APH: A Man I'll Never Be
Chapter 1: Battlefield
Warning: Guy x Guy
The sounds of shattering glass and screams slipped through the crack between the door and the wall, echoing loudly throughout the small, dark bedroom.
There was hardly any light with the exception of the soft, silver glow of the moonlight filtering in through the window. A small form was sprawled under the covers of the twin size bed, tossing from side to side.
The small boy's bright blue eyes gazed out the window at the tiny fragment of the crescent moon. His eyes searched the endless dark sea beyond the stars, hoping for a response to his prayer. He prayed that his parents would stop their fighting, and he silently begged for his brother to return home - nothing had been the same since Alfred had left.
"You bloody wanker! This is all YOUR fault! He left us because of you and your damnable habits!"
Matthew covered his ears with his hands, closing his eyes tight. He always hated it when his parents fought, but he didn't know what to do. The two probably didn't even know how many times the boy had been unable to sleep due to their constant bickering. Within the past month, he had slept so little, that his vision was often blurry during the day from exhaustion; all of it stemmed from the fights that had become more prominent with each passing day.
"Oh, je suis désolé, Arthur. I'm afraid I didn't hear you quite right? You say this is entirely MY fault when you were constantly ordering the boy around! What did you expect him to do but leave!?"
Matthew tried putting his pillow over his head, desperately wishing for the moment they would stop and make up like always, but the fights had never been this bad before. Yes, his parents fought often in the past, but they had never actually thrown anything at one another, and judging by the sounds, the fight had escalated to the breaking point; this scared Matthew most of all. He never wanted his parents to hurt one another. All he wanted was for his family to be whole again.
The small boy sat up and climbed out of his bed. Luckily, he was quite the smart boy; unlike most his age, he always made sure to put his toys where they belonged - it saved him the hassle of tripping over them when he wanted to sneak from bed in the middle of the night.
maybe if I go in there
maybe they'll stop
He thought as he wandered towards the slightly ajar door. The boy tentatively reached out and pulled the door open slowly, trying not to make the hinges creak in protest.
With a quick glance left and right, Matthew slipped out into the hall, clutching his beloved stuffed bear, Kumajiro. He always had an attachment to the bear since the first day Alfred had bought it for him.
Matthew allowed his thoughts to drift into his memories for the first time in weeks. His grip on the stuffed bear tightened as the images came flooding back.
Matthew had never understood why Alfred had 'liberated himself', as he called it. The poor boy didn't even know what liberated meant! All he knew was that his brother had fought with their mother and walked out the door for good.
Matthew had spent days simply watching the door, waiting for Alfred to open it, grinning like he always would, and take the boy in his arms. He longed for his brother to return for such a long time, that he was afraid that his tears had finally run dry, but each time he thought about Alfred, they would always appear from nowhere.
The small, blond boy shook his head several times, trying to will away the painful memories of the brother who had never returned, who had never once called since he had left.
Matthew tried to sneak down the hall on tiptoe, though it would hardly have mattered with the way that the two elders were fighting; they never would have heard him even if he had stomped and screamed at the top of his lungs.
More sounds of glass shattering against the walls filtered down the hall, emanating from the kitchen. Matthew stopped a couple feet from the doorway as fragments of glass scattered out into the hallway. He closed his eyes, sending a small prayer up to whatever God was listening; he only wanted his family to be happy again - was that so wrong?
The small, blond haired boy crept up to the doorway and stuck his head slowly into the room to catch a tiny peek inside.
The kitchen was a fairly spacious room, but that only added to the hollow feeling that had nestled itself in Matthew's stomach. His father, a blond haired male by the name of Francis, had one of his beautifully crafted vases clutched in hand. His face was a mask twisted from hurt and rage, something Matthew had grown accustomed to seeing.
His 'mother', another blond haired male by the name of Arthur, was standing a few feet from Matthew's father; only a table separated the angry blonds from ripping one another's throats out. Arthur's face, too, was contorted in anger and pain, but the pain was far more prominent than Francis'. Matthew could see that his mother had been crying not too long before; he knew his mother never liked showing his tears, but that too was something that had become more prominent as of late.
