England looked over the book once more as he got the finishing touches for the ritual he was about to do. Normally he wouldn’t do something like this, but Francis had gone too far this time. The two of them had gotten in to an argument earlier that day about Matthew while he was visiting. Matthew and Alfred had been off playing, and their argument was getting more heated than usual. Arthur had made a comment on France’s parenting skills, or lack thereof, and that had angered the Frenchman tremendously. It was enough for him to punch Arthur, knocking him to the floor, and yelling that one day both Alfred and Matthew would get sick of the Englishman and leave before storming out to calm down.
Arthur rubbed his jaw, still bearing a faint mark, as he thought about it, “That wine bastard, how dare he say something like that… I’ll show him what happens when he crosses me.” Arthur took a deep breath and turned to the chalk circle and runes he had drawn on the ground a few moments ago. He picked up his spell book with one hand to double check that the runes were drawn correctly. In his other hand he was holding one of Francis’ long, blonde hairs, which had been left on Matthew’s dress after he had given him a goodbye hug.
Satisfied that the runes were accurate, he put the book down and held the hair out over the chalk and clearly spoke the spell, “Egnever nwo ym rof nosrep siht retfa emoc ot snomed throf nommus I.” The chalk circle started glowing, and a thin, boney, shadowy hand came out from the center, reaching up with its palm face up and flat, waiting. With no hesitation, Arthur lowered the hair, letting go of it once he was sure it would land in the demon’s hand without getting grabbed himself. When the hair was firmly in the demon’s grasp, it shot back under the ground. A moment later, a shadowy, bone thin figure crawled its way to the surface, looking at Arthur with its thin eyes, which were a darker black then the rest of it. Arthur kept his own features expressionless. When it came to demons, no matter what level they were, he was always cautious as to avoid an accident.
“What is it you wish me to do to this person you want revenge on?” The demon asked Arthur in a voice that was simultaneously a whisper and a shout, as if two people were talking at the same time.
Arthur had already made his choice before summoning the demon, “I want you to kill him, but not before he’s been made scared first.” Francis was a country. Even if he was killed by a demon he would come back to life within a month at the absolute most. Was it harsh? Yes, but what Francis had done was harsh as well in his mind.
The demon chuckled and grinned, “My, this child must have done something really terrible if you wish such a fate on him.”
Arthur frowned in confusion, “What the bloody Hell are you talking about? Francis is an adult…” His eyes widened and his face paled. The blonde hair had been on Matthew’s dress… Francis had stroked the boy’s hair as they hugged… Oh god, the hair wasn’t Francis’, it was Matthew’s!
“W-Wait, I don’t want you to go after him! I gave you the wrong-!” Arthur tried to explain, but before he could finish, the demon’s hand had turned into a spike and had gone through his chest. The Brit looked down at it briefly, coughing with a line of blood coming out of the corner of his mouth, before the demon pulled its arm out. Arthur collapsed, dead before he even hit the ground…
Matthew was lying awake in his bed, hugging his teddy bear closely to him. There were tears in his eyes. He loved it when Francis visited, but he hated that he had to go every time. This time it had been especially hard for him to say goodbye since it had been so long since they had last seen each other, and already Matthew wanted him to come back.
With a quiet whine, Matthew hugged his bear closer, “I miss papa…” He sniffled, before the boy heard a creak. Sitting up, he saw that his closet door had opened on its own. Strange, he was sure that it had been closed when he went to sleep…
Matthew climbed out of his bed and pushed the door close again. Before he was even back under the covered however, the closet creaked open again. Matthew whimpered, getting scared now. He grabbed his teddy bear and made his way to the other side of the room, climbing into his brother’s bed instead. The other blonde was still asleep, so Matthew gently shook him.
“Alfie, wake up…” He whined softly, glancing back at the closet before looking back down at his twin.
Alfred groaned as he heard his brother's voice in his ear. He opened one eye and peeked over at Matthew, "wha' s'it Mattie?" Alfred slurred barely awake as he propped himself up on an elbow and rubbed sleep out of his eye.
Matthew whimpered, “I’m scared… The closet keeps opening on its own, even when I close it…” The blonde fearfully looked back at the closet, which stood across from their beds. It was once again open, and he swore he caught sight of one of his blocks coming to a stop just outside the door…
Alfred sat up and followed Matthew's eyes to the door, "It was probably just a breeze or somethin..." He muttered but regardless got out of the bed. He was suppose to be the big brother (it didn't matter if they were twins, he was older) so he would take care of it. He frowned down at the toy that sat just outside the darkness, only visible by the moonlight, "Well duh... you left a block out, it probably stopped the door from closin'... " He picked it up tossing it back into the closet before shutting the door, giving it an extra push to make sure it was shut, even going as far as pulling on the doorknob to make sure it wouldn't re open.
He turned back and walked to the bed "see Mattie? Nothing to be worried about. It's closed now." he said with a smile, but as soon as his knees hit the mattress there was a loud bang. His head whipped around, looking at the door that was now wide open, he looked just in time to watch the block fly across the room, hitting the opposite wall. Matthew cried out in fright as the block crashed into the wall, breaking apart from the force as it did. He hugged his brother tightly, trembling.
