorate it up however you like."

Scot snorted and stood up. He turned to look at the wall where a series of framed pictures were upon the wall. It was mostly of houses which did not amuse Scot at all. "He better not take long. You got Al in the car. Remember?"

"He'll be fine for a while. He loves jumping around the back seat and I left him food and water." Arthur sighed. "My biggest concern is that he clawed the seats."

Alfred's room was a complete mess. Everything had been thrown onto the floor; clothing from the drawers, games from the shelves, and the half eaten food that was creating life under his bed. He stumbled and tripped his way over to his drawing board, swearing with his pinkie toe hit into a large figurine of a superhero. Pencils went flying across the room along with sheets of paper. He was just about to get really frustrated when he noticed his drawing of the lake house. Of course! That's where he had the letters placed!

He dashed out of the door, not bothering to put on his coat.

"There." Matthew handed the papers over which were neatly placed in a folder for them. "We'll be in contact."

"Perfect." Arthur placed it under his arm and turned to face his brother. "Scot, we're -"

All colour was drained out of his face. His eyes were fixated on a drawing right next to Scot. Not noticing the curious glances, he slowly moved across the room and paused right in front of it. It was of the lake house. Only, it was different in many places. It looked like someone had placed a lot of tender love and care into it. Everything was just beautiful.

And his heart never ached more over a beautiful design.

"Who did this?" Arthur asked, his fingers grazing over the surface.

Matthew walked beside him and stared down at his feet. "My brother. It was his pride and joy."

"Is his name... Alfred?" The name still tasted so sweet upon his lips. He caught sight of Matthew's nod in the corner of his eye. Alfred had done this? It was amazing... He pulled his fingers away. "Do you... do you know how I could get in touch with him?"

The architect looked like someone had punched him in the gut. He held his arms around his stomach and rested back against the table, moving back and forth in a gentle rhythm. "I'm sorry to tell you this but... he died. Two years ago."

No. No! It couldn't... Alfred was...? B-but.. No. It just... Arthur blinked back the tears. Was it his fault? Was it because he pushed him away? Why didn't Alfred... He was always so strong.

"Two years ago today, actually," Matthew said in realisation. "On this very day. There was an accident..." he drifted off and gazed off away.

So it wasn't Arthur's fault. It was just a freak accident that ... accident? Arthur took in a deep breath and turned around sharply. "Where?"

The files slipped out and scattered across the tiled floor. He did not pause to pick them up and left the task to his bewildered brother who chased after him. Arthur didn't stop running until he reached his car parked on the street. His hands were shaking badly when he took out his keys. It took at least three attempts to get the key into the lock and unlock his car.

Al was quick to wiggle his way from the back seat to the front onto to get stuck in the gap. He meowed loudly but Arthur paid him no attention. He just tried to get the car to start.

Scot tapped on the window, having finally caught up. "Oi. What's happening?"

"Emergency," Arthur said breathlessly, tugging his seatbelt over his shoulder and finally freeing Al from the gap by pushing him back into the seats behind. "I have to go. I'm sorry. I can't explain!" Before his brother could ask any more questions, the car moved in the road lane and drove off at a speed that was definitely over the limit.

Alfred drove out of Chicago. His foot kept tapping the acceleration. Every second that went by caused his excitement to rise. This was it. This was his big chance and no one could stop him!

Tears were making his vision blurry but he did not let them fall and he did not slow down. Arthur was driving like he had never done so before. He weaved in and out of lanes, passing cars, and pushing the speed as far as he dared too. His eyes darted from the road to his watch, counting down to lunch time. Al was curled up in the leg space, not liking being tossed about by the sharp turns.

Alfred pulled up outside the lake house. He left the truck running and ran across the jetty. The keys were still on his keyring and he unlocked the front door.

Arthur skidded to a halt by the lake house - directly in front of the mailbox. He pulled out a pad and pen from the glove department and desperately began to write.

The attic door was thrown up. The box inside was tore open with the bundle of letters falling across the floor. Alfred knelt down and rummaged through them, ripping the string apart and tossing the needless letters aside in favour for just one. Several minutes into his searching, and he tugged out a sheet of paper with neat tidy writing that could not possibly be his:

Last February - I remember it was Valentine's Day, but it was really warm - I was at Buckingham Fountain.

"Buckingham Fountain," Alfred whispered before tucking the letter into his back pocket. Thank god, he knew where that was.

He almost fell out of the car. He opened the mailbox and shoved his letter inside before raising the flag. Arthur stood, his arms held tight around him. "Please... Please...!"

Alfred jumped into his truck and pulled away quickly from the lake house. He finally had a place. If only he could get there in time. He'll wait there all day if he had to! Just to see Arthur again. Just to be given a second chance.

In the rear-view mirror, the mailbox's red flag was held up.

He could see the fountain from inside his truck. All Alfred needed to do was to find a parking space and then he could get to the park. It only took a minute or two of searching but he got a place with the fountain still in his sights. He climbed out of the truck and began to jog in its direction.