"I was trying to give him some helpful advice, not trying to push him out the damn door!" Arthur shouted and his usually soft emerald eyes narrowed to slits. "How would you understand!? You have hardly ever been here for the kids!" Arthur spat, his emerald eyes dancing with anger.
That was it; Arthur had gone too far with that last comment. It wasn't Francis' fault that matters had come up so frequently. Indeed, he hated being away from his children, more than he liked to admit, and he had tried to get away from work as much as possible.
Francis raised his hand with the antique vase, ready to throw it at Arthur, when Matthew darted into the room. The small boy stood between the two adults, tears streaming down his cheeks. His tiny body wracked with sobs as he stared up at his father with pleading blue eyes.
stop yelling. Please don't hurt Mama anymore!" He sobbed, shaking his head back and forth over and over as his grip tightened on the stuffed bear. "Please
I don't like it when you two fight!"
Francis hesitated and lowered his arm with the vase. He lowered his head as the flare of anger quickly receded from his being.
How could he have been so stupid? Of course Matthew heard them; it's not as if they had been very subtle with their fights. Yes, the parents had always waited until the boy was asleep before the bickering truly escalated, but how could he have honestly thought that the boy would have been able to sleep through this?
He set the vase down on the counter and wandered over to his son, kneeling down before the boy. A soft sigh escaped his lips as he pulled Matthew close to him, kissing the boy on top of his head. Francis glared over top of Matthew at Arthur with a look that said "now look what you've done".
Arthur sighed as well and walked over to the duo. He knelt down, placing a hand on Matthew's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Mattie. We didn't mean to yell
Matthew stepped out of Francis' arms, turned, and hurled himself into Arthur's. "Please
d-don't fight anymore. I don't like seeing you cry, Mama." The boy sobbed into Arthur's shirt, burying his head in the elder's shoulder.
Arthur closed his eyes, gently rubbing Matthew's back in an attempt to calm the boy down. His eyes locked with Francis' for a moment and all thoughts of hatred quickly melted away for the time being.
After a few minutes of sobbing into both parents' shirts, Matthew stepped back and wiped at his eyes which were now bright red and puffy from the tears.
"C-Can we have some hot chocolate?" Matthew asked around his hiccups.
Both parents smiled down at the boy, replying at the same time, "Of course we can."
The parents exchanged brief glances, that familiar flare of hatred resurfaced, before Francis picked up Matthew and carried him into the living room while Arthur started on the hot chocolate and tea.
Francis sighed, stroking Matthew's hair softly, as he held the sleeping boy in his arms. He loved how innocent the child was, how serene he looked, when he was in a deep sleep. A frown pulled down the elder's lips as his blue eyes flickered over to Arthur who was sitting in the chair across from the duo, sipping his tea.
"Well?" Francis asked.
"Well, what? This clearly isn't over between us
but perhaps we shouldn't continue tonight; I don't want him waking up to us fighting again." Arthur replied; his eyes closed as he sipped more of his tea.
"Mon dieu Arthur
when is this going to end? You and I both know that we can't continue like this."
"Then what do you propose we do about this, Francis? You said it yourself earlier, we should never have been involved with one another, but there's nothing we can do about that now."
" Francis gazed down at the small, fragile blond in his arms.
"Non. It's nothing."
"Francis. Tell me."
Francis shook his head, "What does it matter now? You know that if we part, it will ultimately ruin him. I don't want his innocence lost because you and I couldn't get along."
"Indeed, I must concur. However, we need to figure something out. You and I both know that if we continue like this, we will never make it in the long haul." Arthur still hadn't spared a single glance over at Francis since Matthew had fallen asleep in the other's arms.
"Do you love me, Arthur?" Francis' eyes wandered over to the British male sitting opposite to him.
"The question is, do you still love me? You had to know that I've known about her for quite some time now."
but let me explain, s'il vous plaît."
"Then explain already."
"She means nothing to me, Arthur. I simply spent time with her because you and I had been fighting. I was grieving and she was the shoulder for me to rely on. Mon dieu, you had Kiku waiting for you! She was my rock, just as Kiku was yours." Francis replied, his words clipped.