Alfred wrapped arms around his brother, still on his knees, “W-Why did it do that?!” the smaller twin cried out, sniffling and sobbing already.
Keeping Matthew close to his chest Alfred’s head whipped back and forth between the wall and the open closest, "I... I'm not sure... Maybe it's one of dad's fairies?" Alfred said looking for any excuse to calm both his brother and himself. He looked down at the shaking Matthew and gulped before putting on his hero face, "Watch... I'll just... I'll go tell her off for breaking your block Mattie!"
Alfred pulled himself free and took shaky but determined steps towards the closet. He was standing in front of it frowning as he forced himself to look tough, even past the tears in his eyes, "Look Mrs.Fairy! you can't just break other people’s toys like that!" He yelled. Both boys braced themselves, tension and silence followed... nothing else moved... nothing happened so Alfred sighed in relief. He turned to flash a toothy smile at Matthew and Matthew smiled softly as it seemed as though his brother had gotten it to stop, letting out a nervous laugh.
However, as Alfred went to close the door again, it slammed back fully open, knocking Alfred down, and both of their toys started flying out of it to hit the opposite wall around Alfred’s bed. Matthew cried out in shock and hid under the blankets as Alfred screamed, turning and crawling faster than he ever crawled before.
The toys flew past him, and one even caught him in the back of the head sharply before he managed to clamber under the blankets with Matthew. As the toys continued to smash around them they screamed out at the top of his lungs.
“Arthur! Daddy, help!”
“Arthur! Papa, help us, please!”
They screamed as loudly as they could over the banging, wailing with tears going down their cheeks. The two blondes clung to each other under the sheets, praying that Arthur would come and rescue them. After several minutes, the barrage of toys stopped, but Arthur hadn’t shown up.
Once they felt it was safe to do so, the twins poked their heads out from under the blankets, “W-Where’s Arthur…? W-Why didn’t he come…?” Matthew sniffled, looking around as he continued to hold onto his brother.
“I… I don’t know Mattie…” Alfred looked around as well at all the shattered toys on the ground. He was sure, even without the banging and the screaming, Arthur should have been able to hear his heartbeat from the other side of the house.
“We have to go find Dad…” He said finally, “M-maybe he was drinking that gross juice again or something…” The boys had watched their uncle Alister yell in his ear once after he drank it and it didn’t wake him up.
Matthew nodded. Even if it turned out that Arthur wasn’t in the house, for some reason or another, he didn’t want to be in that room any more regardless. Cautiously, Matthew crawled out of bed with Alfred and grabbed the candle on the nightstand next to him, lighting it. They made their way out of their room towards Arthur’s, staying close to each other in the dark house. For some reason, it seemed scarier than it normally did at night…
Matthew whimpered and stayed close to Alfred, being careful not to drop the candle he carried with both of his tiny hand as Alfred lead them down the hall. The older twin was shaking as they hurried to Arthur’s bedroom first. It was empty, bed undisturbed, “Shoot…” Alfred muttered as he pulled the door closed again. That mean they had to go around the corner to their fathers study… but… what if something was around that corner?!
Alfred took a deep breath putting his head up, “Come on Mattie, The hero will keep you safe!” Alfred's hands curled into little fists of determination as Matthew stayed right on his heels. The pair made their way bravely down the hall. However, no sooner had they turned the corner, then the candle was blown out causing both boys to scream, Matthew screaming even louder.
Matthew dropped the candle and clutched his hands tightly to himself and crying once more, “Ow! My hands hurt!” The blonde cried out. When Alfred’s eyes had adjusted to the dark enough, he saw that there was wax from the candle on both of his hands, still hot from the flame. Alfred grabbing matthew’s arms to look at his hands in concern, even in the dark he could see they were red. Matthew was crying loudly in pain, more tears joining the ones that had been there earlier on his face.
It looked painful, but they had dropped wax on themselves before… it would cool in a minute, and dad could help, but… His eyes darted to the rug groaning at the large puddle of wax, “Mattie! Dad says we have to be careful with candles! He’s gonna kill us…” He murmured the last bit.
Matthew sniffled and looked at his twin, “I-I’m sorry, my h-hands just hurt too much… I’ll tell Arthur it was me who dropped the candle…” He hiccupped and looked back down at his hands. The wax was still burning hot and liquid, even though it should’ve cooled a little by now. The blonde shook his hands to try and cool them down, even a little bit. Alfred furrowed his brow, as drops flew off Matthew’s hands, it was still hot? It hit Alfred’s arm and he flinched, but the burning stopped a second later…
He gathered the skirts of his nightgown quickly and grabbed Matthew’s hands wiping the hot wax away. As soon as it left the smaller twins hands, it hardened on Alfred’s clothing, so despite Matthew’s whimpers of pain, he kept going until every bit was gone.
“It’s okay Mattie…” He murmured once all the wax was gone, “Let’s go to dad’s office okay?” He was about to turn them back towards the room, but paused.
He felt as if his skin was crawling… like something was watching them. An unexplained panic took over him and Alfred dropped his skirt. Hurriedly, he got behind Matthew half pushing him down the hall as he rushed them towards the office door. Alfred had started at a quick walk, but wound up running, the feeling of something on his heels overwhelming.
They reached the door, Alfred yanking it open. He pushed Matthew further into the room slamming the door behind them, shutting the feeling out and leaning his head against the door while he caught his breath.