Dear Alfred. I know now why you didn't meet me - it was you at the Fountain that day. It was you. Please don't go. Something terrible happens if you do.

Alfred stopped when he reached the road. There were two lanes of heavy traffic in front of him. He paced along the path, trying to catch a glimpse of Arthur in-between the crowds, cars, trucks, and buses.

Please don't look for me.

His breath was taken away when he clamped eyes onto a distant figure wearing a white coat. He could just make out the blond hair. It had to be him. It was him for sure! Alfred grinned broadly.

Don't try to find me.

This was it. They were no longer separated by time. Only distance stood between them now. All he had to do was introduce himself.

Don't run to me.

A break in the traffic gave Alfred a clear view of Arthur resting by the fountain. Just walk over and say hi... it's all he had to do.

Do you understand? Please. You have to wait.

Alfred stepped off the curb, not noticing the bus turning around the corner and heading right for him.

Forget everything I said before. We both have to wait.

The bus driver noticed Alfred stepping in front and slammed his foot onto the brake.

I love you. I do. It has taken me all this time to say it but I do love you. And if you love me, wait for me.

On-lookers looked around as a high pitch grinding sound caught their attention.

Wait with me. Wait until time catches up with both of us and we can be together. Please. Just... Wait.

The bus was bearing down fast on Alfred who was still focusing straight ahead at Arthur.

Wait 2 years. Come to the lake house. I'm here.

Arthur fell to his knees and held a hand over his face as he dissolved into tears. The other hand grasped onto the mailbox pole to keep himself from falling down completely. Each time he closed his eyes he caught sight of that bloodied up face giving him one last smile. "I'm sorry!" he cried, his broken sobs echoing across the landscape. "I'm sorry! Please don't leave me... Don't leave me. I can't go on without you... Please... wait... I need you."

His voice trailed off. Al jumped out of the car and wandered over to Arthur. It settled down beside him and nuzzled against Arthur's arm. The tears slowly subsided to quiet sniffs. His cheeks were strained but he could not bring himself to look up. His entire body felt numb. His stomach was twisting around so much, he could swear he was going to be sick.

They had tried to change time before... They failed. It couldn't be done. It just wouldn't be possible... He had blown it.

Al meowed and pushed his head into Arthur's arm over and over again until his master finally looked up. He rested a hand on top of Al's head and then slowly stood up. His legs were feeling weak so he leant against the mailbox to steady himself then -

The flag was down.

It had moved.

Arthur couldn't believe it. Was it a cruel trick or ..? He very slowly reached out and pulled down the door. It took a look of courage for him to peer inside.

His letter was gone.

The bus was skidding along, getting closer and closer until -

Alfred stepped back onto the curb just as the bus passed him harmlessly. He could feel the breeze when it drove by but paid it no attention. He withdrew the letter from his jean pocket and peered down at it.

Wait. Just wait.

He peered back up to see Arthur checking his watch. His lunch break must have been over because he turned around and headed back towards downtown.

Never before had Alfred felt so helpless. Every part of him wanted to step off the curb and run after him. To go to him and hold on like never before and refuse to ever release him. But he didn't. He placed the letter back into his pocket. With great difficulty, he turned his back on Arthur and walked away.

Arthur could not stop staring at the empty mailbox. His face was soaked by tears and he could taste them on his lips. A hand reached out from behind him and close the mailbox door. Arthur held his breath sharply. A pair of arms wrapped themselves around his waist. He could feel a warm breath on his ear as someone whispered;

"Are you going to turn around?"

The tears were returning. His heart was beating with unimaginably joy. He turned around and found himself locked into gaze with the most beautiful pair of blue eyes he had ever seen in his life. Arthur opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.

Alfred grinned down and rested his forehead onto Arthur's. "Have we waited long enough?"

He still couldn't reply. Arthur broke into feeble laughter pushed back against Alfred until they fell back onto the ground and then tugged Alfred up into a passionate kiss. Every piece of his emotion was moulded into that kiss; love, hope, and happiness. They held onto each other tightly, fearing that if they ever let go they would lose each other again.

But when the kiss broke, they were still there. They moved for a second kiss only to have a large furry animal jump in-between them. Al couldn't keep still and was running and jumping madly around them. Arthur and Alfred laughed again and moved to stood up. Their hands linked together before turning towards the lake house.

It had transformed. With the life and love saved, its solidarity refinements melted away into a warm and romantic home. Trees were planted along the jetty, lit and glowing. Alfred's drawing had come to life. And together, hand in hand with a cat running in-between their legs, they walked along the jetty and towards the house.

Finally together.

Author's Note: A warm thank you to everyone who got this far. Another huge thank you to each one of my reviewers who took a few seconds out of their time to express their thoughts for this story. You have all given me the confidence to return to my original stories where I hope that you will be able to read them with the same love you read this one. Have a good day dear reader x