"I did not go to Kiku! Regardless of the circumstance, I saw you with her, Francis. Do you know how much it killed me to see my lover with another? It's not as if we're swingers." Arthur finally opened his emerald eyes, glaring across the table at Francis.
"I was not with her! It was only a kiss!" The temper Francis had been desperately trying to calm had flared again, rearing its ugly head.
"So that wasn't you with your tongue down her throat at the club and your hand under her shirt? Is that what you call 'just a kiss'!?" Arthur snapped.
Matthew stirred in Francis' arms, causing both of the parents to freeze. He buried his head further into the elder's shoulder, and then he mumbled incoherently, his hand gripping a fistful of Francis' shirt.
You're lying." Francis hissed, but he knew all too well that Arthur was right; he knew that Arthur knew he was right.
"Hardly. Last week, Friday night to be exact, correct?"
The guilt that flashed through Francis' eyes confirmed Arthur's accusation. The Brit rose from his chair and brushed off his clothes, and then he gathered up the empty mugs on the coffee table.
"You can sleep in the guest room for tonight." Arthur kept his voice steady as he turned and headed back towards the kitchen, cups in hand. He set them down in the sink and started filling it with water and soap. The Brit breathed in deeply and exhaled, attempting to reign in the tears that blurred his vision, threatening to run down his cheeks.
Damn you Francis
why can't you and I get along like normal couples? He thought and started washing the cups. What had happened to them over the years? As far as he knew, he still loved the Frenchman, but with each passing day, he found that harder and harder to believe.
Arthur finished up washing the mugs and began drying them, but Matthew's mug slipped from his hands and smashed into tiny shards on the floor. The Brit immediately rushed to the broom closet, grabbing the broom and dustpan, and began sweeping up the mess. He paused for a moment and glanced around the room.
He hadn't realized the damage that Francis and him had done to the kitchen. There were glass shards everywhere from pieces of vases, to mugs, to plates. The walls had cracks in the plaster from the objects that happened to contact them instead of the parents during their fight. The chairs and table were overturned, some of which had cracks in the wood from contact with one another.
we can't keep this up. Are we staying together because we're scared of being alone? Is that really the reason why we're together now? Or is it simply for Matthew? When the boy grows up, what will become of that damn frog and I? Where will we be? The dustpan slipped from Arthur's grasp and clattered to the ground, the hollow sound resonating throughout the spacious kitchen like so many times before.
Arthur closed his eyes and sat back against the counter, bringing his knees to his chest. He buried his face in his arms, finally letting the pent up emotions loose. He sobbed into his arms, trying to keep quiet in case Francis happened by.
Francis, on the other hand, waited for a minute before he rose and headed towards Matthew's room. He pushed the old door open with his hip, wandering through the dark room to the bed. He laid the boy down and pulled the covers over him, tucking them gently around Matthew.
Matthew turned onto his side, clutching his stuffed bear to his small frame. He whimpered softly in his sleep and tightened his grip on the bear.
come home." The boy mumbled in his sleep.
Francis leaned down, kissing the boy atop his head, and gently brushed some of Matthew's hair away from his face. He felt the sting of tears as they blurred the edges of his vision and turned away from his son. He moved across the room to the door, lingering for a moment.
"Je suis désolé Matthieu. Je suis très désolé." He whispered and closed the door quietly behind him.
Francis wandered further down the hall to the right, away from the kitchen. His footsteps echoed loudly until the crash of glass sliced through the hollow sounds. The Frenchman stopped in his tracks and glanced over his shoulder in the direction of the kitchen.
He hesitated, debating whether it was sound for him to see what had happened. Despite his better judgement, Francis turned and wandered back towards the kitchen. He leaned with his back against the wall just inches from the doorway to the kitchen.
Francis lowered his head; he could hear Arthur's sobs despite the other's attempts to keep them as quiet as possible. The Frenchman put his head in his hands, simply drinking in the sounds of his lover's cries briefly before he stepped into the doorway, stepped into view.
~To Be Continued~