While Alfred recovered, Matthew looked around. He saw the oil lamp on Arthur’s desk, and crawled on to the chair he turned it on. Alfred hurried over toward the desk, standing across from where Matthew still sat in the chair. In the light, both twins could see that Matthew’s hands were burned red from the wax. While Alfred busied himself looking over the forming blisters, Matthew looked around the room again frowning.
“Arthur’s not here either…” He looked at Alfred who looked up as he spoke, “Y-You don’t think he’s in t-the basement, d-do you…?” Matthew whimpered. The boys had been prohibited from going down there, Arthur saying that it was extremely dangerous for them, but he himself would often go down there for one reason or another.
Alfred looked around the office. Matthew was right, there was no Arthur here… The chair he had hoped to find him asleep in abandoned, "I don't know... Maybe he's in the kitchen?" Alfred said hopefully, though he doubted it.
"Either way..." he said walked around the desk, opening the bottom drawer, "We gotta cover that right?" He pulled out a roll of white bandages. Arthur had started keeping medical supplies on hand when he figure out having boys in the house lead to a lot of cuts and bruises...
He turned to Matthew ducking his head, tongue between his teeth as he tried his best to do for Matthew's hands as Arthur had done for his that time he had tripped and caught himself in a patch of stinging nettles...
They heard the door opening again and stiffened up, looking towards it. Alfred tensed and Matthew whimpered when they saw no one there, and Matthew nearly started bawling his eyes out when a stuffed toy flopped down on to its side into the room, now terrified of it.
Alfred was breathing hard, but regardless he pulled his brother close, looking around, “We need to g-go find Dad! come on Mattie… j-just..." His voice shook and started to break with the panic, “Let’s go.” He whimpered, not moving. He did reach for the oil lamp. He would hold the light source this time…
Matthew shook his head no vigorously, staring at the stuffed toy, “I-I don’t wanna get near it!” He clung to his brother tightly, trembling. After what happened in their room, he was absolutely terrified of his toys now, at least for the time being. Alfred looked down at his brother and back up at the door. He couldn't argue that sentiment…
"Okay..." He said nodding, "T-there's another way out but..." He gulped and his eyes turned to the closet off to the side of the room. Before Matthew had come to live with them, Alfred had stumbled upon a hidden door in the back of Arthur’s closet... He had been warned never to go down the stairs, but what choice did they have now? Maybe it was where Arthur went... "F-follow me." He let go of Matthew lifting the lantern and walked to the closet, taking a deep breath before opening the door.
Luckily... there was nothing there... nothing flung at them either. He pushed the coats that hung there to the side, revealing an opened door, "This is the only way... I have the lamp and I'll be right here okay?" He said once again reminding himself to be like the heroes in all his favourite stories...
Matthew nodded, holding on to the back of Alfred’s dress as tightly as he could with his injured fingers before they made their way through the dark. Matthew would occasionally whimper or gasp whenever he thought he had heard or seen something in the dark around them, staying as close to Alfred as he possibly could.
When they reach the halfway point, the stairs started to shake. It was like someone was yanking on them, or jumping up and down. Alfred yelped, holding onto the rail, “Hold onto me Mattie!” Alfred called over the protest of screeching metal, trying to keep moving when the shaking would slow. Matthew started crying again, clinging on to his brother even tighter, as they made their way down as fast as they safely could. The shaking intensified until they were near the bottom. Once it had stopped, the twins raced off of the stairs… only to step in something wet…
Alfred lost his footing in whatever the substance was and crashed to the ground dragging Matthew with him. Both boys groaned in pain as the impact of suddenly hitting the hard stone floor. luckily Alfred had had the sense to raise the hand holding the lamp up, so it wouldn't smash, his other hand landing in the thick sticky substance to stop him from falling back.
He steadied himself and lifted it up to see, but it was too dark. Matthew reached over and turned up the brightness of the oil lamp. Alfred studied his hand and Matthew looked down at the floor. It was a dark red, like… The boys slowly followed the trail with their eyes, and Matthew proceeded to start screaming and crying at the sight they saw, Alfred frozen in shock.
Lying in a pool of his own blood, clearly dead, was Arthur. He was on his side, eyes glassy with a large hole in his chest that was still dripping fresh blood. The Englishman was lying next to a chalk circle with strange markings inside and around it, though some of them were smeared now due to the gore.
Alfred’s breath was coming sharp and hard as he looked directed into Arthur's glazed over green eyes, "D-daddy?" He finally stuttered... shaking violently and sobbing as he realized he was currently sitting in his blood... Matthew quickly came to the same realization and started crying louder, calling for his papa to help them.
Both twins were in too much shock to realize something was right behind them, silently reaching towards Matthew.
It wasn’t until the long haired twin felt something cold on his shoulder that he realized that they were not alone. A second hand was soon clamped painfully on his other shoulder and he screamed loudly as something started pulling him back into the shadows.
“Alfie!!” Matthew cried out for help, scrabbling for purchase on the floor with his nails to avoid getting dragged away by god knows what.
Alfred, being pulled out of shock by the screaming, now was scrambling through the blood, lamp down in the muck as he threw himself at Matthew wrapping arms around his middle and looking up in absolute terror at the grisly eyeless face, it's sockets glowing green in the darkness. He was scared out of his mind, but at the same time, his little brother was in danger, "Let go!" He screamed his loudest.
It inexplicably worked... The beast twisted in on itself and disappeared, dropping both boys with a thunk to the ground. Alfred clung to Matthew, sobbing into his nightgown, "Mattie! Mattie Mattie... are you... Mattie are you okay?!" He blubbered, looking up at his brother.
Matthew was in shock, but looked down at his brother and nodded, trembling visibly in his arms, “W-What are we going to do Alfie…?” He asked quietly, his voice barely above a whisper from both the shock, and from the fear that there might still be something else waiting for them in the darkness.
Alfred was ugly crying by this point, barely able to talk at all, but between sobs and deep sniffles he go it out shakily, “We’re - gonna- hide.” He moved to stand yanking Matthew with him. He clapped a hand over his mouth as he tried to hold back sounded of crying. He pulled them back towards and past Arthur’s body. They needed weapons first… if it was so dangerous down here, there had to be something sharp right?!
After a while of panicked searching, the only thing they were able to find that could be used as a weapon was a small dagger with markings etched into the blade. Matthew’s hands were too badly burned from the candle still, so it was up to Alfred to hold both the light and their weapon.
However, as they started to make their way back to the stairs, they saw Arthur’s body… twitch…
They froze, looking down at it for a second. Alfred had calmed himself enough to speak in unbroken, but still shaky sentences, "I-it's just nerves... " He said, his stomach rolling at the smell... he had been too panicked to noticed before but god did Arthur reek.
Matthew nodded and was about to speak when the body twitched again. He gasped and took a step back, pulling Alfred with him. The two watched in horror as the chalk circle and runes started glowing red, and Arthur’s body rolled onto its back before it started to spasm, limbs flailing around as Arthur’s veins started to become visible, turning black. The last part of his body to gain these black veins was his head. Once that happened, Arthur’s body went stiff for a minute, what looked like smoke trailing around the hole in his chest. All at once, the body moved in a way that shouldn’t have been possible, standing up without its arms supporting it or anything, facing away from the boys, but so they could see just a small portion of his face.
Alfred stood in front of Matthew his arms held out, as he looked towards two separate sets of staircases in a panic. One was farther away... but the other was so close to Arthur. Was Arthur... did he bring himself back? Was this what happened when nations came back?! Alfred wasn’t sure, and it was scary, "D-d-daddy?" He said in a very tiny voice.
Arthur stayed still for a solid minute, before his head suddenly snapped back to look at them. His eyes had dark black veins in them, and were staring unblinkingly at the two of them. Matthew couldn’t help but, once again, scream, and at that point Arthur wordlessly lunged forward and attempted to grab Matthew. The young colony managed to dodge out of the way just in time, and in his panic left Alfred standing there while he ran for the stairs.
When Arthur completely ignored Alfred, the older twin was off like a shot, he had to help his brother! Their caretaker's deadened eyes held none of their spark and frankly, even if it was Arthur coming back, Alfred wasn't taking chances with something that looked that scary! He once again threw himself, this time dragging down on Arthur’s legs tripping him just as ashy his fingers brushed the hem of Matthew's night dress. Alfred squeezed his eyes shut tight and hung on tight shouting, "Run Mattie! Hide!"
Matthew, snapping out of his utter panic, paused and looked back at his brother before tears welled up in his eyes and he nodded, making his way up the stairs as fast as he could. He looked around, adrenalin running through him, before running off into the main floor of the house. His first thought was to get help, Alfred had saved him, and now it was Matthew's turn.
He headed for the door, his plan was to get to one of the nearby towns, enlist some form of help. It turned out to be a waste of precious time as he ran between the front and back door, yanking desperately, both were locked, the mechanisms frozen in place and completely unmovable. In an absolute panic, he ran upstairs towards the attic to hide there. He had figured out how to get it open, and would sometimes go up there when he needed to be by himself. Arthur hadn’t figured out that was his secret spot yet, so maybe he still wouldn’t be able to find him there…?
Down stairs Alfred was still locked around Arthur's legs. The dead nation was striking him repeatedly in an attempt to dislodge him and continue his hunt for Matthew. Tears were flowing freely as Alfred held tight trying not to scream... the last thing he wanted was for Mattie to try and come back. Arthur, for whatever reason, was after Matthew now and a hero couldn’t just let his best friend get hurt! His hold, however, was weakening. Arms too tired, head spinning... The final straw was when Arthur managed to pull one leg out of Alfred’s grasp and swung the other, smashing Alfred against the hard wall of the basement. His head and chest connected, and Alfred was plunged into the darkness of unconsciousness.
Now free from Alfred’s hold, Arthur turned his back on the tiny body, making his way upstairs, searching for Matthew. Blood occasionally dripped from the hole in his chest, and his feet dragged slightly as he moved.
Matthew was hiding in the attic, in the corner farthest away from the stairs and behind a crate. The terrified child had his hands over his mouth, trembling and sobbing. He felt terrible for leaving Alfred behind, but he couldn’t go back now, not with Arthur clearly after him.
Below Matthew's feet, things crashed as they were tossed. Unseen forces, seemingly following Arthur progression, slamming cupboards and closets open, the contents spilling across the house in search of Matthew. Arthur had finally reached the room directly below Matthew's clever hiding spot, and the small blonde could see him through a crack in the floor.
"Come out, come out lad..." Came a voice that was and wasn't Arthur's. A pool was beginning to form at Arthur's feet, as his strangely clouded eyes scanned the area.
Matthew’s eyes widened when he saw his caretaker standing directly below him. He moved back, the old floorboards squeaking, but fortunately for Matthew there was a knock at the door just as they did covering the sound.
Arthur turned from the room, shuffling toward the front of the house. The sound of a door creaking opened went through the now silent house and Francis Bonnefoy's slurring voice rang through as it slammed fully open, "Arthur?! Where the h-hell are you?! I'm not done with-" The blonde froze, taking in the absolute disarray around him "Sacré bleu! Look at this mess! You dare insult my parenting when this is- ack!... What the..." He had taken three more steps, slipping slightly in the blood on the floor, though recovering his balance. His eyes opened wide, the drunken man sobering slightly as he realized something was very wrong...
"Matthieu, Alfred?!" He called suddenly moving through to the next room, not hearing as the front door, very quietly, closed and clicked shut behind him. He went through the house growing more frantic with every room, shouting out for the children. Finally he had found his way into the dining room, running directly below Matthew.
When Matthew saw Francis, he let out a sob of relief, speaking quietly as to try and get his attention without getting Arthur’s, “Papa! Up here!” He harshly whispered, leaning over the crack in the floor.
Francis head whipped around, but apparently he had not heard the small voice, "Boys, where are you!? Arthur?!"
Down in the basement, Alfred's eyes opened as he groaned softly. He hurt so bad, the pain so much worse when he tried to move, his side throbbing. He started to cry from it, "D-daddy..." He whimpered looking for comfort. His plea went unanswered and he was grateful for it as his senses and memory came back into play suddenly, "M-Mattie!" He pulled himself up moving up the stairs. As he did he heard thumping above and a muffled but frantic cry of his and his brother's names, "Francis!" He called out, moving up the stairs as best he could. He had to warn him! He had to be quiet!
Just as the thought of silence had crossed Alfred’s mind, a loud scream filled the air... “Papa! look out!” It was Matthew, Alfred changed course, abandoning his attempts to warn Francis to head up to the attic where he knew his brother sometimes hid… Francis was an adult, Matthew needed him now!
Back over the dining room, the large eyes of the small boy looked down on the scene in terror as Arthur stood behind Francis, his warning heard, causing the Frenchman to spin coming face to face with Arthur's reanimated body, “A-Arthur… what have you done…” He said in quiet shock at the shuffling, ashen skinned man, backing away.
Arthur, or rather Arthur’s body, kept walking towards the Frenchman, a dagger made out of the same black smoke that was coming out of the hole in his chest forming in his hand. Matthew had started crying again, loudly, as he watched in terror.
“Arthur!” Francis yelled, backing further away, “What did you do with Alfred? Where are the boys?!”
Matthew’s eyes were so focused on the scene he didn’t hear as something came up behind him, putting a hand over his mouth to cut off any screams of surprise. Matthew only had a second to struggle and thrash against it before Alfred’s voice hissed in his ear, “It’s me! Come on Mattie! We gotta move before Arthur finds us!” He continued frantically.
Matthew looked at Alfred with wide eyes, “P-Papa’s down there with Arthur! W-We got to do something!” He sobbed, trembling in fright and upset. As scared as he was of getting hurt, he didn’t want to see Francis getting hurt either and Arthur was now close enough that, even in the darkened room, Francis could see the gaping hole in his chest crystal clear, the black veins that covered his entire body unmistakable.
Alfred held him close looking down at their guardians. His face set on determined as he nodded, “Don’t worry Mattie…” He said quietly hugging his brother once more before quietly limping around. He looked around the room... It had to be somewhere here…
“F-fuck!” Francis said, Matthew watching as he backed right out the room, “My god Arthur! What did you do!? Boys?! Boys if you hear me get out now!” he cried frantically as he tripped and scrambled over things.
Alfred found the old pistol from Arthur’s pirate days. He held it in both hands aiming it at a weak point in the floor, his breath shaking… If he could just create a distraction. He could shoot a hole in the floor, fall through it close enough… Arthur said him and Mattie looked alike, maybe it would give Francis enough time to do something!
He turned to Matthew eyes hard, “Go... Go to Arthur’s room and hide under the bed okay? We’ll come get you.” he hissed. If any room would be warded, it would be Arthur’s… Alfred just had to hope this worked...
However Matthew shook his head voice strained and distressed, “What about you? I don’t want to leave you again.” He looked at his brother, silently pleading for Alfred to come with him.
Downstairs, Arthur’s body followed Francis, lunging at him when it was close enough and attempting to stab him. He missed as Francis dodged but wound up grazed his arm with the dagger instead, causing a large cut.
Francis cry of pain reached them and Alfred gave Matthew a desperate look. He looked at the pistol in his hand, tears gathered in his eyes. there was another way… but… but he didn’t wanna shoot Arthur! He would be so mad!
Alfred started shaking, but nodded. He moved across the floor to stand back beside Matthew, “Don’t watch okay?” He said, Matthew nodded and covered his eyes.
Alfred looked down aiming as best he could. Arthur was right on top of Francis, the dagger raised in the air. Alfred had to do it now! He furrowed his brow, choking out a sob before pulling the trigger.
His aim was perfect, the bullet ripping through Arthur’s chest… and continuing straight into Francis’s. The french nation cried out in pain, but it was cut off as the dagger continued it’s path, burying into Francis’s throat. Arthur’s cold, dead eyes turning up to the ceiling as Alfred dropped the gun panicking at his obvious mistake.
Matthew uncovered his eyes, which then widened immensely when he saw the scene below them, “Papa…?” The blonde whimpered, starting to tremble with tears going down his cheeks, sobbing and hiccupping.
Alfred looked over to Matthew, tears brimming before snapping his head back down, Arthur was moving, leaving Francis's cold frame in complete view... the blonde hair was laid around him like a halo... it was so much like Matthew's hair against a pillow… and that thought snapped him back to reality. They weren’t safe, "C-come on!" He said loudly, stepping over to take Matthew's hand. Tugging him out of view of the corpse and moving to get down those stairs before Arthur could make it and leave them trapped.
Matthew held his hand tightly and followed him down as fast as he could, blubbering and absolutely scared out of his mind at this point. He didn’t know what to do, what he could do about any of this. The blonde was forced to rely on his twin in order for them to get out alive, and a part of him didn’t like that.
Alfred was breathing heavily as they got down the stairs, plowing his way through the door at the bottom and into the hall, he whipped his head around eyes settling on Arthur at the entrance to the hall, he yanked them the opposite way through the twists of corridors, "We have to get to Dad's room!" He whisper-shouted.
Matthew nodded, picking up the pace to follow his brother as closely as possible. His heart was pounding in his chest as they made their way to Arthur’s room, feet hitting the hardwood floor loudly as they ran.
Navigating their way over everything that had spilled out of closest wasn't easy, they stumbled and tripped but they kept moving. They were so close! The bedroom door sitting open, nothing spilling out of it! It was a good sign! Until Alfred landed his foot right on the shards of a broken vase, causing him to collapse to the floor. Matthew gasped, stopping and kneeling next to his brother, “Alfie!” Without another word, he held Alfred back on to his feet, wrapping an arm around his waist to help him walk as they made their way into the room, just as Arthur turned into the hall. Slamming the door shut behind them, a green ward glowed on the door for a few seconds as Matthew turned the lock shut.
Alfred was shaking as he sank back down to the floor, a shard of the vase still buried in his foot. He whimpered as he pulled it out with shaking hands, more blood oozing onto the floor. Matthew walked over to him, kneeling next to his brother and frowning, “That looks really bad…” Tearing off a piece of his own dress, he wrapped it around the wound as a makeshift bandage. It would work for now at least…
Alfred sniffled as he watched his little brother wrap his foot. It hurt, but it also stopped the blood. He wiped his nose on his sleeve, "Thanks Mattie..." He said though the sniffles.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang at the door, followed by another, and another after that! Alfred reached up and yanked Matthew down beside him, wrapping arms around his twin, Matthew hold on to him tightly in return, trembling and watching the door to see what would happen. The green ward appeared again any time the banging happened, showing that it was protecting them. Eventually though, they’d have to find help if Francis didn’t come back on his own soon enough…
Every bang on the door was accompanied by a flinch at the sound. Alfred was confident it would hold... it had to right?! Except... it didn't... The wards glowing dulled as the door started to crack, flickering as the slams continued now. Both boys screamed as a large crack severed the glowing seal completely... now the only thing separating them was a flimsy wooden door and an ordinary lock...
Matthew sobbed and held on to his brother tightly, waiting for the inevitable but praying that it didn’t happen. His prayers went unanswered, A final connection causing the door to bust through, wood splintering and littering the floor leaving them face to face with the emotionless shell of their caretaker…
Matthew started crying, and held on to his brother tightly, burying his face in the other’s dress, Alfred quivering as tears welled again. Arthur walked towards them, but just as he was about to grab Matthew and Alfred, his body started to jerk, and his eyes cleared a small amount.
“G-Gah…!” Arthur was coming back to life, and was now fighting with the demon inside of his body. He looked down at his boys, trying his hardest to fight it off.
“A-Alfred, M-Matthew, get out of here! I-I…! I can’t h-hold it back much longer!” The Brit cried out, holding on to himself tightly as he tried to not succumb to the demon again now that he was strong enough to fight back.
Matthew held on to his brother as they looked at Arthur in terror. It was clear that he was trying to fight back whatever was making him do this, but Arthur was also clearly struggling to do so in the first place. Alfred sobbed but nodded, ignoring the sharp throbbing in his foot as he scrambled to get them both on their feet and out the bedroom door.
Where else could they go?! Where would they be safe! They had only just made it out of the room when they heard a loud thunk and a terrifying, inhuman screech. Alfred looked back without pausing in time to watch what was left of the door and it's frame blow apart.
The things that had scattered across the floor started flying, like a wall was catching up to them, sweeping everything in it's way and projecting it. Both were breathing too hard to even scream in the effort to run as fast as little legs could carry them, working to get away from the slowly catching up force.
As it got closer, things started flying past them, smashing in their path, but adrenaline kept pushing them forward. The pair rounded the corner at the end of the hall and came face to face with a dead end of the hallway. Matthew panted heavily, falling onto his knees and looking up at the wall, “W-We’re trapped…!”
“No!” Alfred refused. He was not about to let that thing get them! Not after Arthur and Francis, not after they’d held on this long! It would be day time soon right?! Nothing can get you when it’s light! His eyes darted to the two doors, a bathroom... that had no windows! But the other room did!
“No we’re not, come on!!” Alfred tugged on his brother’s arm, half dragging him into the room they’d started in. Their bedroom. He threw Matthew to the side slamming the door shut and dragging his bed in front of the door as quickly as he could.
Matthew had scampered across the room and was hiding under his own bed, holding his hands over his head and trembling. He hated being so cowardly, but he was just so scared… Alfred soon ran back over broken toys and to Matthew slipping in beside him and pulling the blanket over and an extra barrier. He wrapped his arms around Matthew, holding him close to calm him.
The sound of the wave approaching had gotten louder and louder, soon items were banging against their door, Alfred's hold on his brother got tighter, feeling Matthew shake as his eyes locked on the door waiting for it to fly apart like Arthur’s did... but it didn't... In fact it went completely silent...
The boys stayed perfectly still waiting, minutes felt like hours as the silence dragged... "I-is it over?" Alfred whispered.
“I-I don’t know…” Matthew whimpered, peeking his head out from under the bed. So far it looked like it was over…
Alfred was just getting ready to crawl out from under the bed when something strange happened... thick sickly looking fog curled from under the door and his bed, creeping into the room.
Both boys eyes widened to the size of saucers as they watched the fog seep into the room, spreading out to encompass it completely. It almost looked as if it was searching… at this point it was safe to say it was looking for Matthew…
Alfred scooted them back when the fog reached the edge of the bed, trying to push Matthew as far behind him as possible. A screech like the one in the hall filled the room. It was so loud the bed shook on top of them. The boys watched in horror as the fog twisted and folded on itself, retreating from the edged of the room and into the center. The grey green swirled to form a very large, very solid creature... Its skeletal form somehow smiling.
Matthew sobbed, trying his hardest not to outright scream in terror. The demon however must have heard the small sound of distress, as it looked towards their hiding spot. Before either boy could react, the bed was lifted up into the air and tossed to the other side of the room, the frame cracking slightly from the impact.
Alfred hurried to sit up, throwing himself over his brother as the large thing loomed… He was sobbing apologizing and trying to curl as much of himself around Matthew as he could, Matthew now a mess of tears and wrecked sobs.
It was reaching out towards them and Alfred shuddered deeply as its claw like fingers reached over him, brushing his skin on the way to his brother. He squeezed his eyes shut tight waiting…
Just as the fingers brushed the first piece of Matthew’s hair, the bedroom door and Alfred’s bed went flying. Both boys, and even the thing in front of them looked over in surprise. Standing, leaned against the door frame, was Francis, Arthur’s arm around his shoulder as the french men held him around the waist to keep him up right.
Arthur’s green eyes were full of rage focused on the beast in the center of the room. The demon lunged at them, but before it could reach the two older countries Arthur shouted out a spell, “Yot a edisni yawa nomed siht laes I!” The demon screeched once more, and there was a flash of light. When it faded, the four of them saw the fog that was in the room twist and fold into one of the unbroken toys on the floor.
The boys watched as Arthur panted heavily, collapsing to his knees weakly, “That was too close… If I had come back just a second later, I might not have been able to do that…” Alfred and Matthew didn’t move. Alfred wouldn’t let them, even if Matthew had tried. His chest heaved as he looked at the two adults unsurely.
“P-papa? D-daddy?” He squeak out, sniffling as tears spilled over his eyes. He was terrified they might not be real... or they weren't... right. If they weren’t he couldn’t let them get Mattie!
Francis slipped down the frame, panting and fighting to catch his breath as Arthur looked over at the boys, “Alfred… Matthew… You’re alright…!” He held out his arms for them, tears of relief in his eyes.
Alfred and Matthew continued to hesitate. But Alfred slowly let go of his twin, looking back at him in warning concern before taking a few unsure steps, keeping himself between them. He jumped and froze again as Francis grunted re-positioning himself to sit.
"It's okay mes petits choux," the Frenchman said with a slight cough, "It's over now... right Angleterre?"
Arthur looked at Francis and nodded, “It is…” He turned his attention back to the boys, “Everything’s alright now boys, I promise…”
Matthew whimpered, tears filling with eyes. With his trusting nature, he was the first to break. He ran over to Francis and Arthur, crying and jumping into Arthur’s arms.
Alfred watched as Arthur wrapped arms around him holding Matthew close, Francis stroking his hair… The brit turned kind, clear green eyes to him, Francis holding out an arm inviting him in. After a moment more of hesitation, Alfred’s hands went to his eyes and he wailed loudly, walking blindly until he was right in Francis’s waiting arms. The boys were shifted, both Francis and Arthur holding them together, whispering words of comfort.
When they could manage, Francis scooped both boys leaving the room. Arthur just barely able to hold himself up, grabbed the cursed toy, limping close behind.
The door to Arthur’s room had been completely busted off, but it was the least damaged room, and there was a bed to tuck the two obviously exhausted boys into.
As Francis got to putting the boys under covers, Arthur locked the toy away, sealing the box with a key for now. Later, after he had regained his strength, he would use heavy duty magic to seal the toy inside the box further.
The two full grown nations each took a side of the bed, laying with the still shaking twins. After the horrifying ordeal they had gone through, having both of their parents there sleeping on either side of them, keeping them safe, was all it took to get the two to fall asleep.
Over the heads of the finally safe boy Francis looked across at Arthur, noting the worried frown the englishman wore… he didn’t like it, “It’s not over is it?” He whispered over the sleeping boys.
Arthur sighed quietly, rubbing Alfred’s hair as the child laid pressed against him, “It’s bound… that should hold it, but if i ever were to get out…” He trailed off not wanting to say more.
“Then how do we keep him safe Arthur?” Francis asked, keeping his temper in check. It was hardly the time for arguing, even if he did have valid reason to tear strips out of the other.
“We can’t completely… but there’s a spell. If I make it so Matthew is harder to recognize, even if it did somehow get out, it would have a hard time finding him… even if he was right there” Arthur said.
“But…?” Francis asked knowing too well how this worked.
“It would make it harder for everyone to know him.”
“So you want us to just make it so we forget him?!”
Arthur scowled, “You’re going to forget your own son frog? you just have to focus on something that’s uniquely Matthew while I do it… It’ll be a way to remember.”
The french man frowned looking down and leaning to kiss Matthew’s fine silk hair before nodding, “If that’s what is needed to keep him safe…”
"We’ll do it when we wake, before we leave… I have another residence further toward the channel, We can head there tomorrow.” Francis nodded and Arthur paused looking around the room, muttering more to himself then the already drifting French nation, “I don’t think there’s even much left here to pack… but I can have it sent behind us. Get the boys away…” He yawned, his eyes suddenly heavy, murmuring his last sentence before sleep took him, “If we’re lucky they won’t even remember it…”
With that, The nightmare was over.
In the morning the spell was cast, Alfred concentrating hard on everything that was Matthew, Francis focusing on the boy's fine french hair… Arthur had decided upon his eyes, but it was harder for him to concentrate while making sure the spell was done correctly.
They packed up, and left the house, headed off to somewhere safe and untainted by such bad memories.
~~~~ Epilogue ~~~~
Many years later, Matthew was now physically a pre-teen. He and Alfred were helping Arthur with some cleaning in the attic to get ready to move to a new house. Other than an occasional recurring nightmare of him and his brother as kids being chased down a hall, Matthew was perfectly content, and was looking forward to their new place.
Alfred, though he had no remaining knowledge of that night, was less happy. Though that was due to the current cleaning project. He grumbled as he picked up a box, coughing at the cloud of dust that came with it, "It's so filthy up here, why is he making us do the attic?"
“Because I’m the adult here and I say so!” Arthur called up from downstairs. Matthew chuckled softly and smiled.
“He has us there Alfred.” The quieter blonde paused before continuing, “Hey, do you ever get the same nightmare over and over again?” Matthew asked his brother, knowing he wouldn’t talk about it unless asked.
Alfred who was sticking his tongue out at the stairs turned with an eyebrow raised and shrugged, "Not really... " He paused for a moment, "Oh wait! yeah! remember a few years ago at Christmas when dad made us those weird black lumpy things and refused to tell us what they were? Every thanksgiving I start dreaming about finding them. Like completely normal dream then just BAM mystery charcoal! Right through till Christmas!" He chuckled then tilted his head at his brother, "Why do you ask?"
“Well, lately I keep having a nightmare at least once a week about the two of us. We’re little kids again, and something’s chasing us down a long hall. For some reason my hands hurt, and even though I can’t see it I somehow know that there’s wax on your dress.” Matthew frowned slightly, “For some reason, it absolutely terrifies me, like it’s something that really happened…”
Alfred shrugged again, opening his mouth as Arthur called out for him to hurry up. Alfred rolled his eyes, "Yeah yeah! I'm comin'!" He called walking toward the stairs, "I dunno Mattie, I never had any dreams like that... Maybe it's time to put your foot down and tell Arthur to stop with the fairy tales... I mean.. those things are pretty creepy really." He said as he went down the stairs and called out a last thought, "That or lay off the maple syrup before bed!"
Matthew sighed and frowned more, going back to cleaning. He moved an old carpet out of the way, when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head towards it, Matthew saw that it was an old box with symbols all over it. For some reason, it seemed familiar to him…
Matthew sat down on his knees and scooted over to it. He undid the latch, carefully opening the box.
When the lid was fully open, he gasped, his face going from curious to smiling as he picked up the toy that was in there.
“So that’s where you’ve been all these years!” Matthew smiled brightly, hugging it closely to him.
The white teddy bear looked up at him, “Who are you?”
Matthew opened his eyes wider in surprise and his smile grew, “You can talk now?! Well, I guess I should introduce myself then. I’m Canada, and you know who you are right?” The teddy bear tilted its head and let out a confused ‘um’ sound, which made Matthew chuckle again.
“You’re my favorite toy, Kumajiro!”